San Antonio Charter Moms hosting School Discovery Day event

The School Discovery Day will be held on Saturday March 26 at Greenline at Brooks. Photo: San Antonio Charter Moms, used with permission.

With San Antonio being home to hundreds of choice schools with many more under construction, parents have a world of options to choose from. However, it can be a very overwhelming process to navigate. San Antonio Charter Moms, the most trusted information source on education in the region, helps thousands of parents through the search process every year. This Saturday March 26 from 10a.m. to 2p.m., SACM is hosting the final School Discovery Day from their school fair event series. To be held at Greenline at Brooks, families will be able to visit with 17 top choice schools from San Antonio, get hands on advice from SA Charter Moms on how to navigate the search process, and enjoy free, family, friendly entertainment. (San Antonio Charter Moms, 2022)

The pandemic forced parents to be more engaged in their children’s education, causing many families to re-evaluate their school choices. All this change and turmoil has caused an uncharacteristically high number of openings in area charter and choice schools. Higher acceptance rates and shorter waitlists have brought good news to many families. As in-person enrollment regains pre-pandemic traction, navigating the application waters can seem like a game of musical chairs—and being prepared when the music stops is key. San Antonio Charter Moms has done the homework to ease anxiety and confusion and to guide parents and caregivers in securing at least one high-quality school that will be a good fit for their learner. The following are inside tips from San Antonio Charter Moms founder Inga Cotton. Follow these tips to increase your chances of a successful application process.

Charter school application forms are short, simple, and require no fee. However, timing can make all the difference in determining the best chances of receiving one, or ideally, multiple offers. The most important first step in achieving success is to begin the process early, early, early.

  • 9-12 months before start of school season: Research school options, develop a shortlist of appealing schools, and make note of open enrollment start and end dates as well as lottery details. Sign up on interest lists to receive notifications of important deadlines.
  • 6-9 months before start of school season: Submit applications to all schools on your wish list during their respective open enrollment periods for entry into the admissions lottery. Applications received after open enrollment periods are added to the bottom of the waiting list.
  • 3-6 months before start of school season: Monitor application feedback for offers of enrollment or waitlist placement. Consider any enrollment offers while continuing to gather school information, keeping in mind that waitlist positions may improve as others ahead in line decline offers.
  • 0-3 months before start of school season: You will hopefully have received at least one offer that fits your criteria. Once you make a final decision, be sure to decline any previously accepted offers promptly.

Challenging factors come into play when applying for charter school enrollment. Lotteries are based on random selection—apart from children of employees and siblings of current students. Waitlists can be overwhelmingly long and do not roll over, requiring families to re-apply each year. While frustrating, there are strategies for gaining more control and pointing the odds in your favor.

  • Apply for a school’s starting grade and during transition years. For your child’s best chance to enroll in a K-12 public charter school, apply for kindergarten, as opposed to first grade where most of those slots will be filled by existing, reenrolling students. Applying for middle and high school transition grades (sixth and ninth) – junctures when students commonly switch schools – can also open opportunities.
  • Apply to multiple schools. We recommend submitting three to five applications to improve your chances of receiving at least one enrollment offer in time for the start of the school year. You can accept an offer from your second choice while hoping your child will move up the waitlist at your first choice.
  • Respond quickly. A public charter school will typically mass email on lottery day notifying families about their enrollment or waitlist status. As the first day of school approaches—and passes—schools will ask for a faster response to offers, oftentimes within a day or two. Nimble parents who proactively monitor their student’s application status will be ready to act when schools communicate with them.

San Antonio Charter Moms exists to help parents make informed decisions when searching for the best program that fits their child’s educational needs. These resources are for you.

San Antonio Charter Moms (SACM) began as a blog in 2012 when founder Inga Cotton was inspired to help San Antonio families more easily find good information about high-quality school options. Starting with a focus on the growing local charter school offerings, the blog has evolved into a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that shares fair information about all types of schools. Established in 2018 as a nonprofit, SACM can accept funding that enables it to grow in ways that support accomplishing its mission of being the most trusted information source on education in the region. This growth includes Spanish-language blog post translations, surveying target publics, holding meetings with decisionmakers, supporting public speaking, community outreach and enhancing mobile technology.


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