Terms On SchoolFinder

  • Many School Choice Programs

    HISD is an open enrollment district of choice, where a family can apply to any school in the district that meets a student’s needs. This process allows families to choose from hundreds of neighborhood and specialty school options via a single application. Schools can offer a magnet program, which is just one type of school choice program. Other types of school choice options are CTE, IB, and Vanguard. 

    Use CONTROL+F on your keyboard to find a specific term.

    Magnet Program Types

    Magnet programming, as defined by the Magnet Schools of America, is theme-driven, visionary, innovative, and open to all students regardless of zip code. All magnet programs attract students of various academic achievement levels and from diverse backgrounds. Magnet programs bring together students from diverse backgrounds to share specialized curriculum, field trips, clubs, and hands-on experiences through partnerships with businesses, cultural institutions, universities, and community organizations. In HISD, magnet programs come in three program formats: school within a school (SWS), a school-wide program (SWP), or a separate unique school at a campus without an associated zone of residence (SUS).

    School Within a School (SWS) — A School Within a School (SWS) magnet program serves some but not all students enrolled at a specific campus. All students must apply to participate, including students whose residence is zoned to the campus. Zoned students do not need to apply for non-magnet courses. Forty (40) HISD schools are SWS magnets.

    Separate and Unique School (SUS) — All students must apply, and no students are zoned to an SUS school. HISD has over two dozen (26) SUS magnet schools. 

    School Wide Program (SWP) — All students attending the school participate in the magnet program. Non-zoned students must apply. HISD has 46 SWP magnet schools. 

    Non-Magnet School Types

    In HISD, every campus offers quality programming to support students. These campuses have other programs, but do not have magnet programs with a guiding theme across their specialized curriculum. 

    Open Enrollment — All students must apply, and no students are zoned to the school. Seventeen (17) HISD schools are open enrollment. 

    Referral Only — Students must be referred to by an HISD administrator. Eleven (11) HISD schools are referral-only. 

    Neighborhood, Comprehensive, or Regular Schools — Zoned students do not apply and can access programming; non-zoned students must apply. A neighborhood school with no magnet program. Over 100 (134) HISD schools are considered comprehensive neighborhood schools.

  • Application Information

    Choice Path. The name of the specific program or "transfer type" that is available for applications. 

    Entry Grades. These are the grade levels at which a campus offers the majority of seats and accepts most or all of their new students. For many campuses, the "entry grades" are Kindergarten, sixth grade, and ninth grade. 

    Late Grades. These are the grade levels at which a campus may offer seats for new students who were not admitted during the "entry" grade levels. 

    Not Zoned. A student who resides outside a designated attendance zone for a specific campus is considered to be "not zoned to" that campus. 

    Out of District. A student whose primary residence is outside the geographic boundaries of Houston ISD. To check your address, visit this map online and enter your home address in the search bar. 

    Zoned. A student who resides in the designated attendance zone for a specific campus is considered to be "zoned to" that campus; 220 HISD schools have an associated attendance zone. 

    Requirements. Any criteria a student would need to meet to be eligible to attend a school. This could include:

    (1) Matrix score requirements, including GT ("Gifted and Talented") matrix

    (2) Language competency, as assessed by the campus

    (3) Successful audition or portfolio of writing. All of HISD's fine arts magnet schools serving grades 6 through 12 require an audition.

    (4) Previous Montessori experience, as assessed by the campus. This is only a requirement for applicants to "later" grades.

    (5) Previous CTE coursework in the same path of study. This is only a requirement for applicants to "later" grades.

    Who Applies? Guidance on whether an application is required for a student who is zoned to or not zoned to the campus: 

    REQ. An application is Required

    OBHE. An application is Optional But Highly Encouraged

    OPT. An application is Optional.

    TBA. To Be Announced: Additional guidance for students entering pre-kindergarten at each campus will be published on School Finder no later than February 23.

     

  • Academic Programs and Choice Pathways

    Advanced Placement (AP): Advanced Placement (AP) courses challenge students in a wide variety of subjects and provide students with the opportunity to obtain college credit if they pass the AP exam with a qualifying score. Qualifying scores vary by post-secondary institutions. 

    Career and Technical Education (CTE): CTE programs provide courses in a diverse set of career concentrations to prepare students for further education and careers in current or emerging professions. All CTE programs prepare students to receive industry certifications before or after they graduate. Some programs also offer dual credit courses that enable students to earn college credit while in high school. All students must apply to access CTE programming, and every program has minimum matrix score as an entry requirement. *Several SWS and SUS magnet schools in HISD are Magnet CTE programs. CTE programs are also offered at comprehensive schools.

    Dual Credit: College Credit with Houston Community College. Campuses offer eligible students the ability to take free college courses with Houston Community College while enrolled in high school. Students receive credit for both the college and high school course.

    Dual Enrollment: College Credit with University of Texas. Through a partnership with the University of Texas OnRamps, students may enroll in courses to obtain both high school and college credit hours, with the option to accept (or decline) course credit at the university level and have that credit appear on their college transcripts.

    Dual Language Immersion (One-Way): Designed only for English Learners, these schools have a bilingual/biliteracy program model in which students identified as English Learners are served in both English and Spanish throughout the day. *HISD offers these programs as SWP magnets. This program is also offered at comprehensive schools.

    Dual Language Immersion (Two-Way): These schools instruct students in the partner language of the school for half the instructional day and English for the other half. The goal of these schools is for students to become biliterate in English and the partner language. *HISD offers these programs as SUS, SWP and SWS magnet. This program is also offered at comprehensive HISD schools.

    Dyad: Dyad courses are electives taught by community members that provide additional experiences for students in elementary and middle schools. Dyad courses include fine arts, gardening, cosmetology, athletics, martial arts, and more. Dyad courses are offered only at NES schools.

    Early College — Academic: These high school programs give students the opportunity to earn an associate degree or at least 60 credit hours toward a baccalaureate degree at Houston Community College, at no cost, while they are in high school. *HISD offers these programs as SUS or SWS magnets. This program is also offered at comprehensive schools. 

    Early College — Pathways in Technology: Also known as P-TECH, these programs allow high school students to earn a high school diploma and a workforce credential and/or an associate degree. P-TECH campuses have a career focus and work-based education opportunities that allow students to earn a diploma, associate degree, Level 1 or Level 2 certificate, or industry-based certification within six-years.  *HISD offers these programs as SUS magnets. This program is also offered at HISD's comprehensive schools.

    Fine Arts (Performing Arts, Visual Arts): Fine arts programs encourage students to explore their creative nature through music, visual arts, theatre, dance, writing and more. Students create and produce high-quality performances, publications and exhibitions that help them develop their individual talent, improve their critical-thinking skills and build their confidence as an artist. Secondary Fine arts programs select students based on auditions. *HISD offers Fine Arts magnet programs in all three formats: SUS, SWS, and SWP. This program is offered only at magnet schools.

    Foreign Language and Cultures Program (World Languages): These programs allow students to learn and develop language skills other than English. Students will have access to a variety of language courses they can study.  *HISD offers these programs as SWS magnets. This program is offered only at magnet schools.

    Head Start: Head Start programs prepare America’s most vulnerable young children to succeed in school and in life beyond school. To achieve this, Head Start programs deliver services to children and families in core areas of early learning, health, and family well-being while engaging parents as partners every step of the way. Head Start services are delivered to pre-kindergarten students in over 120 HISD schools through partnerships with AVANCE-Houston, the Harris County Department of Education (HCDE), Gulf Coast Community Services Association (GCCSA), and BakerRipley.

    IB (International Baccalaureate): IB is a globally recognized program that offers challenging educational  programs for students, including the ability to take advanced courses for college credit and to qualify for an IB Diploma. Elementary and middle schools may also be authorized as IB campuses for Primary Years Programme (PYP) and Middle Years Programme (MYP) to support readiness for the High School Diploma Programme (DIP). High Schools may also offer a Career-related Program. *HISD offers these programs as SWP magnets, as well as at multiple comprehensive schools.

    IB-PYP: The Primary Years Programme (PYP) is a curriculum framework for young learners aged 3–12 designed by the International Baccalaureate (IB). Founded on a philosophy that recognizes a child’s natural curiosity, creativity, and ability to reflect, the PYP generates a stimulating, challenging learning environment to nurture those assets and foster a lifelong love of learning in every child.

    IB-MYP: The Middle Years Programme (MYP) is a curriculum framework designed for learners aged 11 to 16 by the International Baccalaureate (IB). The MYP is a five-year programme, which can be implemented in a partnership between schools or in abbreviated two-, three-, or four-year formats.

    IB-DIP: International Baccalaureate (IB) is a globally recognized program that allows certified IB to take advanced courses for college credit and to qualify for an IB Diploma. Students enrolled in IB courses will take the corresponding IB exams to earn college credit. Qualifying scores will vary by postsecondary institutions. 

    International Studies: This program allows students to learn about multiple cultures, speak different languages, and learn to use technology across the global society. *HISD offers these programs as SUS magnets. This program is offered only at magnet schools.

    Military STEM Academy: This new middle school academy will support students aspiring to serve in the United States military after high school graduation. They will receive high-quality instruction with a STEM focus and develop skills to become civic-minded, disciplined leaders committed to excellence and service. *HISD will offer this program at Cullen MS beginning in 2024–2025.

    Montessori: HISD Montessori schools emphasize highly personalized learning for each child to develop their own interests and full potential. Every classroom is equipped with special materials designed to support the whole student as they develop social skills, emotional growth, physical coordination, and cognition. Class communities emphasize independent, purposeful work, and collaborative explorations. *HISD offers Montessori magnet programs that may be SUS or SWP magnet. This program is offered only at magnet schools.

    New Education System (NES): The New Education System Schools are priority schools in HISD that will be provided resources and support to dramatically improve outcomes for their students. Visit this site for more details, including which schools are included in the current and upcoming school year. 

    Pre-Advanced Placement: Also known as HISD Advanced, or Pre-AP, these courses are intended to prepare students for subsequent instruction in AP courses. As such, Pre-AP courses should embed the same skills and processes that students need to perform tasks on subsequent AP exams. Schools serving grades 6 to 8 can offer pre-AP classes to prepare students for AP coursework.

    Single-Gender College Preparatory Program: These programs prepare students for higher education and life with a focus on pre-AP and AP courses and exposure to the demands of college and career. *HISD offers these only at HISD's Young Women's and Mickey Leland schools.

    STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics): These programs are like STEM programs except they integrate the arts into the curriculum. STEAM programs help students take an engineering or design approach to real-world problem solving, building on a strong math and science foundation. *HISD STEAM programs may be SWP or SWS. This program is offered only at magnet schools.

    STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics): STEM programs create opportunities for students to develop critical-thinking and problem-solving skills through real world application of science, technology, engineering and mathematical exploration. These educational experiences can create career opportunities in the medical, energy, science, technology, engineering and math professions. *Several STEM magnet programs at SUS/SWS magnet middle and high schools are also magnet CTE programs. This is offered only at magnet schools.

    Vanguard (Gifted and Talented): Vanguard programs serve students who have been identified as gifted and/or talented in intellectual ability or creativity. A student qualifies as gifted and talented based on the results of a Gifted and Talented test, student grades, teacher recommendation and other qualifiers. Students must qualify in both reading and math on the Gifted and Talented test to qualify for a Vanguard program. *HISD offers Vanguard magnet programs that may be SUS or SWS (neighborhood) magnet. This program is offered only at magnet schools. For more information, visit https://www.houstonisd.org/gt, or contact GiftedAndTalented@houstonisd.org or 713-556-6954.

  • Special Education Services Offered

    The Office of Special Education Services supports students with disabilities in gaining college and career readiness, and independent living skills through active engagement in grade level curriculum. Houston ISD provides a continuum of special education services to meet the needs of eligible students with disabilities. We advocate for students with disabilities to receive inclusive instruction with their non-disabled peers and support them in their learning. SPED — For more information, visit: www.HoustonISD.org/SPED.

    At a minimum, all campuses provide the following special education services:  

    • Accommodations for students with IEP: Accommodations delivered in the general education classroom by general education and/or special education personnel that respond to the unique needs of the student. 
    • Inclusion Support: Services for students with IEPS are provided in the general education classroom by special education personnel.
    • Dyslexia: Students with dyslexia receive accommodation and/or evidence-based dyslexia programming based on 504 plan or IEP.
    • Speech Services: Provides speech and language services for students ages 3-21 who show a disability-related need in articulation, fluency, voice, and language (e.g., receptive, expressive and pragmatics). Services are provided in a variety of models based on student needs. Service models include indirect, direct, or collaborative/inclusive practices.  
    • High School Transition Programs: Transition is a coordinated set of activities that includes instruction, related services, community experiences, development of employment and other post-school adult living objectives, and when appropriate, acquisition of daily living skills and functional vocational evaluation. 

    Additional campus supports offered based on a student's IEP may include: 

    Behavior Support Class — This specialized service is designed to address skill deficits in the areas of social/emotional learning for students whose disability directly impacts emotional, behavioral and social skills and their behavior impedes their learning or the learning of others.

    Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) — Formerly "PALS", this specialized service is designed for students with disabilities between the ages of 3 and 5 who need more structured support, modifications to the curriculum, etc. due to significant cognitive deficits, behaviors that impede their learning and/or the learning of others, etc. 

    Explore — Supports students with disabilities between the ages of 3 to 5 in the general education pre-kindergarten setting.

    Preparing Students for Independence (PSI) — This specialized service is designed to support the needs of students identified with multiple disabilities. These disabilities include sensory impairments, moderate to severe cognitive impairments and moderate to severe communication impairments and significant medical needs.

    Related Services — Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Music Therapy, Assistive Technology, Adapted PE, Counseling, Transportation

    Skills for Learning and Living (SLL) — This specialized service is designed to address the needs of students with moderate cognitive impairments in the areas of communication, literacy, independent living skills and community based vocational instruction.

    Speech Therapy — Provides speech and language services for students ages 3-21 who demonstrate a disability related need in the areas of articulation, fluency, voice and language (e.g., receptive, expressive and pragmatics). Services are provided in a variety of models based on student needs. Service models include indirect, direct or collaborative/inclusive practices.

    Structured Learning Class ALT — This specialized service is designed to address the needs of students who require a high level of structure and support, who have significant cognitive delays and are working on the alternate curriculum. Services for students in the (SLC) include implementation of the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) teaching strategies, Structured Teaching strategies, specialized behavior interventions, everyday living skills, academic skills, including communication and social skills with a focus on lifelong transitions.

    Structured Learning Class / Transition Readiness with Essential Knowledge (TREK) — This is a continuum of inclusive support that requires collaboration between special and general educators to provide support to students with disabilities using research-based strategies that support deficits in the areas of social, behavior, sensory, communication, executive functioning and academic learning. Specially designed instruction is provided to students who require supports to meet the rigorous requirements in the standard curriculum.

    Transition Program 18-22 — Provides employability and independent living skills for students ages 18-22 as they transition into adulthood. Students who enter the program have met all academic requirements for graduation and are working on IEP goals. There re both campus and community-based programs.

  • Multilingual Services Offered

    Multilingual Programs supports the District’s Goals/Strategic Plan to meet the educational needs of Emergent Bilingual students, by providing research-based instructional practices that address the cognitive, linguistic, and affective needs of students for post-secondary success. For more information, visit: www.HoustonISD.org/Multilingual.

    Dual Language Immersion One Way (DLI1) (YO) — A bilingual/biliteracy program model in which students identified as emergent bilingual students are served in both English and another language and are prepared to meet reclassification criteria in order to be successful in English-only instruction not earlier than six or later than seven years after the student enrolls in school.

    Dual Language Immersion Two Way (DLI2) (YT) — A bilingual/biliteracy program model in which students identified as emergent bilingual students are integrated with students proficient in English and are served in both English and another language and are prepared to meet reclassification criteria in order to be successful in English-only instruction not earlier than six or later than seven years after the student enrolls in school.

    ESL Content Based (CB) (YE) — An English acquisition program that serves students identified as emergent bilingual students through English instruction by a teacher appropriately certified in ESL under TEC, §29.061(c), through English language arts and reading, mathematics, science, and social studies.

    ESL Pull-Out (PO) (YX) — An English acquisition program that serves students identified as emergent bilingual students through English instruction by a teacher appropriately certified in ESL under TEC, §29.061(c), through English language arts and reading, mathematics, science, and social studies. Instruction shall be provided by the ESL teacher in a pull-out or inclusionary delivery model.

    Transitional Early Exit (TEE) (YB2) — A bilingual program model in which students identified as emergent bilingual students are served in both English and another language and are prepared to meet reclassification criteria to be successful in English-only instruction not earlier than two or later than five years after the student enrolls in school.

    Transitional Late Exit (TLE) (YB1) — A bilingual program model in which students identified as emergent bilingual students are served in both English and another language and are prepared to meet reclassification criteria to be successful in English-only instruction not earlier than six or later than seven years after the student enrolls in school.

  • Languages Other Than English

    The content area covering Languages Other Than English is sometimes abbreviated as LOTE. 

    More information about which languages are offered at a school can be found in the Multilingual section. 

  • Coming soon! 

    The School Finder site will have a table for each campus, showing which "choice paths" are available for that specific school. The table will also include numbers on (a) how many seats are available for that pathway for the upcoming school year, (b) how many applications that pathway received for the current school year, and (c) whether there are specific entry requirements such as a matrix score or successful audition. Check back here for specific details.