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.
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 who 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 for the first round of offers. Paper applications submitted to the Office of Access & Enrollment Services at 1931 E. Houston St., 78202 must be delivered no later than 4:00 PM to be considered for the first round of offers.
OFFERS ANNOUNCED: BEGINNING FEB. 12, 2020
Applicants who 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 who 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. Offers from waitlists will be made through the first several weeks of the new school year pending seat availability.
STILL ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS: ONGOING
Families may still submit applications for select schools and grades for the 2020-21 school year. For a complete list of Choice Schools & Programs, click here.
DEADLINE TO ACCEPT AN OFFER FOR VARSITY UIL: MAY 27, 2020
Applicants who receive an offer for admission must accept their seat by the deadline in order participate in varsity UIL at their chosen campus.
Families who miss the Round 1 application deadline may still apply for any Choice School or Program that is still accepting applications. Applicants join a waitlist and are admitted according to their waitlist number depending on seat availability. Offer notifications from waitlists begin March 3, 2020 and will continue through the first several weeks of the new school year depending on seat availability.
Families may still apply for select schools and grades that still have seats available for 2020-21. For a complete list of Choice Schools & Programs, click here.
At the opening of the Choice Schools & Programs application window each year, applications that are currently on a waitlist are automatically rolled over to the lottery or to the waitlist for the next grade level.¹
Hector applied to Hawthorne Academy for PreK-4, which was not a lottery grade for the 2019-20 school year. His application was placed on Hawthorne’s Non Attendance Zone waitlist for PreK-4, and his waitlist position was #9 according to when he submitted his application. Hector did not receive an offer from Hawthorne Academy for that school year. When the 2020-21 application window opens, Hector’s application rolls over into the kindergarten lottery for Hawthorne because kindergarten is a lottery grade for the 2020-21 school year. His application remains categorized as Non Attendance Zone.²
Lucy applied to Lamar Elementary’s Dual Language program as an English speaker for 3rd grade, which was not a lottery grade for the 2019-20 school year. Her application was placed on Lamar’s Dual Language-English-Non Attendance Zone waitlist for 3rd grade, and her waitlist position was #21 according to when she submitted her application. Lucy did not receive an offer from Lamar Elementary for that school year. When the 2020-21 application window opens, Lucy’s application rolls over onto the 4th-grade waitlist for Lamar because 4th grade is not a lottery grade for the 2020-21 school year. Her application remains categorized as Dual Language-English-Non Attendance Zone.² Because 3 offers were made to applicants ahead of Lucy on her waitlist, her application moves up to #18.³
Steven applied to St. Philip’s Early College High School for 9th grade, which was a lottery grade for the 2019-20 school year. He did not receive an offer from St. Philip’s as a result of the lottery, so his application was randomly assigned position #10 on St. Philip’s Out of District waitlist for 9th grade. Steven did not receive an offer from St. Philip’s for that school year. When the 2020-21 application window opens, Steven’s application rolls over onto the 10th-grade waitlist for St. Philip’s ECHS because 10th grade is not a lottery grade for the 2020-21 school year. His application remains categorized as Out of District.² Because 2 offers were made to applicants ahead of Steven on his waitlist, his application moves up to #8.³
Adriana applied to Advanced Learning Academy for 8th grade, which was not a lottery grade for the 2019-20 school year. Her application was placed on ALA’s In District | Non Economically Disadvantaged waitlist for 8th grade, and her waitlist position was #37 according to when she submitted her application. Adriana did not receive an offer from Advanced Learning Academy for that school year. When the 2020-21 application window opens, Adriana’s application rolls over into the 9th–grade lottery for ALA because 9th grade is a lottery grade for the 2020-21 school year. Her application remains categorized as In District | Non Economically Disadvantaged.²
Ricardo applied to Rhodes Middle School for 8th grade, which was not a lottery grade for the 2019-20 school year. His application was placed on Rhodes’ Non Attendance Zone waitlist for 8th grade, and his waitlist position was #2 according to when he submitted his application. Ricardo did not receive an offer from Rhodes for that school year. When the 2020-21 application window opens, Ricardo’s application does not roll over at all because Rhodes Middle School does not offer his next grade level, 9th grade.¹ Instead, he may submit a new application for any Choice School or Program offering 9th grade for the 2020-21 school year when the new application window opens.
¹ Applications can roll over into a lottery or non-lottery grade only if that grade is offered at the school. If the next grade level is not offered at the school, then the application will not roll over for the following school year. Instead, the applicant may submit a new application for any Choice School or Program offering their next grade level.
² Existing application categories do not change during a rollover. If an applicant’s information has changed, the family may contact the Enrollment Office to update their application.
³ An applicant’s waitlist number may change throughout any given school year as offers are made to other applicants who have a higher waitlist position. In the example provided, three new offers were made, therefore the waitlist position rolled over into position #18 for the Choice application window for the next school year.
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 held a lottery and which grades were waitlist only for a particular school for 2020-21, 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 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:
- Applying student’s address is zoned to an area within a circle radius of the school
- 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)
- 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 school as designated by the Texas Education Agency
- Applying student’s parent/guardian works for SAISD
- Applying student has a sibling currently attending the school
- 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.
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 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.
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.
SAISD’s procedures and practices for sibling preference are designed to align with state and federal guidelines for in-district charter schools.
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 current proof of residency during the registration process.
Yes. Applicants may receive multiple offers, but may ultimately only accept one seat. 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 Engineering Magnet. He receives the following notifications:
- Young Men’s Leadership Academy: OFFERED
- Travis Early College High School: OFFERED
- Highlands High School Engineering Magnet: 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 they offer him a seat or he himself requests to be removed from the waitlist.
This information is collected during the Round 1 application window 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 during the Round 1 application window does not help or hurt your chances of getting an offer from any particular school.
Your next step is to complete the registration process for the new school year. There are several ways you can register:
- ONLINE — Log in to your SchoolMint account online or with the SchoolMint mobile app* (organization: San Antonio ISD) and select the registration option for your student. If you do not see a registration option for the Choice School or Program for which you’ve accepted an offer, please contact the SAISD Enrollment Office by phone at (210) 554-2660, by text message at (210) 309-3259, or by email at email@example.com.
- BY PHONE — Call the Enrollment Office to register over the phone at (210) 554-2660, Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Se habla español.
Every student is required to provide an updated proof of address during the registration process. For more information about the registration process, visit the Office of Access & Enrollment Services registration page here.
There are several ways to accept a Choice offer:
- BY PHONE: Call the school you are accepting for (see school directory here) or the Office of Access & Enrollment Services at (210) 554-2660 to accept your offer.
- EMAIL/TEXT: Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or a text message to (210) 309-3259 to accept your offer.
- ONLINE: Log in to your SchoolMint account here or with the SchoolMint mobile app* and click the green “Accept” button to accept the offer for your desired school.
Offer notifications 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.
Some Choice Schools & 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 & 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 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.
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.
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 Programs, with at least 25% of the economically disadvantaged students coming from the lowest socioeconomic status communities (Block 3 and Block 4).
Learn more about Socioeconomic Blocks:
- Methodology for Calculating Socioeconomic Tiers
- SAISD Plans to Tackle Poverty One School at a Time (Rivard Report, 2017)
- How an SAISD System Helped Transform the Way the State Views Poverty in Schools (Rivard Report, 2019)
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. (The 2020-21 Choice Transportation Schedule will be published in early August 2020.)
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.
For the 2020-21 application period, applicants may apply to a maximum of three schools/programs per grade.
If you’ve declined an offer, withdrawn/canceled an application, or if an offer has been rescinded, then that item is no longer considered active. 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.
For help adding an additional school/program to an existing application, please contact the Office of Access & Enrollment Services at (210) 554-2660 or email@example.com. 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.