Carolyn Means - Monday, July 09, 2018
Recently I had the great pleasure of touring The British International School of Houston - which is actually located in Katy on N. Westgreen Blvd. Definitely not the former British School, BISH is now owned by the Nord Anglia School group, and they really know how to design a school.
The building is four stories high and architecturally stunning with an atrium featuring the "Bomba" - a huge cafeteria on the first floor. The family I was touring with was greeted by the Head of School, the Assistant Head of School, several members of the Admission staff, the heads of several athletic programs and the chair of the music department. All questions were welcomed and answered transparently. The school can serve students with a range of academic abilities from age 2 to high school.
There is a learning center for all grades and differentiation is a common instructional strategy. Students come to TBISH from across the globe or across Greater Houston for the excellence in education, the quality of the IB Diploma plus the State of Texas diploma, and the expansive array of extracurricular offerings. Partnerships with the National Jr. Olympic Swim Team, MIT, and Julliard, The Texas Medical Center, NASA and local offices of world-wide energy corporations enhance programs across the school. The distinctive international community is stimulating and reflects the world this generation of students will encounter. The school provides bus transportation to some areas of Greater Houston, so this should be a school to visit regardless of the location.
Carolyn Means - Tuesday, April 10, 2018
STEM is the big curriculum magnet at schools these days. At The Regis School of the Sacred Heart, STEM - Science, Technology, Engineering and Math - is a perfect focus for a school providing a unique education for boys ages 3-8th grade. The youngest boys learn to write code with legos on the library wall or bots in the elementary maker space. They design mazes with tape on the hallway floor. Older boys in the Mac lab create original designs which they produce on 3-D printers, learning the value of precise measurements. New furniture on wheels spins, goes up and down and across the floor in the math lab where boys work in pairs and groups on math projects and games. Since my last campus visit two ping pong tables have been placed in open hall space, golf and tennis have been added to the athletic options, and the new lights on the playing field have promoted more night games on campus. Eighth grade graduates this year will be headed for some of the following high schools: The Kinkaid School, Strake Jesuit Preparatory, St. John's School and St. Thomas High School.
Carolyn Means - Sunday, April 23, 2017
Carolyn Means - Friday, January 27, 2017
Today I visited the PK-Grade 3 programs at Trafton Academy located in the Willowbend area of Houston. Trafton has been a highly respected school serving grades 4-8 for over 40 years and was able to buy the adjacent Mrs. Wagner’s preschool-third grade school when it closed a few years ago. It took no time at all for Trafton to fill the remodeled classrooms with bright new furnishings and happy children eager to learn “The Trafton Way”. That “way” is what some may call “old fashioned” – even my student guide used that term, but he said he has not minded because he feels truly prepared for high school. High school admission directors like to see Trafton applications because these students have strong academic knowledge and skills, are polite, confident and respectful and have leadership skills, have had opportunities to play lots of sports, compete in PSIA academics against top schools in the state and nation, learn to play a band instrument, and have had an age-appropriate middle school social life. Trafton is not fancy on the outside, but the students care about what goes on inside the classroom where they are offered a “reach” and their efforts are rewarded. Small class size, mastery learning, caring teachers, solid curriculum with a wise infusion of technology, and a school community that honors good choices. No wonder the tour was full.
Carolyn Means - Thursday, September 17, 2015
This morning I toured Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart where their motto is “Girls in Formation”. Founded in 1960, on spacious grounds of a former residence in Memorial, Duchesne serves over 700 girls from preschool 3 through high school. The tour began with a welcome from Head of School Patricia Swenson and brief remarks by Middle School Head Tony Houle and Upper School Head Donald Cramp. Director of Admission Beth Anchondo spoke about the benefit of tours and the admission process. A unique aspect of the division heads and admission director is they all have daughters attending Duchesne. Part of the recent campus expansion included new classrooms for the high school to support enhanced math and science programs with fully furnished labs. Aside from the obvious quality of curriculum in the hands of talented teachers, the engagement of the girls in their work, and the spirit of friendship expressed on posters in the halls and decorated lockers, an “extra” on the tour was meeting Mrs. Leib, the librarian. She is not only highly regarded among her peers, but also someone who could entice the most reluctant reader to become a lover of books. Beth Anchondo explained that Duchesne is not having a Lower School Open House this year because parents of young girls seem to prefer a tour so they can peek into rooms and ask more questions. Duchesne has many tour dates posted online and an open house for middle and upper school in October.
Carolyn Means - Thursday, September 17, 2015
One of the unique new high schools in Houston now has a senior class. Post Oak High School under the leadership of John Long, Head of Post Oak School, and James Moudry, who was picked to be head of the high school, thoughtfully designed every aspect of the high school. The board and leadership waited for all the right pieces to be in place, resulting in a beautiful school with a solid enrollment of students who are right for the program. With increasing demand for enrollment, a larger high school building is now under construction. Next fall, the middle school from Post Oak School will move from the Bissonnet campus to the current high school building to make room for the growing enrollment in younger age classes. True to the vision, Post Oak High School students are able to take advantage of their urban location in the Museum District. One only has to step inside the spacious open classroom which has few walls to divide the groups of students to see that this is a different way of learning. Teachers are instructing, interacting and accessible. Students are engaged, responding, comfortable, grouped for conversation about the topic at hand or studying on their own in the study space. The only sound is the hum of learning. I also had a visit with College Counselor Amanda Phelps Smith, who brings energy and experience to this important position. She is excited to see which colleges and universities will be chosen by the first graduates of Post Oak High School.
Carolyn Means - Tuesday, June 23, 2015
I’m so excited to finally get this post published now that my website change is nearly completed. Ascension Episcopal School in the Energy Corridor is one of those “gems” which a lot of families overlook because it ends at grade 5. Just like The Fay School and Yorkshire Academy, Ascension offers such an outstanding education that its graduates are well-prepared and highly desired when they apply to middle schools. Parents may not like having to go through admissions again, but an Ascension education can make up for that. There is much richness within the international community at Ascension with its small class size, academic support for children at both ends of the learning curve, integrated technology and hands-on learning for all ages. The campus has extensive playing fields to support a year-round athletic program and a variety of engaging after-school programs. Add to this the welcoming arms of the Episcopal church to nurture children in love and grace, a talented faculty, and an experienced Head of School in Nancy Clausey. Be sure you add Ascension Episcopal School to your list of open houses in the upcoming admission season.
Carolyn Means - Thursday, April 30, 2015
In the two years since I visited The Awty International School, the campus has undergone changes. The school has built a high wall to block off the south view and noise along !-10 and made updates to its play grounds. Awty has purchased property across N. Post Oak and will move the Primary School to that location when the lease runs out for the current tenants. A highlight of my tour was the art classroom where I saw work from very talented students.
Carolyn Means - Monday, April 27, 2015
I had a fabulous two-hour tour of The Regis School with Admission Director Beth Schneider. The recently-added multipurpose building with a double gym, cafeteria, and more classrooms has given the school much needed space, in particular for a large library. Regis is an all boys school from PS3-Grade 8. Maximum class size is 16 in the upper grades. New Headmaster Dennis Phillips is the third head of school at Regis. Well-known for their character, Regis boys stand up when visitors enter the room and welcome them with a ready smile in the hallways.
Carolyn Means - Saturday, April 25, 2015
The Kinkaid School hosted a luncheon for “Richmond Guard” classes between 1955 and 1965, those of us who attended Kinkaid on the former campus on Richmond in the Montrose neighborhood. Headmaster Andy Martire, who is only the fifth head of school in Kinkaid’s history, made brief comments about the addition of the middle school classrooms, new cafeteria, and parking garage.