We are excited to deliver the first edition of our new parent communication, “The Horizon”. This communication will be sent out on a monthly basis and will consist of a theme for each issue, a note from me, and information about upcoming events. For immediate updates about what is happening on campus, please continue to check our website at

In January of this year, I completed my first marathon in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Over the past 4 years, I’ve taken up the hobby of running to both stay in shape and to feel a sense of accomplishment and accountability to myself in signing up for a race and sticking to it. The morning of the race was 32 degrees exactly, so when I say it was freezing…it literally was. I was in a new place, with a group of people I didn’t know, in temperatures I wasn’t used to, but I was ready. I had trained the past 5 months running anywhere from 50 to 60 miles a week. I had run through the soles of a pair of shoes in that time and developed the confidence that was going to get me to the finish line. All of the training and sacrifice was worth it to know that I exceeded my goal of finishing under 4 hours.

We often talk about the school year being a marathon and not a sprint. Having done one, I would agree with that analogy. When training for a race, there is sacrifice, struggle, hard work, growth, motivation, and a collective purpose and belief that it can be done. These are all words that we often use to describe the school year. When I think about my time as a teacher, the times that I felt the proudest of my students was when I had opportunities to see them grow. I learned that it is not the day before the test that I need to freak out and make sure my students were studying (even though I did) everything I taught them, but it was the deliberate practice that we did every single day to prepare them for their chance to demonstrate what they have learned in my class. When students finally had the chance to demonstrate mastery or growth on tests, we were able to celebrate together. Throughout the course of the school year, it was important to look for reasons to celebrate and acknowledge the accomplishments of my students.

The 2018-2019 school year was a marathon. It was all of the words mentioned earlier – there was sacrifice, there was struggle, there was hard work, there was growth, mixed in with some motivation and belief in each one of our Explorers. The theme of this first issue is celebration. As I mentioned, it is important to share the accomplishments of our students and join in the celebration of their hard work this school year. I’m extremely proud of them and can’t wait to do it again next year.

Thank you to all of the parents and families who send your students to East End. We are thankful for all your support and partnership this year and look forward to continuing to work alongside each of you to provide the best education possible for your children.

This issue will highlight the academic achievement of the year, look at some data from our College Initiatives team, and shine the spotlight on our graduating seniors. We hope you enjoy!

All my best,





At East End, we pride ourselves on living and breathing the YES Prep mission to see kids “to and through college.” For 7 years, students, families, faculty, and staff work together to build a strong college-ready foundation to help prepare students for the ultimate goal: college graduation. This year’s graduating class of 2019 has received 768 acceptances to colleges from across the country including the University of Houston Main Campus, Washington and Jefferson College, and Yale University. In addition, our students have received over 1.5 million dollars in scholarships and grants. Each and every acceptance and scholarship award is a testament to the hard work, dedication, love and support of the entire East End family. Together, student, families, faculty, and staff are anchored in achievement and together we are East End strong.

Jennifer Galicia - Class of 2019




  • University of Houston Washington and Jefferson College
  • Yale University
  • UH Downtown
  • University of Texas at Austin

"Accomplish greater things in life" -Jennifer Galicia

What is your most memorable school experience and why?

My most memorable school experience was 8th grade Spring Trip because all of my class was together having fun and we got to create new memories together.

What was your biggest challenge? My biggest challenge was getting used to a new school with new rules. Thanks to YES Prep, I was able to get the support I needed to adapt.

What advice would you share with your peers?

Some advice that I will share to other students is to enjoy their middle school and high school experience, also try their best in all their classes so that they can accomplish greater things in life.



As we begin to wrap up the school year, we are excited to share some of the academic and extracurricular
achievements of EE students:

  • The US News and World Report rated YES Prep EE the 42nd best High School in Texas, the 60th best Charter High School and the 254th best High School in the Nation
  • East End students took over 350 AP Exams! Each exam represents a year of tough, college-level work and gives students the opportunity to earn college credits while still attending High School.
  • We have received our first round of STAAR Data for 8th Grade Math and Reading. Students grew 8% in Reading from 2018 and 16% in Math.
  • Our Name That Book Club won 2nd place in District Competition.
  • The great work of East End’s Black Student Association was featured in the YES Prep Blog- Read more here! 



Director of Academics - Maria Ambia

"I’m excited to start my 10th year at YES Prep East End as the Director of Academics. After graduating from the University of Houston with my degree in education, I started my career at East End as an Algebra I instructor and spent a couple of years teaching 8th grade math, as well. I’ve spent the last 4 years as a Dean of Instruction, supporting the Math Department, seminar classes, some electives, and, most recently, all core subjects in 8th and 9th grade. I’ve enjoyed seeing so many of my students cross the stage, both at Senior Signing Day and at graduation, and this year I will watch the last class I taught, Class of 2019, graduate, as well! I am so proud and honored to continue to spread my influence, which started inside my classroom, then grew to reaching across departments, then across multiple grade levels, and now across the entire campus. East End is a very special place where all students and staff work hard to redefine what’s possible, and I am humbled to continue working alongside everyone in our mission to increase the number of students graduating prepared to lead!"

Dean of Instruction - Rachel Starkel

Rachel Starkel is our current Biology teacher. She went to college at the University of North Texas, where she majored in Biology with two minors in Chemistry and Spanish. Rachel moved to Houston in 2014 to begin her teaching career at Deady Middle School as an 8th grade Science teacher before moving to East End in 2016, where she has taught Biology for the last 3 years. As the Biology teacher, she has written materials for the district, lead professional development opportunities to teachers in the Biology department and at our campus., and recently attended Rice’s AMP! Program to increase her practice in Inquiry-Based Learning. She is so excited for her new role as Dean of Instruction so that she can improve our teacher’s skills and practice to ensure that all of our students at East End are getting an exceptional education in all of their classes and to share her knowledge of inquiry in the classroom.

Middle School Dean of Students - Monica Bailey

"Hello! I'm Monica Bailey and I will be the new Middle School Dean of Students next year! I have spent the last five years teaching 7th grade Math and 8th grade Science. I started my teaching career at a different YES school, and then I moved to Dallas. I'm excited to be back in Houston and for the transition into the Dean of Students role! I cannot wait to meet everyone and officially become an Explorer! See you guys soon!"