What is the history of Southwest Schools?
In 1998, Southwest Schools received approval from the State Board of Education to operate Southwest Schools as a state-approved charter school. In its first year, Southwest Schools had 250 students. Within one semester, students from across Houston recognized the unique benefits of Southwest Schools, doubling the enrollment.
Today, Southwest Schools has a high school, middle school, and two elementary campuses. Southwest Schools also provides educational services to residential treatment facilities in the greater Houston area and Pre-K satellite campuses
What is a charter school?
Open-enrollment charter schools are free public schools that have the flexibility to adapt to the educational needs of individual students. Open-enrollment charter schools vary in mission and model, serving a wide range of students, many with needs beyond the one-size-fits-all traditional public school. Often, these charter schools provide a personalized learning environment that promotes greater student achievement. Although charter schools have some autonomy, they still must meet the rigorous academic standards dictated by the state for all public schools. On charter campuses, school leaders are permitted more freedom in managing their school, allowing them to respond in the best interest of both parents and students. Teachers at charter schools are encouraged to structure lessons to the specific needs of their students. Some charter schools even provide curriculum that specializes in a certain field such as the arts, mathematics or science. Others provide a more efficient, general education based on the educational model set forth in the charter
Are all Southwest Schools charter schools?
Yes. There are currently 5 Southwest schools in Texas. All of these Southwest schools are public charter schools.
Who attends Southwest Schools?
Southwest Schools are open-enrollment public schools, serving primarily low-income and minority students.
What is Southwest Schools curriculum?
- Southwest Schools follows the Texas Essential for Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) curriculum. While we always adhere to our overarching mission, vision and commitments, our teaching philosophy centers around Education through Exploration. In delivering on that philosophy our entire staff of teachers and administrators operate with the goal to Innovate, Inspire and Transform.
- Southwest Schools is also a S.T.E.A.M. organization in which practices teaching across all disciplines including math, the sciences and fine arts.
- Our mission is to prepare college and career-ready students for post-secondary success.
Questions about enrolling in Southwest Schools
- How does enrollment work at Southwest Schools?
- Are there admission requirements at Southwest Schools?
- Does it matter where I live? Am I zoned correctly?
- How does Southwest Schools recruit students?
- How can I enroll my child in a SW school?
- Southwest schools are tuition-free, open-enrollment public schools. Students are accepted regardless of background or academic record, regardless of where he or she lives, on a first-come, first-served basis. If more students apply than spaces are available, students are placed on a waiting list. To enroll your child in Southwest Schools, please contact the school in your community directly by phone or email.
Questions about teaching at Southwest Schools
- What is the experience and background of the typical Southwest Schools teacher?
- Southwest teachers are those who teach because they love it and are truly the best school teachers (public or private) in the state. Southwest teachers are a diverse group, including experienced teachers who have worked in schools teaching underserved students, new teachers who are just beginning their careers and career changers who are entering the classroom after succeeding in another profession.
- What makes teaching at Southwest Schools unique?
- Teaching is inherently a rewarding and life changing career. Teaching at Southwest is even more so due to the immediate, direct and daily impact a teacher has on his or her students. Teachers also have flexibility to be innovate in their instruction technique and modify learning methods based on the dynamics in each of their individual classrooms. Talk to one of the teachers at Southwest about their career and you will understand why it’s the only place they will ever want to work.
- What are the requirements for teaching at Southwest Schools?
- Teachers are required to have Bachelor’s degree and be Certified/Highly Qualified in their field of instruction. We look for teachers who have teaching experience, preferably in a setting that serves students who come from an at-risk environment. Because of the demographics of our student population, it is helpful to be bilingual in English and Spanish.
- Personal characteristics we look for include being innovative, eager to make a difference, and a desire for continual and lifelong education of their own.
- How can teachers apply?
- Teachers can apply in person at any of our campuses or may visit our Careers website at swschools.org.
Questions about how Southwest Schools is funded
- How are Southwest Schools funded?
- Charter schools receive state funds based on the average daily attendance of students (same as traditional public schools); however, they do not receive funds from local tax revenue and the majority, including Texas charters, do not receive state facilities funding. Southwest Schools rely on partnerships and support from the community and charitable organizations to expand programs and provide the best education possible for our students.
- Are Southwest Schools more expensive to operate than regular public schools?
- No, in-fact, because there is more flexibility on how we select facilities and allocate budget, we typically run leaner that the traditional public school.
Other questions about Southwest Schools
- How many students stay at Southwest Schools from year to year?
- The year-over-year turnover rate at most Southwest Schools is very low. Our students, parents, faculty and staff stay because they believe in the program, the progress and the benefit for all.
- Does Southwest Schools keep track of its alumni who go on to college?
- Yes, Southwest Schools has a 100% graduation rate and an over 90% college acceptance rate. While not all students elect to attend a traditional college, career success via internships and work-school programs are very high.