River Oaks Elementary School in Houston | How To Get In!

River Oaks Elementary School in Houston is one of HSID’s Magnet Vanguard School for students in kindergarten through fifth grade. Admission into this program is competitive and depends on the results of admissions tests plus a number of other factors, depending on grade of entry.

River Oaks Elementary School in Houston | SCHOOL OVERVIEW

River Oaks Elementary School in Houston, located in River Oaks, one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods, is committed to developing “well-rounded, high-achieving students” and “producing future leaders”. The River Oaks Elementary Vanguard program was created especially for gifted and talented (G/T) students. G/T students follow a deep, complex and accelerated curriculum. The goal is to foster creative thinking, problem-solving and leadership potential. All students take the International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Programme.

According to SchoolDigger, a website that calculates school rankings based on STAAR Reading, and STAAR Mathematics test scores on an annual basis, River Oaks Elementary School was ranked 2nd among 170 elementary schools in the HSID. It also ranked 31st of 4259 Texas public elementary schools (which means it had a higher rank than 99.3% of elementary schools). The ratio of students to teachers is 17.8, with 680 students attending the school. The school has a somewhat diverse student body, made up of approximately 43 percent White students, 25 percent Asian students and 17 percent Hispanic students.

River Oaks Elementary School in Houston: Odds of Admission

Admissions to the River Oaks Elementary School is competitive. In 2015-16, 1817 students applied for 118 spots in the school, but only 1053 of these applicants qualified for the Vanguard program’s strict requirements. Overall about 11 percent of the qualified applicants were offered a seat. In Kindergarten, the odds of admission were slightly higher (14%) than the overall chance of getting a seat in any grade.

Also please note that schools reserve 25% of seats for qualifying siblings, so in many cases the odds are more difficult than these numbers show in some schools. On the other hand, not everyone accepts a seat who is offered, so some movement off the waitlist (if you are placed on it – see below) can be expected.

Data from website of Houston Independent School District. “Chances of Being Accepted at Magnet Schools”

River Oaks Elementary School in Houston: TEST AND OTHER CRITERIa

Vanguard School HSID: Determining Gifted and Talented Status

There are multiple components that are considered when determining if a child is gifted and talented and whether a child will be offered a seat at the River Oaks Elementary School in Houston. These components change depending on whether the child is entering kindergarten or is entering in grades first through twelfth.

The matrix for students entering kindergarten consists of:

  •       Woodcock-Johnson test scores (out of 42 points). A school readiness test.

  •    Wechsler Nonverbal Scale of Ability scores (out of 42 points). This test              assesses reasoning and problem-solving skills.
  •       Parent Recommendation (out of 16 points)
  • The matrix for students entering grades 1 through 12 consists of:

  •       Iowa or Stanford scores (out of 40 points)

  •       CogAT scores (out of 30 points)
  •       Final Report Card grades for core subjects (out of 20 points)
  •       One Teacher Recommendation Form (out of 10 points)
  • Each of these different categories contribute to the overall score. If the student meets the minimum score that is required, they are then identified as Gifted and Talented and can be considered for admission to River Oaks Elementary school. High scores on the assessment tests are essential if your child is going to beat the odds and be admitted into this school. In order for your child to be ready for these challenging tests, we recommend you review every type of sample question your child will face on the CogAT, as well as access 25 free questions by clicking the button now below:


    River Oaks Elementary School: Application Process

    The admissions process is different depending on whether the family is zoned for the River Oaks (Avalon Place, Oak Estates, and Royden Oaks neighborhoods) or if the family is applying to the magnet program. Zoned Students will be accepted as long as families submit proper documentation to show residency. Students who are not zoned for the school apply through the HISD Vanguard magnet process, which requires a special application and supplementary materials/testing. Zoned students must also submit an application if they want to be considered for the Vanguard magnet program.

    Vanguard Schools Application

    The application can be submitted online or by paper. The time period for Magnet Programs applications in “Phase 1” is generally between October and early December. Families can choose up to 5 magnet programs and must rank the schools in order of preference. After this Phase 1 period, applications can still be submitted for schools with space between December and end of May.

    For parents applying for Kindergarten in a Vanguard Magnet School such as River Oaks Elementary, parents will be asked to choose a test date when they submit the application.

    Magnet Vanguard Program Lottery

    As of the 2016-2017 school year, you could submit applications to up to ten magnet programs with five of them being Vanguard. The deadline for testing and applications is usually in December. Once this deadline has passed, each school holds a lottery (for all the students who passed the test) to determine who will be accepted, notifying those who obtained a seat by late March. If your child applied but was not chosen, they are placed on a waiting list in the order that the names were drawn. If your child is accepted, you have until April to inform the school if you want to attend.

    Obtaining a spot in a Vanguard Magnet School in Houston is a challenge that can be complex and complicated. If your child meets all of the requirements, getting the enriched curriculum that is offered at these schools can be exactly what he/she needs in order to reach their full potential. By finding out all of the information needed to help them, you can assist them in getting one step closer to meeting their goals and being successful.


    At Origins Tutoring, we believe that preparation for the admissions assessments for River Oaks Elementary School does not have to be daunting and exasperating; instead, it can represent an important opportunity along a student’s path to learning mastery. Indeed, the perspectives and abilities acquired during preparation provide a foundation that can last throughout a student’s school career and beyond.

    Our two-track approach to mastering content and improving test-taking skills means that students will not only thoroughly understand the fundamental concepts and skills tested by the River Oaks Elementary School admission assessments, but they will also excel in using essential techniques to improve attitude, endurance and focus.

    Our students hone their independent thinking skills while developing a resilient mindset so they can perform on test day in a powerful, resourceful, creative and calm manner. Each student in our program receives the undivided attention and expertise of a dynamic and experienced coach who provides the framework to support each student on his unique path to becoming a master learner.

    Please contact us now for a complimentary consultation to discuss how we can help your child achieve his or her personal best on the admission assessments required by River Oaks Elementary School in Houston.