Lamar High School
In 1859, a school for local children opened at what, in 1936, would become Lamar High School. Forty-six years later, Lamar added its IB program, and seven years after that, it added its Business Magnet Program. Lamar serves River Oaks, the incorporated city of West University Place, and other Houston subdivisions. Lamar’s mission is to create an atmosphere of “shared responsibility, academic challenge, intercultural understanding, and mutual respect.”
As a magnet school within HISD, Lamar 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
Lamar sits at the corner of Westheimer and Buffalo Speedway in the district of Upper Kirby. The school has four buildings, three of which are connected by second-story crosswalks. The North Building contains mostly administrative offices and classrooms, while the West Building contains science and computer labs. The East Building contains the library and the theater. The school also has a performance hall, a traditional theater, and a natatorium - a building containing a swimming pool. 2012’s HISD Bond provided approximately $108 million to essentially rebuild Lamar. The project calls for renovating Lamar’s original 1937 building, entirely replacing the remaining buildings, and adding additional parking. HISD has selected Perkins-Will as the lead architect. Construction is expected to start in 2015 and finish by 2017.
Lamar’s admissions process is split into two different types: zoned and magnet. However, all students need the following documents in order to register: an original birth certificate, proof of custody (if applicant's parents are divorced), a copy of the applicant's transcript/permanent record, a copy of the applicant's immunization record, and proof of HISD residency.
For the Business Administration Magnet Program, all students must fill out the magnet application and submit the following information with it: the applicant's first 6-week report for 8th grade, the previous year’s final report card, a copy of the applicant's transcript/permanent record, standardized test scores (STAAR and Stanford), and proof of HISD residency.
NOTE: Even if the student is zoned for Lamar, the student needs to apply for the magnet program in order to participate in it. Only incoming ninth grade students are accepted to the magnet program; students in later grades cannot transfer into the program. If accepted, students must attend a three week Summer Academy in June.
Academic Tracks and Curriculum
Lamar offers three tracks—On-Track, Dual Enrollment, and IB. Pre-IB classes lead to the 30
IB classes. Lamar offers only two AP courses: AP Calculus AB and AP Statistics. Lamar
currently has a partnership with Houston Community College that allows Lamar to offer its Dual Enrollment option wherein students can get credit for English IV, college algebra, government,
economics, and psychology from Houston Community College.
As well as its Business Magnet Program, Lamar also offers a variety of career pathways,
including culinary arts, engineering, agriculture, communications, business, health science,
marine biology, and government.
In order to graduate with an IB Diploma, students are required to complete six subjects,
three Higher Level and three Standard Level courses. These subjects include: first language,
second language, math, science, social science, and an IB elective. Students must also
complete 150 hours of CAS (community, action, and service), a 4,000 word research essay,
and a capstone course titled Theory of Knowledge.
Apart from the IB diploma requirements, Lamar also follows the Texas state graduation requirements. Students now matriculating will graduate under the new Foundation High School Program. (Students who matriculated in 2013 or before 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.Lamar offers all five.
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 Business and Industry, a student must complete a coherent sequence of courses from a focus area in CTE, or English electives, or technology applications, or a combination of any of these three.
To earn an endorsement in Public Services, a student must complete elective credits in JROTC or a coherent sequence of courses from the CTE focus areas in Education & Training; Government & Public Administration; Health Science; Human Services; or Law, Public Safety, Corrections, and Security.
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.
Lamar offers courses in eight languages: French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Russian, Spanish, and Mandarin. Every language goes through level IV except for French, German, Russian, Spanish, and Mandarin, which go through level V. Non-magnet students must complete at least two years of a foreign language to graduate—three years if the student wishes to earn a Distinguished Diploma.
Lamar students must complete at least one year of a fine arts elective to graduate. Fine arts subject areas offered at Lamar include band, dance, music, orchestra, art, choir, and theatre arts. The choir is sponsored by the University Interscholastic League, so Lamar choral students have the opportunity to participate in statewide competitions through UIL.
In its multiple computer labs, Lamar offers Business Computer Information Systems, Pre-IB Computer Science, IB Computer Science, Computer Aided Drafting, Magnet Business Image Management and Multimedia, and Desktop Publishing as a part of its career and technical education department.
Lamar offers a number of different clubs and activities to its students. These include, but are not limited to, the following: Academic Decathlon, Quill & Scroll, Odyssey of the Mind, Yearbook, Lamar Animal Welfare Society, Ping Pong Club, Breakfast Club, and Cheerleading.
Lamar fields teams in the following fifteen sports: football, baseball, softball, volleyball, field hockey, wrestling, golf and boys’ and girls’ basketball, lacrosse, soccer, track, cross country, tennis, water polo, and swimming. Athletic facilities on campus include tennis courts, baseball fields, a running track, football fields, basketball courts, and a gun range.
The PTO comprises committees and volunteers who are in charge of school events, publications, and programs like Parent Partners and College Corner. The school also has a Shared Decision Making Committee, through which interested parents can join with teachers and community members to advise the principal on important administrative matters.
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3325 Westheimer, Houston, TX 77098
*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