Cornerstone Academy

Cornerstone Academy (CSA) is a Title I charter school in Spring Branch ISD serving grades 6-8. CSA was first imagined in 1997 during a meeting of the SBISD Board of Trustees, who then approved a steering committee to create a school that “embodied choice, commitment, community, and collaboration” while relieving overcrowding. It is ranked in the top .5% of Texas middle schools, has received exemplary ratings each year, and in 2008 received the award “National Charter School of the Year.”

Cornerstone Academy

9016 Westview Drive, Houston, TX 77055                                     Ms. Jill Wright, Director

713-251-1600                                                                  Mr. Bill Burger, Assistant Director

CSA.SpringBranchISD.com

Religious Affiliation

As a public school, Cornerstone has no religious affiliation.  According to Spring Branch Independent School District’s policy, every school has a moment of silence each day during which students can pray silently to themselves if they so choose.  Also, absences because of religious holidays do not count toward the student’s total number of absences.  However, the student is still responsible for the makeup work.

Location and Facilities

Cornerstone Academy is located in Spring Branch, an area of Houston that extends along I-10 from the 610 loop to the west of Beltway 8. The school sits near the intersection of Campbell and Westview.

Admissions

In order to apply to Cornerstone Academy, students 1) must be eligible to enroll in SBISD schools, 2) must have earned at least a “C” average during the previous school year, and 3) parents must be willing to volunteer 10 hours each school year. Applicants must submit 1) a signed application form, 2) a signed enrollment policy, and 3) the student’s most current report card. If there are more applicants than available spots, eligible students will be enrolled through a lottery system. Siblings of currently enrolled 6th and 7th grade students, who submit their applications on time and meet the eligibility requirements, are given preferential placement.

Academic Tracks and Curriculum

Cornerstone Academy has a unique middle school curriculum that incorporates six-week courses called CESITs (Career Exploration, Specialized Interests & Talents) taught by teachers, business professionals, and community volunteers. Each six weeks, students are able to explore different careers by choosing between courses such as architecture, art, medicine, hotel/restaurant management, and engineering. “Active CESITs,” such as Ultimate Frisbee or Mind/Body Fitness, count toward 7th and 8th grade PE requirements.

CSA integrates language arts/social studies and math/science through a team teaching approach. Teachers meet the requirements for gifted and talented teaching. All courses are taught at a pre-AP level.  To remain enrolled at CSA, students are expected to maintain at least a C average with an allowance of one D.

Special Needs

Standard SBISD policies.

Foreign Languages

Cornerstone Academy offers both French (1A/1B) and Spanish (1A/1B). In French 1A, 7th grade students focus on learning basic French words, expressions, and grammar. French 1B (8th grade) reviews and expands upon concepts learned in 1A. The school uses a speech recognition language program to reinforce language learning.

Arts

Students can explore the fine arts through Art, Band, Dance, and Theater. Through art class (a CESIT offering), students gain experience with mediums like drawing, sculpture, painting, and mixed media. Highly interested students can elect to take art again as projects are not repeated. To perform in the Dateline Rock and Roll event, band students are expected to practice at least 30 minutes every day.

Dance is offered daily. Dance students can perform in the holiday show, the drill team showcase, and the spring show. Two theater production classes are offered: one for the cast of the current show and one for the tech crew. Each year, there is a musical in the fall and a non-musical in the spring.

Technology

In 6th grade, students learn basic computer literacy skills. Technology remains a part of the core curriculum as they move forward. CESIT course options allow students to broaden their skills in areas such as web development, Microsoft Office, and video broadcasting.

Extracurricular Activities

Mondays are Club Days at Cornerstone, also referred to as “Marvelous Monday Madness (3M).” After school on Mondays, children can participate in various clubs, such as cooking, biking, running, robotics, band, soccer, etc. Any parent, who is cleared as an SBISD volunteer, may sponsor a club. Additionally, students may join groups such as the National Junior Honor Society (if qualified) or the Student Council.

In the past, students have undertaken service projects, such as Lock of Love, the SPCA Pet Drive, and the Stuffed Animal Drive for Local Hospitals.

Athletics

As a relatively small charter school, CSA does not have interscholastic sports teams. The school does offer intramural sports (flag football, basketball, and dodge-ball), with tournaments supported by parents, staff, and students. Students also have the option to play in outside clubs.

Parent Involvement

CSA’s Parent Teacher Association (PTA) offers regular meetings and plenty of volunteer opportunities for parents to become more involved.  Volunteers might organize events, publish monthly newsletters or help fundraise.  CSA organizes workshops for parents to help their children navigate middle school successfully.

Cornerstone Academy Fast Facts

Overview  
School Type Public, Charter, Coeducational
Religious Affiliation None
Uniforms Dress Code Only
Date Founded 1997
Endowment N/A
Grades Served 6-8
Enrollment 388
     Grade 8 131
     Grade 7 129
     Grade 6 128
Student to Teacher Ratio 14:1
Faculty with Advanced Degrees (#/%) 28%
Minorities in Student Body 53%
Curriculum
Academic Tracks Offered Honors
Advanced Placement Courses Offered N/A
Languages Offered Spanish, French
Calendar (Semester / Trimester / Other) Six Weeks
Interscholastic Sports Programs N/A
Public School Stats (Public Schools)
Gifted and Talented Students 100%
Free and Reduced Lunch 36%
AYP (2012) Met AYP
TEA Accountability (2011) Exemplary

Excerpted from General Academic’s publication, “Houston Private & Select Public Schools: Survey, Analysis, and Research, 3rd Edition.”

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