You want your children to have a bright future, and that means finding schools where your children will learn, be challenged, feel safe, have a sense of belonging, and thrive. How do you find the best schools in San Antonio for your children? It’s a different world now than when we grew up, when most students went to their neighborhood public school or, if their family could afford it, to a private school.
Now, there are over a hundred public schools of choice in San Antonio that your children can attend regardless of neighborhood or zip code. What tools are available to help you decide among those schools? We have put together a guide to school research tools, including tools created by SA Charter Moms as well as other local, regional, and national school information sources. We hope these tools help your family find schools where you feel confident that your children are in the right place to grow and become the amazing people they are meant to be.
San Antonio Charter Moms School Research Tools
San Antonio Charter Moms is a nonprofit organization founded by moms (but we welcome dads, abuelos, uncles, and guardians, too) to provide families with fair information about education. Our team works to help families with school research via our website, our mobile app, our online community, and events.
Guide to Charter Schools in San Antonio
The SA Charter Moms Guide to Charter Schools in San Antonio is an alphabetical list of the schools of choice in the San Antonio area. All of these schools are tuition free and are open to students living anywhere in the metro area. Most of the schools are open enrollment public charter schools, while some are in-district charter schools. At last count, the guide includes 125 schools.
San Antonio Charter Schools App
The San Antonio Charter Schools App is a free mobile app that helps you narrow down the list of schools of choice to a few favorites so you can take action and apply. The Guide gets a lot of visitors, but we started getting feedback that the number and variety of schools was becoming overwhelming. Once you download the app, it finds your location and shows you which schools are closest to you. The filters help you narrow down the list: see only the schools that offer the grade levels you need (e.g., kindergarten) or focus on high quality schools (e.g., letter grade ratings on school report cards, or academic distinctions). Each school profile has a summary of the school culture and a link so you can apply to the school right away.
San Antonio Charter Moms Discussion Group
The San Antonio Charter Moms discussion group on Facebook is an online community where parents and caregivers can ask questions about schools. We welcome questions about all types of education, including charter schools, private schools, homeschooling, magnet schools, and traditional public schools. The discussion expands into broader topics like special education services, after-school programs, summer camps, museums, festivals, enrichment activities, transportation, parenting, and children’s health. Most of the conversation has been in English, but we welcome posts and comments in Spanish, too.
Our team works hard to keep the conversation civil: members are encouraged to share their own experiences, but not to criticize or harass other members who post or comment. We talk about advocacy—how to speak up as a parent to make our education system better—but we don’t get into political debates or endorse candidates.
School Discovery Events
Before the pandemic, during enrollment season—roughly October through April—the SA Charter Moms team would organize events around town that we call School Discovery Day or School Discovery Night. At each event, we have a table set up with staff members who can answer your questions about school research and show you how to download and use the app. We also invite a group of nearby schools of choice to set up tables and meet with parents. Often our Founder and Executive Director, Inga Cotton, will give a presentation about what different types of schools are available and an overview of the application process. Sometimes we have raffles with fun giveaways.
Until we are able to meet in person again, the best way to hear from schools is via Charter Moms Chats—live videos that Inga shares on weekdays at 4 PM Central on Facebook and YouTube. When we do resume in-person events like School Discovery Days and School Discovery Nights, the best way to stay informed is to subscribe to our weekly email newsletter; also, look at our Eventbrite page and Facebook events.
More School Research Tools
In addition to the tools we have created at SA Charter Moms, there are more websites and apps that have useful information for your school search.
- Apply SA, created by Houston-based nonprofit Families Empowered, is a website with links to applications for a set of participating schools, including charter schools, private schools, and traditional public schools. This site is available in English and Spanish.
- Fun4AlamoKids is a resource for San Antonio families that offers listings of education and childcare, among other things that parents need. The resource guides cover a variety of topics from charter schools to special needs schools and more.
- Greatschools.org, a nonprofit based in Oakland, California, has a methodology for rating public schools, and also allows users to post reviews. In San Antonio, top rated high schools include Young Women’s Leadership Academy (San Antonio ISD), Health Careers High School (Northside ISD), BASIS Texas Charter Schools, and IDEA Carver College Prep. This site is available in English and Spanish.
- The Jay Mathews Challenge Index is a national ranking of high schools that used to appear in Newsweek and the Washington Post. The list includes charter schools, private schools, and traditional public schools. High ranked high schools in San Antonio include Young Women’s Leadership Academy (a selective school of choice in San Antonio ISD), Keystone (a private school), Communications Arts High School (a selective magnet school in Northside ISD), and KIPP University Prep (an open enrollment charter school). There is a separate list called Public Elites for exceptional schools like BASIS Texas Charter Schools.
- Niche is a site that offers school rankings, including best schools in San Antonio and best high schools in San Antonio. Highly ranked high schools on Niche include Keystone School (private), Saint Mary’s Hall (private), TMI Episcopal (private), Health Careers High School (Northside ISD), Reagan High School (North East ISD), BASIS San Antonio—Shavano Campus, and School of Science and Technology—San Antonio. Niche allows users to write reviews.
- San Antonio Private School Guide is published annually by San Antonio Magazine and is supported by ads from schools.
- San Antonio Private Schools is an advertising-supported site maintained by PixelWorks, the publishers of San Antonio Woman magazine.
- ScholaMatch is a free school matching tool offered by Schola that helps parents filter for schools in several dimensions, including whether they offer transportation and programs in music and art. The listings are nationwide and cover many types of schools, including charter schools, private schools, traditional public schools, online schools.
- SchoolDigger offers rankings and user reviews of schools. Among local high schools, top picks include Health Careers High School (Northside ISD); Young Women’s Leadership Academy and Travis Early College High School (San Antonio ISD); International School of the Americas, Johnson High School, and Reagan High School (North East ISD); BASIS San Antonio—Shavano Campus; Great Hearts Monte Vista North; and military base schools Virginia Allred Stacey Junior/Senior High School (Lackland ISD) and Robert G. Cole Middle/High School (Fort Sam Houston ISD).
- Texas School Guide, created by Houston-based nonprofit Children at Risk, offers equity-minded school rankings for Texas public schools. In San Antonio, the top ranked high schools include Young Women’s Leadership Academy and Travis Early College High School (San Antonio ISD), Health Careers High School (Northside ISD), Judson Early College Academy (Judson ISD), and BASIS San Antonio.
- Txschools.gov is a site maintained by the Texas Education Agency to make state accountability data—including A–F letter grade ratings and report cards for districts and campuses—more easily accessible to families. The site covers all public schools in Texas, including traditional public schools and charter schools. You can search by district or school name or use a map. The TEA also maintains a School District Locator and a Map of Texas Charter Schools.
- U.S. News & World Report Best High Schools is a national ranking of traditional public schools, magnet schools, and charter schools. Top ranked high schools in the San Antonio area include Young Women’s Leadership Academy (San Antonio ISD), Health Careers High School (Northside ISD), International School of the Americas (North East ISD), School of Science and Technology—San Antonio, and Harmony Science Academy—San Antonio.
- The Ultimate Guide to Schools in San Antonio, updated annually by Alamo City Moms, is an advertising-supported resource with categories for early childhood education, private schools, charter schools, and traditional public school districts.
In addition to these education-focused sites, you can find user reviews on many social media platforms, including Facebook, Google, and Yelp.
This is a lot of information to take in. If it starts to feel overwhelming, we recommend that you download our app to narrow down your list. Also, join the conversation at San Antonio Charter Moms discussion group to ask questions in a caring and welcoming environment. All of us parents and caregivers are doing our best to get our kids a good education and help them have bright futures filled with exciting choices. If we work as a team and treat each other with kindness and understanding, the school search process will be so much more successful and fulfilling.
Read More About School Research
- “Charter School Applications: What I Wish I Knew,” Inga Cotton, San Antonio Charter Moms, January 14, 2021
- “IDEA campuses represent San Antonio on Children at Risk’s list of ‘pandemic proof’ schools,” Krista Torralva, San Antonio Express-News, November 30, 2020
- “New Tools Aim to Broaden Awareness of San Antonio’s School Choices,” Emily Donaldson, San Antonio Report, December 4, 2019
- “Children at Risk nonprofit is a model for school rankings,” San Antonio Express-News, November 25, 2019
- “More high-poverty schools in San Antonio win ‘gold ribbons,’” Alia Malik and Ashley McBride, San Antonio Express-News, November 17, 2019
- “Here are the 30 best elementary schools in the San Antonio area, according to Niche,” Bryan Kirk, MySanAntonio, October 22, 2019
- “Niche ranks top school districts in San Antonio for 2020,” Taylor Pettaway, MySanAntonio, October 21, 2019
- “Top 10 elementary, middle, high schools in San Antonio, according to Children At Risk,” Maritza Salazar, FOX San Antonio, June 18, 2019
- “Launching the San Antonio Charter Schools App,” San Antonio Charter Moms, April 19, 2019
- “The Problem with ‘Great Schools,’” Ali McKay, Integrated Schools, May 30, 2018
- “Finding the Right Schools in San Antonio for Your Children—MOMS Club of San Antonio NE Edition,” San Antonio Charter Moms, April 9, 2018