Parents, students explore variety of educational options at School Choice night

Middle school parents learned about more than 40 high school programs their children can choose from at a Parent Information Night organized by the district’s Office of School Choice on Thursday at Burbank Middle School.

“It’s good to see that our students have so many opportunities at HISD,” said Rubin and Laura Precella, who attended the program with their daughter and nephew, both eighth-graders at The Rice School. “We just want to learn more about the different programs so that we can choose one that will help our children make their mark on the world.”

About 200 parents and students attended the program that provided information on the magnet application process and various HISD high school options such as the Futures Academy, charter schools, and specialty schools, including the High School for Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice and the High School for Performing and Visual Arts. High school program specialists and magnet coordinators were on hand to answer questions from parents and students and to share program materials.

Several middle school and high school Parent Information Nights are scheduled across the district during October to ensure parents are well informed before deciding on a non-magnet or magnet school.

The magnet application will be available online on Nov. 1 through Dec. 19, the deadline to apply for a magnet program in the first round of the application process. Application status information is scheduled to be sent to parents on March 27.

At the program, parents were encouraged to learn about all high school programs – magnet high schools, specialty schools, charter schools, and neighborhood schools, which do not require an application.

“Neighborhood schools are an exciting option, too,” said School Choice Assistant Superintendent Mark Shenker. “One of the advantages of going to your neighborhood school is that your child will get in automatically and will still be able to receive transportation to school if the student lives more than two miles from their zoned school. “

With non-magnet specialty schools that include charter schools, parents must contact the school directly for their child to apply, and make their own transportation arrangements to and from school if the child is accepted.

For the Futures Academy, students may choose from eight academies to apply to through the program, which offers students workforce training in high-demand fields plus the opportunity to earn an associate’s degree from Houston Community College for free while in high school.

When exploring programs, Shenker advised parents to select one that fits their child’s interests. “Be familiar with what your child likes to do, what subjects they’re most interested in, and what their academic and life goals are,” Shenker said.

Eighth-grader Jesus Montes focused on learning more about the High School for Law Enforcement since he is interested in becoming an attorney.

“Since I was a little kid, I’ve always liked looking at police and crime movies,” Montes said. “That’s how I got interested in law. Tonight I learned more about the school’s benefits for students and scholarship opportunities.”

Parents and students can learn more about HISD magnet programs and the application process at the annual School Choice Open House scheduled for Nov. 1 at Northwest Mall and at additional Parent Information Nights.

Middle School Parent Information Nights

HISD School Choice Parent Nights begin at 6 p.m. at these schools:

• Oct. 9 – Berry Elementary, 2310 Berry, 77093
• Oct. 16 – Walnut Bend Elementary, 10620 Briar Forest, 77042
• Oct. 23 – Red Elementary, 4520 Tonawanda, 77035
• Oct. 30 – Whidby Elementary, 7625 Springhill, 77021
• Nov. 18 – Crespo Elementary, 7500 Office City, 77012
• Dec. 3 – Shadydale Elementary, 5905 Tidwell, 77016

High School Parent Information Nights
• Oct. 13 – Revere Middle School, 10502 Briar Forest 77042
• Oct. 22 – Pershing Middle School, 3838 Bluebonnet 77025
• Oct. 28 – BCMA at Ryan, 2610 Elgin 77004
• Nov.  17 – Stevenson Middle School, 9595 Winkler 77017
• Dec.  2 – Forest Brook Middle School, 7525 Tidwell 77016