Comparing San Antonio Schools: What to Look For
If you are moving to, or within, San Antonio, one of the important factors that arise is the school district you will be residing in. Many San Antonio home buyers are faced with the decision to choose between school districts in the city, and then, between schools in that school district.
When it comes to choosing the right school for your child, it can be overwhelming with the amount of information you have to look through. We’ve put together this short guide to help you navigate the waters of San Antonio schools and how to choose the right school for your child, which may, in turn, help you find the right home, in the right neighborhood for you.
1. Public or Private?
The first decision that you need to make is: public school or private school? Will you choose one of San Antonio’s many public schools in accordance with your home location, or will you send your child to a private school?
Some of the larger public school districts in San Antonio include Alamo Heights ISD, North East ISD, North Side ISD, East Central ISD, San Antonio ISD, Southside ISD, and Judson ISD. Those are the biggest districts in the city; however, there are smaller school districts located outside the San Antonio city limits.
Some of the top private schools in San Antonio include St. Mary’s Hall, San Antonio Christian School, Incarnate Word High School, Antonian College Preparatory School, Central Catholic, and Keystone School. Of course, when you choose private school, you are looking to pay tuition out of pocket, whereas, with public school, "tuition" is funded by taxpayers and the government. We suggest looking at the schools' websites to better understand curriculum, ideals, and extracurricular activities that are offered.
2. How do the schools perform?
A huge factor in choosing the right school is academic performance. It’s vital to look at the school’s statistics on standardized testing (for public schools, that’s the STAAR test). It’s relatively easy to obtain the information that schools release related to their test results. Simply visit the website of the school district and in the search bar, type “STAAR results.” The site will then take you to the latest report of the testing results. Here is an example of what the page will look like, taken from NEISD (North East Independent School District). It’s important to know how a district (and a school) is performing on these state mandated tests. If the scores are extremely low, it may be a sign that students are not obtaining the necessary information they need in order to move forward to the next grade level.
3. What can these schools they offer my child?
In today’s day and age, school has become more than just academics. So many extracurricular programs are offered at both public and private schools. If your child is interested in playing a sport, getting involved in the arts, or furthering a hobby through a club, you’ll want to make sure that the school you’re looking at has the extracurricular enrichment they need. Some schools have greatly diminished the number of sports and activities they offer, while other schools are completely geared towards the arts (NESA being a prime example of a school for the arts). If outside activities are important to your child (and are a possible career choice), take the time to investigate the programs that the school offers. For more information on career prep schools, check out these articles on magnet schools in San Antonio.
4. What is the climate of the campus?
School websites are a great way to learn more information about a district or school. With that being said, it’s always a smart idea to actually visit the campus and see the school for yourself. We recommend you go while school is in session (with an appointment, of course!). See the students walking to class, observe their behavior and how they act, meet a few teachers, take note of the overall climate of the school. There’s nothing better than a firsthand experience to allow you to understand what the students, teachers, and administration are like at a particular school. Even at a public school, tours can be set up for parents so that they may ask questions and learn more about what the school has to offer.
In the end, when choosing a school, what matters is the child. Choosing the right place for them can be daunting, but San Antonio public and private schools have so many opportunities to offer. Be sure and consider all factors when deciding upon a school!