Galveston ISD serves about 6,800 students on Galveston 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. About 47% of those enrolled are Hispanic, 28% are Caucasian or other, and 25% are African American. 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 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.
Galveston ISD is open to the children of non-Galveston residents who work within the boundaries of the school district. GISD also collaborates with HeadStart and the YMCA to offer prekindergarten classes 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 and 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 Indicator System. The school also recently earned a National Title 1 Distinguished School Award for its high test scores among all demographics - only one of 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 is also home to the only piano and martial arts classes in the district.
Ball High School, founded in 1884, is the flagship school in 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, 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.
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