Frequently Asked Questions

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, this means at least a standard score of 145+ on two or more sections (verbal, non-verbal, full scale, or similar).  Entering Kindergarteners must be reading on a DRA2 level of 8 (mid-1st grade level).  Applications are available through SBISD school counselors.

What grade levels does the school serve?
The school currently serves students age appropriate for K-10th grade.  Please note that Kindergarteners are expected to be at a mid-1st grade level on SBISD reading assessments. An 11th grade will be added for the 2020-21 school year.

Where will the school be located?
The elementary school is housed at Thornwood Elementary.  Thornwood is located at 14400 Fern Dr., Houston 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. Thornwood has a YMCA after-school care program. This program will be available to students attending Spring Branch Academic Institute in grades K-5. There is tuition required to participation in this program.

Will there be a lottery for admissions?
Yes, due to the limited capacity of the school.  Due to the format of the school, there are no specific seats by grade level.  All students who qualify for the Spring Branch Academic Institute and whose completed applications are received before the deadline will be included in the lottery.  Applications received after the deadline will be put at the end of the waiting list.

Any student entering Spring Branch ISD outside of the lottery timeline has 30 calendar days to provide information about gifted status and if applicable, to apply for Spring Branch Academic Institute.  Qualifying students will be placed on the wait list.  If the student is not placed before the lottery reopens, he/she must reapply to be added to the next year's lottery.

How will siblings who qualify for Spring Branch Academic Institute be handled in the lottery?
There is no preferential placement for siblings.

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 following the usual guidelines for SBISD Residents.  Transfers are greatly dependent upon available space at Thornwood.  You will find the deadlines, criteria, and applications for transfers here.  Please be aware the transfer process follows a different timeline than the Spring Branch Academic Institute application 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 students?
Yes. The students in Spring Branch Academic Institute will attend music, art, and health fitness with their age peers at Thornwood. The school director and Thornwood principal will work to ensure Spring Branch Academic Institute students participate in the Thornwood special activities that are most appropriate. This would include activities such as author visits and field days.

To what classroom will my 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 Spring Branch Academic Institute will build relationship 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 Spring Branch Academic Institute 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.