The Student Alternatives Program, Inc. (SAPI) was established in 1990 and is a private, non-profit community-based organization exempt from taxation under 26 U.S.C., Section 50l(c)(3).
In 1992, SAPI signed a contract to operate its first alternative education program in Carrizo Springs, Texas. The learning center provided services to students in at-risk situations, as authorized under the Texas Education Code (TEC), Chapter 29, Section 29.0819(e)
SAPI provided educational services to over 25,000 students and maintained 12 instructional centers supported through 17 performance-based contracts with independent school districts in Texas.
In 1999 SAPI opened the first four TPHS campuses located in Laredo, Mercedes, Lubbock, and El Paso. Since 1999 five more additional campuses were opened in Laredo, El Paso, McAllen, San Benito and Brownsville.
SAPI's community based work continues its work throughout Texas and TPHS expansion is planned for 2024 into San Antonio and Abilene.
Eduardo Gutierrez has a broad experience working at the senior executive level for private, public and philanthropic organizations. For example, Mr. Gutierrez worked for the Community Services Administration (CSA) where he became CSA’s Director of Farm Worker Programs, funding national, regional and community-based farm worker programs through out the United States. He also worked for the U.S. Department of Labor, and the Department of Energy in Washington D. C. (1971-1981). In the private sector, he also worked for the Levi Strauss Foundation (1987-1988), and the Rockefeller Foundation’s Project Hope Initiative (1988-1989).
It was while working for the Rockefeller Foundation that he became interested in the idea to develop community-based alternative educational programs for at-risk youth and dropouts. Subsequently, he founded the Student Alternatives Program, Inc. in 1990.
Shortly after Mr. Eduardo Gutierrez founded SAPI he realized the organization needed a brand. Thus in 1995, Mr. Gutierrez turned to his lifelong friends, Jose Antonio and Efrain Burciaga, nationally renowned and award-winning Chicano artists. Mr. Gutierrez gave them the basic idea he had for the logo: a logo with a sun and the initials of the organization incorporated in the logo. Mr. Gutierrez wanted “El Sol” included because to him it meant that a good education can give a person hope and opportunity for a bright future. “El Sol” stands for the burning desire we hope to instill in students to acquire knowledge and follow their dreams to become successful individuals. Over the years, the logo has been modified to reflect better the community-based work of the organization beyond the classrooms. While keeping “El Sol” as its main element, the current logo goes beyond the success of an individual and highlights the importance of supporting community cohesion and development.