St. Agnes Academy
The Prioress of the Dominican Sisters of Houston, Mother Pauline Gannon, founded St. Agnes Academy in 1905 and welcomed its first students in 1906. Originally located in modern Midtown Houston, the school relocated to its current location in Sharpstown in 1963. St. Agnes originally provided 12 years of education and boarding facilities. It discontinued the boarding facilities in 1939 and converted to a high school in 1954.
St. Agnes is a ministry of the Dominican Sisters of Houston. A Catholic religious order, the Dominicans date back to thirteenth century. The Dominican traditional pillars of prayer, study, community, and preaching are the core values of St. Agnes Academy. Prayer is held daily in first period class. Mass and confession are offered each Tuesday during the lunch period, and special Masses are held for the entire school on all Holy Days of Obligation and feast days of notable Dominican saints.
Location and Facilities
St. Agnes’s 15.6-acre campus is located in the Greater Sharptstown area of southwest Houston. It is fairly equidistant between the Sam Houston Tollway, Westpark Tollway, and Highway 59. Its campus is adjacent to brother school Strake Jesuit on Bellaire Boulevard, the main street of Houston’s sprawling Chinatown. The school’s location vis-a-vis Strake allows the two schools to cooperate closely and share some facilities and course offerings.
St. Agnes's central campus is comprised of interconnected buildings clustered around either the library or the courtyard. The science building and student life center was completed in 2007 and is instantly recognizable for its modern glass rotunda. Dedicated athletic facilities include a gym with two basketball courts and a nearby 18.7-acre athletic campus, which includes three playing fields and a softball field. It also includes a field house, concession stand and meetings rooms. Tennis courts and a track are to be constructed in the future. In addition, other facilities, such as a pool and track, are shared with Strake Jesuit.
The school cites the following criteria for admission: middle school grades, entrance exam scores (ISEE), English and math teacher recommendations, a student application and essay, attendance and discipline records, and the student's work habits. The school administers and prefers the ISEE, but students applying to other Catholic high schools may also submit HSPT scores in lieu of the ISEE results. The school reports that students admitted to St. Agnes in recent years have earned above-average grades and scores on admissions tests.
Academic Tracks and Curriculum
Students at St. Agnes can enroll in classes across two tracks – college preparatory and honors/AP. Honors classes are available from the ninth grade onwards. 12 AP classes are offered. Math offerings include AP Calculus AB and BC, statistics, and visual basic programming. Science courses include AP Biology, AP Chemistry, honors physics, geology, aquatic science, and astronomy. History and social science offerings include AP World History, AP US History, AP Government and Microeconomics, psychology, Introduction to Law, Introduction to African American Studies, and even The 1960's.
Twenty-six credits are required to graduate from St. Agnes: English (4), Theology (4), Mathematics (4), Science (4), Social Studies (3), Foreign Language (2), Fine Arts (1), PE/ Health (2), Community Service (.5), Communications (.5). Students must take a minimum of six credits per year.
St. Agnes Academy’s Academic Services Center, under the direction of the Coordinator, is a place for students with various learning differences to attain skills in study techniques, time management, organizational strategies and goal planning. It also provides accommodations for students to ensure their full participation in the academic programs. The Center is also a source for all students to develop effective learning and academic strategies to help meet the curriculum demands of the school.
Students at St. Agnes are required to take two years of a foreign language in order to graduate. They may choose from French, Latin, Spanish or Mandarin Chinese. Spanish, French, and Latin are offered up to level 5, and an AP class is offered for Spanish. Mandarin Chinese is a new offering that began in the 2011 academic year. It is offered in partnership with Strake Jesuit as a co-enrolled class.
Students at St. Agnes must take at least two semesters of fine arts classes in order to graduate. The school offers more than 25 options across three departments – Fine Arts, Performing Arts, and Music. Fine arts courses include advanced study in drawing, studio art, photography/ video, and painting. Performing Arts offerings include cinema, acting, and stage production. Music electives include vocal performance, choir, and music theory. Band classes are available through Strake Jesuit.
The school’s laptop program requires that all incoming students purchase a Windows-based tablet computer that is used frequently in the classroom. The school selects the computer each year; students do not have a choice of computer or vendor. In addition to the laptop program, students may also take a handful of business and computer education courses. Offerings include accounting, web mastering, and computer applications.
St. Agnes supports a wide variety of extra-curricular and co-curricular activities. Musical offerings include choir, band, and private voice lessons. Drama options include participation in plays and musicals performed not only at St. Agnes, but also at Strake Jesuit and St. Thomas. Campus publications include a newspaper, an online blog, a literary magazine, and a yearbook. Students may also try out for cheerleading squads at Strake Jesuit and St. Thomas or join the school’s own dance team. The Student Council includes elected representatives as well as an appointed representative from each grade. Representatives are divided into four committees—drugs and alcohol, safety and health, pride and patriotism, and energy and the environment. The Campus Ministry Team is another large student organization which helps plan the annual mandatory class retreats, assists with liturgies, and facilitates community service.
The school fields teams across twelve sports: basketball, cross-country, field hockey, golf, lacrosse, soccer, swimming, softball, tennis, track, water polo, and volleyball. St. Agnes' athletic teams compete within the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools.
All sports but golf are offered at the junior varsity and varsity level. Moreover, freshman-only teams are fielded in volleyball and basketball. Water polo, lacrosse, and field hockey are run by organizations independent from St. Agnes. St. Agnes currently uses the track and pools facilities at Strake Jesuit; however the completion of the new athletic facilities will allow St. Agnes to move all sports to the new location with the exception of basketball, volleyball, swimming and golf.
Parents have many opportunities to volunteer. They can serve on committees, raise funds, help with community service projects, and support academics or athletic teams. There are several clubs parents can join, including the Booster Club, the Dads’ Club, the Drama Guild, the Mixed Chorus Parents, the Mothers’ Club, and Onyx.
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9000 Bellaire Blvd, Houston, TX 77036