Board of Education to Consider Two New Magnet Schools

Proposed campuses would expand options for students seeking specialty schools with academically challenging courses

The HISD Board of Education will consider a proposal Thursday to create two new magnet schools that will offer a highly rigorous curriculum emphasizing science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

If approved, the proposed Energy Institute High School and the Baylor College of Medicine Academy at Ryan would immediately begin enrolling students for the upcoming 2013-2014 school year. The Energy Institute High School would begin with a class of ninth-grade students and add a grade level each year to eventually serve students in grades 9-12.  The Baylor College of Medicine Academy at Ryan would open with a sixth-grade class and eventually serve students in grades 6-8.  Earlier this year, the Houston Independent School District Board of Education authorized the district to apply for $12 million in federal magnet school funds for these two new magnets and six others (click here for more information).

HISD Superintendent Terry Grier is bringing the proposal forward in an effort to continue the district’s tradition of strong magnet programs that prepare graduates to contribute to Houston’s status as a global economic power.

“HISD’s strength lies in our ability to offer every parent and student outstanding school choice options, both in neighborhood schools and in city-wide magnet schools such as these,” Dr. Grier said. “We are serious about becoming great all over, and that means seizing every opportunity to meet students’ ever-changing needs.”

Energy Institute High School

The Energy Institute High School will capitalize on Houston’s world-leading energy industry, representing the fields of geoscience, alternative energy, and offshore technology.  HISD is expanding its existing partnership with the Independent Petroleum Association of America to enhance the school’s curriculum and instruction.

“We are pleased to partner with the IPAA  in this endeavor,” said Dr. Andrew Houlihan, HISD’s chief of major projects. “IPAA will serve in multiple advisory roles and will also assist the students, teachers and school community through energy-related professional development, school-wide events, and externships for students.”

A final decision has not been made as to where the school would be located, although the former Holden Elementary School campus, located at 812 W. 28th Street, is among the options under consideration.

Baylor College of Medicine Academy at Ryan

The Baylor College of Medicine Academy at Ryan will be aligned with HISD’s prestigious DeBakey High School for Health Professions in the Texas Medical Center.  Expanding this partnership with Baylor College of Medicine will provide more students with access to the faculty of one of America’s leading medical schools.

“For more than 40 years, HISD and Baylor College of Medicine have enjoyed a highly successful partnership in operating the DeBakey High School for Health Professions,” said Dr. Paul Klotman, BCM’s president and CEO. “The school’s remarkable success demonstrates what can be accomplished when the public and private sectors come together to address pressing educational needs. The BCM Academy at Ryan is a logical extension of our shared commitment to Houston’s future.”

Even though the new magnet middle school will be open to all students without admission requirements, the level of academic rigor will be especially high.

“We believe the Baylor College of Medicine Academy at Ryan can provide educational opportunities comparable to those at the most elite private schools in the Houston area, and the highest-rated public middle schools in the US,” said Dr. Nancy Moreno, professor and senior associate director of BCM’s Center for Educational Outreach. “Students in this new program will benefit from a curriculum that increases their academic and social preparedness to compete and succeed in the best high schools in Houston, including the DeBakey High School for Health Professions.”

The new magnet school would be located at the historic Ryan Middle School site, 2610 Elgin.

Recruiting students and teachers

If the Board of Education approves creating the two new magnets, representatives from both schools will be on hand for HISD’s annual School Choice Fair, scheduled for Saturday, April 27 at the Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center (4400 W. 18th Street).  More than 100 HISD schools will be on hand for the event, which is from 9 a.m. until noon.

In addition to recruiting students, HISD is recruiting teachers to staff these new magnet schools and other HISD campuses.  Instructors with a strong background in the science, technology, engineering and math fields as well as a background in the common core subjects are encouraged to apply.

To learn more about these available positions, click here.  The application deadline for teachers is April 22.

The board’s regular monthly meeting begins at 5 p.m. on Thursday, April 11, 2013 in the board auditorium of the Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center (4400 W. 18th Street).

The board is scheduled to receive status updates on a number of projects and vote on several programs, contracts, and grants. For a full copy of the Board meeting agenda, click here.  The board meeting will be carried live on HISD’s website and on the HISD Channel, which can be found on Comcast Channel 18 or AT&T Channel 99.