Homies Empowerment operated as a grassroots after-school program from 2009 until 2014. Then the program went on a hiatus for a few years as co-founder Cesar Cruz went to Harvard University to pursue his doctorate in 2013. The doctorate was centered on supporting youth on the margins. Dr. Cruz was able to do research for a year at Homeboy Industries and was able to write about Homies Empowerment. The Homies Empowerment group continued to gather for a year and then decided to pause programming. In 2014, 11 members of the organization flew to Harvard University to present their work at the Alumni of Color Leadership Conference.
In 2017, forty alumni from Homies Empowerment gathered to reconnect and to dream up a way to take the visions of Homies Empowerment to the next level. Young adults began to dream about how we create our own high school.
Out of that session came the development of the school design team which included Mercedes Flores-Casiano, Omar Escalante, Dr. G Reyes, Ventura Flores and Dr. Cesar Cruz. Then we were able to hire for the first time Rubi Pelayo and Nathalie Carvajal to join the design team. That team has been working extremely hard for the last two years on the design of the school. The team joined the Native Inspired Schools Network NISN) out of Albuquerque, NM. Dr. Cruz is the fellow and he is currently on payroll with NISN until June 2021 to develop the school.