• Vanguard Magnet Program Information

    River Oaks Elementary Vanguard Program

    River Oaks ES is a top ranked International Baccalaureate IB Vanguard Magnet School in the state of Texas. The Vanguard Magnet Programs are a Gifted and Talented Program which operates in designated Magnet schools in accordance with the HISD Gifted and Talented Guidelines as well as the HISD Magnet Standards. The Vanguard Magnet Programs provides G/T services to all HISD G/T identified students at that campus.  Learn more about how the International Baccalaureate framework supports our GT program.
    If a student applies to the Vanguard Magnet Program, qualifies, and does not accept a position in a Vanguard Magnet school, that student may request Gifted and Talented services at their zoned/neighborhood campus.

    Magnet Application Process

    Vanguard Applications Made Easy
    Step 1: Complete the Application for School Choice (2023-24 school year) during the application in the fall.  
    Step 2: Parents will be able to request testing and select a testing date when they complete the Vanguard Magnet Application.
    If your child is zoned to River Oaks ES, please contact Maxine Trice at: maxine.trice@houstonisd.org for more information.

    Magnet Application Timeline

    School Choice Timeline is Changing! In Houston ISD, all families have districtwide access to unparalleled educational opportunities, and now the school choice application process is changing to better meet family needs! Watch the video below for a special message from Superintendent House.  Click here for more information from the School Choice Office

    HISD will be opening phase one of the school choice application for K-12 as follows:

    • K-12 Phase 1: December 14, 2022 – February 2, 2023
    • K-12 Phase 2: April 5, 2023 – June 15, 2023

    This will provide families with the time to settle into the current school year before they have to decide on the school that they want to attend for the next school year. The district is also rolling out a new application system to help streamline and improve the school choice application experience.


    Families should check-out HISD’s new School Finder platform to explore the vast opportunities available in HISD and help families find the school that’s right for them.

    Magnet Applications

    For the 2023-24 school year, River Oaks Elementary is accepting applications for grade levels as follows:

    Kindergarten and 1st Grade: Open applications accepted through the school choice office.

    Students in Grades 2nd - 5th: Open applications accepted through the school choice office.

    Note: River Oaks ES seats for grades 2nd - 5th will be offered as follows:

    • HISD Employees (River Oaks Elementary Teacher Priority)
    • Siblings (if space is available)
    • 2nd - 5th on a waitlist as populated by the HISD School Choice Office (as space becomes available)

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Is there a way to increase the chances of getting into River Oaks via the lottery?

    The lottery process is automated by the Office of School Choice.  All qualified students have an equal chance of admission to the program.

    When will we be notified of the status of the application and GT identification?

    Application and GT qualification notices are expected in April 2022.

    What if we have twins or siblings apply and only one is accepted in the lottery?

    The student that is not offered a seat in the lottery may apply for hardship admission through the Office of School Choice.   Admission is granted based on space availability and is not guaranteed.

    If my child does not qualify for Gifted and Talented, can they still attend River Oaks Elementary?

    All magnet students must be GT identified in order to qualify for the vanguard program.  Students who live in the neighborhood and are zoned to River Oaks ES do not need to be GT identified.

    My child is an entering Kindergarten student who is zoned to River Oaks Elementary. How can they receive GT testing?

    Apply during the school choice window, select River Oaks ES as a choice option, and indicate on the application that you would like your student tested for GT.

    Will my entering Kindergarten be tested at River Oaks ES?

    All GT testing for the Office of School Choice is arranged by the district at a different location. You will be notified of your testing site location by the HISD district offices.