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 Academy

9000 Bellaire Blvd., Houston, TX 77036                                                 Sister Jane Meyer, Head of School

713-219-5400                                                                                       Ms. Brigid Schiro, Director of Admissions

www.St-Agnes.org

Religious Affiliation

The Dominican Sisters of Houston administers St. Agnes.  A Catholic religious order, the Dominicans date back to the Middle Ages, when Saint Dominic formed the order in the 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 on Tuesdays during lunch.

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 off of Bellaire Boulevard, the main street of Houston’s sprawling Chinatown.  The school’s adjacent location to Strake allows the two schools to cooperate closely including sharing of facilities and some course offerings.

The school’s dense campus is comprised of interconnected buildings centered on 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.  Tennis courts and a track are in the future plans.  It also includes a field house, concession stand and meetings rooms.  In addition, other facilities, such as the pool and track are shared with Strake Jesuit.

Admissions

The school states that students admitted to St. Agnes in recent years have earned above average grades and scores on standardized tests.  To this extent, the school cites the following criteria for admission—grades (6, 7, 8th grades), entrance exam scores (ISEE), English and math teacher recommendations, student application and essay, attendance and discipline records, and 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.  

Academic Tracks and Curriculum

Students at St. Agnes can enroll in class across two tracks – college preparatory and Honors/Advance Placement.  Honors classes are available from the freshman year.  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; students must take a minimum of six credits per year: 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).

Special Needs

St. Agnes Academy’s Academic Services Center, under 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, as well as providing 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.

Foreign Languages

Students at St. Agnes are required to take two years of a foreign language to graduate.  They may choose from French, Latin, Spanish or Chinese Mandarin.  Spanish, French, and Latin are offered up to level 5.  An AP class is offered for Spanish.  Chinese is a new offering that began in the 2011 academic year and is a co-enrollment with Strake Jesuit.

Arts

St. Agnes requires only two semesters of fine arts.  However, it does offer more than 25 options to its students 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.

Technology

The school’s laptop program requires that all incoming students purchase a Windows based tablet computer that is heavily integrated into the curriculum.  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.

Extracurricular Activities

St. Agnes supports a wide variety of extra-curricular and co-curricular activities.  Music examples include choir, band, and private voice lessons.  Drama options include roles at plays and musicals performed not only at St. Agnes but also at Strake Jesuit and St. Thomas.   Campus publications include a newspaper, online blog, literary magazine, and 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 also a large student organization which helps plan the annual mandatory class retreats, assists with liturgies, and participates in community service.

Athletics

All sports are offered at the junior varsity and varsity level with the exception of golf.  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.   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 is a member of the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools.

Parent Involvement

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, Dads’ Club, Drama Guild, Mixed Chorus Parents, Mothers’ Club, and Onyx.

St. Agnes Academy Fast Facts

Overview  
School Type Religious, Girls
Religious Affiliation Catholic
Uniforms Yes
Date Founded 1906
Endowment N/A
Grades Served 9-12
Enrollment 900
     9th Grade 232
     10th Grade 237
     11th Grade 226
     12th Grade 204
Student to Teacher Ratio 15:1
Faculty with Advanced Degrees (#/%) >75%
Minorities in Student Body 41%
   
Curriculum  
Academic Tracks Offered College Prep

Honors, AP

Advanced Placement Courses Offered 12
Languages Offered Chinese, French, Latin, Spanish
Calendar (Semester / Trimester / Other) Semester
Interscholastic Sports Programs 12
   
Graduating Seniors  
National Merit Semi-Finalists 2012 (#/%) 4/2%
Average SAT Scores (Class of 2011) 1905
     Mathematics 640
     Critical Reading 625
     Writing 640
% Students Admitted to 4 Year University 99%
   
Admissions  
Prime Entry Points Grade 9
Grades 9-12 $15,450
Registration Fee $100
Students on Financial Aid 10%

 

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

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