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How Houston’s Magnet School System Works


HISD Offers Choice in Public Schools via Magnet Program

Houston Independent School District (HISD) is the largest school district in the State of Texas and one of the top ten largest school districts in the United States, enrolling nearly One-Quarter Million students in our city.  Navigating a system as large and complex ?as HISD can be daunting, but it is no longer as simple as the traditional rule dictating that students must attend only the school to which their home addresses are geographically zoned to.  HISD’s Magnet School System offers Houstonians a variety of options when it comes to public education.  If you as a parent believe your locally zoned public school is not the best fit for your child, expensive private schools are no longer the only alternative.  In addition to many successful charter schools in Houston, HISD opens enrollment by lottery at approximately 60 elementary schools, 40 middle schools, and 30 high schools across the district.  Each Magnet School has a different focus, for example:
Fine Arts
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)
Vanguard (Gifted & Talented)
Dual Language
 IB (International Baccalaureate)
(1)  RESEARCH your options on HISD Magnet Schools here, considering what type of program may best fit your child’s gifts and needs.
(2)  APPLY here to your schools of choice.  Currently, you can apply to up to 10 Magnet Programs, up to 5 of which may be Vanguard (Gifted & Talented) programs.  Priority applications for the 2014-2015 school year were due in December 2013, but applications are always considered on a rolling basis throughout the school year.  For 2015-2016, mark your calendar for Fall 2014 to check on the application deadlines for the following school year.
(3)  TOUR your schools of choice.  If you have time before your child will be applying, it’s a great idea to leisurely attend tours of schools that most interest you during their normal tour schedules, which vary by school and should be coordinated by calling each school’s office.  Otherwise, you will be cramming several tours in at the last minute and may be faced with making school decisions sight unseen!  All the research in the world cannot replace an in-person tour, where you get to meet the teachers and staff, observe the children in action, and inspect the facilities for yourself. 
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