Texans Can Academy opens this fall in Lake Highlands

When the new school year begins August 12, parents and students will have a new option in Lake Highlands – Texans Can Academy.

The new campus at Skillman Street and Forest Lane will focus on dropout recovery and prevention, and their Ross Avenue location will close and move students to Lake Highlands. Texans Can is a tuition-free, open enrollment public high school of choice which targets students aged 14 to 21 who have struggled in a traditional high school setting.

“We don’t compete with the high school, we compete with the streets,” explained Richard Marquez, Texans Can President and CEO, speaking to the Lake Highlands Chamber of Commerce last year.

Texans Can’s new building has initial capacity for 350 students, with half studying at morning sessions and half arriving after lunch. The flexible shortened day favors students with babies or jobs to get to. Some have dropped out or been kicked out of traditional schools in Richardson, Dallas or Garland.

“Teens are stupid,” said Marquez, a former DISD principal, “but when they make one mistake, we can’t ruin their whole life because of it. They want to succeed, and if we ask them back, they’ll come back. At Texans Can, we don’t give up on them.”

Richardson ISD, which also offers dropout prevention and recovery services through its Memorial Park Academy (MPA), has entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Texans Can, with the charter school agreeing not to admit an RISD student without verification of attempted enrollment at either a traditional RISD school or MPA.

“There are certainly circumstances where Texans Can can serve students that we can’t serve in RISD due to the age of the student, number of credits needed or other issue,” said RISD School Board President Justin Bono, “so there is a place for their program in the community. However, we feel that the MOU allows us an opportunity to capture all of the students that might approach Texans Can for enrollment that can be served in RISD.”

The new school was formerly part of the Metrocare Services’ offices, and Metrocare will continue to occupy the adjacent building and provide mental health services to Texans Can students. Enrollees will also receive free immunizations and flu shots, free eye exams and glasses, college and career resources and transportation.

Texans Can Academy – Dallas North is located at 9704 Skillman, and future expansion is planned.