Home»All»What to Expect: Applying to HoustonISD Magnet Schools for the NEXT 2017-2018 Year

What to Expect: Applying to HoustonISD Magnet Schools for the NEXT 2017-2018 Year

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HoustonISD will be accepting 2017-2018 Magnet Applications on September 30th, 2016… so if you want to send your kids NEXT year, you need to apply THIS fall!

Once the applications go live, we will create a comprehensive “what you need to know” post, like we did for 2016-2017. For an idea of what to expect, go HERE!  For “what you need to know” or 2017-2018, go HERE!

To get you ready for the process, here are the key points that you need to know.

  • The 2017–2018 HISD magnet application will be available online or through a paper application on September 30, 2016.  They are usually accepted until around Winter Break (update: December 9, 2016)… and families hear back around Spring Break.
  • It only takes 10 minutes to complete… but deciding on which schools to apply to can take longer.  There are a lot of open houses and school tours that help you decide.
  • Your favorite school is likely the favorite school of hundreds of other families.  To see the popularity of the HISD programs, go HERE.  (This is a very cool resource… and lets you know what to expect.)
  • Chances are, you will not get into many of the schools you apply to.  THIS is why I say it’s okay (after 5 years of being heartbroken by my favorite school).
  • The process and the programs and generally (mostly) the same each year.  Read THIS for an overview of zoned schools, vanguard schools, magnets schools and the process.
  • Most likely, this is what will happen starting September 30, 2016:
    • You apply to up to 10 5 schools for the 2017-2018 school year.
    • You will rank you favorite schools… for example: #1 River Oaks Vanguard, #2 Wharton Dual Language, #3 Poe Fine Arts, #4 Wilson Montessori…
    • In March, you will learn which schools have accepted our application (through the lottery).
    • If you got a spot at #2 Wharton, you would stay on the waitlist for #1 River Oaks, but be dropped from the waitlists from #3 Poe and #4 Wilson…
  • Find some very useful parent and teacher comments over on the Facebook post HERE.
  • The official HoustonISD resources can be found HERE.
  • For Vanguard Testing, TestingMom.com is a resource for any parent who wants to prepare their kids Houston Vanguard Magnet or Neighborhood programs, as well as gifted programs in the surrounding area such as Katy, Fort Bend, Spring Branch, Cy-Fair, Clear Creek, and more.
  • TestingMom is holding a workshop on October 16, 2016 to teach parents fun ways to prepare kids for these tests. Learn more and sign up affiliate HERE

For parents that are brand new to HoustonISD, look HERE to learn about zoned schools and your options within the school district.

If you have tips or questions, let us know.  And remember that this is meant to be helpful because I found the process very confusing 6 years ago… and have since been through it 3 times.  This is not the official HoustonISD Magnet resource… that can be found HERE!

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  1. Caroline Pape
    August 29, 2016 at 9:24 pm — Reply

    How does this apply to kindergarten?

    • August 29, 2016 at 9:30 pm — Reply

      If you are going to your zoned school, the process is different… but if you want to send your kids to a HoustonISD magnet school, this is the process you follow.

  2. Seetha
    August 29, 2016 at 10:28 pm — Reply

    Thank you so much for this. It makes it easier for parents who don’t know much about the process. For kids entering Kindergarten, is the test age based – 4/5 years old?

    • August 29, 2016 at 10:42 pm — Reply

      Seetha –

      I hope it helps! Attending an open house and taking a tour of a Vanguard School will help answer all your questions… but when my son applied to Kinder, this is how it worked… We toured River Oaks Vanguard school and the magnet coordinator told us that the test is based on the number of months your child is. She said that they realized that kids applying to Kinder could be September babies or August babies… and the exact age mattered when it came to GT results.

      We applied to the Vanguard School (and other magnet schools) and then selected 1 of 4 test dates over the winter. (The number of tests may have changed by now, but it will be clear when you apply.) We showed up, my son was taken into the test room with no parents… and he flipped through the test book.

      I believe the questions were mostly “logic” questions and he just had to keep going until he was stumped. People say the longer he was in there the better… but I really don’t know that part of it.

      He qualified for GT, was entered into the lottery for River Oaks… but was 100+ on the wait list. So, we ultimately did not go to a Vanguard School (and it all worked out fine).

      One other tip we got from the magnet coordinator is that there are no retests (for a couple years I think). So, if you are sick on test day or something is wrong, just do not take the test. HISD can confirm, but she said other arrangements would be made.

      So, I hope this helps! If you are looking for a Vanguard Magnet School for NEXT September… look for the application on September 30, tour some schools, apply to the max number of schools (and not all Vanguard) to give you more options, and the test dates will be set up with you.

  3. Noura
    August 30, 2016 at 9:42 am — Reply

    Is this process only applicable to those zoned within Houston ISD? What if we live in a different district and want to send our child to one of these schools?

    • August 30, 2016 at 11:37 am — Reply

      If there is room at the school… there might be the option… but it is unlikely… especially at popular programs. The HISD website has details!

  4. Nikou
    August 30, 2016 at 10:29 am — Reply

    This is a great resource, thank you! Do you know how it works with siblings? Do they get in the same school as the first child?

    • August 30, 2016 at 11:34 am — Reply

      They get priority… but it is not guaranteed.

  5. Patty
    September 1, 2016 at 12:46 pm — Reply

    I can’t find he answer anywhere so maybe you might know. If my child got into her magnet school last year (currently there) does reenrollment just happen for next year? No additional steps need to be taken?

    • September 1, 2016 at 1:05 pm — Reply

      Patty –

      At our school, the answer is “yes”. Once the child is in the magnet program for prek or another grade, they are automatically in for the next year (unless they do not meet the academic requirements, etc).

      At the end of each school year, we get asked if we plan to come back or if the school should open up our spot for other kids.

      For your school, ask the front office… or message me the school name and I can tell you if I know for sure!


  6. Patty
    September 6, 2016 at 12:49 am — Reply

    The school is Mark Twain

    • September 6, 2016 at 8:26 am — Reply

      Patty – That’s a good school. 🙂 We got a spot at Mark Twain and understood that once we were in for kinder, we were in. We just had to meet the academic/magnet school requirements (like good grades and good attendance). Confirm there, but I would be very surprised if you had to do more magnet paperwork before middle school. Jill

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