Building Integrated Classrooms


T74 Profile: In San Antonio’s Poorest Neighborhood a New School Launches, Built Around Global Studies and Expanding Horizons

September 26, 2018

Ambika Dani, who came to San Antonio by way of Lagos, Nigeria, and Bangalore, India, made up her mind pretty quickly after arriving that what she wanted to do was open a school. After going through an intensive, Boston-based fellowship for charter school leaders, Dani came back to San Antonio and decided her school would be located in the 78207, the city’s poorest zip code. Four of the nine elementary schools located in the 78207 were on the state’s failing list, and almost half of residents 25 and older had not graduated from high school.

Dani’s school would have a focus on global studies. She explains why in our video profile: “This zip code is their world. I believe that if our children in this community never get to see the world outside of their community, they never get to see what it is that they can become.”

Dani’s Promesa Academy — promesa means “promise” in Spanish — was one of 21 charter schools proposed in the winter of 2017 and one of only four approved by the state. Hers was the only one to get the green light in San Antonio, a city where nearly 40,000 families applied for seats in schools run by its three biggest charter networks in 2017-18.

Read more about Dani’s vision, the students she aims to serve, and the city’s broader integration efforts. (Click here to read the full 74 Special Report)

Video Produced by Heather Martino; Edited by James Fields