AISD Offers Plenty of Choices for Incoming Middle Schoolers

Prospective homebuyers often ask us about the schools in the neighborhoods where they are focusing their search. If their child is nearing middle school age, that answer can get a bit complicated due to the number of middle school choices for Austin Independent School District (AISD) students.

First, AISD has 19 neighborhood middle schools, and students “feed” into a particular school based on where they live. People who wish to attend a certain school but live outside the school’s boundaries also have the option to request a transfer, but with Austin’s high population growth, it’s important to note that many schools currently have no-transfer policies in place.

In addition, any AISD student, regardless of where he or she lives, can apply to one of several specialty middle schools in the Austin area. The admissions process involves writing essays; submitting teacher recommendations, standardized test scores and a recent report card; and in some cases, turning in samples of school work. If your child is getting ready to transition to middle school next fall and might be a good candidate for one of the following schools, it’s a good idea to start collecting these items now so you won’t be scrambling for them later.


Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders

The Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders is an all-girls school that serves more than 700 students in grades six through twelve. The Ann Richards School opened its doors in 2007 in South Austin and since then has provided a challenging, college-preparatory curriculum with an emphasis in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). Admission to this program is by application and lottery. After a prospective student submits her application and it is accepted, a drawing takes place; 75% of the girls who are admitted must come from schools where the majority of students are from economically disadvantaged families.

Fulmore Middle School Humanities & Law Magnet for International Studies

In the heart of the South Congress shopping district is Fulmore Middle School. This school is home to approximately 1,000 middle school students, more than 300 of which come from all around the Austin area to attend the school’s Humanities and Law Magnet for International Studies. The program offers a variety of electives that correspond with its three distinctive strands in law, humanities and international studies.

Kealing Magnet Program

Established in 1986 and located in East Austin, the Kealing Magnet Program offers some 800 students from all corners of Austin a rigorous, comprehensive academic program and a wide array of electives. Originally a magnet math and science program, in 1993, the magnet program expanded to also include a focus on the liberal arts. Today, all students enrolled in the program take advanced core classes in English, mathematics, science and social studies.

Lamar Middle School Fine Arts Academy

Lamar provides a program for students to pursue an accelerated arts curriculum in middle school and features strands in band, orchestra, vocal music, theatre arts, visual arts, dance and classical guitar. Established in 2012 and located in North Austin, the program is not considered a magnet program because all classes can be attended both by neighborhood students and students from other areas of the city who are enrolled in the program. However, all attendees, regardless of where they live, must apply for and be accepted into the program.

It’s worth noting that AISD originally planned to open a School for Young Men this year or next to act as a brother school to the Ann Richards School. However, following the failure of a bond proposition this May, the time frame for such a school is uncertain. Still, even if the number of middle school offerings doesn’t increase in the next few years, parents and their students have many options to consider when it comes to where they will spend their middle school years.