The fourth annual National School Choice Week (NSCW) kicks off its Whistle-Stop Tour across the nation in Houston at 4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 25, at Union Station at Minute Maid Park, 501 Crawford St. The event provides an opportunity to learn more about HISD’s School Choice program and the portfolio of educational programs offered by the district’s many magnet and vanguard, International Baccalaureate, Montessori, and early college high schools, Futures academies, and charter schools. Despite the December deadline for first-round consideration for magnet applications, there are still many openings in great schools across the district.
According to NSCW President Andrew R. Campanella, NSCW officials chose Houston for their kick-off because of the tremendous work being done here to advance school choice. “Looking at public charter schools, Texas is probably in the top 10,” Campanella said. “Houston magnet schools are some of the best in the country.”
HISD schools participating in the NSCW kick-off at Minute Maid Park include Parker and Roberts elementary schools, Clifton, Johnston, and Revere middle schools; and Chavez HS. Event activities include guest speakers, musical entertainment, a school fair, refreshments and much more. Admission is free, but an RSVP is required.
Some HISD magnet schools will celebrate NSCW on their campuses Monday, Jan. 27, through Friday, Jan. 31, by wearing yellow NSCW scarves and with parent tours and activities, community open houses, student performances, mural paintings, and student organization fairs. See below for a partial list of activities.
To date, 45,814 applications have been received for admission to HISD’s 97 magnet schools, but there is still time to apply to schools with available spaces. A list of magnet schools that still have openings will be posted in early February.
“Our goal is to ensure parents can select the right school to adequately meet their child’s unique needs and talents,” said HISD Assistant Superintendent for School Choice Dave Wheat.
Parents will be notified of their children’s magnet application status by mail after March 28. Students who are “accepted” must indicate that they will attend their school of choice during the 2014–2015 school year by signing and returning the Student Entrance Agreement no later than Friday, April 11.
Students who have not been immediately accepted will receive a letter stating that they are “wait-listed,” “out of district,” or “not qualified.” Magnet coordinators will begin making phone calls to offer spots to wait-listed students, who will move up the list if a particular school has students who declined to attend. Selection for out-of-district students will begin in early June, after all in-district candidates have been accepted.
Students who receive a “not qualified” letter for a particular magnet program are invited to attend the third annual School Choice Fair in late April, with details to be announced.
HISD schools hosting NSCW activities Jan. 27–31, 2014
- Austin HS: Open house for potential students Thursday
- Westside HS: Community open house Thursday
- Burbank MS: Parent tours Monday-Thursday, tree-planting Friday
- Kolter ES: Lunar Chinese New Year Celebration Wednesday
- Oak Forest ES: Triathlon Monday, PTA meeting on school choice Thursday
- Parker ES: Parent open house Thursday
- Belfort ECC: Mural painting, parent activities, student school-choice activities all week