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FAQ2022-01-06T16:20:30-06:00

FAQ

This page is based on the most frequently asked questions about SAISD’s Choice Schools and Programs. As we continue transforming our district, one of our principal strategies is ensuring that each child is placed in a best fit school that best serves their aspirations and interests, no matter their academic abilities or where they live. All students in grades PK-12 are welcome to apply, and they don’t have to live within SAISD boundaries.

What are the timeline and deadlines?2023-01-27T16:27:26-06:00

The application window for the 2023-24 school year is October 31, 2022—January 17, 2023.

  • Families who submit an application after the deadline above date will be added to the waitlist by order of submission date.
  • 2023-24 seat offers are announced by February 3, 2023.
  • Offers from waitlists begin February 14, 2023.

* All students who are not currently attending the Choice School or Program they want must submit an application for 2023-24 to be considered for a seat for the next school year.. This includes applicants who are currently on a waitlist for 2022-23. See more details here.

See the visual timeline on our homepage here.  Download or print a copy here

 

I missed the application deadline. What do I do?2021-10-08T16:21:06-05:00

Families may still apply for any Choice School or Magnet Program after the close of the application window. Applications submitted after the application deadline are added to a waitlist. Any additional offers are made according to waitlist number, per seat availability.  Offers from waitlists begin February 14, 2022 and will continue through the first several weeks of the new school year, per seat availability. 

See important dates and deadlines on our homepage timeline here.

What happens to my application if I do not get an offer for this school year?2022-11-02T14:30:14-05:00

You will need to submit a new application during the application window for the next school year.

Beginning with applications for the 2023-24 school year, all students who want to attend a Choice School or Magnet Program that they are not already enrolled in must submit a new application each year through SchoolMint. Students who are currently on a waitlist for a 2022-23 seat will not be eligible for a 2023-24 seat unless they submit a new application for 2023-24. They will remain on the waitlist for 2022-23.

For more details on the lottery process and parameters, visit our Resources page to view the following documents:

  • How the Lottery Works (FAQ)
  • Overview of Lottery/Selection Categories & Priorities
Can I participate in Varsity UIL athletics if I enroll in a Choice School or Magnet Program?2021-08-04T10:34:49-05:00

Students enrolling into Choice Schools and Magnet Programs outside of their home school according to their address of residence, but live within SAISD boundaries, are eligible for varsity athletics if the student enters at the first opportunity. First opportunity is defined as the entry point the student could have entered the Choice School or Program. For example, for a Choice School or Program that begins at 9th grade, the 9th-grade year is considered the first opportunity. Out-of-district students are not eligible for varsity athletics for their first year.

What happens after I submit an application?2022-11-29T13:26:38-06:00

If you submit a 2023-24 application during the application window (Oct. 31, 2022-Jan. 17, 2023):
your application status will remain “Submitted” until lotteries are held in late January. The next notification you can expect from SchoolMint about your application will be at lottery time: the week of January 23-27, 2023. At that time, the District will run a lottery for available seats at each school. If your application receives an offer through the lottery, SchoolMint will send you another email and/or text notification. This message will tell you which child, school, and grade level the offer is for. It is possible to receive more than one seat offer for each child. 

If you submit a 2023-24 application after the application window has closed (after Jan. 17, 2023):
Your application will be added to a waitlist for the school(s) you have applied for. Offers from waitlists will begin as soon as February 14, 2023. This is the earliest you could expect to receive a SchoolMint notification about your application status. Offers from waitlists will continue throughout the spring, summer, and into the first weeks of the new school year – as long as seats are available. SchoolMint will not notify you if you move up on the waitlist. If you would like an occasional update on your waitlist number for any school, please contact that school or the Enrollment Office (210-554-2660).

TIP: Turn on Email and Text notifications now in your SchoolMint Account Settings so you don’t miss a notification! A text message reaches you faster, and an email provides you with more detailed information.

If at any time you would like to add an application for an additional school or program, please contact the Enrollment Office by phone or email. Each student is allowed a maximum of 3 active applications at any given moment. (Active = in Submitted, Waitlisted, Offered, or Accepted status.)

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For more details on the lottery process and parameters, visit our Resources page to view the following documents:

  • How the Lottery Works (FAQ)
  • Overview of Lottery/Selection Categories & Priorities
How do waitlists work?2022-11-29T13:52:09-06:00

Waitlist Creation

  • Starting with 2023-24 applications, waitlists are generated annually, and new waitlist numbers are assigned. They do not carry over from one year to the next.
  • For applications submitted during the application window, waitlists are initially generated by the system when the lottery is conducted. After applications are sorted according to their randomized number, the applications at the top receive offers, and the rest of the applications are placed on the appropriate waitlist according to the order generated by the system.
  • Applications submitted after the application window closes are added to the end of the lottery-generated waitlist according to the date and time stamp of their submission.

Offers from Waitlists

  • Offers from waitlists begin 2-3 weeks after the lottery. 
  • Offers from waitlists will continue throughout the spring, summer, and into the first weeks of the new school year – as long as seats are available.
  • SchoolMint will not notify you if you move up on the waitlist. If you would like an occasional update on your waitlist number for any school, please contact that school or the Enrollment Office (210-554-2660). 

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For more details on the lottery process and parameters, visit our Resources page to view the following documents:

  • How the Lottery Works (FAQ)
  • Overview of Lottery/Selection Categories & Priorities
Which grade levels hold a lottery?2022-11-29T11:09:42-06:00

Most Choice Schools & Magnet Programs use the lottery process to offer seats*. Beginning with applications for the 2023-24 school year, all grade levels will hold a lottery. At the time of the lottery, available seats are offered to applicants who submitted an application by the application deadline. After the lottery, additional available seats are offered to applicants on waitlists, per waitlist order.

Submitted applications are placed into a pool to undergo a lottery 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.

 

*The only Choice School that does not use a lottery is Young Women’s Leadership Academy. This campus uses a holistic, rubric-based selection process. Learn more about YWLA here.

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For more details on application dates and deadlines, view the timeline here.

For more details on the lottery process and parameters, visit our Resources page to view the following documents:

  • How the Lottery Works (FAQ)
  • Overview of Lottery/Selection Categories & Priorities

 

What kinds of lotteries are there?2022-10-31T13:18:26-05:00

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.)
  • Setting aside seats for students living within school 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 school

 

The following categories are examples of demographic factors used to determine a student’s lottery assignment:

Priority Area

  • Applying student’s address is zoned to an area within a circle radius of the school

Attendance Zone

  • Applying student’s address is zoned to the school’s  attendance zone

Non Attendance Zone

  • Applying student’s address is zoned to outside the school’s attendance zone (includes out of district)

In-District

  • Applying student’s address is zoned to SAISD boundaries

Out-of-District

  • Applying student’s address is zoned to outside SAISD boundaries

Economically Disadvantaged

  • 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

Spanish

  • Applying student answers “Spanish” to language question

English

  • Applying student answers “English” to language question

Pre-K Qualifying

  • Applying student meets state preschool eligibility requirements

Non Pre-K 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 school as designated by the Texas Education Agency

SAISD Employee

  • Applying student’s parent/guardian works for SAISD

Sibling Attending

  • Applying student has a sibling currently attending the school

Sibling Applying

  • Applying student has a sibling also applying to enter the school

Socioeconomic Blocks Equity Audit

  • The district will ensure that at least 25% of economically disadvantaged students enrolled at designated Diverse by Design schools come from Block 3 and Block 4 communities.

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For more details on the lottery process and parameters, visit our Resources page to view the following documents:

  • How the Lottery Works (FAQ)
  • Overview of Lottery/Selection Categories & Priorities
How does the lottery work?2022-10-31T13:07:28-05:00

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 more details on the lottery process and parameters, visit our Resources page to view the following documents:

  • How the Lottery Works (FAQ)
  • Overview of Lottery/Selection Categories & Priorities
Do families in certain neighborhoods get preference? If yes, how does this work?2022-10-31T13:17:31-05:00

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.

For more details on the lottery process and parameters, visit our Resources page to view the following documents:

  • How the Lottery Works (FAQ)
  • Overview of Lottery/Selection Categories & Priorities
Do children of SAISD employees get preference? If yes, how does this work?2022-10-31T13:17:25-05:00

SAISD employees have the benefit of being considered as in-district for the purpose of being able to apply for any SAISD school. They do not receive any additional preferences within the lottery.

For more details on the lottery process and parameters, visit our Resources page to view the following documents:

  • How the Lottery Works (FAQ)
  • Overview of Lottery/Selection Categories & Priorities
Do children of employees at a Choice School or Program get preference? If yes, how does it work?2022-10-31T13:16:13-05:00

Children of full-time employees at Choice Schools and Programs who 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.

For more details on the lottery process and parameters, visit our Resources page to view the following documents:

  • How the Lottery Works (FAQ)
  • Overview of Lottery/Selection Categories & Priorities
Do siblings get preference?2023-01-20T10:21:33-06:00

Sibling Enrolled

Siblings of students who are currently enrolled at the school and who will still be enrolled for the new school year may receive preference for an offer if seats are available for their grade level during the lottery. This preference takes place only for grades with available seats. If seats are not available for their grade level during the lottery, they will be placed on the waitlist. If seats do become available later for the grade level of the waitlisted sibling, they would then receive preference for an offer.

Sibling Applying

Siblings applying to enter a Choice School or Program for the same school year may receive preference for an offer if seats are available for their grade level during the lottery. For example, if one sibling is offered a seat through the lottery and the other is not, both siblings will automatically receive an offer. This preference takes place only for grades with available seats. If both siblings are placed on the waitlist and then one receives an offer, the other sibling will not automatically receive an offer. If seats do become available later for the grade level of the still-waitlisted sibling, they would then receive preference for an offer.

Sibling preference is capped at 25% of the total number of seats initially available during the lottery. Siblings not accepted through the lottery may still be considered for enrollment according to district guidelines.

SAISD’s procedures and practices for sibling preference are designed to align with state and federal guidelines for in-district charter schools.

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For more details on the lottery process and parameters, visit our Resources page to view the following documents:

  • How the Lottery Works (FAQ)
  • Overview of Lottery/Selection Categories & Priorities
I plan to move to SAISD. Can I update my address before the lottery?2022-10-31T13:07:07-05:00

Families may adjust their contact information as needed until the close of the application window. If accepted to the Choice School or Program, families must provide current proof of residency during the registration process.

To update application information, families should contact the Office of Access and Enrollment Services. If requests to edit application information are made late in the application window, it is not guaranteed that these changes will be made prior to the conducting of the lottery.

For more details on the lottery process and parameters, visit our Resources page to view the following documents:

  • How the Lottery Works (FAQ)
  • Overview of Lottery/Selection Categories & Priorities
How do I accept my offer?2021-02-25T17:49:06-06:00

There are several ways to accept a Choice offer:

Notifications of offers made from waitlists are sent by email and/or text message and will include an acceptance deadline. Offers from waitlists typically have 2 business days to accept. Offers not accepted by the deadline are rescinded and then offered to the next applicant on the waitlist.

You can check the current status of your application anytime online on the SchoolMint platform.

My waitlist number changed. Why is that?2022-10-31T13:15:20-05:00

Various factors can affect the waitlist status of an application. For example, an application will move up the waitlist (number gets smaller and closer to top) if an application above it receives an offer or is withdrawn/cancelled. In certain situations. an application may move down the waitlist (number gets larger and further from the top) if an application with a higher priority is submitted.

For more details on the lottery process and parameters, visit our Resources page to view the following documents:

  • How the Lottery Works (FAQ)
  • Overview of Lottery/Selection Categories & Priorities
What happens if I apply to more than one school?2022-11-02T14:28:22-05:00

A. What happens if I apply to more than one school and receive offers from multiple schools? 

If you apply for more than one school/program during the application window, you may receive multiple offers. You will have until the acceptance deadline you receive your offer notification to decide which one offer you want and to accept that offer. Your email/text notification from SchoolMint will tell you how to accept your preferred offer. 

Once you have accepted an offer, SchoolMint will send you another notification confirming your acceptance, along with details on your next steps. Please be aware that once you accept one offer, any other offer(s) you may currently have will automatically be declined.

 

B. What happens if I receive an offer from one school and am placed on a waitlist for another school?

Another scenario if you apply to multiple schools, is that you might receive an offer for one school and a notification that you have been placed on a waitlist for another school. You can accept the offer and still remain on the other school’s waitlist. Your waitlisted application will stay on the waitlist unless you withdraw it or ask to have it withdrawn. If later you receive an offer from your waitlisted school, you will still be able to accept it. Once you accept a new offer, any offer that you might have previously accepted will automatically be withdrawn. You will still remain on the waitlist for any other school that has not made you an offer. 

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If at any time you would like to add an application for an additional school or program, please contact the Enrollment Office by phone or email. Each student is allowed a maximum of 3 active applications at any given moment. (Active = in Submitted, Waitlisted, Offered, or Accepted status.)

For more details on the lottery process and parameters, visit our Resources page to view the following documents:

  • How the Lottery Works (FAQ)
  • Overview of Lottery/Selection Categories & Priorities
If I accept a seat, do I stay on the waitlist of other schools?2021-04-15T14:51:00-05:00

Yes. Applicants may receive multiple offers, but may ultimately accept one seat only. Accepting an offer will automatically decline any other existing offer, whether or not it’s already been accepted. However, accepting an offer will not impact an applicant’s status on a waitlist. Applicants will only be removed from a waitlist upon request.

Example:  Omar applies to three schools — Young Men’s Leadership Academy, Travis Early College High School, and Highlands High School’s Computer Science program. He receives the following notifications:

  • CHOICE: Young Men’s Leadership Academy – Offered
  • CHOICE: Travis Early College High School – Offered
  • CHOICE: Highlands High School (Computer Science) – Waitlisted

If Omar accepts the offer from YMLA, he will automatically lose the offer from Travis ECHS but will remain on the waitlist for Highlands HS until he either receives an offer or requests to be removed from the waitlist.

You can check the current status of your application anytime online on the SchoolMint platform.

What does it mean when I rank the schools I’m applying for in my application?2020-10-20T12:03:13-05:00

This information is collected for data purposes only. We use this data to help the district expand Choice offerings. 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.

I’ve accepted my offer — what’s the next step?2022-04-05T12:23:10-05:00

After accepting an offer, your next step is to complete the registration process for the new school year. Registration for the 2022-23 school year began March 14, 2022.

Choose from these easy ways to complete the registration process:

  • BY PHONE WITH THE SCHOOL — Call your new Choice School to register over the phone.
  • BY PHONE WITH THE ENROLLMENT OFFICE — Call the SAISD Enrollment Office to register over the phone at (210) 554-2660, Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.  Se habla español. 
  • ONLINE — After accepting one offer for your preferred Choice School or Magnet Program in SchoolMint, please follow these steps to register:
    1.  Log in to your Frontline account here. (Don’t have an account yet? Set up a family account on the Frontline Parent Portal).
    2.  Select your Choice School in Step 2, then complete and submit your registration.
    3.  If you do not see your Choice School in Step 2, select “Request Change of School” from the School dropdown menu.
    4.  On the Change School Request screen, scroll down and select “ACCEPTED CHOICE SCHOOL” as the reason.
    5.  Open the drop-down for “Requested School” and select the campus where you accepted an offer.
    6.  Your request will be processed within 10 business days and you will be notified by phone. Then, you can log back in to Frontline to complete your registration.

Every student is required to provide an updated proof of address during the registration process. For more information about the registration process, refer to the SAISD Enrollment Office registration page here.

Some schools are designated as socioeconomically Diverse by Design campuses. What does this mean?2022-10-31T13:18:53-05:00

Some Choice Schools & Magnet Programs are socioeconomically diverse and integrated by design through the annual application and selection process. These campuses are known as Diverse by Design Choice Schools & Magnet Programs. 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. An enrollment balance of at least 50% of economically disadvantaged students, while reserving seats for non-economically disadvantaged students, is maintained within Diverse by Design Choice Schools and Magnet Programs.

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, developing critical thinking skills, learning to work with people from different backgrounds, and rejecting stereotypes.

For more details on the lottery process and parameters, visit our Resources page to view the following documents:

  • How the Lottery Works (FAQ)
  • Overview of Lottery/Selection Categories & Priorities
What percentage of seats will be held for economically disadvantaged families?2022-10-31T13:17:48-05:00

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.

For more details on the lottery process and parameters, visit our Resources page to view the following documents:

  • How the Lottery Works (FAQ)
  • Overview of Lottery/Selection Categories & Priorities
What percentage of seats are for in-district vs. out of district families?2022-10-31T13:17:40-05:00

At all Choice Schools and Magnet 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.

For more details on the lottery process and parameters, visit our Resources page to view the following documents:

  • How the Lottery Works (FAQ)
  • Overview of Lottery/Selection Categories & Priorities
If in-district seats are not filled, will additional out-of-district families be accepted?2018-11-09T18:51:45-06:00

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.

What is the Socioeconomic Blocks Equity Audit and how does it relate to my application?2022-06-28T13:02:49-05:00

Because the vast majority of the district’s 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 both them and our schools. SAISD has taken steps to understand poverty on a more sophisticated level by taking a detailed look at our city and mapping out factors like average family income, single-parent households, and home ownership. Since the 2017-18 school year, we have calculated and utilized Socioeconomic Blocks to help us better understand the socioeconomic status of our students.

The district’s Choice Schools and Programs utilize an open enrollment lottery process. The lottery is a blind, randomized, computerized process conducted at the district level that follows a Controlled Choice framework to ensure equity and access for economically disadvantaged students. Families are placed into appropriate categories, then the online platform conducts the lottery according to programmed lottery parameters.

The district annually conducts an Equity Audit to ensure an enrollment balance of at least 50% of economically disadvantaged students is maintained within Choice Schools and Magnet Programs, with at least 25% of students coming from the lowest socioeconomic status communities (Block 3 and Block 4).

Learn more about Socioeconomic Blocks:

For a breakdown of lottery categories and priorities by program, click here.

How do I know if I need to apply for a school?2022-11-29T15:00:26-06:00

Use this Address Lookup tool to find out which schools’ attendance zones you might live in.

If you get no results, your address is outside of SAISD boundaries and you must apply to attend any of our Choice Schools or Programs.

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Choice Schools
For schools with an attendance zone, you do not have to apply if you live in their attendance zone. Simply complete registration for the school when registration opens for the new school year.
Below are a couple examples of Choice Schools with an attendance zone:

  • Bonham Academy
  • Woodlawn Hills Elementary

For schools without attendance zones, you must submit an application regardless of your address.
Below are a couple examples of Choice Schools without an attendance zone:

  • Fox Tech High School
  • Rodriguez Montessori Elementary

Choice Program within a School
To participate in a Choice Program within a school, you must submit an application whether or not you live in the attendance zone for the school.
Below are a couple examples of Choice Programs within a school:

  • P-TECH School of Business at Edison High School
  • IB Diploma Programme at Jefferson High School
Is transportation provided?2021-01-19T14:19:56-06:00

Choice Schools and Programs have created routes via a “hub” system, using SAISD schools as stops. 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. There is no cost to ride these buses.

For the 2020-21 school year, there is a separate schedule for students attending Choice Elementary Schools/Academies, and students attending Choice Middle/High Schools. See both 2020-21 Choice Transportation Schedules here.

 

For more information, visit SAISD’s Transportation department page here.

Will after-school care (Extended Day Program) be provided?2022-11-30T12:27:58-06:00

The Extended Day Program (after-school care and enrichment) is provided at most Choice Schools and Programs for grades kindergarten and above. Parents need to check with each school to determine the type of program provided, grade levels served, as well as cost, where applicable.

If your child attends one of the Choice Schools listed below, there is a possibility that programming for PreK-4 students might be available there:

  • Advanced Learning Academy
  • Bonham Academy
  • Lamar Elementary
  • Rodriguez Montessori Elementary
  • Steele Montessori Academy
  • Twain Dual Language Academy

Sign-up for after-school Extended Day Program is available online. For more information, please visit SAISD’s Extended Day Program page here.

Can students participate in UIL activities while attending a Choice School or Magnet Program?2021-10-08T16:21:40-05:00

Students enrolling in Choice Schools and Magnet 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 entering 9th grade who live inside SAISD boundaries and wish to participate in varsity UIL activities at a Choice School for the 2022-23 school year must accept an offer from that campus by June 2, 2022. For further clarification, please contact the school.

How many schools can I apply to?2021-10-08T16:21:35-05:00

Each applicant may apply to a maximum of three schools/programs per school year.

If you’ve declined an offer, if your application has been withdrawn or canceled an application, or if an offer has been rescinded, then that application is no longer considered active and does not count towards the limit of 3 schools/programs. Additional schools/programs may be added as long as the total number of active applications (those in Submitted, Waitlisted, or Accepted status) is no more than three (3) at any time.

For help adding an additional school/program to an existing application, please contact the Office of Access & Enrollment Services at (210) 554-2660 or enroll@saisd.net. If you’ve added an additional school/program to your existing application on your own and notice that a previous application is no longer showing, please call (210) 554-2660 to have it reinstated.

CONTACT US

SAISD ENROLLMENT OFFICE

(210) 554-2660

(210) 309-3259

choice@saisd.net

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