Families Empowered is hosting a School Connection Fair in San Antonio on Saturday, November 10, 2018 as a way to help parents and caregivers find the right schools for their children. The fair will be at the Norris Conference Center, 618 NW Loop 410, San Antonio, TX 78216 (map), from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. It’s free for families and there will be fun activities for all ages. Pre-register on Eventbrite to speed up your check-in.
What is special about the School Connection Fair is the opportunity for families to interact with many different schools at one event. The range of grade levels will cover everything from preschool and elementary school to middle school and high school. There will be private schools, public charter schools, in-district charter schools, and traditional public schools.
As I explained in a talk with a moms’s group, the process of finding the right school for your child can be difficult. There are a lot of options out there, and it can be hard to get reliable information. Each school has a different application timeline, and it’s impossible to predict with certainty what will happen with lotteries and waiting lists.
For many parents, a school search involves a lot of online research. On this blog, the Guide to Charter Schools in San Antonio page has an alphabetical list of charter schools; it’s a good tool for broadening your search. The San Antonio Charter Moms Discussion Group on Facebook is a good place to ask questions about schools. Members help each other with advice tailored to a particular part of town, grade level, or learning model (e.g., dual language).
To get a closer look at schools, families often go to open houses and school tours. These are invaluable because you can learn things in person that are impossible to find out from just doing online research or relying on word-of-mouth. It’s important to see the school facilities with your own eyes and to meet teachers and school leaders.
However, trying to go to an open house or tour at every school would be too labor intensive and time consuming, so part of your research process will be narrowing down your desired schools into a short list. The Families Empowered School Connection Fair is an efficient way to look at a lot of schools in a short amount of time and get information to follow up on later. Many schools at the fair will collect contact information from families so they can communicate updates about open enrollment, events, deadlines, and more.
Families doing a school search need to be thoughtful about their application strategy. As Families Empowered shared in their Keep Learning, San Antonio report, 39,214 students submitted applications to Great Hearts Texas, KIPP Texas, and IDEA Public Schools campuses in San Antonio for the 2017–18 school year. Each of those applications is represented by a red dot on the map.
Because so many students are submitting applications, it’s a good strategy to apply to three or more schools. That way, in case your child doesn’t get into their first choice school, there is a good chance they will get an offer at a backup school. Over time, your child may move up the waiting list, and they may get an offer at their first choice school before school starts. It’s possible the backup school may turn out to be a good fit for them after all. If your child gets into the right school network but the wrong campus, it may be worth the long drive for one year: many schools give priority to current students who apply to transfer to a different campus. Also, siblings get priority: as soon as one family member is enrolled, the siblings move up the waiting list to get the next available offers. Things don’t always go the way you expect in the short run, but sometimes things work out better than you expected, even if it takes a few tries to find the right fit.
The process of school research and applying to schools can be stressful, but there are resources available to help you. Going to the Families Empowered San Antonio School Connection Fair on Saturday, November 10 at Norris Conference Center is a good step towards learning about many different schools and finding the right school for your children. This free event is from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and you can register on Eventbrite.
- “Back to School With Keep Learning, San Antonio,” Inga Cotton, San Antonio Charter Moms, August 29, 2018
- “Finding the Right Schools in San Antonio for Your Children—MOMS Club of San Antonio NE Edition,” Inga Cotton, April 9, 2018
- “South Side School Choice Fair at Compass Rose Academy,” Inga Cotton, San Antonio Charter Moms, March 20, 2018
- “Empower Families With Knowledge to Choose the Right School,” Inga Cotton, San Antonio Charter Moms, October 3, 2012