Experience SAISD Helps Families Learn about San Antonio ISD Schools of Choice

Experience SAISD San Antonio ISD Schools of Choice | San Antonio Charter MomsExperience SAISD is an annual event for families to learn about schools in SAISD San Antonio. This school year’s event, on December 1, 2018, showed how much progress the district is making in expanding the number and variety of school options available to families in San Antonio ISD and creating a sense of optimism about the district.

Rep. Diego Bernal captured the feeling of the event in his Instagram post, captioned: “Blown away by the turnout and energy at Experience SAISD. I’m a public school guy through and through. Love to see this. Let’s keep pushing. @sanantonioisd

Rep. Diego Bernal's Instagram post about Experience SAISD | San Antonio Charter Moms

One of the first things I did once I got to Experience SAISD was to go live on Facebook and tour around the fair. Here is the video:

I also went around looking for friends like Jason Mims, a fellow Leadership SAISD member, who stopped to take a selfie with me.

Inga Cotton and Jason Mims at Experience SAISD San Antonio | San Antonio Charter Moms

Experience SAISD Overview

Compared to last year, this year’s event had more space. It was located at Freeman Expo Hall, with free admission and free parking, and free shuttles to and from SAISD high schools.

Flyer for Experience SAISD at San Antonio ISD on December 1, 2018 | San Antonio Charter Moms

Like last year, all of the choice schools and magnet programs had tables set up so families could visit and talk to parents, principals, and volunteers. Here, a prospective family is talking to staff from Steele Montessori Academy.

Steele Montessori at Experience SAISD San Antonio | San Antonio Charter Moms

The Early Childhood Education programs (including Head Start and pre-K) went all out to decorate their spaces. The team from Nelson Early Childhood Education Center made a welcoming space, complete with faux fireplace, for families to visit and learn more.

Nelson Early Childhood Education Center at Experience SAISD San Antonio | San Antonio Charter Moms

With the increased square footage at the Expo Hall, the district had more room to showcase more departments. The Transportation department brought a school bus equipped with wifi. The 21st Century Learning department brought educational technology demonstrations, including augmented reality (AR). Library Media Services offered book giveaways.

San Antonio ISD Transportation department brought a wifi bus to Experience SAISD | San Antonio Charter Moms

The large space also offered room for schools to showcase their specialized programs. The Burbank Agricultural Sciences magnet program brought live animals—as seen in the video above—as well as flower arranging. The Engineering Institute at Sam Houston High School, home of the 2969 Robotics Team, demonstrated what their robot can do to solve challenges. Other STEM programs brought 3D printers.

Sam Houston High School robotics at Experience SAISD San Antonio | San Antonio Charter Moms

The event was designed to be fun and entertaining for kids of all ages. The Culinary Arts program brought cupcakes for decorating. There were tables set up with play dough or crafts with glitter. The Living Science center at ESC Region 20 brought live animals, including reptiles and insects.

ESC Region 20 Living Science program at Experience SAISD San Antonio | San Antonio Charter Moms

On stage, there was a continuous stream of student performances, including ROTC, drama, mariachi, bands, and dance—including the Edison High School dance team.

Edison High School dance team at Experience SAISD San Antonio | San Antonio Charter Moms

Performances and Speakers at Experience SAISD

Along with Rep. Bernal (mentioned above), board president Patti Radle and Superintendent Pedro Martinez spoke to families at Experience SAISD.

Board president Patti Radle at Experience SAISD San Antonio | San Antonio Charter Moms

Martinez promised the community that the district has positive momentum.

Superintendent Pedro Martinez and son at Experience San Antonio ISD | San Antonio Charter Moms

The contagious energy from the stage was carried into the whole space by mascots (including Lanier Voks, Jefferson Mustangs, and Edison Bears), athletes, and cheerleaders. The young cheerleaders from Cotton Elementary had oversized spirit.

Cotton Elementary cheerleaders at Experience San Antonio ISD | San Antonio Charter Moms

The Jefferson Lassos are an SAISD tradition since 1932; for Experience SAISD, they came in holiday attire.

Jefferson Lassos at Experience SAISD | San Antonio Charter Moms

Some of the San Antonio ISD Schools at the Event

Schools used their booth spaces to show off their distinctive cultures. The scholars of Young Women’s Leadership Academy (YWLA) wore their plaid uniforms and held up pennants.

Young Women's Leadership Academy students at Experience SAISD | San Antonio Charter Moms

Bonham Academy, a culturally rich neighborhood school, showcased their theater program by bringing costumes and props from a recent production of The Lion King.

Bonham Academy at Experience SAISD | San Antonio Charter Moms

Representatives from Twain Dual Language Academy wore capes to demonstrate their superhero status.

Twain Dual Language Academy at Experience SAISD | San Antonio Charter Moms

The event included schools that are the sites of district-charter partnerships, including Texans Can Academy— Highlands and Democracy Prep at the Stewart Campus.

Democracy Prep at the Stewart Campus at Experience SAISD | San Antonio Charter Moms

Parent volunteers, including Cristina Noriega and Denise Ojeda (pictured below), shared information about the Office of Family Engagement, including the Parent Leadership Academy. The district’s investment of time and energy into parental engagement is a sign of the administration’s shifting attitudes and growing respect for the roles that parents and caregivers play in students’ success.

Denise Ojeda, parent volunteer, at Experience SAISD | San Antonio Charter Moms

SAISD Choice Schools

SAISD choice schools are accepting applications for enrollment through February 8, 2019. With the variety of programs on display at Experience SAISD, as well as the infectious energy, it seems likely that many parents will find a program to suit their children’s needs within the SAISD portfolio.

Dinosaur and friend at Experience SAISD | San Antonio Charter Moms

If you went to Experience SAISD, what did you think? What feedback would you give to the organizers?

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