What are the requirements for admissions?
Students must be identified as "highly gifted" through SBISD's identification process and must be residents of SBISD. Depending upon the IQ test administered, students need a standard score or combination of scores of 145+. (See Application Criteria tab.) Entering Kindergarteners must be reading on Fountas & Pinnell level F (mid-1st grade level).
Currently application and admission is limited to elementary students only.
Applications are available online through the link on this website. Applications are only available during the applicaiton window.
What grade levels does the school serve?
The school currently serves students from K-12th grade. The current application and lottery process is only open to elementary students.
Because most kindergarten students have had very little school exposure and SBAI does not provide a traditional kindergarten experience, any kindergarten students chosen in the lottery will have the option to defer placement until first grade.
Where is the school located?
The elementary school is housed at Thornwood Elementary, located at 14400 Fern, Houston, TX 77079.
The secondary school is located in designated classrooms at Stratford High School for all core content classes. It is a school-within-a-school. Middle school elective classes take place at nearby Spring Forest Middle School.
Will transportation be provided?
No. If a student lives outside of the Thornwood or Spring Forest attendance zones, his/her parents are responsible for arranging safe, reliable transportation to Spring Branch Academic Institute.
Is after school care available?Yes, the YMCA does offer an after school program at Thornwood Elementary.
Will there be a lottery for admissions?
Yes, the school has a limited capacity. Due to the format of the school, there are no specific seats by grade level. All students who qualify for SBAI - and whose completed applications are received before the deadline - will be included in a lottery. The number of seats varies by year, depending on the number of students transitioning to middle school.
Students are only admitted from the wait list through the first semester of the school year. If the student from the waitlist is not placed before the lottery reopens, he/she must reapply to be added to the next year's lottery, but will have a priority status in the lottery.
How will siblings who qualify for Spring Branch Academic Institute be handled in the lottery?
Qualified siblings will have priority in the lottery.
Can siblings who don't qualify for Spring Branch Academic Institute transfer to Thornwood?
Siblings of students who are enrolled at SBAI may apply for a transfer to Thornwood or other nearby elementaries or Spring Forest Middle School following the usual guidelines for SBISD Residents. Transfers are greatly dependent upon available space at these schools. You will find the deadlines, criteria, and applications for transfers here. Please be aware the transfer process follows a different timeline than the SBAI process.
Will students attend the Primary Gifted Program or SPIRAL at Bendwood pull-out programs?
No. It is expected that students’ needs will be fully met within Spring Branch Academic Institute. They will be doing in-depth projects and hands-on learning experiences as part of their daily curriculum.
Will Spring Branch Academic Institute students be interacting with Thornwood and Spring Forest students?
Yes. The students in SBAI will attend music, art, and health fitness with their age peers at Thornwood. The school director and Thornwood principal will work to ensure SBAI students participate in the Thornwood special activities that are most appropriate. This would include activities such as author visits and field days. In Middle School, SBAI students choose elective and health fitness courses at Spring Forest Middle School and are integrated with SFMS students.
To what classroom will my elementary child be assigned?
All students will receive instruction from all of the teachers. The goal of the school is to provide instruction based on readiness and interest, not age. Students will receive instruction in small groups and individually. Students may be assigned a “homeroom” teacher for administrative purposes but all of the teachers in SBAI will build relationships with all the students in the school.
My child skipped a grade in the past. In what grade will my child be enrolled?
One of the goals of SBAI is to allow students to be challenged and continually learning without grade skipping. Students will receive instruction at their level of readiness in each subject area, without regard to their age appropriate grade level. In collaboration with school personnel, parents will be able to choose which grade level of record is best for the student – the age appropriate grade level, or the grade level based on previous grade skipping.