Preliminary magnet review shows improvement among probationary programs – 2 slated to have status restored

Editor’s note: This story has been corrected. Neither Jane Long Academy’s Allied Health Sciences magnet program nor its Futures Academy is impacted by this review.

The HISD administration gave a preliminary view on Thursday of magnet programs that would be affected by the application of district enrollment criteria and state academic standards – an annual review process that was developed in 2013.

The systematic review applies minimum standards for magnet programs for attracting students from outside their attendance boundaries. Schools are also required to meet minimum student achievement standards to maintain magnet status.

Three schools whose magnet programs were placed on probationary status last year are poised to come off the probationary list as the result of this review, and two magnet programs are slated to lose magnet designation after falling short of minimum standards for the second consecutive year. Those schools would lose their magnet designation after the 2014-2015 school year.

Ross Elementary School would no longer offer a STEM magnet program. The architecture magnet program at Scarborough High School will sunset to support new Futures Academy programs at those schools.

Both schools can continue to offer specialty programs or classes; they simply won’t have a magnet designation. Current magnet students attending these schools will be allowed to remain enrolled until they complete the highest grade level offered at the campus.

Probation expected to be lifted for three schools MacGregor, Pugh, and Helms elementary schools were placed on probation last year due to academic performance. However, they met state academic standards this year and are expected to continue their respective magnet programs.

Magnet programs exceeding capacity

District officials also are closely monitoring schools with magnet programs where overall enrollment exceeds the recommended building capacity. Campus leaders at Horn and Scroggins elementary schools, and Reagan, Bellaire, Chavez, and Westside high schools will be working with the administration to develop a plan to address overcrowding concerns.

15 magnet programs identified for probationary status

In addition, the district has identified 15 magnet programs that will be closely monitored for the next year. These schools are, based on the preliminary review: Burbank, Roosevelt, Carrillo, Twain, Elrod, Roberts, Wainwright, Garden Villas, and Cook elementary schools, Gregory-Lincoln Education Center, and Fleming, Burbank, Hartman, Marshall, and Welch middle schools.

New magnet programs considered

While HISD is phasing out some magnet programs, the district is also making plans to implement new ones. Administrators are in the early stages of researching new programs for parts of the city that traditionally have had limited or no magnet school options. Principals interested in bringing a magnet or specialty program to their campus will be invited this spring to participate in an application process. Those selected would have programs that could be ready for students by the 2016-2017 school year.

School Choice Fairs to showcase district offerings

The 2015-2016 HISD magnet application will be available online beginning Saturday, Nov. 1. The application deadline for the first round of the application process is Friday, Dec. 19.

In the meantime, HISD is hosting several parent information nights across the district to ensure families are well informed about the various educational options available to them for the 2015-2016 school year. Each parent night begins at 6 p.m. A complete list of dates and locations is detailed below.

Additionally, the annual School Choice Open House is  scheduled for 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 1 at Northwest Mall, 9500 Hempstead Highway, 77092. Families who attend will learn more about HISD magnet programs and the application process.

Middle School Parent Information Nights

  • Oct. 16 – Walnut Bend Elementary, 10620 Briar Forest, 77042
  • Oct. 23 – Red Elementary, 4520 Tonawanda, 77035
  • Oct. 30 – Whidby Elementary, 7625 Springhill, 77021
  • Nov. 18 – Crespo Elementary, 7500 Office City, 77012
  • Dec. 3 – Shadydale Elementary, 5905 Tidwell, 77016


High School Parent Information Nights

                                                                       For more information, contact the Office of School Choice at 713-556-6947 or visit