School Overview & History

About the Ann Richards School

The Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders (ARS) is an all-girls public school serving grades 6 – 12 for the Austin Independent School District. On August 27, 2007 the school welcomed its first 6th and 7th grade classes, adding one grade level each academic year until all grades were represented in the fall of 2012.

Governor Ann Richards was instrumental in developing the school’s vision. Founded to give young women from economically disadvantaged backgrounds the skills and confidence necessary to pursue college educations and careers, it now stands as one of the largest single-gender public schools in the nation and a tribute to the enduring legacy of Governor Richards.

Today, 773 students represent a student body that reflects Austin’s diverse community. Each Ann Richards Star receives a world-class education thanks to a public-private partnership between the Austin Independent School District, and the Dallas-based Young Women’s Preparatory Network (YWPN), and the Ann Richards School Foundation. At ARS, the mission is to ensure that students are not only admitted to college, but are also equipped to graduate from the college of their choice.

Our Mission Statement

The Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders dedicates itself to prepare young women to attend and graduate from college, commit to a healthy and well-balanced lifestyle, lead with courage and compassion, and solve problems creatively and ethically in support of our global community.

Our Leadership

Beyond academic preparation, our girls develop strong problem-solving skills and value compassion to become successful leaders. Our curriculum is academically rigorous and includes critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, communication, and service learning components.

Our Wellness

At ARS, we pride ourselves on a commitment to the whole person. Successful students and leaders need a healthy body, mind, and spirit. Our wellness program provides students with the knowledge and tools to make healthy choices in a supportive environment.

Our Achievements

Recently ARS met the standard, an acceptable rating, for the accountability criteria in 2013 and 2014, as set by the Texas Education Agency (TEA). In 2014 ARS received six distinction designations from TEA in Academic Achievement in Reading/ELA, Academic Achievement in Mathematics, Academic Achievement in Science, Academic Achievement in Social Studies, Top 25 Percent Closing Performance Gaps, and Postsecondary Readiness.

The Austin Independent School District assigned an exemplary rating in 2014 to ARS for Fine Arts, Wellness and Physical Education, Community and Parental Involvement, 21st Century Workforce Development Program, Second Language Acquisition Program, Digital Learning Environment, Dropout Prevention Strategies, and Educational Programs for Gifted and Talented Students.

Our Curriculum

Our academic curriculum is challenging with an emphasis on science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM), encouraging students in areas and careers where girls are under-represented.

More about our Curriculum

Our College Prep

Pursuing a college education is a cornerstone of the culture at ARS. Students begin preparing for college in the sixth grade. Our project-based curriculum requires students to learn content through rigorous projects, and work together as a group in order to practice 21st century skills such as communication, collaboration, and critical thinking.

More about the Ann Richards School College Bound program

Our Associations

Young Women’s Preparatory Network:

ARS is part of the Young Women’s Preparatory Network, a non-profit organization that partners with public school districts to create and support all-girl schools. The schools have a foundation of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) curriculum with a focus on the pillars of leadership, college readiness, and health and wellness. Young Women’s Prep serves more than 4,100 6th – 12th graders on seven campuses in Texas. Over 75% of the students are from economically disadvantaged homes and 85% will be first-generation college students. All of the students graduate from high school and are accepted at a four-year college or university. In 2014, 146 graduates received a combined $15.8 million in merit scholarships and grants and are attending 73 different colleges and universities.

National Coalition of Girls’ Schools:

ARS is a member of the National Coalition of Girls’ Schools. The National Coalition of Girls’ Schools (NCGS) is a leading advocate for girls’ education with a distinct commitment to the transformative power of all-girls schools. The Coalition acts at the forefront of educational thought, collaborating and connecting globally with individuals, schools, and organizations dedicated to empowering girls to be influential contributors to the world.

Young Women’s Leadership Network:

ARS is an affiliate school of the Young Women’s Leadership Network. The Young Women’s Leadership Schools are privately supported 6th – 12th grade public secondary schools that promote high-quality student learning opportunities in and out of school. Our schools provide a single-sex educational choice for predominantly low-income students who will be the first in their families to attend college. Students are admitted based upon their interest and commitment to obtaining a single-sex and college preparatory education. TYWLS are open to girls of all academic abilities.