About Solar Prep

SCHOOLS OVERVIEW

The Solar Preparatory Schools (Solar Prep) are Dallas public schools founded in 2016 for Girls and 2018 for Boys serving a socio-economically diverse student base. Led by award-winning and competitively selected faculty and administration employing a research-driven educational model design that is tailored to how scholars learn best and delivers for its students the dual mission of STEAM-focused academic acceleration and social and emotional learning that prepares them to be effective leaders in the real world and beyond their years at Solar. Its vision is to prepare scholars for success in a challenging, nurturing, and inclusive performance-based learning environment. Solar Prep’s mission is to be an inclusive school community empowering scholars to live and lead with confidence and purpose.

Our Story

In the Fall of 2015, four passionate educators gathered to submit a proposal for an innovative school in Dallas ISD. These educators were responding to Dallas ISD’s call for proposals for the first round of Choice Schools, district schools that focus on a particular model or content area to give scholars the opportunity to attend a best-fit school.

For these educators, this was not only an opportunity to design their dream school but also a way to fill the gaps they observed in public education throughout their 30 years of combined experience.

Nancy Bernardino, Jennifer Turner, and Cynthia Flores were working together at John Quincy Adams Elementary School when they learned about the Choice School opportunity. Immediately the team began putting together a plan for a school that would better serve the needs of girls in Dallas. Ashley Toole, current assistant principal of Spruce High School, joined the team, bringing extensive knowledge of secondary education.

The team researched single-gender education, explored curriculum and instructional models, and ultimately designed a school based on performance-based STEAM education and Social Emotional Learning.

The Choice School selection committee approved the team’s written plan, and Solar Prep advanced to a panel interview. At the interview, the team answered questions from district leaders and offered more in-depth explanations about the exciting new school model. In the Spring of 2015, Solar Preparatory School for Girls was approved by then Superintendent Mike Miles.

As the team began planning discussions with the Office of Transformation and Innovation, it became clear that the open-enrollment campus would be an ideal place to initiate socioeconomic diversity in the district. A weighted lottery was conducted in February of 2016 to ensure a 50/50 balance in economically disadvantaged and non-economically disadvantaged scholars.

Solar Prep for Girls is entering its 5th year with a diverse population of scholars, a full staff of dedicated, experienced educators, and the continued mission of improving education for both boys and girls in Dallas. Due to the success of the Girls campus, led by principal Olivia Santos, Solar Prep for Boys, led by principal Adriana González was founded in August of 2018. Both campuses are now overseen by Dr. Nancy Bernadino.

Solar Preparatory School for Girls

Founded in 2016, Solar Prep for Girls is an inclusive school community empowering girls to live and lead with confidence and purpose. Designed for single-gender education, curriculum and instructional models are ultimately designed for a school based on performance-based STEAM education and Social Emotional Learning.

Solar Prep has a diverse population of scholars, a full staff of dedicated, experienced educators, and the continued mission of improving education for girls in Dallas.

The campus is open for children in pre-K to 6th grade, and expands one grade level each year up to 8th grade. Admission to Solar Prep is open to all girls who live within Dallas ISD boundaries, and there are no academic entry requirements. A randomized, computerized lottery, weighted to achieve 50/50 socioeconomic diversity, determines which applicants are awarded the open spots.

Solar Preparatory School for Boys

In the fall of 2018, Dallas ISD launched the newest all-boys school in Dallas — Solar Preparatory School for Boys. This choice school, modeled after Solar Prep for Girls, provides leadership, mentoring opportunities and valuable instruction, to support students in becoming the leaders they are meant to be.

With strong administrative leadership and a rich instructional environment, Solar Preparatory provides boys the right balance of boundaries, high expectations and opportunities to explore their potential.

The campus is open for children in pre-K to 4th grade, and expands one grade level each year up to 8th grade. Admission to Solar Prep is open to all boys who live within Dallas ISD boundaries, and there are no academic entry requirements. A randomized, computerized lottery, weighted to achieve 50/50 socioeconomic diversity, determines which applicants are awarded the open spots.

Use of Funds

There are a variety of ways to support our scholars through the Friends of Solar Prep Foundation.

Sponsor A Scholar

Sponsor-a-Scholar Levels of Impact:
  • Level 6: Campus $70,000

    560 Scholar Sponsorships

  • Level 5: Grade $10,000

    80 Scholar Sponsorships

  • Level 4: Classroom $2,500

    20 Scholar Sponsorships

  • Level 3: Team $650

    5 Scholar Sponsorships

  • Level 2: Sponsor-a-Friend $250

    2 Scholar Sponsorships

  • Level 1: Sponsor-a-Scholar $125

    1 Scholar Sponsorships

Special Initiatives

Other ways you can support Solar Prep:

NOTE: If you are donating to a specific fundraising campaign, please notate it in the “notes.” Ex: $125 for “sponsor-a-scholar”

Board Members for Friends of Solar Prep

Chairperson
Mimi Sterling, Vice President of Environmental Social Governance and Belonging, Neiman Marcus Group

Vice Chair
Jill Ibison Vessels, Vice President, Corgan

Secretary
Charles Brant, Senior Project Manager, DLR Group

Treasurer
Bill Durham, Head of Investor Relations, Scalar Gauge Fund, LP

  • April Allen, President, Southern Gateway Public Green Foundation
  • Shelle Carrig, Vice President, Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty
  • Keenan Delaney, Executive Director, North Texas, American Cancer Society
  • Kishor Gummaraju, Chief Customer Officer, Tiger Analytics
  • Cameron Hernholm, Chief Advancement Officer, Communities in Schools
  • Elsa Manzaneres, Attorney and Partner – International Trade, Stinson, LLP
  • Lauren McKinnon, Founder and CEO, Project Mockingbird
  • Mark McMillan, Associate, Meadows Collier
  • Chris Turner, Chief Financial Officer, Yum Brands

We are always looking for new board members to share their talents, time and resources. Please reach out if you’d like to join the board.

Solar Girls Pledge

I BELIEVE IN MYSELF.

I PLAY BIG.

I REFUSE TO LET ANYONE DEFINE ME.

I KNOW THERE IS A NEED FOR ME.

I RISE TO THE CHALLENGE
TIME AND TIME AGAIN.

I AM COURAGEOUS.

I LET GO OF ANY NEGATIVITY
THAT COMES MY WAY.

I DO NOT COMPARE MYSELF TO OTHERS

AND I CELEBRATE ME RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW.

I PRAISE MYSELF, BUT I REMAIN HUMBLE.

I TAKE RISKS. I EXPLORE.

I LEAP EVEN IF THERE ISN’T A NET.

I SHINE BRIGHTLY.

I AM A SOLAR PREP TRAILBLAZER!

THINK! ACT! SHINE!

Solar Boys Pledge

I control my destiny through the ability to acquire knowledge.

I believe success is determined by effort and perseverance and not by chance.

I exemplify a nature of continual growth through exploration.

I transform my mistakes into opportunities for learning.

I accept responsibility for my actions and oppose excuses.

I will acknowledge and honor the magnificence of every person.

Our actions are guided by our character.

We are accepting of others no matter their background.

We are committed to excellence.

We are committed to community.

We are servants of humankind.

We are our Brother’s Keeper.

We are leaders today, tomorrow and forever.

We are Solar Preparatory School for Boys.

Latest Posts

Article

Principal helps girls to aim high

Nancy Bernardino is living her dream: devoting herself to empower girls to become the leaders of the future.

As principal of Solar Preparatory School for Girls in Old East Dallas, Bernardino works to inspire and prepare girls to build a more equitable and fair society.

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Update

Jennifer Leigh Turner

TURNER, Jennifer Leigh Jennifer Leigh Turner, age 41, passed away on Thursday, May 16, 2019, with family by her side, at the T. Boone Pickens Center of Faith Presbyterian Hospice in Dallas, Texas, following a brief but fierce fight against cancer.

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Update

Friends of Solar Prep Awarded $110,000 from Lyda Hill

Solar Preparatory School for Girls needs additional outdoor play space to accommodate all of the girls. Friends of Solar Prep (FOSP) applied for an opportunity to pitch Lyda Hill for a $100,000 grant to build a new playground and surrounding security fence to provide enough equipment and space for all the girls to participate in outdoor free play. The playground and associated green space would provide 4,575 additional square feet of play area.

Read More »