Episcopal High School
In 1981, a group of Episcopal parishioners discussed their children's education with then-Bishop Maurice Benitez. Their children often attended day schools at their local churches, but these schools only went through the 8th grade. Therefore, they set about to establish a high school. Their efforts came to fruition just three years later, and EHS welcomed its first 150 ninth and tenth graders in 1984. The founders purchased a vacant campus that had formerly served as the home for the Sisters of the Incarnate Word and Blessed Sacrament’s convent and high school. Episcopal High School remains at this same location today and now serves more than 500 students.
EHS is an institution of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas. As such, one of the school’s “four pillars” is religion. Daily chapel attendance in the Episcopal faith is required. Four semesters of religious classes (one semester per year) are also required for graduation. Freshmen must take a semester course in the Old Testament, and sophomores must take a semester course in the New Testament. Juniors can choose between History of Christianity and World Religions, while seniors must take Ethics and complete a Senior Outreach Project.
Location and Facilities
The school’s 35-acre campus is located directly off of the 610 West Loop in the independent, affluent municipality of Bellaire. The campus is bounded on the north by Fournace Place, on the south by Bissonnet St., and the on the west by the West Loop. The surrounding area is also home to a small park and to Gordon Elementary School.
The school was originally housed in the renovated buildings of a former convent and high school. In 2001, these buildings were supplemented by a new classroom building, a library, a student center, a gym, a running track, a field house, and a stadium complex. Other athletic facilities include a baseball field, a softball field, and multipurpose fields. More construction is planned in the future, as EHS is currently fundraising for a new science building and a parking garage.
To apply for admission to EHS, a student's parents must complete the online application, and the student must complete the student questionnaire. A photo must be mailed to the school or uploaded along with the application. Prospective students must sit for the ISEE and OLSAT, which can be scheduled through the school. English and math teacher recommendation forms and the student’s transcripts and records must be submitted by January. An admission interview is also required and must be completed before February.
Academic Tracks and Curriculum
EHS offers three academic tracks—On-Track, Honors, and Advanced Placement. Honors classes may be taken as early as the ninth grade. In total, the school offers 21 honors classes and 17 Advanced Placement classes. In contrast with many of its peers, EHS requires two years of fine arts to graduate.
Another unique feature of the curriculum is Interim Term, a period during the first two weeks of January wherein all students are required to take one grade-level class and two elective classes. Grade-level classes are chosen by the faculty and have recently included themes like “high school survival” for freshman, “[life] choices” for sophomores, and “college applications” for juniors.
The school requires 23 credits to earn a diploma; two semesters equals one credit. The requirements are as follows: English (4), math (3), science (3), history (3), foreign language (2), religion (2), fine arts (2), health/PE (1), and electives (3). There is also a technology requirement which is satisfied through laptop program.
One of EHS’s guiding principles is to accept students with “average-to-exceptional” abilities. Thus, the school offers accelerated classes for students who seek greater challenges, and it also provides for students who need extra help in on-track classes. The Director of Academic Assistance leads the Academic Assistance Program. In this program, accepted students are assigned an Academic Coach who regularly monitors their progress and helps them manage their academic load. Academic Coaches' duties include scheduling tutorial assistance and monitoring homework performance.
EHS requires students to take at least two years of the same foreign language in order to earn a diploma. The school offers instruction in Chinese, French, Latin, and Spanish. All language programs include honors and college-level courses. AP classes are offered for French, Latin, and Spanish.
Students must take at least two years (four semesters) of a fine art to graduate, and EHS offers a wide range of options that fulfill this requirement. Students can choose from approximately fifty different classes across five departments—Dance, Music, Visual Arts, Media Arts Communication, and Theatre. Class offerings are diverse and range from the more typical—speech, acting, dance, band, and painting—to the unique—stage combat, repertory dance, guitar instruction, advanced sculpture, and website design.
EHS requires all students to bring a laptop to school with them. Its “Laptop Program” makes computers, wireless access, educational software, and peripherals available to all faculty and students. Students may also procure their own laptops, so long as they bring them to school as per the policy. “Computer Technology Proficiency” is a graduation requirement but is fulfilled by the required laptop usage. The school also offers numerous elective courses in its Technology Department, including computer programming, graphic design, and website design.
EHS hosts a number of clubs and organizations. For athletics, students may join the Fit Club, Bowling Knights, Dodgeball Club, Hacky Sack Club, or the Surf Club. For languages, students may join the French, Chinese, Spanish, Latin, or Hebrew Club. For the arts, students may join the Art Club or the National Art Honor Society. Students also have several opportunities to participate in performance arts, such as theatrical productions and art retreats.
Students are not required to participate in a sport at EHS, but they are required to take two semesters of health and/or PE. Athletics is considered one of the school’s four pillars. The school fields interscholastic teams across sixteen sports: baseball, basketball, cheerleading, color guard, cross-country, field hockey, football, golf, lacrosse, soccer, swimming, softball, tennis, track, volleyball, and wrestling. EHS is a member of the Southwest Preparatory Conference.
The Parents Association and the Dads Club are the two main organizations through which parents can involve themselves in the school’s activities. The Parents Club is a dues-paying, officer-elected organization open to all parents. It meets approximately six times a year to hear from students and school administrators and to discuss relevant issues. Its major fundraiser is an annual auction. All fathers are automatically members of the Dads Club, which meets on a handful of Friday mornings throughout the year to fundraise, stay informed, and make suggestions about school activities and administration. The Club’s biggest event is its annual golf tournament, which raises over $100,000 to support school activities.
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4650 Bissonnet St., Bellaire, Texas 77401