W. B. Travis Vanguard & Academy faq

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W. B. Travis Vanguard & Academy FAQ 2014-2015

Magnet applications accepted from January 12 to January 30, 2015

First Round letters will be mailed February 27, 2015.

Second Round letters will be mailed April 10, 2015.

How do I apply?

“For your convenience, apply online at www.dallasisd.org beginning January 12, 2015. Paper application will be available at any Dallas ISD school beginning December 8, 2014.  Paper applications may be submitted to your first choice school beginning January 12, 2015. Complete either an online or paper application, not both.  However, if you have more than one child, an application must be completed for each child applying for a Magnet Program.  Falsifying information on the Magnet application will invalidate the application, and the students application will be excluded from the selection process.” (DISD Website) Whether you apply online or apply on paper, a copy of the application AND all other documentation MUST BE BROUGHT TO TRAVIS DURING THE APPLICATION PERIOD.

What documentation must be brought to Travis as part of the application process?

  • Application (If you applied online, bring a printed copy of the application)

  • Copy of student’s semester report card

  • Norm Referenced Test (For Dallas ISD students, STAAR results are required)

  • Any existing IEP and/or 504 plan/accommodation plan, if applicable.

  • Proof of residency (only current electric, gas, water bill or lease/mortgage will be accepted) If you are residing with someone else, a Notarized “Proof of Residency Affidavit” along with an original utility bill will be required. (DISD Website)

What does it mean to be on the waiting list? 

“Receiving a place on the waiting list means that the applicant met the criteria for the program but that more applicants met the criteria than were seats available. When the number of qualified students exceeds the number of available seats in a magnet program, a rank ordered waiting list is used to determine which students will be placed in the available seats. Those students who meet the criteria but who are not chosen through the available selection process are placed on the waiting list for that program. If a student who has been accepted declines to accept a seat in the magnet program, the school will contact the next person on the waiting list to offer that student the seat.” (DISD Website)

What about transportation? 

“Transportation is provided for students residing more than two miles from magnet schools who are accepted in the magnet program and live within the Dallas ISD attendance boundary zone. Students will be notified of their respective pick-up point prior to the opening of school for the upcoming year. Students are responsible for their own transportation to the pick-up points. To secure a bus stop at the start of the school year, elementary or middle school students must include an elementary school pick-up site on their application. High school applicants must include a high school pick-up site on their application. Out of district students will be responsible for their own transportation.” (DISD Website)

When will I receive the transportation schedule? 

The Transportation office will send out route information the week before school starts. Travis is not involved in the setting of bus routes.

What if my child receives special education services? 

“It is the policy of Dallas ISD to afford equal opportunity in education to all students. Students receiving special education services are given the same consideration in the selection process as all other students. The individual needs of the student, as indicated in the Individualized Education Plan (IEP), can be addressed during any audition or performance assessment. It is the responsibility of the parent or guardian to provide the IEP or 504 Plan with the application.” (DISD Website)

If my child is currently attending a magnet program in another district and we move, are they automatically transferred into the Dallas ISD Magnet Program? 

“No, you will need to complete an application to enroll your child in the Dallas ISD Magnet Programs. Placement in a magnet program will be based on space availability, along with academic/assessment to which the student is applying.” (DISD Website)

Can I give my completed application to my child’s guidance counselor or teacher and have them mail or hand deliver it to the school that I wish to apply? 

“It is the parent’s responsibility to guarantee that your child’s application is sent to the appropriate school by the set deadline.” (DISD Website)

If I change my mind or if I am not satisfied with the magnet school, can I transfer back to my home school?

“Students will have a two-week window at the beginning of the school year in which to transfer back to their home school. After the two-week window expires, students are required to remain the full year.” (DISD Website)

Are hardship transfers accepted into the magnet programs?
“No, hardship transfers are not accepted. All students must apply to the magnet program for consideration.” (DISD Website)

What if my child doesn't have ITBS or STAAR scores?  [home schooled, private schooled, or out of Dallas ISD]

Non-DISD students will sign up for Saturday testing at time of application. Current DISD students will use the STAARS scores earned last Spring. Current DISD 3rd graders took the ITBS last Spring.

Can we retake the ITBS if my child’s scores don’t qualify?


What if you live out of district? Can you still attend Travis? Is there a tuition fee?

Applicants that are out of district can still be accepted to Travis once all other qualified IN district applicants have been offered placement. Currently the district does not require a tuition fee, but there may be a fee to take the ITBS test.

What world languages does Travis offer?

Travis offers Spanish or French as a REQUIRED elective to 7th and 8th grade students.

What extracurricular activities does Travis offer?  

Travis offers numerous extracurricular activities.  Our highly popular after-school enrichment program, taught by Travis teachers, offers classes in art, science fiction, digital photography, math and science team, debate, library and gardening, and other subjects.  In addition, Travis students participate in science competitions, Destination Imagination, TMSCA (math/science), Academic Pentathlon, UIL competitions, band and orchestra, First Lego League, Reflections (PTA arts competition) and National Junior Honor Society.

What is the rubric for GPA?

The GPA is an average of all core classes. Add the semester averages from Language Arts/Reading, Science, Social Studies, and Math and divide by the number of courses.

Does Travis offer advanced classes?

The entire Travis curriculum is designed to challenge talented and gifted students.  As student progress permits, Travis teachers expand on core required material to give students a deeper understanding of the subjects. All 6th, 7th & 8th grade classes are PreAP. By eighth grade, teachers are teaching high school material in their lesson plans.

Are they still dividing the district into areas and taking the top students from each quadrant?  Has that changed?

Yes, the 30%- 70% is used. The top 30% are automatically accepted. The remaining 70% are chosen according to the percentage of students from each of the Divisions..

My child is currently enrolled as a 5th grader at Travis, must they reapply for 6th grade? Do you have to reapply every year?

No. The Vanguard is a two year program, and the Academy is a three year program. Students in the 5th grade in good academic standing will have the opportunity to continue into the Academy program.

Does my child need to send in writing samples with their application?

No. An essay test is administered later at Travis as part of the application process

Why did they eliminate the portfolio of work?

The three magnet talented and gifted schools for grades 4-8, K.B. Polk, Alex Spence, and W. B. Travis, felt enough information could be derived from an on-site essay, GPA, and test scores.

When/where will the essay test and the Nagliari Non-verbal Aptitude Test be given?

They will be given AT Travis on several dates. Parents will sign up their child for one of the dates when they turn in their application.

How will the classroom teaching differ from what a typical school classroom teaches?

See previous questions. Students will get very few worksheets. They will mostly work on long-term projects that involve research and good time management. At Travis, more academic freedom goes hand-in-hand with more responsibilities.

How often is PE offered? 

In the Vanguard, three days a week. In the Academy, 6th graders take two semesters of PE and 7th & 8th take one semester yearly. PE meets as a daily class.

What specials are offered and how often?

Grades 4 and 5 take gym, art, & general music. Grades 6-8 attend gym art/computer/ orchestra/ or band daily. In addition to PE, grades 7-8 are offered electives of drama, art, band, orchestra, computers & math competition..

Do students have access to computers?

Every classroom has computers, and both the Vanguard and the Academy have computer labs that offer fairly open access to students. In addition several of the staff holds computer education certifications and/or advanced degrees in technology.

Do you offer sports?

As a part of the Magnet school program, Travis cannot offer UIL sports. Students are permitted to participate in sports through their local middle schools.

What if my child is coming from a Montessori school and doesn't have a GPA?

We ask parents to request their child’s teacher to assign a numeric grade.

Will the essay question be published before the application interview so they can prepare? Or will the kids need to do it on the fly?

The essay question will NOT be published before the essay test. (There is no interview component to Travis applications.) The essay prompts have been chosen to gauge the student’s ability to be expressive in writing and is not testing factual knowledge.

May I see the rubric for grading the essay? Will this be practiced in Language Arts? What, specifically, will you be looking for in the essay? Structure, substance, length, etc. Please be specific. Also, how can we help our kids practice for writing the essay?

We do not share the rubric at the time of accepting the application. Writing is part of a student’s curriculum beginning in pre-kindergarten. All language arts classrooms at all grade levels should be practicing writing throughout the school year.

We look for structure, complete sentences and thoughts, creativeness, a beginning, middle, and end. We ask the students to write a minimum of 1 ½ to 2 pages.

You could have your child write essays or stories at home and check them for the above mentioned items.

Is priority given to DISD students over private school students?

Will arriving early on the first day make a difference to my child’s application?

HARDLY EVER. Travis is required to record date and time of application, but Over-all application score, which quadrant of the school district they live in, the ITBS Math score, the ITBS reading score, and the essay test score are matched and considered BEFORE checking date/time. Date & Time are rarely, if ever, needed after using all the other criteria to break a tie. Arriving in the middle of the night before the first day to turn in the application FIRST is NOT going to guarantee ANYONE a place for the coming year.

Where do Travis students go after they leave Travis?

Short answer: Mostly, they go where they want.

Long answer: They go on to any of the magnet and choice programs. They show up at top-rated private High Schools, as well as the rest of the comprehensive High Schools. Many high schools take a high interest in Travis grads.

What do working parents do with their kids after school until they get home from work?

Travis has an after-school program intended for extended or advanced learning as well as tutoring opportunities, but it is Tuesday and Thursday and meets only 20 weeks of the 36 week school year.

How does a parent get a copy of the STAARS test scores or the ITBS test scores?

Contact your school counselor. Contact the school’s test coordinator to sign up to take the ITBS.

Montessori math is taught very differently from DISD, and math scores are quite typically lower on standardized math tests. Would it be appropriate for me to obtain a letter from the head of my child's school or from the math teacher explaining this, and including this with his application?

No, we can only go on the scores received.

Does ethnicity and/or gender have any influence on acceptance?


Can I apply to several magnet schools to increase my child’s acceptance chances?

NO. The application form has a place to pick your first choice AND an alternate choice in case you are not accepted at the first choice. (The first choice school will automatically forward your application on for you.)

All applications are entered into a central computer database by all magnets. If your child shows up in the database as having filed multiple applications, then ALL your child’s applications will be VOIDED and removed from consideration for ANY school.

What is the Sibling Rule and how is it used?

  • Applicants must first qualify regardless of any other consideration.

  • The applicant must have a sibling who is CURRENTLY at Travis and will still be at Travis during the 2015-2016 school year. A sibling applying to Travis would not count.

  • Siblings are defined as brother, sister, half-brother, half-sister, step-brother or step-sister, living in the same household.

If an applicant meets these requirements, he/she will be placed at the head of the list for open spots.

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