AIS Admissions Policy
Austin International School (AIS) strives to attract motivated students from diverse backgrounds who are well-suited for our trilingual educational programs. We actively seek students and families that share in our school’s vision, mission, and core values. Students admitted to AIS are expected to be active contributors to our local community and the world at large. As Austin International School grows, our admissions policy and procedures will continue to reflect this philosophy.
Austin International School does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, national origin, ancestry, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or disability. While AIS takes into consideration various criteria in admitting students, no individuals or group of people will receive exclusive treatment or consideration at the time of admission.
The AIS Admissions Policy is closely linked with other policy documents that drive the school. These links include:
- Academic Honesty Policy. Once admitted, students and families are expected to abide engage in and support academically honest practices. This policy document explains our commitment to academic honesty, what constitutes academic misconduct, and the practices and procedures in place to support our policy.
- Assessment Policy. Assessment data is critical in informing instructional practices, differentiation strategies, and curricular growth and development in the school. This policy explains how students will be assessed during and after admission and how assessment data will inform other practices in the school.
- Curriculum Policy. Our school does not follow a single, prescribed curriculum, but rather a thoughtfully-planned combination of leading international curricula. This policy explains our curricular philosophy, curricular commitments, and overall structure of our educational program.
- Language Policy. At the heart of AIS’s mission is a commitment to immersive instruction of languages. This policy explains our language-based philosophies as well as the practices we have in place to support students with varying language backgrounds.
- Special Education Needs Policy. While AIS does not discriminate on the basis of a special educational need, we are only able to admit students whom we are able to fully support. This policy document explains how students, once admitted, are supported for certain special educational needs.
Admissions procedures are administered by the Admissions Coordinator. Families are required to complete an on-line application for admission and to provide supporting documentation as needed. While initial application deadlines will be set for local applicants, AIS maintains a policy of rolling admissions for applicants outside of the Austin area. Spaces are limited by best practices for international immersion education as well as requirements established by AIS’s accrediting and licensing agencies. Families are invited to contact the Admissions Coordinator to determine space availability.
Once the application and all supporting documentation are submitted, the material will be sent to the Admissions Committee for review, consideration, and admissions recommendation. The Admissions Committee is comprised of:
- The Director of Primary
- The Admissions Coordinator
- A Cycle Representative
The admissions recommendation from the Admissions Committee will be sent to the Head of School who is responsible for the final decision on all applications for admission as well as grade-level placement. All admissions decisions from the Head of School are considered final. Though inquiries regarding final admissions decisions may be sent to the Admissions Coordinator, AIS will only provide limited information regarding the criteria used for admissions and/or grade-level placement decisions.
A number of criteria will inform the admissions decision; however, no single criterion will determine the final decision on admission and/or grade-level placement. These criteria include:
- Family commitment to the AIS vision, mission, and core values
- Applicant’s behavioral, effort, and attendance history
- Previous enrollment at AIS
- Siblings enrolled at AIS
- Children of members of AIS staff
- Students transferring from another international school
- Students transferring from a French-medium school
- Students transferring from a Spanish-medium school
- Families employed by diplomatic missions
Please note that this list is not exhaustive and that criteria have been provided in no particular order.
Elementary School. Austin International School is the founder and leader in international seamless education. We engage students in a unique academic course that builds on the success of the French national curriculum. French, Spanish, and English teachers work in teams to develop seamless curricular units to ensure the continuity of conceptual learning, whilst also maintaining a commitment to immersive language learning. Both cultural and linguistic learning are blended seamlessly into the elementary curricular units from pre-kindergarten (maternelle) through fifth grade (CM2).
Secondary School. The AIS Secondary School program builds on the strength of the Elementary School seamless curriculum, while welcoming students with varying linguistic and academic backgrounds. Students admitted into the AIS Secondary School will learn discrete subjects and will be further supported in their affective growth and education. Our Secondary School program maintains our commitment to immersive language learning and deepens our commitment to STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) education.
Accreditation and Licensing. AIS is licensed to operate by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (TDFPS). Our academic program is fully accredited (homologué) by the French Ministry of Education and is supported by the Mission Laïque Française (Mlf). Our early childhood program (maternelle) is further accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). As part of our strategic plan, we are seeking further accreditation for all programs from the Council of International Schools (CIS) and the Independent Schools Association of the Southwest (ISAS), an accrediting organization of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS).
- Families and students are required to embrace the school’s vision, mission, and core values
- Families must be willing to support the school’s Positive Discipline program
- An application for admission must be submitted on-line
- Families will be required to submit a language survey regarding the applicant’s language background.
- For 4th grade (cycle 3) and above, a minimum of two years of report cards including qualitative comments from teachers must be submitted. In the absence of qualitative comments, AIS will require families to send a recommendation form to the applicant’s previous school.
- AIS will consider applications from students with special educational needs [SEN] (see further information in the “Special Education Needs” section below). For all applicants with SEN:
- The applicant’s educational psychologist’s reports and/or individualized education plan (IEP) from a previous school must be submitted. Failure to disclose and/or submit this information will result in admissions disqualification.
- AIS may require additional outside testing based on a school’s previous records. In this case, reports from the outside testing must be submitted before an admission decision can be made.
- Applicants may be required to complete admissions testing as part of the admissions process. The Admissions Coordinator will inform families what test(s), if any, will be required as part of the admissions process.
- Applicants will be invited to meet and interview with:
- The Admissions Coordinator
- The Director of Primary
- The classroom teacher(s)
- Associated fees:
- Families are required to pay a non-refundable application fee.
- Families may accept an offer of admission by paying the non-refundable registration fee.
Elementary School Applicants
- All children must be fully toilet trained. There are no exceptions to this requirement.
- Age requirements:
- Pre-K3 (PS) applicants must be 3 years old by December 31st
- Pre-K4 (MS) applicants must be 4 years old by December 31st
Secondary School Applicants
- Applicants are admitted based on their previous academic experience. They must be suitably prepared for entry into the AIS Secondary School program.
- The admissions focus is for the AIS Secondary School is holistic and not based solely on academic results. Elements of the applicant’s records used for a determination of admission include: effort, attendance, punctuality, attitude, commitment, contribution to the community, and shared values, among others.
Families needing clarification or support with any of the above should contact the Admissions Coordinator in the first instance. Exceptions to any of the above admissions requirements will be made on a case-by-case basis by the school’s Leadership Team.
Elementary School (pre-kindergarten through 5th grade)
- Cycle 1 (Pre-K3, Pre-K4, and Kindergarten)
- No prerequisite
- Cycle 2 (1st grade, 2nd grade, and 3rd grade)
- Advanced: French
- Intermediate: English
- Cycle 3 (4th grade and 5th grade)
- Advanced: French and English
- Intermediate: Spanish
Middle School (6th, 7th, and 8th grades)
- French Program: Advanced French and English
- International Program: Advanced English and Spanish
Special Education Needs
Austin International School maintains a policy of non-discrimination. We recognize, however, that our unique immersion setting cannot meet the needs of every student. For students with special education needs (SEN), limited accommodations are possible within the context of our SEN Policy as well as the student’s individualized education plan (IEP), where applicable.
AIS reserves the right to refuse admission if:
- The student does not reside with a parent or recognized adult guardian
- It is determined that the student will not benefit educationally from our academic program
- Academic and/or behavioral records indicate that the applicant is unsuitable for the AIS community
- The SEN accommodations required by the student cannot be met by the school
- The applicant fails to provide complete and accurate information about a student’s SEN and/or behavioral history during the application process
Applicants from students with special educational needs are considered if:
- There is a high degree of parental support for the school’s program for the child.
- The family or sponsoring government or agency provides the school with a valid evaluation conducted by a licensed educational psychologist, licensed neurologist, or school district.
- The AIS Leadership Team has a high degree of confidence that the school is able to meet the academic, social, and emotional needs of the student and that those needs can be met largely, if not exclusively, in a mainstream, trilingual immersion environment with standard differentiation of instruction and interventions by the classroom teachers.
- The child’s learning differences/needs do not impede achievement of the overall learning objectives of the class.
- The child does not pose a threat to other children or the learning environment.
- Children who enter the school on an IEP will continue to be evaluated and have new IEPs prepared at the expense of the family or the sponsoring government or agency.
If, after admission, it is determined that AIS is no longer possible to accommodate the applicant’s special educational needs, the school will recommend an alternative educational environment to the family and will provide transfer application documentation as needed.
Review process. The AIS Admissions Policy is a living document and will be reviewed periodically to reflect current admissions practices in the school, international best practices for admissions, and other practices required by government or accrediting agencies. The policy was first drafted in October 2016 and this version was last modified on November 30th, 2016. Contributors to this policy include:
- Head of School (Jacques A. Weber)
- Director of Primary (Conrad Wildsmith)
- Chief Operating Officer (April O’Quinn)
- Admissions Coordinator (Mathilde Sonnier)
Full, comprehensive review of this document will be required during the first five months of even numbered years. Other ad hoc modifications may be also made as required without advanced notice.
Introduction to New Community Members. Applicants and families will be introduced to this policy at the time of admission. Educators new to AIS will be familiarized with this policy during orientation and will be invited to contribute to its development during their tenure at AIS. Requests for clarifications regarding this policy should be addressed to the Admissions Coordinator in the first instance. Other members of the AIS Leadership Team may also be able to provide limited responses to inquiries regarding this policy.
Communication of Policy. This policy is published on the school’s website, included in the parent handbook, and is readily available from the Admissions Office. While every effort will be made to communicate updates to this policy to all AIS stakeholders, modifications may be made at any time without advanced notice.