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DR. BOBBY LOPEZ — Bob Hope School’s high expectations start at the top

The Bob Hope Charter School started on August 2010 as a new choice for parents. The enrollment at that time was 240 students made up of grades sixth through 12th.

The very first year, we had a graduation class of five students. Our last year’s graduation class was 97 students. Today, we have an enrollment of 2,480 students in four campuses, three in Port Arthur and one in Beaumont.

What is a charter school?

A charter school is a public school, one that many mistakenly think is a private school. Charter schools are funded by the Texas Education Agency. All charter schools are publicly accountable, both for their finances and their academics.

When you consider finances, please know that charter schools throughout the state get approximately $10,721 versus the public schools which get $11,397 (source Texas Charter School Association). Charter schools get yearly funding based on student enrollment like public schools.

The biggest difference is that if the enrollment of a charter school decreases, then the financial funding will decrease at the next payment. If a public school’s funding decreases because of enrollment, then they see the decrease the following year.

As far as academics, charter schools are required to meet all state accountability requirements like public schools. As a charter school, the Bob Hope School has a rating of B overall.

Bob Hope School Elementary – Port Arthur has an A , while the Bob Hope Middle School and High School have a B. The previous year, it had an A for its overall accountability, an A for its elementary and an A for its middle/high school.

If a charter school fails to meet its accountability rating, then it is at risk of closing.

The model for our school follows my mother’s attitude towards education. My mother, a United States born citizen and native Texan, was born in the city of Hondo, Texas, but never attended school.

As a non-English speaking parent, my mother had the attitude of always wanting to know what was going on at school. She insisted on visiting with every teacher I ever had in grade school.

Each year when our school year ended somewhere around May 15, the family would then pack all our clothes and take off on the first Saturday after the last day of school and head out to Colorado to do field work.

When the school year was about to start close to Aug. 30, we would head back home and arrive on the Saturday before the start of school on the following Monday.

My mother was always insisting that I completed my homework. There was a “no excuses” attitude at my house toward education. As a matter of fact, when our family was working in the fields going down the ½ mile to ¾ mile rows in the hot sun, my mother would often remind me that I did not want to do the work they had to do to survive.

She would always say, you need your education. Having never attended school, my mother would often tell me that she saw the path to a high school diploma as one walking up a long ladder. The culmination of the walk was reaching the top of the ladder.

My mother was able to see me get to the top of the ladder when I received my doctorate degree from Texas A&M University.

We have high expectations at the Bob Hope School, but none that I personally have not gone through or experienced myself. The pride that I see in all our students is experiencing them coming in grade levels behind when they first enroll, then going through our rigorous program, graduating and getting accepted into major colleges and universities.

Dr. Bobby Lopez, CEO, has served as superintendent of the Bob Hope School since 2010. Contact him at bobby.lopez@bobhopeschool.org or 409-983-3244.