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Education

One of the highest priorities for relocating families is locating a new school for their children and providing a smooth transition so that learning can continue and new friends can be formed. This chapter will provide a good overview to learn more about the many child care and educational resources available in the San Antonio area. You’ll also find information about private schools, a list of recommended immunizations for children from birth to 18 years of age and data about the region’s independent school districts.

The San Antonio region is rich in educational and care opportunities – from early child care to graduate school, there are many options. The public school system educates nearly 355,000 children in San Antonio and surrounding counties that represent 21 independent school districts (ISDs). San Antonio’s largest ISD is Northside, with a current student enrollment of nearly 89,000.

Parents can select from more than 90 private schools offering pre-K through high school and include institutions rooted in religious traditions, schools that provide intensive academic experiences, some that reflect a particular pedagogy and some that are specialized for specific populations. These diverse schools and strong, often faith-based communities help fulfill the American ideal of educational pluralism and collectively contribute to teaching, nurturing and inspiring young minds. The largest private school in the area is San Antonio Christian Schools with a 2008 student enrollment of 1,163, followed by Saint Mary’s Hall with an enrollment of 960.

In San Antonio, there are also Montessori schools to select from. Montessori, which represents a different approach to education, emphasizes learning through all five senses, not just through listening, watching or reading. Learning is an exciting process of discovery, leading to concentration, motivation, self-discipline and a love of learning. Montessori classes place children in three-year age groups (3 to 6 and 6 to 9, for example), forming communities in which the older children spontaneously share their knowledge with the younger ones.

The city is also home to the first boys’ school in San Antonio and one of the largest all-male private secondary schools in the state of Texas – Central Catholic High School. It remains a prestigious landmark in San Antonio and a symbol throughout South Texas of teaching excellence.

For those pursuing continuing education, there are five colleges that comprise the Alamo Community Colleges, educating more than 52,000 students. The Alamo Colleges serve the Bexar County community through their programs and services that help students succeed in acquiring the knowledge and skills needed in today’s world. Students are taught by highly qualified faculty with master’s and doctorate degrees dedicated to creating a learning centered environment.

The region offers students a variety of public and private universities and colleges in the region, many of which are known in the U.S. and internationally. The University of Texas at San Antonio is the largest with a current enrollment of more than 28,000 students. It is the second-largest component in The University of Texas System and has been one of the state’s fastest-growing public universities for much of the last decade. Earlier last year, Texas A&M University-San Antonio (TAMUSA) became a stand-alone university and will be constructing its first building
on the near-700 acres located by Zarzamora Road off Loop 410 South.

More detailed information follows to help you decide the best option for you and your family’s educational needs.

Child Care
Upon arrival to the San Antonio area, one main priority can be determining child care, especially for children under the age of six. Many couples are both professional, dual-income earners and may not have close or extended family nearby to help. Luckily, the region can offer many options and resources.

Defining Care Terms
The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) licenses day-care centers, registered family homes, 24-hour residential child care facilities and foster homes for children in addition to other services. According to the DFPS, child care can be broken down into the following types of operations:

— Listed Family Homes
People who must list with the division are those who are compensated to provide regular child care (at least four hours per day, three or more days a week, for more than nine consecutive weeks) in their own homes for 1-3 unrelated children. After receipt of an application and licensing background check clearances, a certificate is issued. The listed family home caregiver must be at least 18 years old. However, there are no minimum standards, orientation or training requirements for listed homes. They are not inspected unless a report is received alleging child care is offered subject to registration and reports of abuse or neglect are investigated.

— Registered Child Care Homes
Registered Child Care Homes provide care in the caregiver’s home for up to six children under age 14; they may also take in up to six more school-age children. The number of children allowed in a home is determined by the ages of the children. No more than 12 children can be in care at any time, including children of the caregiver. The application process requires that a registered child care home provider complete an orientation class and receive clearances on background checks. A registration certificate is issued after licensing staff completes an on-site inspection to ensure minimum standards are met. Registered homes are inspected every one to two years and if a report is received related to child abuse/neglect or standards deficiencies.

— Licensed Facilities
All types of licensed facilities have published standards they are required to follow and are routinely monitored and inspected. The application process requires that the licensed operation provider receive orientation and background checks are conducted. A license is issued after licensing staff completes on-site inspection(s) to ensure minimum standards are met. Licensed facilities are inspected at least once every 12 months and to investigates reports alleging violations of standards or child abuse/neglect. Licensed Facilities include day care and 24 hour residential care:
Day Care
  • Licensed Child Care Homes provide care for less than 24 hours per day for seven to 12 children under 14 years old in the permit holder’s own home.
  • Licensed Child-Care Centers provide care for seven or more children under 14 years old for less than 24 hours per day at a location other than the permit holder’s home.
24 Hour Residential Care
  • Foster Family Homes provide 24-hour care for six or fewer children under 18 years old.
  • Foster Group Homes provide 24-hour care for seven to 12 children under 18 years old.
  • Child Care Institutions provide 24-hour care for 13 or more children under 18 years old and include standards for emergency shelter, basic, residential treatment, halfway house, maternity homes and therapeutic camp care, as well as care for the mentally fragile.
  • Child Placing Agencies are persons or organizations other than a child’s natural parent or guardian who plan for placement of a child or place a child in a child care operation, foster home or adoptive home. The Division regulates child care administrators working in residential facilities.

At the DFPS website, www.dfps.state.tx.us, visitors can search by county, zip code, name and other criteria to find licensed child care centers or home-based centers.

Other Care Options
— Nannies
Nannies are employed by the family on either a live-in or live-out, part-time or full-time basis, to undertake all tasks related to the care of children. Duties are generally restricted to child care and the domestic tasks related to the children. The nanny may or may not have had formal training, though often have extensive child care experience and a background in early childhood education. Typically, full-time employed nannies will work 40–60 hours per week. Usually work is unsupervised.

According to the International Nanny Association (INA) (www.nanny.org), you can look for a nanny in many places, including help wanted ads in newspapers and magazines, bulletin boards and referrals from friends. These approaches can be time-consuming and also can result in negative experiences. The association suggests that you contact nanny training programs about the availability of their graduates or that you take advantage of the services offered by nanny placement agencies.

A placement agency is a service company that matches the skills and qualifications of nannies with the needs of families looking for in-home child care. The agency charges a fee to locate and screen nannies for you to consider hiring for your family. A reputable agency will carefully consider your needs and preferences when helping you find a suitable candidate. Placement fees range from $800 to $5,000 and should include a provision to replace the nanny or refund a portion of the fee if the placement does not work out within a certain period of time.

As part of its screening process, the agency should verify the nanny candidate’s personal and employment references and previous child care experience. Many agencies also take nanny fingerprints, check for a criminal record, check the driving record and require a blood test, TB test and/or request a doctor’s statement that the candidate is in good health and free of contagious diseases. Some agencies also require psychological testing or evaluation. In the U.S., the agency should verify that the candidate is an American citizen or is eligible to work legally in the U.S.

Just as the agency will want to ensure that nannies referred to you are suitable candidates, for the nanny’s protection, the agency may also ask you for references. Most agencies will assist you in preparing a job description that summarizes your family’s job duties, comprehension package and other important considerations.

Many placement agency owners are members of INA, and the association suggests that you select an INA member if you decide to use a placement agency’s services to help you locate a nanny.

— Au Pair
Au Pairs are foreign nationals between the ages of 18-26 who enter the United States through the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Au Pair Exchange Program, to experience American life for up to 24 months. Au Pairs in good standing can apply to extend their initial 12- month visit an additional six, nine or 12 months. Au Pairs participate in the life of the host family by providing limited child care services (maximum 10 hours per day, 45 hours per week) and are compensated for their work according to the Fair Labor Standards Act. Au Pairs may not be placed in homes with infants three months of age or younger, unless a parent or responsible adult will be in the home supervising the Au Pair. An Au Pair may not be placed in the home with a child two years of age or younger unless they have 200 or more hours of documented child care experience.

Child Care Resources

The Texas Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (TACCRRA) is a statewide network of member agencies representing child care resource and referral agencies, early childhood education programs and other agencies and organizations interested in promoting the development, maintenance and expansion of quality child care services in Texas. (www.taccrra.net)

A membership organization of TACCRRA’s located in San Antonio is Family Service Association (www.family-service.org). The organization’s resource and referral department is your link to information and programs that can assist you with your child care needs. The resource and referral consultants provide parents with direct connections to local child care resources and community agencies, as well as national agencies and information. There are no fees for the association’s basic services and anyone interested in assistance with child care information is encouraged to call (210)-65-SMART (657-6278) or (800) 332-3264 for individualized information on child care and other resources. The referrals provided are intended as referrals only, not as recommendations. Family Service Association Child Care Resource and Referral consultants do not license, endorse or recommend any particular provider.

As you learn more about the San Antono region, you’ll find many private day care facilities including names you already be familiar with such as KinderCare Learning Center, La Petite Academy and neighborhood YMCAs.

Pre-K and Kindergarten
In the last six years, the state of Texas has spent more than $7 billion on education reform as well as to improve learning in core subject areas like math, reading and science; and has proposed targeted incentives tied to achievement in the classroom.

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) Research has established guidelines for all Texas pre-K programs that support effective teaching practices; these have been shown to lead to important growth in children’s intellectual and social development. To review the suggested curriculum guidelines, visit http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/ed_init/pkguidelines/index.html.

In the 2002-2003 school year, there were only 157,498 children in state funded pre-K. By the 2007-2008 school year, that number had increased to193,869; of these, 169,183 were economically disadvantaged students. In 2005-2006 the state spent $715 million on pre-K programs or $3,426 per student. By the 2007-2008 school year, spending had increased to $799 million or $3,650 per student.

The quality of the state’s pre-K programs has also increased. In 2007-2008, 401 classrooms were utilizing the national recognized TEEM model that relies on research-base comprehensive curricula to ensure students are school ready. In addition, from the first year of the School Readiness Certification System (2005-2006 school year), the Texas School Ready! certification has been awarded to almost 500 preschool classrooms across Texas. Children who graduated from these classrooms entered kindergarten with the reading and social skills needed to be successful.

10 Indicators that Your Child is in a Good Classroom
If your child is between the ages of 3 and 6 and attends a child care center, preschool, or kindergarten program, the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) suggests you look for these 10 signs to make sure your child is in a good classroom.
  1. Children spend most of their playing and working with materials or other children. They do not wander aimlessly, and they are not expected to sit quietly for long periods of time.
  2. Children have access to various activities throughout the day. Look for assorted building blocks and other construction materials, props for pretend play, picture books, paints and other art materials, and table toys such as matching games, pegboards, and puzzles. Children should not all be doing the same thing at the same time.
  3. Teachers work with individual children, small groups, and the whole group at different times during the day. They do not spend all their time with the whole group.
  4. The classroom is decorated with children’s original artwork, their own writing with invented spelling, and stories dictated by children to teachers.
  5. Children learn numbers and the alphabet in the context of their everyday experiences. The natural world of plants and animals and meaningful activities like cooking, taking attendance, or serving snack provide the basis for learning activities.
  6. Children work on projects and have long periods of time (at least one hour) to play and explore. Worksheets are used little if at all.
  7. Children have an opportunity to play outside every day. Outdoor play is never sacrificed for more instructional time.
  8. Teachers read books to children individually or in small groups throughout the day, not just at group story time.
  9. Curriculum is adapted for those who are ahead as well as those who need additional help. Teachers recognize that children’s different background and experiences mean that they do not learn the same things at the same time in the same way.
  10. Children and their parents look forward to school. Parents feel secure about sending their child to the program. Children are happy to attend; they do not cry regularly or complain of feeling sick.

Also ask if the program is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). NAEYC-accredited programs complete a rigorous self study and external review to prove that they meet standards of excellence in early childhood education.

Texas Public Schools

Since the early days of Texas history, public education was a primary goal, and in 1854, the governor signed the bill that established the Texas public school system. According to the Texas Education Agency, by the 2006-2007 school year, public school enrollment in Texas reached a peak of 4,594,942. The Texas Educational Code provides the framework for the current public education system, which is overseen by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) (www.tea.state.tx.us) and the State Board of Education. Led by the commissioner of education, the TEA is the administrative unit for primary and secondary education and, among other duties, develops a statewide curriculum, administers statewide assessment programs and rates school districts under the statewide accountability system.

In the last six years, the state of Texas has spent more than $7 billion on education reform as well as to improve learning in core subject areas like math, reading and science and has proposed targeted incentives tied to achievement in the classroom.

According to the Texas Education Agency, in the 2006-2007 academic year, Texas public schools consisted of more than 1,200 school districts and charters, 8,000 campuses and nearly 4.6 million students who are served by more than 300,000 teachers who earn an average of $46,000 annually.

Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills
The Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) is a standardized test used in primary and secondary public schools in Texas to assess students’ attainment of reading, writing, math, science and social studies skills required under Texas education standards. It is developed and scored by Pearson Educational Measurement with close supervision by the Texas Education Agency. Though created before the No Child Left Behind Act was passed, it complies with the law. It replaced the previous test, called the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills or TAAS, in 2003.Those students being home-schooled or attending private schools are not required to take the TAKS test. For more information, visit www.tea.state.tx.us.

The TEA requires third graders to pass the reading portion to be promoted to the fourth grade. For more information and to view released tests, visit the TEA Web site at (www.tea.state.tx.us). Beginning with students entering the ninth grade in the 2011-2012 school year, the TAKS test will be phased out and substituted instead with 12 end-of-course exams. The TAKS test will be kept in tact for students in grades 3-8.

School Selection
Chances are that before you moved to the San Antonio area, you were in contact with a real estate agent and already know where you’ll be living. Upon arrival, you’ll want to explore your area’s school districts and determine the best educational options for your children. It’s recommended that you visit and tour the school to get a general feel for the atmosphere and programs available. Look at several ones to determine which offers the best curriculum.

A useful resource is the Texas Education Agency’s website at www.tea.state.tx.us. Information about school district locations and statistics about specific schools are available. Click on District Locator, select whether you’d like to view the information as a map or as text and search by school district, district number, county or education service center region. Once you locate a school district or a specific school, you can learn about accountability ratings, current enrollment and current and past AEIS Performance Reports. All of this information will help you assess any school you are considering. The state’s accountability system assigns ratings to every campus and district in the Texas public education system each year. In most cases, the system assigns one of four rating labels ranging from lowest to highest and include Academically Unacceptable, Academically Acceptable, Recognized and Exemplary. In 2009, 37 percent of Texas public schools, including charter operators, were rated Recognized.

As the largest school district in the region and the fourth-largest in Texas, Northside ISD has a 2009 enrollment of 88,201, representing 104 schools. The student-teacher ratio is 15.8 to 1 and the computer-student ratio is 1 to 4. With an overall district rating of Recognized, Northside ISD is South Texas’ largest school system, averaging 4,000 new students enrollees each year.

As Military City USA, San Antonio has three districts located on military installations and include Ft. Sam Houston with an enrollment of 1,443; Lackland ISD with 963 students and Randolph Field ISD with 1,206. All three are subject to the rules and regulations of the State of Texas and the federal government and they are the only three military school districts in Texas.

Once a school has been selected, visit its website or call the main office to request a list of important documents to bring when you enroll your child in school. Most schools will require:
  • Child’s birth certificate or other document suitable as proof, such as a passport, hospital birth record, church baptismal record, adoption record, driver’s license, military identification card or other legal document.
  • Child’s records from the school the he or she has most recently attended if the child has previously been enrolled in a school.
  • Child’s proof of required immunizations. Effective August 1, 2009, there are new immunization requirements. Learn more by visiting the Texas Department of State Health Services website at http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/immunize/school/default.shtm#news.

— Checklist in Selecting a School
While touring schools in your area, have your checklist handy to make remarks and pose questions.
  • Location – is the school close to home? Or will it be necessary to drive or take the bus?
  • How does the school look? Is it clean and well maintained? Do you see litter or graffiti around buildings?
  • Is the local PTA active and involved? Ask for the website or contact person’s phone number.
  • Is the school academically successful? What percentage of the students in college-bound programs is admitted to competitive colleges?
  • Are the textbooks and equipment up to date and printed within the last three years? Are there computers available?
  • Ask about homework – how rigorous is it?
  • Is counseling available for students of elementary and secondary schools? Can parents also meet with a counselor?

Magnet schools
Magnet schools are part of the public school educational system and generally offer a particular focus such as science, technology or the arts. Students from elementary, middle and high school can attend a magnet school throughout a district. To learn about magnet schools, check with a local school district office to identify their particular magnet school program. The area supports more than 30 magnet schools that offers classes on manufacturing, engineering, computer science, desktop publishing, web design and film production, to name a few.

San Antonio ISD (SAISD) offers a wide variety of choices in education, particularly through its specialized schools and magnet programs. These encompass 14 different magnet programs at 13 campuses, covering both middle and high school. SAISD offers a selection of programs to allow students to develop their talents or pursue special interests and career goals such as science, technology, the arts, language immersion, law/legal professions, medicine and much more. These special learning programs are available to students across Bexar County, those living within and outside the SAISD District.

Charter Schools
Charter schools are publicly funded schools that are subject to fewer state regulations than traditional public and magnet schools. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) estimates that approximately 130,000 students opted to attend a charter school in Texas during the 2007-2008 school year. Charter schools were developed to improve student learning, increase the choice of learning opportunities within the public school system; create professional opportunities that will attract new teachers to the public school system; establish a new form of accountability for public schools; and encourage different and innovative learning methods.

In San Antonio, parents will find more than 35 charter schools including the Radiance Academy of Learning with four campuses in the city; Southwest Prepatory School, KIPP Aspire Academy and John Wood Jr. Public Charter District.

Private Schools
In a June 2002 report, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) found that private school students scored higher on standardized tests, had more demanding graduation requirements and sent more graduates to college than public schools. The report said that students who had completed at least the eighth grade in a private school were twice as likely as other students to graduate from college as a young adult.

NCES statistics also showed that students in private schools are much more likely than others to take advanced-level high school courses. Students thrive when allowed to learn in a safe and supportive environment. Joint reports by the NCES and the Bureau of Justice Statistics, and a private study by the Horatio Alger Association have found that private school students are significantly more likely than others to feel safe and be safe in their schools.

The NCES reports that more than three-quarters of private school parents are “very satisfied” with their child’s school compared with less than half of parents whose children were assigned to a public school. Parents often look to private schools as an extension of the home in promoting the values they embrace, and private schools respond. A recent NCES survey found that promoting religious/spiritual life was second only to academic excellence in the goals of private school principals.

— Fast Facts about Private Schools
According to the Council for American Private Education, these are a few facts about private schools:
  • One in four schools is a private school.
  • One child in nine attends a private school.
  • Private schools produce an annual savings to taxpayers estimated at more than $48 billion.
  • Private school students perform better than their public school counterparts on standardized achievement tests.
  • Ninety percent of private high school graduates attend college, compared to 66 percent of public high school graduates.
  • Private school students from low socio-economic backgrounds are more than three times more likely than comparable public school students to attain a bachelor’s degree by their mid-20s, meaning that private schools contribute to breaking the cycle of poverty for their students.
  • Private schools are racially, ethnically and economically diverse. Twenty-three percent of private school students are students of color, and 28 percent are from families with annual incomes under $50,000.
  • Private secondary school students are nearly 50 percent more likely to take AP or IB courses in science and math than public school students.
  • The participation of private school students in community service projects is significantly higher than their public school counterparts.

In the San Antonio area, there are more than 350 parochial and private schools from pre-K through high school, giving parents a wide selection from which to choose.

San Antonio private schools offer parents a wide range of options from parochial schools to secular schools to international schools. Some are strictly early learning while others educate children from pre-K through the eighth or 12th grades.

A few tips to know before choosing a private school in the San Antonio area include:
  • Parents will need to visit the campus and most likely will need to interview with the school. This will be a great opportunity for both the parents and the school to assure a good fit.
  • Parents will need to complete the application forms for their child to be considered a candidate.
  • Parents need to be prepared to have their children tested and will need to pay for those tests.
  • Many schools encourage a certain level of parental involvement, so parents need to clearly understand what is expected of them.

A few private schools in the San Antonio area include:
  • Central Catholic High School was established in 1852 and is considered the first boys’ school in San Antonio and remains one of the largest all-male private secondary schools in the state. Its current enrollment is 535. (www.cchs-satx.org)
  • Providence Catholic School with 350 female students from grades 6 to 12. Established in 1951, the school is situated on three acres of historically significant property in downtown San Antonio and is accredited by the Texas Catholic Conference Education Department and Southern Association for Colleges and Schools. (www.providencehs.net)
  • Founded as a day and boarding school for girls in 1897, Saint Mary’s Hall encourages a lifelong love of learning in an environment of respect, responsibility, compassion and integrity. Today, the co-ed, non-denominational school teaches children from three years old to the 12th grade. (www.smhall.org)

From day care facilities to high schools, San Antonio-area parents can find the solution that fits the family’s lifestyle and the individual child’s needs. The San Antonio area offers parents a wide range of options designed to fit families’ educational, moral and religious beliefs and each child’s learning aptitudes and intelligence level. With a little research, parents will find the perfect fit for the whole family.

Colleges, Universities and Adult Education
The San Antonio area boasts 15 colleges and universities that offer programs to educate and train the current and future workforce. Leading industries in the region benefit from a workforce that is educated, particularly within specialties such as technology, life-sciences and health care; trade, transportation and utilities; professional and business services; and government. Here you’ll find a medical school, several schools of theology and a major research university. There are faith-based schools, private, public, for profit and nonprofit colleges from which to choose. Some programs last four years (or in the case of medicine a little longer), while others are two years or less. Currently, there are more than 100,000 full- and part-time students enrolled in local institutions.

Among recognized public universities include The University of Texas at San Antonio, the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and the newly established Texas A&M University-San Antonio. Private universities include Trinity University, St. Mary’s University, University of the Incarnate Word and Wayland Baptist University.

— Concordia University Texas
Concordia University Texas offers a unique learning experience within the Accelerated Degree Program (ADP). Tailor-made for adults with busy lives, ADP courses are intensive, inspiring and designed to put each student’s professional and personal goals on the fast track. ADP graduates represent a diverse range of ages, professions, and interests. (http://adp.concordia.edu)

— Our Lady of the Lake University
While the first college program started in 1911, by 1923, Our Lady of the Lake University (OLLU) became the first San Antonio institution of higher education to receive regional accreditation. OLLU is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. According to 2009 ranking data, OLLU is second in Texas among private universities for awarding master’s degrees to Hispanics and is ranked in the top 50 nationally. In 2008, OLLU was ranked among the top western master’s universities by U.S. News and World Report (“America’s Best Colleges 2008”) and The Princeton Review 2008 named OLLU a “Best Western College.” (www.ollusa.edu)

— St. Mary’s University
As San Antonio’s oldest Catholic university, St. Mary’s University is home to five schools of education: humanities and social sciences, business, science, engineering and technology, graduate and law. The university provides a Catholic education experience that evokes academic excellence while integrating liberal studies, professional preparation and ethical commitment. St. Mary’s has 192 full-time faculty members, 94 percent of whom hold doctoral or terminal degrees in their fields. St. Mary’s has approximately 70 undergraduate and graduate majors and offers over 120 degree programs, which include two doctoral and two law programs and 12 undergraduate and 10 graduate joint programs. The student/faculty ratio of 13-to-1 permits small classes and promotes active learning. (www.stmarytx.edu)

— Texas A&M University-San Antonio
Texas A&M University-San Antonio (TAMUSA) has been an academic institution since 2001, operating as a System Center under the Kingsville banner. The identity changed earlier this year when Texas Governor Rick Perry signed Senate Bill 629, legislation that spawned TAMUSA as a stand-alone university. Students can select from three colleges, including the education, which offers several popular degrees; business, which offers several business degrees including an MBA; and arts and sciences, which covers a variety of fields including psychology, sociology, criminology and history. Spring 2009 enrollment was 1,648 students. The campus is located at 1450 Gillette Blvd. in San Antonio with plans to build a new facility on nearly 700 acres by Zarzamora Road off Loop 410 South. (www.tamuk.edu/sanantonio)

— Texas Lutheran University
Founded more than 100 years ago, Texas Lutheran University (TLU) offers its students a liberal arts, sciences and professional studies education. Comprised of a diverse student body of 1,400 students, average class sizes are fewer than 20. Taught by 77 full-time faculty, academic programs consist of 26 majors, 32 minors and 13 pre-professional programs. The 184-acre park-like campus is located in Sequin, Texas, near San Antonio and Austin. (www.tlu.edu)

— Trinity University
Trinity University has been included in the 2009 edition of The Best 368 Colleges, published by The Princeton Review, a New York-based education services company that selects only about 15 percent of the four-year colleges in America and two Canadian colleges for its annual ranking. Founded in 1869, Trinity’s rigorous, flexible curriculum – the optimal blend of science, liberal arts and professional programs – challenges a student’s abilities and broadens his or her horizons. At Trinity, students will find 38 majors and 50 minors, as well as special advising tracks for pre-law and the health professions, including pre-med. Students can select graduate programs, two of which, accounting and education, can be completed as five-year combined bachelor’s and master’s programs. (www.trinity.edu)

— University of the Incarnate Word
The University of the Incarnate Word (UIW) is a Catholic institution that welcomes students of diverse backgrounds, in the belief that their respectful interaction advances the discovery of truth, mutual understanding, self-realization and the common good. Founded in 1881 by the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, UIW is the largest Catholic university Texas and the fourth largest private institution in Texas. Included as one of America’s Best Colleges in U.S. News and World Report 2007 rankings, the school is located in Alamo Heights on a 154-acre campus. Its current enrollment is 7,000 students. (www.uiw.edu)

— University of Texas at San Antonio
The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) serves the San Antonio metropolitan area and the broader region of South Texas through programs and services offered from its three campuses: Main Campus, Downtown Campus and Hemisfair Park Campus. With more than 28,400 students enrolled in 131 undergraduate and graduate degree programs, UTSA is the second-largest component in the University of Texas System and has been one of the state’s fastest-growing public universities for much of the last decade.

UTSA offers 64 bachelor’s, 46 master’s and 21 doctoral degree programs. With 10 doctoral programs and five more master’s programs in the planning stages or awaiting final approval, UTSA is rapidly moving toward classification as a doctoral/research intensive institution. (www.utsa.edu)

— University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio serves San Antonio and the 50,000 square-mile area of South Texas. It extends to campuses in the metropolitan border communities of Laredo and the Rio Grande Valley. More than 3,000 students a year train in an environment that involves more than 100 affiliated hospitals, clinics and health care facilities in South Texas. Schools include medicine, dental, nursing, health professions and biomedical sciences.

The mission of The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio is to serve the needs of the citizens of Texas, the nation and the world through programs committed to excellence. Its purpose is to provide the best in health careers education, biomedical research, patient care and community service to San Antonio and the South Texas/Border Region. Through undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate programs, the faculty is committed to educating health professionals who will provide excellent patient care and research that can be applied to treat and prevent disease. (www.uthscsa.edu)

— Wayland Baptist University
Wayland San Antonio has been serving the higher educational needs of San Antonio and South Texas since 1984. With a focus on the adult learner and a commitment to the university’s mission of educating students in an academically challenging and distinctively Christian environment, students will find an unparalleled college experience. The school offers associate, baccalaureate and master’s degree programs for traditional and non-traditional students. Courses are scheduled during the day and evening hours, and on weekends. The San Antonio campus meets the needs of military students by providing classes and Academic Advising at Lackland Air Force Base, Fort Sam Houston and Randolph Air Force Base. (www.sa.wbu.edu)

Community Colleges
Students throughout Bexar County have access to five community colleges offering more than 325 degree and certificate programs staffed by qualified faculty with masters and doctorate degrees and who are committed to a learning environment. Northwest Vista College, Palo Alto College, St. Philip’s College and San Antonio College are accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

— Northeast Lakeview College

Northeast Lakeview College, the newest of the Alamo Community Colleges, is located on Loop 1604 at Kitty Hawk Road and enrolled more than 416 students in 2008. The college sits on 245 acres and upon completion of its Phase II buildings, it will provide more than 365,000 square feet of academic space. (www.alamo.edu/nlc/)

— Northwest Vista College
Since its formation in 1995, Northwest Vista College emphasizes collaborative learning and critical thinking skills. Students can earn Associate degrees, Associate of Applied Science degrees, Certificates and Marketable Skills Achievement Awards tailored to training for businesses and community development via continuing education. Its flexible schedules include 16, eight- and three-week semesters that are held during the day, at night or via the Internet. The school’s partnerships with businesses and higher education institutions provide a wealth of opportunities for students, community, faculty and staff. (www.alamo.edu/nvc)

— Palo Alto College

As a public comprehensive community college, Palo Alto College provides exemplary, accessible education and training to a diverse and aspiring community. The college educates, nurtures and inspires students through a dynamic and supportive learning environment, which promotes the intellectual, cultural, economic and social life of the community. Located in southwest San Antonio, the college is located on 126 acres. Its 2009 enrollment was 8,304. (www.alamo.edu/pac)

— St. Philip’s College
Founded in 1898, St. Philip’s College offers classes in the arts, technology and sciences. As one of the oldest and most diverse community colleges in the nation, it is the only college to be federally designated as both a historically Black college and a Hispanic-serving institution. Its 2008 enrollment was 10,056. (www.alamo.edu/spc)

— San Antonio College

The largest enrollment of all five of the Alamo Community colleges, San Antonio College provides for and supports the educational and lifelong learning needs of a multicultural community. As a leader in education, San Antonio College is committed to excellence in helping students reach their full potential by developing their academic competencies, critical thinking skills, communication proficiency, civic responsibility and global awareness. (www.alamo.edu/sac)

San Antonio Library

As a newcomer to the Alamo City, you may have already seen the distinctive red building, known as “enchilada red” that is the city’s central library, a 240,000 square-foot, six-story structure that opened in 1995. With current holdings of approximately 580,000 volumes, the central library provides its patrons with many special features, including a centralized reference service, a video and media collection, computerized catalog and electronic databases, Texana and genealogy area, auditorium/multipurpose room seating 180 people, a gallery, nine study rooms seating one or two people each, eight meeting/conference rooms seating four to 20 people each and two round reading rooms seating a total of 18 people.

In addition to the central library location, there are 25 branch libraries located throughout the city of San Antonio. The complete list is available online at www.mysapl.org/locations.aspx.

— Getting a Library Card
A patron must present a current San Antonio Public Library borrower’s card in order to check out materials. To obtain a library card, a patron must complete the Application for Borrower’s Privileges and show proof of residency in San Antonio or Bexar County. A Texas Driver’s License or other photo ID shall be requested at the time of registration and for subsequent transactions.

Children (under 13) who reside in Bexar County and have residential identification, or are accompanied by a parent or guardian with appropriate identification, may be issued a card on their own signature.

Persons who reside outside of Bexar County, but who can prove ownership of property within Bexar County are eligible for a card, without charge, upon presentation of an appropriate identification and property tax record.

Owners of businesses in Bexar County are eligible for a card without charge upon presentation of appropriate identification and an Assumed Name Certificate of Registration (issued by Bexar County) or a Sales Tax Permit (issued by the State Comptroller’s Office).

Persons who reside outside of Bexar County may purchase a card good for one year at a charge of $40 per year or a three-month period at a charge of $10. Appropriate identification will be required.

The charge for replacement of a lost card is $2. Your card must be renewed annually. Please bring recent proof of residence with you. For more information, visit online at www.mysapl.org or call (210) 207-2500.
 
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