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.
2019-20 APPLICATION WINDOW: NOV. 26, 2018 – FEB. 8, 2019
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: FEB. 8, 2019
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: FEB. 18-22, 2019
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: MARCH 8, 2019
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: MARCH 22, 2019
Applicants notified of an offer from the waitlist typically have one week from the time of notification to accept their seat.
DEADLINE TO ACCEPT WAITLIST OFFER: MARCH 29, 2019
Applicants that 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.
Families who missed the application deadline may still apply to get on a waitlist. Applications submitted after Feb. 8, 2019 will be added to the respective waitlist automatically. Applicants from the waitlist are admitted on a first-come-first-served basis depending on seat availability.
Waitlist notifications for the 2019-20 school year will begin March 22, 2019 and can run through the first four weeks of school.
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.
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
For more detailed information, click here to view our FAQ on How the Lottery Works. The following are examples of lotteries that could be utilized for selection:
Comprehensive & Targeted Support (Previously known as Priority & Focus)
- Applying student attends or is zoned to a campus classified as Comprehensive & Targeted Support by the Texas Education Agency
- Applicant’s parent or guardian works for SAISD
- Applicant’s address is zoned to a school within SAISD
- Applicant’s address is zoned to a school outside of SAISD boundaries
- Applicant’s address is zoned to an area within a circle radius close to the campus for which they are applying for
- Applicant’s family qualifies for free and reduced price lunch per federal guidelines
Non Economically Disadvantaged
- Applicant’s family does not qualify for free and reduced price lunch per federal guidelines
- Applicant has a sibling currently attending the campus for which they are applying for
- Applicant has a sibling also applying to enter the same campus
- Applying student answers “Spanish” to language questions
- Applying student answers “English” to both language questions
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.
Families 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 happens for the lottery. 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. Families must provide proof of residency when registering if accepted to the Choice School or Program.
Yes. Applicants may receive multiple offers, but may only accept one seat. Accepting an offer will automatically decline offers from another school. This will not impact an applicant’s status on the waitlist. Applicants will only be removed from a waitlist upon request.
Example: Omar Hernandez applied to three schools: Young Men’s Leadership Academy, Travis Early College High School, and Lanier High School’s Engineering Magnet. He received the following notification:
Young Men’s Leadership Academy: OFFERED
Travis Early College High School: WAITLISTED
Lanier High School Engineering Magnet: OFFERED
If Omar accepts his seat at YMLA he will automatically decline his offer at Lanier HS. However, he will remain on the waitlist for Travis ECHS until he is offered a seat or he requests to be removed from the waitlist.
Some Choice Schools & Magnet Programs are socioeconomically diverse and integrated by design through the annual application and selection process. This means 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, 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.
The percentage of economically disadvantaged seats varies by campus. Please contact the Office of Access & Enrollment Services for more information.
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.
Extended day 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, 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.