Galveston Independent School District serves more than 7,000 students on the Island and Bolivar Peninsula. During the 2015-2016 school year, it operated two high school programs, six middle school programs, and six elementary schools. The boundary of those schools stretches from Oppe Elementary located in the westend of Galveston Island to Crenshaw Elementary and Middle School in Crystal Beach on Bolivar Peninsula, a short ferry ride away.
Since 2009, Galveston ISD has seen student enrollment numbers increase after a nearly decade of decline, adding nearly 500 students in the last five years. A large measure of that goes to steady and progressive leadership under the Superintendent of Schools, Larry Nichols, who has 27 years of experience as the head of Texas school districts. Superintendent Nichols brought in staff geared specifically to address the educational needs of those attending Galveston schools, resulting in postive direction for GISD.
The student body is ethnically and culturally diverse. Of families with children attending GISD schools, 75% of the students enrolled are economically disadvantaged. Galveston schools house diverse student populations as reflected by the district's demographics - 46% Hispanic, 24% African American, 30% white and other.
The district employs approximately 1,100 full-time staff members, making it the second largest employer in Galveston, behind UT-Medical Branch. The annual operating budget for the last school year topped $68.6 million.
Galveston public schools offer a tremendous amount of instructional opportunities at its campuses with magnet programs dotting the district and several certification programs that allow students to find living wage jobs before or after graduation. Middle schools offer a variety of Pre-Advanced Placement credits and Ball High has access to free or discounted dual credit hours from Galveston College or a multitude of Advanced Placement classes. In addition GISD offers a full slate of fine arts and athletic teams and programs.
This is a big reason approximately 350 students travel from out-of-district daily to learn at GISD campuses. The district collaborates with Head Start and the YMCA to offer its Pre-Kindergarten program at various elementary schools. Galveston ISD student enrollment is also open to the children of non-Galveston residents who work within the boundaries of the school district.
Families in Galveston are fortunate to have many educational options within the District. For the last seven years, Galveston public schools have implemented a "Schools of Choice" model. No school zones exist within the district and families are free to apply to programs thoughout the district where space is available. There are magnet programs, neighorhood style schools, and charter-based schools.
Ambassadors Preparatory Academy
Ambassadors Preparatory Academy (APA) is an open enrollment public charter school approved by the Texas Education Agency in 2007. The mission of the school is to provide a safe, hands-on-learner-centered environment that cultivates excellence, offers challenges, and embraces lifelong learning for all students.
Teachers receive a substantial degree of curicular and insructional freedom in exchange for high expectations regarding effective classroom practice and student performance. Teaching and learning are focused on real-life situations, so students understand the relevance of information to their everyday lives. Teaching and learning throughout the school includes mental, practical, written and computer-based elements, which encourage students to become problem solvers and to develop inquiring minds. All lessons are differentiated to meet the needs of each student, and a variety of activities are chosen to reinforce concepts and 21st century skills (communication, innovation, collaboration and presentation.)
APA has consistently received high academic and financial ratings from the Texas Education Agency.
Established in Galveston in 1998, Odyssey Academy is an open enrollment public charter school that serves approximately 1,100 students district wide in prekindergarten through high school from the Galveston County and Gulf Coast area. Odyssey Academy has three schools located in Galveston, League City, and El Lago.
Odyssey Academy exists to provide the best learning environment for three year olds through high school aged students throughout the Gulf Coast area. To ensure its students build the skills, knowledge, and character traits necessary to become productive and effective citizens, Odyssey Academy focuses on instilling the values of integrity, encouragement, respect, responsibility, and safety and puts an emphasis on math, science, and technology education.
Odyssey Academy uses a comprehensive curriculum that was developed collaboratively by content area experts across the state of Texas. This curriculum promotes an inquiry-based, student-centered, hands-on instructional model.
In addition to academics, Odyssey Academy offers sports, clubs, organizations, enrichment, and extracurricular activities for student, parents, and staff to each find their niche and become actively involved in student learning and success.