Expand Student Experiences
A key area of focus for the SAISD Foundation is to expand student experiences both inside and outside of the classroom for students across all schools in San Antonio ISD. Together with the talented educators on our campuses and the curriculum teams in the central office, we are investing in new opportunities and resources focused in STEM, arts and literacy.
Increase Post Secondary Success
A key area of focus for the SAISD Foundation is to increase the postsecondary success of the talented students who graduate from high schools in San Antonio ISD. With our donors and volunteers, we are helping them reach their full potential and thrive both while in our schools and beyond! For many of our students, this is changing their trajectory and breaking generational cycles of poverty. In San Antonio ISD, just 19% of our students’ parents have had any postsecondary education. In our efforts to level the playing field for our students, we support both ongoing programs and current initiatives.
PK-12th grade initiatives for THRIVING STUDENTS
We invest in teachers to expand our students’ experiences in our schools with a focus on STEM, Arts and Literacy. When you donate to the SAISD Foundation you are supporting programs like these.
Field trips bring one-dimensional lessons to life and provide hands-on learning to make concepts memorable.
These multisensory learning experiences also create enthusiasm for subjects that are difficult to replicate through other means. Workplace-based field trips play a critical role in sparking student interest in a multitude of career options. Through dedicated partnerships across the city and beyond, we are working to grow these valuable experiences and ensure they are accessible to all our students by covering transportation costs as needed.
Our goal is to engage 20,000 students annually. Through new partnerships and increased investment, we can reach this goal. You have a role to play in expanding student experiences in SAISD!
Donate with Field Trip Fund in the comments to help us reach our goal.
San Antonio ISD teachers can apply for Field Trip Support online!
Investing in 700+ educator grants is a key way we invest in ensuring equity of opportunity in our students’ experiences.
We believe that our teachers know what our students need to help them succeed. As an independent 501c3 that is a part of the SAISD family, we are able to work closely with our campus leaders and educators to fund what is the best fit for their students and their campuses. From classroom mini-grants to whole school principal grants, together we are expanding experiences and opportunities for our students every school day! Click here to read more about what our talented teachers are implementing both in the classroom and after school through our educator grant program.
Embracing Our Cultural Heritage
Our aim is to enhance and expand these valuable and vibrant programs in our schools. In partnership with the SAISD Fine Arts Department, we enhance current programs with instruments and the districtwide Mariachi showcase. We also support the strategic expansion of elementary Mariachi programs to increase early exposure to instruments and infuse talent into the growing secondary programs.
With critical investments to re-launch Ballet Folklorico in middle and high schools, we support students in popular elementary programs with an opportunity to grow their practice. With additional investments, we envision SAISD programs regaining their reputation once again as pioneers and leaders in these art forms in Texas schools.
Read more about the launch of the Ballet Folklorico program here.
Building skills and interest through gateway programs to STEM careers.
We have seen the powerful impact that robotics teams have on our students and are dedicated to ensuring all schools who want to host a team can do so. We are working with SAISD’s Ed Tech and CTE Departments to fund new teams and relaunch inactive teams. With a grant from The Najim Charitable Foundation in 2022 we also supported the district in hosting their second FIRST® district-wide tournament. This tournament gave new teams an opportunity to hone their skills and build their confidence before they compete with longer-standing programs in city-wide tournaments. Take a peek at this video to hear from students in the growing team at Washington Elementary. We know that in addition to the skills students are building through robotics and other stem activities like 3D Print programs, eSports and early robotics they are also powerful gateway experiences to high-demand STEM careers.
In partnership with SAISD Science, CTE, and Physical Education Department we are building out garden-based education.
Together with our partners, we are funding the enhancement and expansion of full-circle garden-based education. These investments include soil-based gardens, hydroponics and healthy food choices. Teachers have long known that school-based soil gardens are a powerful hands-on method to teach science standards across multiple grade levels and to engage students in social-emotional learning. Beyond grasping key science concepts, teachers share stories of students’ growth in pride, confidence and nurturing as they see what they have planted blossom. We are seeing the same impacts in the use of hydroponic grow walls in our schools. The grow walls we have purchased have already been incorporated into classroom instruction to support concepts such as ecology, including photosynthesis and sustainability, agriculture, and culinary arts through farm-to-table lessons.
These growing programs complement the work being done across elementary schools and middle schools through Physical Education with CHEF where healthy food and nutrition are being taught and experienced. The foods and recipes discussed are also being featured in the school cafeterias thanks to SAISD Food and Nutrition and some will be grown in the garden, or in the expanding hydroponics programs – truly bringing the greens full circle.
With the support of Methodist Healthcare Ministries, Gardopia Gardens, and H-E-B we are working to continue to expand this work across more schools to enhance learning opportunities and decrease social determinants of health.
Through Book Buddies, we provide tens of thousands of free children’s books to San Antonio ISD students.
The pivotal goal of our program is to help children grow their own home libraries enabling them to be strong and proud readers. Share your love of reading with students as we work together to increase literacy in San Antonio’s urban core! With the help of volunteers and donors, Book Buddies delivers new and gently used books to campuses across San Antonio ISD. Our innovative mobile book bus allows us to deliver books efficiently, reach more students, and generate excitement in reading.
Help us reach our goal of delivering 50,000 books to students annually! Sign up for a two-hour shift to help prepare and sort books on Saturdays 10 am-12 pm.
Host a book drive and drop off books at our Port San Antonio warehouse on Saturdays. Find out how.
We are seeking funds to offer two new books to grades 1-5, enriching their reading experience. With an estimated cost of approximately $10 per student, your support is pivotal in ensuring the success of this initiative. Make a gift and note “Book Buddies” online in the comments box or the memo line on your check.
Supporting studentsBeyond SAISD
The SAISD Foundation funds a number of programs that support students in reaching their workforce and college goals after they leave our schools. When you support the SAISD Foundation you are investing in programs and initiatives like these.
Our College Emergency Gap Awards help students get from college acceptance to college graduation.
The program supports students with some of the greatest potential and the most significant financial challenges. For students not yet in college, we help pay for housing deposits, enrollment, and orientation fees that are required before their financial aid package kicks in. For students already enrolled in college, emergency gap awards might include replacing a computer, buying equipment that other students in the program already have, or booking a flight home from an out-of-state college/university for the holidays to see family. On average, Emergency Gap awardees persist through to their sophomore year of college at a rate that is 18% higher than the district average. The average Emergency Gap Fund award is $300, making it easy to make a BIG difference. Learn more here on our impact page.
For First-Gen College Students, acceptance to college is just a first step.
Our Postsecondary Navigators (PSNs) provide hands-on support for students through complex enrollment processes and troubleshoot with students through to college graduation. As history, in 2021, The City of San Antonio Human Services Department, the SAISD Foundation, and Communities in Schools partnered to leverage city funding that allowed the SAISD Foundation to hire three full-time Postsecondary Navigators to assist Class of 2020 graduates whose lives had been put on hold during the pandemic. This work resulted in hundreds of students enrolling in college and workforce development programs in San Antonio. In the fall of 2022, we received funding from USAA to deepen and expand this work. We have seen a significant impact with 56% of Class of 2022 graduates having enrolled in college within a year from high school graduation – a new high. Additionally, persistence to the second year of college increased for the Class of 2021 with the added support of our PSNs to the hard work of SAISD’s Postsecondary Department. In July 2023, The City of San Antonio awarded us two years of APRA funding to support this program.
The College Tour program has deep roots in San Antonio ISD and the SAISD Foundation.
Developed as a teacher-led program with a small group of students from Brackenridge High School, we have been proud to fund and be a part of growing our college tour program to ensure students have both exposure to colleges and can visit the colleges where they have been accepted prior to making a decision to enroll. As part of a landmark gift by Valero, at its peak, the program involved 172 students in out-of-state tours and hundreds more in tours across the state of Texas. Because over 90% of SAISD’s college-bound students choose to attend a college or university in the state of Texas, in 2022, the SAISD Foundation partnered with SAISD’s Office of Postsecondary Success to expand and increase visits to these universities and better connect students with organizations and academic offices they will need to succeed. With the sunsetting of the Valero grant and a post-pandemic environment, in the 2023-24 school year we brought back limited out-of-state group college exposure trips for Juniors and Sophomore to increase their awareness of college options nationally. Those Additionally, Seniors who have been accepted. Additionally, seniors who have been accepted to go out of state, are still eligible for SAISD Foundation supported exposure or enrollment trips. Enrollment trips are when a student and a guardian visit their future school, after receiving an acceptance letter and financial aid package covering at least 90% of costs. Students should visit with their high school College Bound Advisors for details and information.
Annually, we award 150+ student scholarships to support students enrolled in colleges and universities in San Antonio and the country.
We continue to raise funds to offer additional scholarships each year because we know that our scholarship support is making a difference. For example, our class of 2021 scholarship recipients persisted to the second year of college at 88% which is significantly higher than the national average. Students who receive scholarships through the SAISD Foundation also receive support from our programs including our dorm room drive in the summer and our multi-year remote mentor program. The SAISD Foundation accepts donations, planned gifts, and bequests to create scholarships that support the dreams and aspirations of SAISD students pursuing all forms of postsecondary education. As an independent 501 c 3 that is a part of the SAISD family, we are able to work closely with campus-based College Bound Advisors and Lead Counselors to make the best matches and fill the highest of needs. Learn more in our students’ voices about their journeys, where they land after graduation and the impact an investment in them can make on our Impact Page. Short stories. Lasting impact.
Research and data from our own students have shown that students who earn 9 hours of dual credit while in high school are more likely to enroll in college and persist.
We work in partnership with SAISD to expand the breadth and depth of dual credit offerings across SAISD high schools at no cost to students. The past $1.5M investment by The Greehey Family Foundation to support tuition payments to Alamo Colleges and four-year higher education institutions for more students to take dual credit has been critical to making this expansion possible. This investment and the hard work of the SAISD Advanced Academics Team resulted in 20% of the Class of 2022 graduating from high school with 12 or more hours of college credit and more than 8,000 dual credit seats in total.