By Rod Powers
In a recent policy change, children from active duty military families are automatically eligible to enroll in the public school pre-kindergarten programs in their districts. If the servicemember leaves the military, the child will be allowed to remain in the program until it is completed.
The largest public school district in the region is the Corpus Christi Independent School District. Other districts in the city include Flour Bluff, Calallen, Tuloso-Midway and West Oso. Together, Corpus Christi's five independent school districts have an enrollment of approximately 53,000 students. There are no schools on base.
Each district has its own special education programs, its own alternative schools, its own before- and after-school care programs, and its own preschool programs.
Another choice away from the traditional public school is home schooling. Locally, more than 3,000 families are home schooling, according to the Family Educators Alliance of South Texas. Each ISD has alternative education programs available.
There are a number of magnet schools in the area. Magnet schools are usually high schools who specialize in certain educational fields, such as health care, technology, business, communications arts, and more. The attendance arrangements are complex. For some, the student must be accepted in the freshman year. Others offer half-day classes, with the student attending a regular school and then traveling to the magnet school for the remainder of the day. Enrollment may be available only to district residents; others have open enrollment. Some offer college credit for class work.
Charter schools are also available. A charter school is a publicly funded school that is managed by a private contractor, with varying levels of success. Charter schools are accountable to the state and must meet the same standards as public schools.
Each ISD has a community education department. These departments offer classes that include GED classes as well as a variety of enrichment classes. Some districts also offer English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and citizenship classes.