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 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 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 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 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.
- Advanced Learning Academy (ALA): 621 W. Euclid Ave., San Antonio, TX 78212 (map) for grades PK–3; 210-738-9760; 637 N. Main Ave., San Antonio, TX 78205 (map) for grades 4–12; 210-738-9763; 2021–22 calendar; school report card—rated B in 2019. In partnership with San Antonio ISD; district report card—rated B in 2019.
- CAST Lead High School: 7284 FM 1628, San Antonio, TX 78263 (map); 210-634-7301; grades 9–11 in 2022–23, expanding to 9–12; 2021–22 calendar, school report card—not rated. In partnership with East Central ISD; district report card—rated C in 2019.
- CAST Med High School: 2601 Louis Bauer Dr., San Antonio, TX 78235 (map); 210-228-3380; grades 9–12; 2021–22 calendar; school report card—not rated. In partnership with San Antonio ISD; district report card—rated B in 2019.
- CAST STEM High School: 11914 Dragon Ln., Bldg. 800, San Antonio, TX 78252 (map); 210-622-4810; grades 9–12; 2021–22 calendar; school report card—rated B in 2019. In partnership with Southwest ISD; district report card—rated B in 2019.
- CAST Tech High School: 637 N. Main Ave., San Antonio, TX 78205 (map); 210-554-2700; grades 9–12; 2021–22 calendar; school report card—rated B in 2019. In partnership with San Antonio ISD; district report card—rated B in 2019.
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.
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:
- CAST Schools on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn
- Advanced Learning Academy (ALA) on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter
- CAST Lead on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter
- CAST Med on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter
- CAST STEM on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter
- CAST Tech on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter
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
- “‘You are enough’: CAST students adapt Tafolla Toro into a play,” Brooke Crum, San Antonio Report, August 27, 2021
- “Turning ‘three years of fear’ into lessons to live by,” Elaine Ayala, San Antonio Express-News, August 27, 2021
- “At CAST, innovation and resiliency take the stage,” Jeanne Russell, San Antonio Express-News, June 3, 2021
- “Why Mentorship Matters to San Antonio Companies and the CAST Schools Network,” Katie Chain, San Antonio Charter Moms, February 25, 2021
- “These Three Principals Are Opening New Schools This Fall. If That Sounds Challenging, You’re Right,” Bekah McNeel, 74 Million, August 12, 2020
- “Latest career high school in San Antonio is medical—and has a dual language program,” Alia Malik, San Antonio Express-News, December 2, 2019
- “Students, Teachers Help Create User Experience Course at CAST Tech,” JJ Velasquez, San Antonio Report, August 14, 2019
- “CAST Med High School Opens Doors to First Freshman Class,” Emily Donaldson, San Antonio Report, August 12, 2019
- “San Antonio ISD Starts School Year With Two New Specialty Schools,” Camille Phillips, Texas Public Radio, August 12, 2019
- “San Antonio camp uses science to ‘fight’ zombies,” Liz Teitz, San Antonio Express-News, July 21, 2019
- “Newest CAST network high school coming to San Antonio’s East Central ISD,” Krista Torralva, San Antonio Express-News, May 28, 2019
- “East Central ISD’s CAST School To Focus on Leadership in Tourism, Hospitality Industries,” Emily Donaldson, San Antonio Report, May 16, 2019
- “With $2 million gift, San Antonio’s CAST STEM gets its own building,” Alia Malik, San Antonio Express-News, May 9, 2019
- “CAST STEM Plans Standalone Campus in Southwest ISD,” Edmond Ortiz, San Antonio Report, May 9, 2019
- “CAST Med High School Aims To Develop Homegrown Medical Talent In San Antonio,” Jan Ross Piedad, Texas Public Radio, January 30, 2019
- “Medical-focused CAST high school to open next year,” Alia Malik, San Antonio Express-News, October 10, 2018
- “CAST Med Gets $2M Donation, Collaborates with Medical Industry Partners,” Emily Donaldson, San Antonio Report, October 10, 2018
- “San Antonio CAST Med High School Slated To Open In 2019,” Camille Phillips, Texas Public Radio, October 10, 2018
- “What Other Cities & School Districts Can Learn From San Antonio’s Classroom Innovations,” Robin Lake, 74 Million, October 2, 2018
- “CAST Tech 2.0: Coding, Business-Focused School Builds on First Year,” JJ Velasquez, San Antonio Report, September 15, 2018
- “Southwest ISD Opens CAST STEM High School,” Camille Phillips, Texas Public Radio, August 27, 2018
- “Supply and demand: Getting low-income kids into better jobs by getting them into better schools,” Bekah McNeel, Hechinger Report, July 16, 2018
- “CAST High School Event Focuses on Women in STEM Fields,” Sean M. Wood, San Antonio Report, December 13, 2017
- “Tech Bloc, AT&T Launch Mentorship Program at CAST Tech High School,” Edmond Ortiz, San Antonio Report, November 27, 2017
- “Tech Bloc, AT&T launch mentorship program for San Antonio’s CAST Tech High School,” Samantha Ehlinger, San Antonio Express-News, November 27, 2017
- “Local Tech Company Makes Donation Pledge to CAST Tech,” Iris Gonzalez, San Antonio Report, October 25, 2017
- “Two More CAST High Schools Taking Shape on the Southside,” Bekah McNeel, San Antonio Report, September 19, 2017
- “City and County Invest in CAST Tech,” Bekah McNeel, San Antonio Report, September 12, 2017