New Magnet Schools For Medicine And Energy To Open In Houston

Two new magnets will open next school year in HISD. They will capitalize on two of the city's biggest industries: energy and medicine. But the plan is creating some concern.

Last month, the Houston school board voted to close Ryan Middle School as a neighborhood school in Houston’s Third Ward.

This month the board decided to reopen the campus in the fall as a brand new magnet for students anywhere in the district.

The school will be named after its partner, the Baylor College of Medicine.

Erica Lee serves on the Harris County Board of Education. She asks that students from the neighborhood be included.

“We don’t want a great school to come to Third Ward and no one in Third Ward to be in the school. So that’s all we ask as we proceed with this great partnership.”

Superintendent Terry Grier says that if the board wants to give preference to certain students, it could complicate their application for federal grant money.

“The federal magnet program is really based on this concept of openness and district-wide application. I know of no situation where people write a grant and restrict it to children that are just in that community.”

He says not all students will want to attend the new middle school because it will be tough. Students will learn about neuroscience and take Latin.

The Houston school board also approved another new magnet — an Energy Institute High School.

It will cost about $600,000 dollars to start up each school. The district hopes to win a federal grant to offset that cost.

Bio photo of Laura Isensee

Laura Isensee

Education Reporter

Laura Isensee covers education for KUHF, including K-12 and higher education.

Previously, she was a staff reporter at The Miami Herald and regularly contributed to WLRN, the local NPR affiliate and Miami Herald news partner...