Experience 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”
I went around looking for friends like Jason Mims, a fellow Leadership SAISD member, who stopped to take a selfie with me.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
On stage, there was a continuous stream of student performances, including ROTC, drama, mariachi, bands, and dance—including the Edison High School dance team.
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.
Martinez promised the community that the district has positive momentum.
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.
The Jefferson Lassos are an SAISD tradition since 1932; for Experience SAISD, they came in holiday attire.
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.
Bonham Academy, a culturally rich neighborhood school, showcased their theater program by bringing costumes and props from a recent production of The Lion King.
Representatives from Twain Dual Language Academy wore capes to demonstrate their superhero status.
The event included schools that are the sites of district-charter partnerships, including Texans Can Academy— Highlands and Democracy Prep at the Stewart Campus.
Parent volunteers, including Cristina Noriega, 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.
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.
If you went to Experience SAISD, what did you think? What feedback would you give to the organizers?
Read more San Antonio ISD Schools:
- SAISD Choice Schools & Magnet Programs
- SAISD Choice Schools & Magnets At-a-Glance
- Guide to Charter Schools in San Antonio—includes SAISD in-district charter schools and magnet schools
- “Texas, 78207: America’s Most Radical School Integration Experiment,” Beth Hawkins, 74 Million, October 17, 2018
- “SAISD’s Big Picture: Superintendent Pedro Martinez and the System of Great Schools Model,” Inga Cotton, San Antonio Charter Moms, June 6, 2o18