CREATING A THIRD HIGH SCHOOL OPTION

After months of study  and discussion by the administration – and with the enthusiastic participation of Alvin Community College, San Jacinto College, UH-Clear Lake at Pearland and others – I presented a recommendation to the Board on April 10, 2012.  We sought a green light for utilizing the now empty (and beautiful and capacious) Bailey Road  School Facility for developing a third high school option for those students who are interested.  After the presentation and intense discussion, the Board voted 4-3 to grant us a green light to proceed.  There remain many decision points prior to an  intended opening in fall 2013.  I’m attaching a PowerPoint further explaining the rationale/specifics behind this  initiative.

Why are we contemplating a third high school option for interested students?

Over the school year, I met with a large number of people who share a strong desire to accomplish several related goals/issues.   Three of these prominent issues can be expressed as follows:

  1.  In the quest to pursue “world-class schools” for Pearland ISD, it is necessary to greatly increase the number of graduates with college credits, college preparatory skills, and real-world job skills/certifications.
  2. There is a pronounced and growing need to relieve enrollment pressure at the two existing high schools.
  3. Taxpayers would like to see a productive use for their investment in the now vacant Bailey Road Facility.

It is extremely fortunate that resources are available to combine all three issues into one great enterprise:  the establishment of a third high school option with vast opportunities for earning dual credit college hours and certifications for skilled occupations.  Eligible/interested students would likely fall between the extremes of those bound for Harvard/MIT and those whose lives must necessarily be confined only to unskilled labor.  Many students fit between those two “poles.”  Thus, a subset of those students may decide to choose this third option.  At its enrollment  height, the Bailey Road Facility can hold approximately 1,375 students, but I anticipate we would start with a significantly smaller number.  As you can see in the attached PowerPoint, there is a growing and critical need to relieve enrollment pressure from the two high schools (DHS and PHS) now in operation.

Based on past actions by the Pearland ISD Board, there is certainly significant precedent for increasing “choice” options for parents/students.  Among the significant efforts of the recent past are the IB School at Massey Ranch Elementary, the GT Academy, and the intra-district transfer options on a space-available basis.  This new high school option is another step in the direction of maximizing parental/student choice.

Local colleges are excited to join this new venture aimed at maximizing post-secondary opportunities for our high school students.  Essentially the use of our facilities, their facilities, our teachers, their teachers, and other combined resources of all entities could give our school district an advantage very few Texas public schools can compete with.   It is a win-win for the entire educational community – and most importantly, the youth we serve.

We envision a school that has very few peers in the U.S.  In addition to the joint partnership with area colleges, we should invite local/regional businesses into our third high school.  These businesses would help provide equipment, supplies, and training expertise within our facility’s footprint – and in return generate a pipeline of skilled labor students for their businesses.  The best schools in the U.S. can conceivably break down the barriers between the “real world” of business/industry and K-12/college academia – as is already happening elsewhere in the world.  We can devise apprenticeships, internships, and interlocal agreements.  Moreover, Pearland ISD is uniquely qualified to take this quantum leap because of the work already begun by the Northern Brazoria County Education Alliance.  That Alliance has already forged links that are the envy of other school districts.  They are clearly poised to deepen and strengthen the relationships necessary for a “world-class” educational/business/industry experience.

Such a high school option does NOT provide a single path for post-graduation plans.  It only increases the options for involved students to attend a community college or university, pursue a vocational certification, and/or land immediate/eventual skilled employment.  Remembering that as many as 60% of today’s college/post-secondary students require remedial training, this third option immerses students in that environment earlier and in greater depth.  Furthermore, it offers parents thousands of dollars in saved college/certification costs – an especially poignant need among those from households in which the parents have limited education and/or language skills combined with low income.

Our two fine high schools (PHS and DHS) will continue serving all who wish to enroll in them.  Our work at those two schools will continue to emphasize high scholastic offerings – and a wide variety of curriculum/fine arts/extracurricular activities for all comers.  And we’ll likely begin this third option with what I term a “hybrid approach” whereby students can be shuttled between the Bailey Road Facility and the other high schools for fine arts, athletics, and other choices.

We are building on a strong foundation already present in Pearland ISD!

See PowerPoint:  BAILEYROADINITIATIVE

10 Responses to “CREATING A THIRD HIGH SCHOOL OPTION”


  1. 1 R. F. Hinds June 22, 2012 at 8:51 am

    As an educator and parent I applaud this action by Dr. Kelly and the Board of Trustees. The need for such a facility is great and will have a huge impact on a significant portion of students in our district. When I first began teaching high school English many years ago I saw the need for such programs for students who neither had the inclination nor the skill to succeed in the college setting. The current push in education to send ALL students to college is short sighted and irresponsible, and has left many students to seek expensive “trade school” options on their own. This is a very forward thinking move that will reap spectacular benefits for our students and our community. Good job, Dr. Kelly.

  2. 2 Thrilled Parent June 4, 2012 at 11:29 am

    The only sad thing about this is that my son will not have the opportunity to benefit from this amazing opportunity. The reality is that so many students are underserved by the present system that focuses on the gifted and those who are “college bound” from their elementary years. We all have different gifts and I believe our district has done a very poor job to this point meeting the needs of those students who need a more hands on vocational approach to learning.
    I believe that this new school will greatly improve the quality of life for so many students from many different backgrounds. I saw first hand the difference it made in my own student when the opportunity to do something that really interested him and I also saw the disappointment and frustration when he realized that he still had one more year of school to go and he could not continue to explore this field because there just weren’t any other courses available beyond his junior year. This left us with a senior year that we were just “praying to get to June and pass”, nothing really relevant to prepare this “hands on” student for his future. Kids like this do not need Shakespeare, they need to understand how to read a blue print, write a budget/proposal so many other real life things.
    The community will benefit from a local, reliable source from which to hire well-educated, certified employees.
    It is a MAJOR win/win that is LONG overdue!!!! Thank you Dr. Kelly!

  3. 3 Dale Pillow May 4, 2012 at 11:05 am

    I was excited to hear that the Trustees decided to move forward with this wonderful idea. My daughter graduated in 2002 and I wish this option had been available for her when she was in high school. She tried college and it just wasn’t for her. She then heard about the Dental Assistant program at Alvin Community College and she found her niche! She’s working as a dental assistant, loving the job, and talking about going back eventually to get training as a dental hygienist.

    We have many children in our school today that will not go to college – many because they see no value in it and have no parental guidance as to that value and many because the money just is not there. To have a student that is not college bound get excited about school because they can graduate from high school with a certificate from whatever training course they decide to enter and know that they can complete for a job earning a living wage is huge.

    At the Adult Reading Center, we see many adults in their 20s who dropped out of high school because they could not see the value of a high school diploma. Was it going to help them get a job? Maybe a minimum wage job. They already had that in the job they had while in high school.

    Many of them come to the Center for assistance in getting their GED so that they can enter some type of vocational training at one of our local community colleges. They’ve learned that the minimum wage job will not support a family. These are the students who needed guidance and other options while in high school.

    This is a project that has been in discussion for some time. I knew it was being discussed. It was not a last-minute decision by a few people. I commend our 4 Trustees that could envision the value in this type of program in our schools and are willing to step out in support of it.

    Our children need these types of forward thinkers.

    • 4 Jeff Barry May 10, 2012 at 7:36 pm

      I can’t agree with this decision more. This idea is forward thinking and has been needed for quite some time. The utilization of the the third high school will not only help to slow down potential overcrowding of Pearland and Dawson but will allow PISD to equally focus on the lower 50% of the students that have been forgotten because they aren’t targeted to go to a 4 year university.

      Our current workforce is now feeling the pain brought on by the blight of trained workers and with the creation of the NBCEA and the help of the business leaders that support the NBCEA we are able to provide scholarship money and new equipment to many of the dual credit programs.

      Thank you Dr. Kelly!

  4. 5 Kevin Cole May 3, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    Dr. Kelly, I want to take a moment and thank you for your vision on this 3rd high school in PISD. The thought of a career and technical high school was a goal of the Northern Brazoria County Education Alliance (NBCEA) several years ago. The timing was just not right at that time. This will give our students the oppertunity to learn skills that can be applied in the workforce either while still in high school or immediately after graduating. Fast tracking to the workforce. Not every student will go on to a 4-year degree and this gives many students options they did not have before.

    This high school option will go along way to helping to solve many economic development problems that exist in Pearland today. One of the biggest problems facing our City is available skilled workers. By creating this high school, we will solve that issue after a few short years and creating a place where companies will want to be.

  5. 6 Kay Beicker May 3, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    Using the Bailey Road School Facility as a career and technical training facility is the greatest news from Pearland ISD. It is an educational gift to provide the students that “fall between the extremes of those bound for Harvard/MIT and those whose lives must necessarily be confined only to unskilled labor”. Many lives will be enriched by this program, affording opportunities that would not have been available otherwise. I will do all I can to support this program and the Northern Brazoria County Education Alliance.

  6. 7 Parent April 21, 2012 at 9:31 pm

    Thank you, Dr. Kelly! There has been a great deal of time, energy, and funds given to programs for the gifted and high-achieving students the past few years. This has happened while many other programs that impact the majority of the students in PISD have been cut or greatly reduced. I am happy to see that Dr. Kelly wants to better prepare the majority of our students for life after high school. This will provide more options and opportunities for high school students and save parents money through reduced college tuition for dual credit courses.

  7. 8 Mark Dunk April 14, 2012 at 11:47 am

    I think this is a great idea for the Pearland community. It is my hope that the community will embrace this idea as a valuable addition that provides additional choices for students. Pearland is already a great district. This concept would help to continue that tradition and build in a wider variety of possibilities for students.

  8. 9 Steve Dollinger April 13, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    With all due respect, Dr. Kelly, I have to take issue with your pushing this third school concept through without providing the school board and community with ANY information the costs associated with this plan, without seeking feedback from the general community, in the form of surveys, public forums. This lack of due process causes me to question your judgment.

    Such a decision should be made more carefully and with an effort to achieve more than just a 4-3 majority on an agenda item thy received just a few days before the vote with only the bare minimum of information.

    This may end up being a success. For your sake and Pearland’s sake, I hope so. But if not, and it becomes a collossal failure because of your lack of due diligence, that falls directly on you.

    • 10 Kay Beicker May 3, 2012 at 9:28 am

      To me this is some of the most exciting news from Pearland ISD ever. The commitment to higher education for the mass of students that fall between Harvard/MIT and unskilled labor is an educational gift for our community that will afford many an opportunity for a better life. I will certainly do all I can to support the Northern Brazoria County Education Alliance.


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