Houston Schools: Public, Private & Charter Choices


DIPPELby Colleen Dippel
Founder & Executive Director
Families Empowered
Editor’s Note: ParentsPost is a proud partner of Families Empowered. Colleen Dippel is a Houston SuperMom with a son and daughter. She is a Teach for America-Houston alumnus. She taught at Port Houston Elementary School and at KIPP Academy. She holds a B.A. in Public Policy and a M.A. in Educational Leadership.
For parents who are in the market for a school for their child, I want to tell you: NOW is the best time to keep browsing for a campus that can help your child succeed.

As a parent, you are the most important stakeholder in the life of your child. When it comes to your child’s education, you know his or her unique needs and goals better than anyone else.

But how can you find the right educational environment for your student? Start the search by reaching out to Families Empowered, Houston’s only non-profit dedicated to helping families choose the schools their children will attend.

Families Empowered was founded to support the escalating number of local parents looking for a great school for their children. Our mission is to EMPOWER families to engage in a market place of schools. We do this by providing families with tools and resources for selecting a school and helping them navigate the application process to get there.


My best piece of advice for enrolling in a school of your choice in and around Houston: Apply to more than one school. By applying to multiple schools, you increase your chances of getting into a school that is right for your child and your family.
How can you find several schools that might fit your student? Here’s a quick rundown of FIVE essential steps to take:


Look up potential schools on our Families Empowered website and discern if those schools meet your expectations. CLICK HERE for the FAMILIES EMPOWERED SEARCH TOOL

Go to prospective schools to decide where you’d like to apply. Through a school tour, you can witness principals, teachers and students in action; view student work on display; observe how well the campus buildings and grounds are maintained; and, of course, ask questions to determine if the school is a good match for your child.

Complete applications for your 1st, 2nd and 3rd choice schools. Some schools offer online applications; other require the completion of paper forms.

(a) Houston Independent School District (HISD) Magnet/Vanguard applications were due December 20, 2013; applications received after Dec. 20 will be considered on a space-available basis.

(b) KIPP: Houston Public Schools lottery applications due January 31, 2014

(c) Spring Branch Independent School District (SBISD) Applications to Choice Schools due February 14, 2014 CLICK HERE for SPRING BRANCH ISD Choice Schools

(d) The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston Catholic Schools have ongoing enrollment; scholarship applications due in February 2014 CLICK HERE for CATHOLIC SCHOOLS APPLICATIONS

(e) YES Prep Public Schools lottery applications due March 3, 2014 CLICK HERE for the YES PREP LOTTERY

(f) Harmony Public Schools lottery applications due March 2014 CLICK HERE for HARMONY K-12 PUBLIC CHARTER SCHOOLS

(g) Private Schools – deadlines vary CLICK HERE for the HOUSTON AREA PRIVATE SCHOOLS – SEARCH TOOL

In the spring, call every school where you applied to ask if your child has been accepted for enrollment. If you are waitlisted, contact Families Empowered for help finding another school option for your student.

Of those schools where you applied and were accepted, choose the school that best fits your child’s needs. Depending on where you decide to enroll your student, you may need to confirm your child’s official attendance at the school. For example, HISD magnet schools require parents to complete an “intent to attend” form; KIPP asks parents to sign a “Commitment to Excellence” contract in advance of enrollment.

Finding the right school for your child can be an overwhelming process. Families Empowered is here to make the journey easier for you. We’re eager to meet you, introduce you to potential schools, answer your questions and give you resources to make a great school choice for your child.

SCHOOL2For free and confidential support in your school search,
contact Families Empowered at 713-589-8767.
CLICK HERE for more information on

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