Galveston, Texas Education


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Posted by on Monday, February 16, 2015

Galvestonians place high regard on education as the means of improving their city and its residents. The city has a strong public school system and several 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 or Texas A&M University at Galveston.

Public Schools

Galveston Independent School District serves approximately 6,800 students on the Island and Bolivar Peninsula. It operates 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, to Crenshaw Elementary and Middle School on Bolivar Peninsula.

Student demographics are ethnically and culturally diverse. Approximately 47 percent of those enrolled are Hispanic, 28 percent are Caucasian or other, and 25 percent are African Americans. The district employs more than 1,300 staff members, making it the second largest employer in Galveston, behind the University of Texas Medical Branch. The operating budget for the last school year topped $65 million.

The district follows an innovative schools of choice model, allowing parents and students to select schools based on curriculum, not geography. There are no school zones in GISD, opening more learning opportunities to the community. It is a move that has attracted higher levels of enrollment to the tune of 1,000 new students over the last four years.

GISD student enrollment is open to non-Galveston residents who work within the boundaries of the school district. GISD also collaborates with HeadStart and the YMCA to offer pre-kindergarten programs at various schools.

All elementary programs offer a particular theme or focus, such as coastal studies at Oppe Elementary, international studies at Parker Elementary, college readiness and balanced literacy at Early Childhood University, and science & engineering at Morgan Elementary.

Currently, the Austin Middle School Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Magnet is an "Exemplary" campus under the Texas Education Agency Academic Excellence and Indicator System. The school has also recently earned a National Title I Distinguished School Award for its high test scores among all demographics - only one to two schools in the state of Texas - and received one of 26 Blue Ribbon Awards in Texas, 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), an accelerated instruction model, and Gifted and Talented programs for elementary, middle, and high school.

Central Middle School Media Arts Academy is one of the few schools in the country that teaches multiple disciplines in the media fields. Students cover graphic design, online and video broadcasting, video game design, podcasting, photography, and more. The school also is the home to the only piano and martial arts classes in the district.

Ball High School, founded in 1884, is the flagship school for the district and the second longest-running high school in Texas. The class of 2012 included more than 400 graduates. Students in the class accepted placement at Stanford University, University of Texas at Austin, New York University, Texas A&M at College Station, Rice University, Baylor University, and Alabama University. Graduates regularly attend Ivy League schools and work around the world.

Ball Preparatory Academy is a self-contained program on the Ball High campus, an official Texas Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (T-STEM) program. The program celebrated its first graduating class in May 2012 and features test scores that compare to any other school in Galveston County. The program has a close relationship with University of Texas Medical Branch, with student internships available. Engineering and biomedical studies are the two curriculum pathways students choose to study at Ball Preparatory Academy.

Ambassadors 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 prekindergarten through eighth grade. 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
Established in 1999, Odyssey Academy is an open enrollment public charter school that serves nearly 700 students in prekindergarten through eighth grade from the Galveston County area.

Odyssey Academy exists to provide the best 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, responsbility and safety and puts an emphasis on math, science, adn technology education.

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

Odyssey's teachers and staff are highly qualified, well-trained and knowledgeable. Every member of the Odyssey community works tirelessly to ensure that each individual students 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 prekindergarten through 12th grade, 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 Prepartory 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 prekindergarten through eighth grade and has enrollment of about 100.  O'Connell College Preparatory High School serves students in grades nine through 12.

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 8th 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.

Trinity Episcopal School, founded in 1952, is a coeducational day school serving about 230 students, two years old through grade eight. The school offers a rigorous academic program in a God-centered atmosphere where small classes are led by caring teachers. Housed on 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 excursions to 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.

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 in 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 teaching staff of five and two part-time faculty.

Higher Education

Galveston College
In 1967 Galveston College opened its doors after widespread community support had formed the Galveston Community College District. For half a century, 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 bocks from the Galveston Seawall at 4015 Avenue Q, is an exceptional environment for learning.  Approximately 2,200 credit students enroll in each semester of fall, spring and summer.  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 and music, microcomputer centers, fitness and gym facilities, and intramural/collegiate sports.

Galveston College has worked 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 to be a central educational link to the Galveston Independent School District, other local private schools, and the University of Houston-Clear Lake.

Galveston College now operates its new Charlie Thomas Family Applied Technology 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 Electrical and Electronics Technology, Cosmetology and Medical Office Administration.

Other new degree programs recently introduced at Galveston College include clinical trial coordinator, developed in cooperation with UTMB, and a 2-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 guaranteed paid tuition and fees for two years of higher education and training.

Galveston College also awards nearly $70,000 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

Texas A&M University at Galveston
Texas A&M University at Galveston is Texas’ only special-purpose institution dedicated to education, research and service in the science, engineering, business and humanities involving our oceans and coastal environments. There is no similar institution in Texas or the rest of the nation. This branch campus of Texas A&M University is home to the Texas Maritime Academy, one of six state maritime academies in the United States and the only mariner-licensing program on the Gulf Coast.

Texas A&M University at Galveston offers Galveston residents an opportunity to stay in Galveston while earning a bachelor’s degree. Galvestonians who are looking for a degree in business might choose Texas A&M University at Galveston’s Maritime Administration degree. This degree offers a solid business foundation coupled with specializations in international transportation, port operations, brokering and law. Graduates have enjoyed high placement rates with good pay.

Texas A&M University at Galveston participates in intercollegiate water sports such as sailing and rowing, both regionally and nationally.

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, Allied Health Sciences, and Graduate Biomedical Sciences. The focus is on training students to work as part of an interdisciplinary team in a problem-based learning environment. Health professions students gain early experience in clinical settings, while those pursuing degrees in biomedical research see how laboratory discoveries translate into improvements in care for patients.

UTMB currently enrolls more than 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 a Level 1 Trauma Center, one of three in the greater Houston area.

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