It’s one of the most important decisions you’ll make in your child’s life, and parents go to extreme measures to get their kids into the best school districts in town—especially when the price for private school is too high for many families to afford.

Luckily, there are a lot of free choices when it comes to quality education for school-aged kids in the city. Fort Worth Independent School District (ISD) is by far the largest district in the vicinity. It serves more than 86,000 students in 83 elementary schools, 29 middle schools, 18 high schools, and 16 other specially designated campuses. Fort Worth ISD provides free pre-K to every student living inside the district, regardless of income, giving all kids the chance to be mentally and socially prepared to succeed in kindergarten and beyond.

Fort Worth ISD has also developed its Gold Seal Programs of Choice, which is an innovative approach to individualized education that started in 2012 to give students, and their parents, greater choice when it comes to selecting educational goals. These carefully curated programs focus on teaching students a specific skill that could translate into an immediate job after graduation or increased college readiness. Programs include culinary arts, automotive technology, and a World Languages Institute. Students apply through a lottery system, but the program is completely free and open to any student living within the district.

Of course, the suburbs of Fort Worth are brimming with excellent districts and opportunities for students to learn, too. In fact, Tarrant County is home to 20 different school districts. A few leaders in the pack are Grapevine-Colleyville ISD, Keller ISD, Northwest ISD, and Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD, which offers an excellent Spanish emersion program that begins in elementary school.

A Love of Aviation Takes Flight

At Northwest ISD, innovative engineers are readying themselves to make history. The district is working to foster students’ love of aviation, flight, and electronics from as early as eighth grade, with the Academy of Aeronautics and Aviation Sciences. The program gives students the opportunity to pursue advanced academics and college courses as part of their high school curriculum. Students can seek dual enrollment for a variety of affordable coursework leading them to a bright career path.

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