Frequently Asked Questions
This page is based on the most frequently asked questions related to Choice Schools and Programs at San Antonio ISD. As we continue to transform our district, one of our core strategies is to ensure that every child is in a best-fit school that taps into their aspirations and interests, regardless of their academic abilities or where they live. All students in grades PK-12 are welcome to apply and do not have to reside in SAISD boundaries.
2020-21 APPLICATION WINDOW: NOV. 5, 2019 – JAN. 31, 2020
Interested students must submit an application to be considered for admission into SAISD’s Choice Schools or Magnet Programs. Applicants will have the entirety of the application window to submit an application to the Office of Access & Enrollment Services. Applicants that submit an application after the closing of the application window will be automatically added to the waitlist for that school.
DEADLINE TO APPLY: JAN. 31, 2020
All online applications must be submitted prior to 11:59 PM to be considered. Paper applications must be submitted to the Office of Access & Enrollment Services at 1931 E. Houston St., 78202 no later than 4:00 PM to be considered.
OFFERS ANNOUNCED: BEGINNING FEB. 12, 2020
Applicants that submitted an application prior to the application deadline should expect to receive an email, text, and/or mail notification of their application status.
DEADLINE TO ACCEPT AN OFFER: FEBRUARY 28, 2020
Applicants that receive an offer for admission must accept their seat before the deadline in order to proceed to the registration process. If no action is taken, the seat will be forfeited and given to a student on the waitlist. Applicants in waitlist status should take no action at this time.
WAITLIST OFFERS ANNOUNCED: BEGINNING MARCH 3, 2020
Applicants notified of an offer from the waitlist typically have 2 business days from the time of notification to accept their seat. Applicants who receive an offer for admission from the waitlist must accept their seat before the deadline in order to proceed to the registration process. If no action is taken, the seat will be forfeited.
ROUND 2 APPLICATION WINDOW OPENS: MARCH 26, 2020
Second opportunity to apply for select SAISD Choice Schools & Magnet Programs for the 2020-21 school year. Details and a list of participating Choice Schools & Programs will be published when the Round 2 application window opens. Online applications may be submitted at www.saisd.net/apply. Paper applications may be submitted in person to the Office of Access & Enrollment Services at 1931 E. Houston St., 78202, or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Families who miss the application deadline may still apply to get on a waitlist. Applications submitted after the January 31, 2020 deadline will be added to the respective waitlist automatically. Applicants on a waitlist are admitted on a first-come, first-served basis depending on seat availability. Waitlist notifications for the 2020-21 school year begin March 3, 2020 and can run through the first several weeks of the new school year.
The Round 2 application window opens March 26 for families to apply to select Choice Schools/Programs that still have seats available for 2020-21.
Generally, lotteries are hosted for entry grades at Choice Schools and Programs. Typically, for elementary schools, entry grades are PK and kindergarten; middle school entry grade is 6th grade; high school entry grade is 9th grade. To see which grades are holding a lottery and which grades are waitlist only for a particular school, please select a school from the list of All Schools and Programs.
Applications for lottery grades will be placed into a pool to undergo a lottery selection process. Lotteries are blind, randomized and conducted at the district level. The district utilizes a “Controlled Choice” framework to ensure equity and access for historically disadvantaged students. Applications for non-lottery grades will be placed on a waitlist, and applicants will be selected based on seat availability for that grade.
Individualized lotteries for Choice Schools & Programs are created based on the following considerations:
- Best practice of the programmatic model (i.e., Montessori, dual language, etc.)
- Prioritizing students living within campus attendance zones (if applicable) or priority area (if applicable)
- Ensuring equity and access for all students, regardless of academic abilities and where they live
- Prioritizing student demographics (i.e., socioeconomic status, at-risk status, English Language Learner status, etc.)
- Prioritizing siblings of students currently enrolled at the campus
The following categories are examples of demographic factors used to determine a student’s lottery assignment:
- Applying student’s address is zoned to an area within a circle radius of the campus
- Applying student’s address is zoned to the campus’ attendance zone
Non Attendance Zone
- Applying student’s address is zoned to outside the campus’ attendance zone (includes out of district)
- Applying student’s address is zoned to SAISD boundaries
- Applying student’s address is zoned to outside SAISD boundaries
- Applying student’s family qualifies for free and reduced price lunch per federal guidelines
Non Economically Disadvantaged
- Applying student’s family does not qualify for free and reduced price lunch per federal guidelines
- Applying student answers “Spanish” to language question
- Applying student answers “English” to language question
- Applying student meets state preschool eligibility requirements
Non PreK Qualifying
- Applying student does not meet state preschool eligibility requirements
Holistic Rubric-Based Selection
- Applying student is accepted based on a selection process using a holistic rubric, including factors such as GPA, attendance, standardized test scores, assessments, etc.
The following are examples of priorities that receive additional consideration in the lottery process:
Comprehensive & Targeted Support (Previously known as Priority & Focus)
- Applying student is currently attending or is zoned to a Comprehensive & Targeted Support campus as designated by the Texas Education Agency
- Applying student’s parent/guardian works for SAISD
- Applying student has a sibling currently attending the campus
- Applying student has a sibling also applying to enter the campus
Socioeconomic Blocks Equity Audit
- The district will ensure that at least 25% of economically disadvantaged students enrolled at designated “diverse by design” campuses come from Block 3 and Block 4 communities.
The lottery is a blind, randomized, computerized process conducted at the district level. The district utilizes a “Controlled Choice” framework to ensure equity and access for historically disadvantaged students.
Applications are placed into appropriate categories, then the online platform conducts the lottery according to programmed lottery parameters. The Office of Access and Enrollment Services (OAES) determines lottery guidelines for each campus.
For some Choice Schools and Programs, a percentage of seats in the lottery are held for families living within a priority area of the campus, such as an attendance zone, a zip code, or a designated mile radius. If the number of applications for the priority area exceeds the number of seats, a priority lottery will be conducted. Families living in the priority area not accepted through the priority lottery will be placed in the general lottery.
SAISD employees have the benefit of being considered in-district for the purpose of being able to apply for any SAISD school. They do not receive any additional preferences within the lottery.
Children of full-time employees at Choice Schools and Programs that report directly to the principal have the benefit of being considered as in-district families. These applicants enter the lottery according to the parameters specified on their application and may still be considered for enrollment if not accepted through the lottery per District guidelines. Students of full-time employees who report directly to the principal and are hired after the application and selection window closes may also be considered for enrollment according to District guidelines.
Siblings of currently enrolled students receive preference prior to the opening of the annual application and selection window. Sibling preference is capped at 25% of the total number of seats available through the lottery. A sibling lottery will be held if the number of anticipated siblings exceeds the number of available sibling seats. Siblings not accepted through the sibling lottery will be placed in the general lottery. Siblings not accepted through the general lottery may still be considered for enrollment according to District guidelines.
Siblings applying to enter a Choice School or Program through the lottery in the same year will receive pull-in preference. If one sibling is accepted through the lottery and the other is not, both siblings are automatically accepted. This pull-in preference only applies for lottery grades. If both siblings are placed on the waitlist and one is accepted, the other sibling is not automatically accepted.
Families may adjust their applications as needed until the close of the application window. After that time, they must contact the Office of Access and Enrollment Services to update any information, and it is not guaranteed that the changes will be made prior to the conducting of the lottery. If accepted to the Choice School or Program, families must provide proof of residency when registering.
Yes. Applicants may receive multiple offers, but may only accept one seat. Accepting an offer will automatically decline offers from other schools, but it will not impact an applicant’s status on a waitlist. Applicants will only be removed from a waitlist upon request.
Example: Omar Hernandez applies to three schools — Young Men’s Leadership Academy, Travis Early College High School, and Lanier High School’s Engineering Magnet. He receives the following notifications:
- Young Men’s Leadership Academy: OFFERED
- Travis Early College High School: WAITLISTED
- Lanier High School Engineering Magnet: OFFERED
If Omar accepts the offer from YMLA, his offer at Lanier HS will automatically be declined. However, he will remain on the waitlist for Travis ECHS until he is offered a seat or requests to be removed from the waitlist.
This information is collected only for data purposes. We use this data to help the District expand the Choice Programs offered. This helps us work to provide every student his/her best fit school. The order in which you rank your schools does not help or hurt your chances of getting an offer from any particular school.
Some Choice Schools & Magnet Programs are socioeconomically diverse and integrated by design through the annual application and selection process. This means that a specific percentage of seats are reserved for economically disadvantaged students and students who are not economically disadvantaged, based on federal and state guidelines.
Research shows that socioeconomically balanced schools are ideal learning environments for all students. Low-income student performance significantly increases, middle-class student performance sustains, and all students experience social benefits such as learning tolerance, critical thinking skills, learning to work with people from different backgrounds, and rejecting stereotypes.
The district utilizes a “Controlled Choice” framework to ensure equity and access for historically disadvantaged students.
All Choice Schools & Programs will strive to ensure that economically disadvantaged students make up at least 50% of total enrollment. For more information, please contact the Office of Access & Enrollment Services.
At all Choice Schools and Programs, a certain percentage of seats are set aside for in-district and out-of-district families. No more than 50% of seats will be set aside for out-of-district families, with the majority of campuses having no more than 30% of seats set aside.
In-district seats will not be filled by out-of-district families. The District will always maintain a greater percentage of seats for in-district families.
Since 2017-18, the district has calculated Socioeconomic Blocks to help us better understand the socioeconomic status of our students. Because the vast majority of our students are economically disadvantaged according to the Free and Reduced Price Lunch measure, we needed a more nuanced way to think about poverty in order to better serve our schools and students.
The Socioeconomic Blocks incorporate four variables: median household income, home ownership rates, education level, and percentage of single-family households. Based on these variables, each census block is assigned a poverty level from Block 1 (lowest poverty) to Block 4 (highest poverty).
For more information on Socioeconomic Blocks, please refer to our Methodology for Calculating Socioeconomic Tiers.
Choice School and Program routes utilize SAISD schools as stops and creates routes via a hub system. After students are picked up at a stop, they are transported to a central location where they transfer to a different bus that takes them to their destination school. In-district and out-of-district students may ride the bus to and from any of the stops provided.
- See the 2019-20 Choice Transportation Schedule here.
Extended day is provided at most Choice Schools and Programs for grades pre-kindergarten and above. Parents need to check with each school to determine the type of program provided, grade levels served, and cost involved.
Students enrolling in Choice Schools and Programs may participate in UIL activities. If the Choice School does not offer a particular UIL program, the student may participate in the program at their home school according to their address of residence per UIL guidelines. Students entering a Choice Program at a neighborhood school may participate in UIL activities at that same neighborhood campus.
High schoolers wishing to participate in varsity UIL activities at a Choice School for the 2020-21 school year must accept a seat offer at that campus by May 27, 2020.