Energy Institute High School
The Energy Institute welcomed its first class in 2013; it is currently located in a temporary facility at the former Dodson Elementary, but its eventual home will be a state-of-the-art new campus in southwest Houston. The Energy Institute is a unique magnet program, as it is the first high school in the country to focus on preparing students for careers in the energy industry. The school is committed to providing students with up-to-date technology, a learning environment that imitates the industry to a degree, and exposure to the industry through field trips and other opportunities.
As a magnet school within HISD, the Energy Institute has no religious affiliation. Students’ religious convictions do not factor into admissions, and the curriculum does not include theological material. While there is no institutionalized prayer in the school, there is a daily minute of silence during which students may choose to pray. Additionally, absences due to religious holidays do not count against a student's record, though the student is still responsible for make-up work.
Location and Facilities
The school opened at a temporary location in the Heights and has moved to the former Dodson Elementary. Planning is underway for a permanent campus in southwest Houston, at a site formerly used by Lockhart Elementary. $37 million from the 2012 bond is budgeted for construction of the permanent campus, which will feature all-new facilities.
The planned Energy Institute campus will be designed to look less like a school and more like a "hi-tech corporate environment" out of Silicon Valley, according to the HISD News Blog. Its 110,000 square feet will include workspaces for collaborative projects, an enclosed central courtyard, and outdoor learning facilities.
The new campus will be located at the intersection of Tierwester St. and Southmore Blvd. in southwest Houston. The surrounding neighborhood is primarily residential, with a mix of single-family and multi-family homes, and also includes churches and a hospital.
In order to apply for the Energy Institute, students must complete an online or paper application and send additional materials to the school by mail. These additional materials consist of the previous year’s final report card, the report card from the first grading period of the current year, the student’s STAAR and Stanford scores, and proof of HISD residency. Any student who lives within the HISD zone and who meets a baseline academic and behavioral standard - as determined by the student’s seventh grade scores, grades, and track record - is eligible to apply. Applications are accepted from early November to mid-December for the subsequent school year, and admitted students are notified by late March. Admission is based on the lottery system. Students who have siblings already attending the school are given priority for up to 25% of the incoming freshman class, but otherwise, all students have an equal chance of admission. The Energy Institute is one of Houston’s most sought-after magnet high school programs, with a 46.98% acceptance rate.
While a school visit is not required for admission, school visits are offered on several dates in November and December. Parents and students may also want to take advantage of HISD events which showcase multiple magnet programs including the Energy Institute.
Academic Tracks and Curriculum
In their studies at the Energy Institute, students are asked to focus on one of three subject areas: “Geosciences, Alternative Energy, [or] Offshore Technology.” These focus areas incorporate uniquely energy-focused classes such as [example], and the curriculum as a whole emphasizes energy and the energy industry. This energy focus encompasses an emphasis on project-based learning, which builds necessary career skills while also conveying content.
It is unclear at the present time how many AP and Honors courses will eventually be offered at the Energy Institute.
Students now matriculating will graduate under the new Foundation High School Program. (Students who matriculated in 2013 may choose to graduate under this program or the old requirements.) The Foundation High School Program’s basic requirements are as follows: four credits of English, three credits of math, three credits of science, three credits of social studies, one credit of PE, two credits of the same language other than English, one credit of fine arts, and five credits of electives, for a total of 22 credits.
Most students who graduate under the Foundation High School Program will take one or more “endorsements” in addition to the basic curricular requirements. An endorsement is essentially the high school equivalent of a college major. Students who take an endorsement must complete 26 credits, including a fourth credit each of math and science and any additional credits needed to fulfill the endorsement’s curricular requirements.
There are five possible endorsements: STEM, Business and Industry, Public Services, Arts and Humanities, and Multidisciplinary. The Energy Institute offers STEM, Arts and Humanities, and Multidisciplinary.
To earn an endorsement in STEM, a student must complete a coherent sequence of courses from CTE courses within the STEM cluster, computer science, math, science, or any two of these four.
To earn an endorsement in Arts and Humanities, a student must complete a coherent sequence of courses in social studies, a language other than English, two levels in two languages other than English, ASL, the fine arts, or English electives not counted under Business & Industry.
To earn an endorsement in Multidisciplinary, a student must complete a coherent sequence of four courses related to preparation for entering the workforce; or one advanced course in each of the four core areas; or four AP, IB, or dual credit courses from the core areas, economics, languages other than English, or the fine arts.
A student who qualifies for at least one endorsement also qualifies for the Distinguished Level of Achievement supplementary endorsement, which is a necessary prerequisite for in-state college admission under the top 10% rule. Students may also earn Performance Acknowledgements for noteworthy career-focused or academic achievements, including qualifying scores on AP and IB exams and the PSAT, SAT, and ACT.
Accommodations are available for students with special needs who meet the requirements for admission. If the parents already have documentation about the student’s special needs, the school will need a copy of that documentation. After receiving the documentation, the school will set up an annual ARD meeting that the parents, the student, an administrator, a core subject teacher, a special education teacher or 504 representative, and an HISD advocate will attend to discuss the specific modifications necessary for the student and to create an individualized education plan (IEP) for the student. Every teacher will receive a copy of the modifications for the student after they are set in the ARD meeting.
If the parents want to request modifications for their child, then the special education teacher will give the student’s teachers paperwork to document the student’s behavior and any modifications the teacher uses for the student. After 6 weeks of documentation, the teachers will turn in the paperwork, and the special education teacher or 504 representative will call a meeting similar to an ARD meeting. If the meeting determines that the student needs accommodation, then the school will have documentation of the student’s special needs and will follow the same procedures as above.
The Energy Institute offers Spanish and French. Students in the recommended program must complete two levels of a foreign language, while students in the distinguished track must complete three.
No information on the Energy Institute High School’s fine arts programs is available at the present time.
Students may bring laptops, iPads, and cell phones to school, and the use of these devices is incorporated into the curriculum as part of the school’s commitment to embracing up-to-date technology. Students may use these technologies in the classroom, provided they follow the school’s guidelines on appropriate use.
Additionally, laptops are provided to students by the school for use in the classroom and at home.
No information on the Energy Institute’s extracurricular offerings is available at the present time.
The Energy Institute does not offer any athletic programs at the present time. This may change after the school transitions into its new location.
Parents who wish to be more involved with their students’ education at Energy Institute can join the school’s Parent-Teacher Organization. Through this organization, parents can volunteer to help in the school’s temporary library, participate in teacher appreciation days, chaperone field trips, or help to host open houses, among other opportunities. Parents can join by filling out the sign-up form and paying the membership fee. The meeting schedule is not yet set.
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1808 Sampson St. Houston, TX 77003
*Many of the HISD schools we profile are among the most selective, popular, and coveted magnet schools in the district. For schools which rank in the top 10 in their level, we have presented the ranking alongside the data.
Public School Stats