Guide to Enrolling in CAST Schools for 2022–23

Entrance to CAST Tech High School in San Antonio

CAST Schools (The Centers for Applied Science and Technology) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a network of tuition-free, industry-led, career-themed high schools in San Antonio and one pre–K through 12th academy. CAST partners with local school districts to co-create public schools that help maximize options for students while preparing them to be college ready, career ready and life ready. 

Each CAST school focuses on a set of high-demand, high-wage industries. Students choose a school based on career interest, setting personal goals and mastering learning concepts at their own pace. Students tackle real-world projects designed by local employers and work in teams alongside industry mentors.

The CAST Schools campuses are accepting applications for enrollment for the 2022–23 school year. We have put together a guide to help you learn more about CAST Schools—including the pre–K through 12th grade Advanced Learning Academy (ALA), CAST Tech High School, and CAST Med High School in San Antonio ISD, CAST STEM High School in Southwest ISD, and CAST Lead High School in East Central ISD. All CAST Schools are tuition-free and open to students across the greater Bexar County region.

About CAST Schools

Since its founding in San Antonio in 2017, CAST Schools has focused on partnering with businesses and school districts to create campuses that offer state of the art, relevant education that gets students ready to launch successful careers. This video shares the origin story of the CAST Schools network.

The common elements of every CAST school include project-based learning and work-based learning. Each campus has its own areas of specialization. At CAST Schools, students learn about careers and have access to mentors who work in those fields. Partnerships with universities and relevant local businesses create access to college credit courses and certifications, as well as internships that offer real world experiences.

Each CAST campus has a different focus and set of learning pathways. 

Advanced Learning Academy

Advanced Learning Academy (ALA) opened in 2016 and is a PK–12 academy with a curriculum that focuses on project-based learning. This video will help you learn more about ALA.

CAST Tech

CAST Tech opened in 2017 and offers pathways in business, technology, and user experience (UX). Students prepare for careers in coding, cyber security, gaming, entrepreneurship, business, and more. Here is a video to introduce CAST Tech. 

CAST STEM

CAST STEM opened in 2018 and focuses on careers in engineering, advanced manufacturing, and global logistics. This video offers a closer look at CAST STEM.

CAST Med

CAST Med opened in 2019 and offers pathways in biomedical research, medical professions, and public health. CAST Med is a dual language school. Here is a video to show more about CAST Med.

CAST Lead

CAST Lead opened in 2020 focusing on retail leadership, hospitality and tourism leadership, and e-commerce. This video is an introduction to CAST Lead.

To read more about CAST Schools in the news, we recommend that you click on the articles linked at the bottom of this post and visit the CAST Schools newsroom. Also, we invite you to join the San Antonio Charter Moms discussion group on Facebook and ask questions; the group includes current CAST Schools families who can comment with answers based on their own experiences.

CAST Campuses in San Antonio

In 2022–23, CAST Schools will have five schools in the San Antonio region through partnerships with three independent school districts. The district and campus report cards, from 2019, are the most recent available.

Download the free San Antonio Charter Schools app for an interactive map that includes these campuses and many more. You can also find campus information about CAST Schools (and many other schools of choice) in our Guide to Charter Schools in San Antonio.

Math class at CAST Tech in September 2019

Math class at CAST Tech

Enroll at CAST Schools

The process for families to enroll their children at CAST campuses is slightly different for each district partner.

CAST Lead at East Central ISD

Families can apply online to enroll their rising 9th- and 10th-grade students at CAST Lead. Open enrollment for the 2022–23 school year began on October 12, 2021 and round 1 will close on January 14, 2022.

Advanced Learning Academy, CAST Med, and CAST Tech at San Antonio ISD

Families can apply online to enroll their children at ALA, CAST Med, and CAST Tech. Open enrollment began on October 12, 2021 and round 1 will end on January 14, 2022. Find more information in our enrollment guide for SAISD Choice Schools.

CAST STEM at Southwest ISD

Families can apply online to enroll their rising 9th- and 10th-grade students at CAST STEM. Applications for the 2022–23 school year opened on October 12, 2021 and round 1 will close on January 14, 2021.

Even if the open enrollment period has passed, families can still contact the schools to find out if there are open seats. Even if there are no open seats for that grade, the schools keep waiting lists of students who are interested in enrolling.

During application season, there will be information sessions, school tours, and other events in the community for families to learn more about CAST Schools. Learn more about these events by looking up the FAQ for each school. Get email updates by joining the CAST Schools interest list—visit the home page and scrolling down to form at the bottom.

We also recommend following these CAST Schools social media accounts:

In addition, please join the San Antonio Charter Moms discussion group on Facebook to post questions and search previous discussions about CAST Schools.

Facts About CAST Schools

To learn more about the CAST Schools model, we toured CAST Tech with Mentor Coordinator Amir Samandi. The mentoring component brings career role models into students’ lives. Also, by staying in close contact with people who work in technology, the curriculum stays relevant and students are better prepared to enter the workforce at a high level.

CAST Tech students get to work on projects for real clients. It’s low-cost labor for the businesses—just the opportunity cost of the time spent supervising the students—and helps the students build a portfolio. The students get to “job shadow”—like going on a field trip, but to visit a business. CAST teachers also do externships to learn from the businesses and bring that knowledge back to the classrooms. 

Meeting with mentors helps students learn soft skills like how to welcome a guest, using email (rather than a messenger app) to schedule a meeting, and how to listen and ask thoughtful questions during a group session. This video shares more information about mentoring at CAST Tech.

The architecture at CAST Tech is more professional than academic. There are still classrooms, but there are also lots of flexible meeting spaces for small groups. A large foyer is filled with wide stairs that can turn into an impromptu auditorium. 

On the bottom floor of CAST Tech, the teachers who specialize in cutting edge technology have classrooms and labs to fit the students’ needs. Students on the technology pathway work in a classroom with a raised floor, like you would see in a commercial data center. They work on racks of servers and study for certifications like Red Hat Linux. Students on the user experience (UX) pathway work in a classroom that looks like a design studio with artwork and prototypes on the walls. On desktop computers, they work on projects involving game design and web design.

The first graduating class of CAST Tech share their reflections in this video.

CAST Schools offer free transportation to students through their district partners.

The CAST Schools campuses have so many partnerships with businesses and universities that it’s a challenge to summarize, but one key partnership is TechBloc and CAST Tech. Also, H-E-B and the Charles Butt Foundation have been consistent supporters of CAST Schools.

Charter Moms Chats

Watch CAST Schools students Xitlali Hernandez (CAST STEM), Joseph Guerrero (ALA), and Michael Hetler (CAST Tech) speak with Inga Cotton on Charter Moms Chats on November 18, 2021 at 4:00 PM Central live on Facebook and YouTube.

Xitlali Hernandez is a senior at CAST STEM High School in Southwest ISD

Joseph Guerrero is a junior at Advanced Learning Academy in San Antonio ISD.

Michael Hetler is a junior at CAST Tech High School in San Antonio ISD.


Watch Melissa Alcala, Principal of CAST Tech, and Eddie Rodriguez, Principal of CAST Med, speak with Inga Cotton on Charter Moms Chats on April 9, 2021 at 4:00 PM Central live on Facebook and YouTube.

Melissa Alcala is the Principal of CAST Tech High School, a campus in the CAST Schools network, offering pathways in business, technology, and user experience.

Eddie Rodriguez is the Principal of CAST Med High School, a campus in the CAST Schools network, offering pathways in biomedical research, medical professions, and public health.


Watch Jeanne Russell, Executive Director of CAST Schools, and a panel of students representing CAST Schools campuses, speak with Inga Cotton on Charter Moms Chats on November 19, 2020 at 4:00 PM Central live on Facebook and YouTube.

Jeanne Russell began her nontraditional career in education as a teacher, reported on education as a journalist, and shifted into public policy work to improve not just the classroom, but the system. Her commitment to equity was shaped through early work in Oakland, East Harlem and Central America, where she also learned the value of giving students’ ownership of their own learning. She has helped create many of San Antonio’s signature education initiatives, including Café College, PreK4SA, Upgrade and SA Works. She joined Kate Rogers as part of the founding team that conceptualized CAST and was later named executive director of the growing network. Her personal passion is for student voice, and she led the San Antonio Youth Commission in the year that it presented the first youth-informed public policy agenda to City Council, also introducing the citywide civics fair Speak Up Speak Out! to San Antonio. “We learn the most when we stop to listen to students, and put their needs at the forefront,” she said. She has a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from the University of California-Berkeley, a master’s degree in education from the University of California-Davis and a joint master’s degree in journalism and Caribbean and Latin American Studies from New York University. Both of her children attend CAST Schools.

Members of the student panel: Jonathan Rodriguez is a senior at CAST Tech High School studying the UI/UX pathway. Sarah Guerrero is a senior at Advanced Learning Academy. Alberto Alvarez is a junior at CAST STEM studying engineering; he wants to learn how to design prosthetics. Gabriella Silva is a sophomore at CAST Med High School studying medicine; she wants to become a pediatric physical therapist. Berkley Chohlis is a first year student at CAST Lead High School; she’s interested in the tourism and hospitality pathway.

Read More About CAST Schools

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