More Highlights

Uniquely SAISD

Stand-alone health and law profession magnet school. Aspiring attorneys and health care practitioners and researchers need not wait until graduate school to get real-world experience in their careers. In addition to receiving a solid academic foundation for college at their home campus, Fox Tech High School’s prime location in the heart of downtown affords them opportunities to learn beside legal and medical professionals at area law offices, courthouses, hospitals and other medical venues.

Notable achievements

2014 Excellence in Education. Woodlawn Hills Elementary principal Laura Roberts is statewide finalist for a highly competitive honor sponsored by H-E-B. The grocer’s Excellence in Education Award celebrates public school professionals whose leadership and dedication inspire a love of learning in students of all backgrounds and abilities.

Ranked nationally as college-prep models. In separate recognitions, five SAISD secondary schools are being lauded for college readiness. This includes:

  • Diplomas Now 2013 best educators: Burbank High School principal Yesenia Cordova and her teachers Laura Barrera and Edd Schneider were honored for exemplary efforts in keeping students on track to graduate. The educators were the most from any school recognized by the national institute. In addition to Burbank, SAISD’s Rhodes Middle School also offers the research-based school transformation model.
  • Newsweek magazine’s 2013 Top 2,000 high schools: Burbank and Edison were among 16 Bexar County high schools on this list of those proven to be most effective in turning out college-ready graduates.
  • AVID national demonstration schools: Jefferson High School and Longfellow and Whittier middle schools are among only 135 of 4,500 schools in the country to be designated models for the Advancement Via Individual Determination college-readiness system.

Tops in Texas. A dozen SAISD campuses are ranked among the best in state-wide rankings. These include:

  • 2013 Academic Achievement Distinction Designations: Travis Early College High School, the Young Women’s Leadership Academy and Arnold, Baskin, J.T. Brackenridge, Franklin, Kelly and Wilson elementaries earned three designations, the maximum number possible, under the state’s new accountability system. Less than 10 percent of the state's Texas Education Agency-rated campuses earned all three Distinctions.
  • 2013 Children at Risk. This Houston-based advocacy group named Young Women’s Leadership Academy Texas’s best middle school. Named in the top 10 middle schools in the greater Bexar Country area were YWLA and Austin, Bonham and Hawthorne academies, with Lamar Elementary among the top 10 Elementary Schools.

Cutting-edge innovation

STEM on Wheels. This year, science instruction is being enhanced at all elementaries through STEM on Wheels technology packages. Features include wireless microscopes that project images on an iPad, making it easier for students to discuss their observations with each other, which also helps to develop their critical-thinking skills. Stem on Wheels is part of a continuing emphasis on the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math.

The language of code. An increasing number of students throughout the District are getting a head start on tomorrow’s high-tech careers. This year Highlands became Texas’ only high school and is among a select few nationally offering CodeHS, a class for all freshemen that teaches how to code computer systems through a Web-based platform. Proving that you are never too young to prepare for this fast-growth career field are Hillcrest Elementary 4th- and 5th-graders. Through their Coding Club, they also are honing their critical-thinking skills and learning teamwork.

Virtual textbooks. What began as a pilot project last year that involved Fox Tech Advanced Placement biology students was so successful it was expanded to three high schools this year. For 2014-15, all high school AP biology students will have the Advanced Placement biology textbook on a Kindle Fire e-reader, replacing the traditional print version of this book. Pilot results showed increased overall grades, improved student participation and fewer lost homework assignments.

Outstanding extracurriculars and partnerships

All the right moves. This year the vintage board game Scrabble has joined perennial favorite chess in a fervid SAISD fan base of students of all ages. While chess clubs and competing in and hosting tournaments have been a longstanding District tradition, Scrabble clubs are growing in popularity, providing a fun way to increase vocabulary. Both pastimes also help students develop their critical thinking and improve math skills.

Good sports. Students also are making the connection between strong minds and healthy bodies. One way our students stay active is through the new i‐play! after‐school sports program with San Antonio Sports, which also includes lessons on good nutrition & strong personal character for our students. And we get our community moving with free Family Zumba fitness classes at eight of our campuses.

Excellence by design

We believe that strong organizations must constantly strive for improvement. One way we are seeking to progress is through our $515 million bond program, approved by voters in 2010. The money is being used for a variety of projects that include technology enhancements, safety and security upgrades and school renovations.

Some recent milestones include:

  • Full completion of renovations at Cameron Elementary School, the first of 22 schools that will receive major renovations. The bond funded extensive upgrades to this East Side campus, transforming it into a vibrantly colorful modern 21st-century learning environment inspired by Google’s playful logo.
  • The re-opening of the Alamo Convocation Center, which received extensive renovations bringing it up to code and in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Renovations to Alamo Stadium will be completed this summer.
  • The completion of a variety of other improvements, including technology and safety and security upgrades; playgrounds at elementary schools; new tracks at high schools; and career exploration labs at middle schools.
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