Learning Models: From STEM to Classical Education and More

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Across the San Antonio region, there are schools of choice that offer many different learning models. Here are descriptions of the main types plus some local examples.

Child-Centered Learning

Child-centered education includes a variety of progressive education approaches, including Montessori, project-based learning, and inquiry-based learning.

  • SAISD Choice Schools: Steele Montessori, Rodriguez Montessori, Advanced Learning Academy (ALA)
  • The Gathering Place
  • Promesa Academy
  • Anne Frank Inspire Academy

Classical Education

Classical education is an approach that looks back to time-tested methods like Socratic seminars and cursive handwriting. Students receive a well-rounded liberal arts education by reading whole works of literature and holding discussions with their peers.

  • Great Hearts Texas
  • Valor Education
  • Founders Classical Academy of Schertz

College and Career Readiness

College and career readiness programs help students prepare for life after high school graduation. Early college high schools allow students to earn college credit—as much as an associate’s degree— while still enrolled in high school. Dual credit programs and Advance Placement (AP) courses also help high school students to earn college credits. International Baccalaureate (IB) schools offer a globally recognized program. Career and technical education (CTE) helps students learn skills and earn certifications that will help them start their careers right after high school graduation.

  • Early college: SAISD Travis ECHS, Brackenridge ECHS, St. Philips ECHS, Frank L. Madla ECHS (see New Frontiers Public Schools)
  • Dual credit: SST, Harmony, Jubilee, Somerset Academies of Texas
  • Advanced Placement (AP): BASIS, IDEA
  • International Baccalaureate: KIPP, SAISD
  • Career and Technical Education (CTE): Compass
    Rose, Jubilee, Harmony, NEISD, SAISD P-TECH, Edgewood ISD P-TECH

Functional Needs Schools

Functional needs schools are designed for students’ particular concerns and offer specialized support.

  • Foundation School of Autism
  • Celebrate Dyslexia Schools

Credit Recovery Schools

Credit recovery schools provide students who are at risk of dropping out with extra support and flexibility while earning a high school diploma.

  • Compass Rose Impact
  • Premier High School
  • Texans Can Academy—San Antonio • Learn4Life Edgewood
  • Cooper Academy at Navarro (SAISD)

Culturally Responsive Schools

Culturally responsive schools.

  • Essence Prep (see also guest posts by Akeem Brown and Jennipha “Jae” Ricks)
  • SA Prep
  • Compass Rose Public Schools
  • Graebner Elementary (SAISD)

Dual Language Education

Dual language education helps students to become bilingual and bicultural. Their young minds receive language instruction at a critical time, and they may learn to be more creative and flexible by training their brains to move between languages. In San Antonio, Spanish-English dual language programs are the most common. There are also Spanish immersion programs.

  • SAISD and many ISDs in the area
  • CAST Med High School (see CAST Schools)
  • Somerset Academy Lone Star (Somerset Academies of Texas)
  • EKHLA — Hebrew

Single-Gender Schools

Single-gender schools offer students the opportunity to learn with peers of the same gender. Single-gender schools may have benefits for students in academic achievement and self esteem.

  • SAISD: YWLA Secondary, YWLA Primary, YMLA
  • Edgewood ISD: Las Palmas Leadership School for Girls, Roy Cisneros Leadership School for Boys

STEM Schools

STEM schools focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. They are designed to prepare students for careers that will be in high demand in the future. Students participate in fun learning activities like robotics, 3D printing, solar cars, math league, and more.

  • School of Science and Technology (SST)
  • Harmony Public Schools
  • CAST Schools
  • Compass Rose Ingenuity (Compass Rose)

Learning Models Handout

Download or print this information as a one-page handout. The text is in English on one side and in Spanish on the other.

San Antonio Charter Moms Learning Models Level Up

Charter Moms Chat

Inga Cotton, Founder and Executive Director of San Antonio Charter Moms, discusses learning models in this video recorded on September 12, 2023.

Inga Cotton is the Founder and Executive Director of San Antonio Charter Moms. Inga is the mother of Annika, age 13, and Nicholas, age 16, and on the autism spectrum. Inga is the Founder and Executive Director of San Antonio Charter Moms, a nonprofit that helps families find schools that are the right fit for their children and become advocates for quality education. Inga has lived in San Antonio since high school and has a B.A. in History from Trinity University and a law degree from the University of Texas. In 2011, she learned about new charter schools coming to San Antonio. She wanted to help spread the word to families, so she created the San Antonio Charter Moms blog in 2012. Over time, San Antonio Charter Moms became an online community, including an active discussion group on Facebook, and became a non-profit organization in 2018. Inga and her family enjoy hiking at parks and trails, going to museums and concerts, and trying new recipes and restaurants.

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A nonprofit that helps parents to research school options and become advocates for high quality education.