Award Winning School Districts
Among many other accolades the city of San Antonio has received, perhaps one of the most sought after is its award winning school districts. With nearly 20 different school districts, San Antonio offers some of the top schools in the state. Among some of largest and/or most sought after districts in the city are Northside Independent School District, North East Independent School District, Alamo Heights Independent School District, Comal Independent School District, and Boerne independent School District.
Northside Independent School District
The largest district in San Antonio, and the 4th largest in Texas, NISD enrolls over 100,000 students at 115 schools. Additionally, the district employs over 13,300 employees, with teachers making up nearly half of that number. With the boundaries of the district spanning from the far west side of San Antonio to the north side of San Antonio, NISD serves 355 sq. miles of the city.
Though large, NISD is a sought after district because of the excellent education it offers to its students. In 2011, the district was rated “recognized” by the Texas Education Agency, a rating it achieved for the 4th consecutive year. The district also has many campuses that have been nationally awarded as Blue Ribbon Schools.
But it’s not just the high ratings that make NISD so desirable. In addition to traditional school campuses, NISD offers magnet programs for high school students. These programs include specialized curriculum in the business, communications, construction, health care, and science and engineering industries. NISD is also known for its fantastic athletics and extracurricular programs, excelling in sports, fine arts, and student organizations.
North East Independent School District
Serving 68,000 students at 67 campuses, NEISD is located on the north side of San Antonio and extends into the far north side. The district is the 2nd largest in San Antonio and employs 8,500 employees. Also known for its award winning schools, NEISD boasts of multiple Blue Ribbon campuses and is rated as a recognized district by the Texas Education Agency. NEISD offers many programs for its students, one of the newest and most progressive being the dual language program. This program operates on 14 elementary campuses and begins in kindergarten with a goal for its native English speaking AND native Spanish speaking students to be fully bilingual and biliterate by the end of fifth grade. Additionally, the district offers a year-round school campus, and magnet programs for specialties such as applied technologies, science, engineering, math, media applications, agriscience, automotive technology, design, electrical systems, and fine arts.
While the district as a whole is considered an excellent educational system, it also boasts of individual schools that have won high honors. The Washington Post named all eight of the district’s high schools as America’s Most Challenging High Schools. Additionally, 3 of the district’s high schools were ranked in the gold and silver categories in U.S. News and World Report’s 2013 list of the Best High School Rankings in the US.
Like Northside ISD, NEISD excels at athletics and extracurricular programs. During the 2013-2014 school year, six of the district’s athletics teams, and 41 student athletes, reached at least the semifinal level in one of the 20 sports offered. Additionally, the district has multiple high school bands, ROTC, theater, and choir programs that consistently receive top honors at competitions.
Alamo Heights ISD
A small district within the incorporated city of Alamo Heights, AHISD covers only 9.4 miles and maintains 6 campuses. Although the district is one of the smallest in the state, it has a big reputation of quality education. With over half of the district’s staff holding advanced degrees, and 95.5% of high school graduates becoming college bound, the district exemplifies a passion for both teaching and learning.
Creating a strong education program that encourages student engagement and academic excellence, AHISD has a philosophy of not “teaching to the test”. They offer non-traditional classes to engage student interest, including forensic science, aerospace engineering, yoga, Astronomy, classical guitar, Music Theory, dance, and outdoor education. Given this way of thinking, the district provides its students with an enriching curriculum that goes beyond preparing for the state mandated TAKS test; an accomplishment that has earned them the ACT College Readiness Award- an award only given to the top 5% of schools nationally. Like North East ISD, AHISD offers a Spanish Immersion program. As the first to offer this program in the state, AHISD is seasoned in administrating this excellent opportunity for students K-12 to become completely bilingual and biliterate by the time they graduate.
Aside from the strong curriculum AHISD provides, the district also boasts of excellent extra curricular activities. The AHISD JROTC program is one of the strongest programs of its type in the city, earning the National Champion title for four consecutive years. Additionally, it has an extremely strong strings program consisting of over 700 students. Starting as early as 4th grade, this program has earned multiple awards and has many students who qualify for All Region orchestra.
To add to the repertoire of achievements, the district excels in most of the athletics programs it provides. Among the best programs are football, soccer, volleyball, and, most notably, tennis. Winning more state championships than any other tennis program in the state of Texas, the Alamo Heights High School tennis team is nationally renowned. To further illustrate the district’s success in athletics, In 2013, Alamo Heights High School earned the Dan Cook Award as the top athletic program in the region. Additionally, that same year, Alamo Heights High School finished 7th in the state in the prestigious Lone Star Cup competition, which measures success in all UIL activities, including fine arts, academic competitions and sports.
Unlike other districts in San Antonio, rapidly growing Comal ISD’s 589 square miles span 5 central Texas counties. Seeing more growth in the past 8 years than it has in all 55+ years of its existence, this district has tripled in size. Going from 8 to 25 campuses since 2006, Comal ISD now has over 19,000 students and employs over 1,800 employees. The large growth in the district can be attributed to the desire of San Antonio residents to move to the far north part of the city and the amount of new construction developing along the 281N corridor.
With a reputation for stellar academics, strong athletics, and comprehensive extra curricular organizations, it’s no wonder why many parents choose to move into the Comal ISD boundaries. The district is also well known for its excellent gifted/talented program, career and technology offerings, dual high school/ college enrollment, its wide range of special education services, strong emphasis on teacher training, and outstanding fine arts and agricultural programs.
Proving to be an excellent learning environment, the TEA has rated every campus in the district with the highest accountability rating given in 2014. Additionally, 15 campuses have earned at least one Distinction Designations from the state, to include Academic Achievement in science, social studies, and reading, and many campuses have earned multiple Distinction Designations. As a whole, the district also fares well with the TEA, being named a “Recognized” school district for multiple years in a row.
Athletically talented as a district, many of Comal ISD’s sports teams have progressed to district, regional, and even state finals. Among the athletes on these teams, many earn individual recognition and go on to receive scholarships to play in college. Diverse in athletic programs, the district earns accolades in everything from bowling to track.
Offering various other extra curricular activities, Comal ISD students rank well in many UIL competitions. In fine arts, many students earn awards and recognition in band, choir, and art. And, with a new orchestra program, the district is on its way to rising to the top in that too.
A respected, established community like Boerne generally takes pride in the local education system. Boerne ISD is no exception, going above and beyond Texas standards in almost every area. This school district, containing Boerne, a small section of Kendall County, Fair Oaks Ranch, and parts of northern Bexar County, educates over 7,000 students on over nine campuses. The largest employer in the area, Boerne ISD employs over 900 faculty and staff within its three high schools, two middle schools, and five elementary schools. These schools have been recognized without fail at the regional, state, and national level.
At the elementary level, teachers are known for their exceptional preparation of students for later grades. Fair Oaks Ranch was recently recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School and one of the top 50 elementary schools in Texas. As a testament to this, upper schools in the district have an exceptional amount of participation in AP/IB classes, performing extremely well in college preparation courses. Students perform statistically well above average, with a very high level of college readiness.
While academics are certainly a strongpoint in the Boerne ISD, the district also excels at athletics. Consistently qualifying for regional, state, and national level championships, many of the athletic programs boast of talented athletes. Dominating in both cross country and track, both Boerne high schools have brought home both state titles and national titles.
Offering over 30 different clubs and organizations, including everything from glee club to welding, the Boerne ISD high schools offer a diverse range of activities for students to be involved in. The Boerne school district is nationally acclaimed, and it’s no surprise that its students excel.