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Excellence in Education


Public Schools

Galvestonians place a high regard on education as the means of improving their city and its residents. The city has a strong public school system and six private schools. Each year, high school graduates of Ball High School and O’Connell College Preparatory High School (a private Catholic school) are accepted by the top colleges and universities in the state. Some graduates continue their education on Galveston Island at one of three institutions of higher learning – Galveston College, The University of Texas Medical Branch, and Texas A&M University at Galveston.

Galveston Independent School District (GISD)

The district serves approximately 6,450 students on Galveston Island and Bolivar Peninsula. During the 2012-2013 school year, it operated two high schools, five middle schools and six elementary schools.

The boundary of those schools stretches from Oppe Elementary on the west end of Galveston Island to Crenshaw Elementary and Middle School in Crystal Beach on Bolivar Peninsula, a short ferry ride away.

The student body is ethnically and culturally diverse. About 45 percent of these enrolled are Hispanic, 23 percent are African American and 32 percent are Caucasian or other. The district employs nearly 1,000 staff members, making it the second largest employer in Galveston, behind UTMB. The annual operating budget for the last school year nearly topped $60 million.

Galveston ISD student enrollment is open to the children of non-Galveston residents who work within the boundaries of the school district. GISD also collaborates with Head Start and the YMCA to offer its pre-kindergarten program at various elementary schools.

The district follows a cutting-edge schools-of-choice model, allowing parents and students to select schools based on curriculum, not geography, a move that has attracted higher levels of enrollment. There are no school zones in GISD, opening more learning opportunities to the community.

All elementary schools offer a particular theme or focus, such as coastal studies at Oppe Elementary, international studies at Parker Elementary, research and problem-based learning at Early Childhood University, and science and engineering at Morgan Elementary.

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) rated the Austin Middle School Magnet of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math an “Exemplary” campus for the third year in a row for the 2010-11 school year under its Academic Excellence Indicator System (AEIS). The school also earned the honor of being named a National Title I Distinguished School Award recipient – only one of two schools in the state of Texas – and received a Blue Ribbon Award, the highest honor in education at the national level.

GISD also offers career and college preparatory schools, such as Scott Collegiate Academy (rated “Recognized” under the AEIS system), and accelerated instruction programs for elementary, middle and high school students.

Ball High School, founded in 1884, is the highest populated school in the district and one of the oldest in Texas. The class of 2012 included more than 400 graduates. Student in the Class of 2012 accepted placement at Stanford University, University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M at College Station, Rice University, Baylor University, Alabama University and many other well-respected colleges. Ball High also features one of the best Advanced Placement (AP) programs in the country, leading The Washington Post to declare it one of the top schools in the U.S.A. in 2011 and Newsweek magazine to place it in the top six percent of high schools in the nation in 2010.

The school had more than 1,000 students enrolled in the AP program last year. More than 400 of them took at least one AP exam and nearly 700 Advanced Placement exams were taken for college credit. Nearly two hundred of those students passed the exams with a score of 3 or higher.

The school’s career and technical education (CTE) department, with 14 different career pathways, is an initiative helped in part by Galveston College. Dual credit courses also are offered in conjunction with the college. More than 1,200 students take at least one CTE class.

Ball Preparatory Academy is a self-contained program on Ball High campus, an official Texas Science Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) program with a focused curriculum on those subjects. The program celebrated its first graduating class in May 2012.

KIPP Coastal Village, a public charter school under the GISD umbrella, serves pre-kindergarten through third grade and fifth and sixth grade for 2011-12 on separate elementary (721 10th St.) and middle school (1110 Moody Ave.) campuses. The program will grow to serve pre-kindergarten through eighth grade by 2013. The program’s mission is to prepare students with the academic and intellectual skills, knowledge, habits and character traits necessary to succeed at all levels of pre-kindergarten through 12th grade, college and the competitive world beyond.

To support teachers, the Galveston ISD Educational Foundation was founded in 2001. To date, the foundation has awarded more than $2.1 million in grants to teachers and schools. The foundation collaborates with the district to support a variety of districtwide programs and has reached close to 20,000 students.

To supplement district initiatives, a knowledgeable grant-writing team has earned more than $70 million in grants in the past three years, one of the highest figures for any Texas school district. The grants fund programs that enhance student learning such as the Magnet Schools Initiative program (APEX schools), as well as

a $8.6 million performance-based compensation system to reward the most effective teachers.

GISD also takes pride in its community partnerships, serving as a vital member of the Galveston Chamber of Commerce Education Committee. GISD schools also have partnerships with Galveston College, UTMB, Texas A&M Galveston, Kiwanis International, both Galveston Rotary Clubs, Community in Schools, the Family Service Center and many more.

Ambassador’s Preparatory Academy

The directors, administrators, faculty and staff at Ambassadors Preparatory Academy are dedicated to preparing students to be avid readers and writers, problem solvers and lifelong learners who are equipped to succeed in the 21st century. The students’ parents are partners in their education. Along with many interested members of the Galveston community, they provide the support necessary to guide the students to reach their fullest potential.

Ambassadors Preparatory Academy serves students in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade. The school day begins at 7:30 a.m. and ends at 5 p.m. The academic program focuses on oral as well as written language development. Reading, language arts, mathematics, science and social studies make up the core curriculum. Spanish, art, music and physical education classes supplement the basic program. All students have meaningful access to technology in the computer laboratory and in the classroom.

The school’s commitment to excellence extends beyond the classroom. On a regular basis, the students gather to meet with members of the community to learn about and discuss these guests’ areas of expertise. Field trips are a regular part of the program, as are such extracurricular activities as band, choir, tennis, golf, chess and cheerleading.

Odyssey Academy

Odyssey Academy, established in Galveston in 1999, is an openenrollment public charter school that serves nearly 700 students aged pre-kindergarten through eighth grade from the Galveston County area.

Odyssey Academy exists to provide the best pre-k through eighth grade learning in Galveston County. To ensure its students build the skills, knowledge and character traits necessary to become productive and successful citizens, Odyssey Academy focuses on instilling the values of integrity, encouragement, respect, responsibility and safety and puts an emphasis on math, science and technology education.

Odyssey Academy uses a comprehensive curriculum that was developed collaboratively by content area experts across the state of Texas. This curriculum promotes an inquirybased, student-centered, hands-on instructional model.

Odyssey Academy’s teachers and staffarehighlyqualified,well-trained and knowledgeable. Every member of the Odyssey community works tirelessly to ensure that each individual student reaches his or her full potential.

In addition to academics, Odyssey Academy offers sports, clubs, organizations, enrichment and extracurricular activities for students, parents and staff to each find their niche and become actively involved in student learning and success.

Private schools

Private education is available to Galveston students in grades pre-k through 12, although most of the private schools on the island provide an education for students at the elementary level.

Holy Family Catholic School and O’Connell College Preparatory High School

Roman Catholic education has been a pillar of the community since the Ursuline Nuns came to the island in 1847 and established the first Catholic school in Texas. Holy Family Catholic School serves pre-kindergarten through eighth grade and has enrollment of about 100. O’Connell College Preparatory High School serves students in grades 9-12.

Moody Methodist Day School

Moody Methodist Day School is under the direction of Moody Memorial First United Methodist Church. The school is an extension of the educational ministry. The school has an enrollment of around 275 children, ages 3 months through eighth grade. These children are in programs consisting of full-day care, preschool and/or after-school care. Moody Day School provides opportunities for the total development of each child – social, emotional, spiritual, physical and intellectual.

Satori Elementary School

Satori Elementary School was founded in 1980 with a mission to provide a nurturing environment where children discover fundamentals within the context of an integrated, real-world curriculum. In addition to core curriculum, students have instruction in physical education, art, music, Spanish, phonics and computer. The school serves children pre-kindergarten through sixth grade in small, multi-age classes. Each class has a two-grade span with a maximum of 12 students assigned to one credentialed teacher. The school has a full-time faculty of five and two parttime faculty.

Trinity Episcopal School

Trinity Episcopal School, founded in 1952, is a co-educational school serving about 230 students from two years through eighth grade. The school offers a rigorous academic program in a God-centered atmosphere with small classes led by caring teachers.

Housed in the grounds of historic Trinity Episcopal Church, the school welcomes and enrolls students of all religious traditions.

The challenging and varied curriculum is enhanced by numerous lively excursions to several local cultural and recreational resources.

The program is accredited by the Southwestern Association of Episcopal Schools and by the Independent Schools Association of the Southwest.

Colleges and Universities

Galveston College

In 1967, Galveston College opened its doors after widespread community support had formed the Galveston Community College District. For more than 45 years, Galveston College

has been flourishing as a source of high-quality, affordable instruction in college transfer, career education and adult continuing education.

Galveston College’s campus, located just six blocks from the Galveston Seawall at 4015 Ave. Q, is an exceptional environment for learning. About 2,300 credit students enroll in each fall, spring and summer semester. Nearly 4,000 people take non-credit leisure learning or special interest classes annually.

Galveston College has amenities such as a computer-based learning resource center, modern science labs, ceramics, art, music, microcomputer centers, fitness and gym facilities, and intramural/collegiate sports.

Galveston College has worked diligently to build strong partnerships with organizations and institutions in our community. The college has developed programs with the University of Texas Medical Branch and Texas A&M Galveston. Other partnerships help Galveston College be a central educational link to the Galveston Independent School District, local private schools and the University of Houston-Clear Lake.

Galveston College now operates its new Charlie Thomas Family Vocational-Technical Training Center at 7626 Broadway. The project was endorsed by the Galveston Recovery Committee and the city of Galveston. Programs include associate degrees in Welding, HVAC and Industrial Systems. The Charlie Thomas Family Vocational-Technical Training Center is undergoing renovations to accommodate other new programs.

Other new degree programs recently introduced at Galveston College include Clinical Trial Coordinator, developed in cooperation with UTMB, and a two-year Associate Degree in Industrial, Mechanical, Civil and Electrical Engineering.

One of the most exciting programs at Galveston College was introduced through the Galveston College Foundation. Through the Universal Access program, Galveston College is rebuilding the Galveston community by investing in its most precious resource, its people. The Galveston College Foundation has raised an endowment of over $3 million that will help every graduate from a Galveston high school, GED program or home school to be eligible for paid tuition and fees for a substantial portion of their higher education and training. In fall 2001 through spring 2012, the Galveston College Universal Access program has funded the higher education of over 4,000 Galveston residents for some $4.8 million.

Galveston College also awards nearly $100,000 in scholarships each year and allows Galveston senior citizens 65 years of age or older to take credit classes without paying tuition. For more information, visit www. gc.edu.

Texas A&M University at Galveston

Texas A&M University at Galveston (TAMUG) is an ocean-oriented branch campus of Texas A&M University – the only branch campus in Texas. This unique university uses its coastal location and the Galveston marine environment to provide degrees in science, engineering, business, transportation and liberal arts. The university also houses the Texas Maritime Academy, which incorporates academic degree programs with professional licensing for the U.S. Merchant Marine, and officer training for the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC).

The campus’ proximity to Galveston Bay, Port of Houston, the ocean and the largest petrochemical industry in the U.S. provides an ideal learning environment for academic programs, student life and ocean-related research.

Traditional learning environments include classroom buildings, and other student life and recreation facilities. TAMUG offers e-learning through distance education. The Jack K. Williams Library supports group, individual and classroom learning through traditional, print and electronic resources. Marine environments play an important role in providing hands-on experiences for students. Cadets learn to become mariners by training aboard the Texas Maritime Academy training ship. They also receive instruction through a bridge simulator – a teaching resource that uses software to recreate a shipboard environment. The university’s Waterfront Operations hosts waterborne research projects, labs, training opportunities, continuing education programs and Sea Camp programs.

To accommodate the steady increases in student enrollment (approximately 2,000 students), the number of facilities on the Mitchell Campus on Pelican Island are growing or expanding. The campus recently opened the new $54 million Ocean and Coastal Sciences Building, and the $3 million Seibel Student Services Building. And this year, the Mary Moody Northen Student Center was expanded. At a total cost of $29 million, two new residence halls are currently being constructed.

In addition to the nationally acclaimed bachelor’s degree programs at TAMUG, graduate programs include master and doctoral degrees in Marine

Biology, and a master’s of Marine Resources Management. The most recent advanced degree program to be added is the master’s in Maritime Administration and Logistics, which provides an MBA-type program for professionals in international trade and port management.

Total research expenditures are more than $5.7 million. With over 17 different laboratories, centers and institutes, TAMUG ranks sixth in Texas for the average number of research dollars per faculty member (for public universities in FY09).

More than 1,000 students who range in age from 6 to 18 experience the university’s Sea Camp Program in the Galveston marine environment each year.

University of Texas Medical Branch

The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB) is committed to educating a diverse health workforce for the future through its schools of Medicine, Nursing, Health Professions and Graduate Biomedical Sciences. UTMB’s focus is on training students to work as part of an interdisciplinary team in a problem-based learning environment. Improving health and health care delivery is at the heart of UTMB’s mission. The students educated today by UTMB are tomorrow’s answer to the serious shortage of health care providers in Texas and beyond, as well as the future pioneers of new and better ways to diagnose and treat illness.

UTMB currently enrolls a record number of about 3,000 students, residents and fellows, and has conferred more than 35,000 degrees throughout its history. It has educated more Texas physicians than any other medical school. Its graduates reflect the populations UTMB serves; in fact, UTMB’s student body is one of the most diverse in the nation. UTMB is a member of the Texas Medical Center (TMC), fostering numerous educational collaborations taking place between the university and other TMC member institutions throughout the Galveston/ Houston region. UTMB also has been re-designated as a Level l Trauma Center, one of three in the greater Houston area. (www.utmb.edu)

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