Bellaire High School, founded in 1955, was the first International Baccalaureate School in Texas. With its IB program and its World Languages magnet program, Bellaire’s goal is to create “…active learners, well-rounded individuals, and engaged citizens, who gain the practical experience of being part of an international community.” The city of Bellaire and parts of Houston, such as Meyerland and Braesmont, are zoned to Bellaire High School.
As a magnet school within HISD, Bellaire High School has no religious affiliation. Students’ religious convictions do not factor into admissions, and the curriculum does not include theological material. While there is no institutionalized prayer in the school, there is a daily minute of silence during which students may choose to pray. Additionally, absences due to religious holidays do not count against a student’s record, though the student is still responsible for make-up work.
Bellaire High School sits on the corner of S. Rice Ave. and Maple St. in Bellaire. The original building from 1955 is three stories. In 1981, Bellaire added four smaller buildings and a three-story science wing with more classrooms and science labs. The school’s approximately 7-acre campus further includes a traditional theater and a library as well as a dance room, an orchestra room, a band room, and a choir room.
Thanks to the 2012 HISD Bond Initiative, which provided over $100 million to significantly rebuild and expand the school, the school is currently undergoing a significant expansion, which will bring to the campus a new three-story academic wing along with multiple flexible learning areas for group collaboration, a library with a makerspace, two gymnasiums, and an exterior courtyard. Additional features will include a new fine arts wing that will contain a 900-seat auditorium and black box theater, along with band, guitar, dance, and choir rooms; a large dining commons area; and a natatorium with an eight-lane swimming pool.
The project is slated for completion during the fourth quarter of 2022 with the new building to be occupied with students by Summer 2021. Students will remain on campus for the duration of the work with little to no class disruption.
Bellaire’s admissions process is split into two different types: zoned and magnet.
For students zoned for Bellaire who attended an HISD middle school that feeds into Bellaire, Bellaire will receive their information automatically from the middle school. If the student did not attend an HISD middle school that feeds into Bellaire, then the parent(s) and student need to register over the summer.
A parent must bring in the following information:
- A copy of the student’s birth certificate or passport
- The previous year’s final report card
- A copy of the student’s transcript/permanent record
- The student’s Social Security card (if applicable)
- A Copy of the student’s immunization record
- Proof of HISD residency in Bellaire’s zone.
Note that students zoned to Bellaire who wish to participate in the magnet program are automatically accepted into the program. These students do not need to fill out an application or take the test.
For the World Languages Magnet Program, all non-zoned students must take the Modern Language Aptitude Test, fill out the application, and submit the following information:
- The student’s most recent report card
- The previous year’s final report card
- A copy of the student’s transcript/permanent record
- Two years of standardized test scores
- A copy of the student’s immunization record
- Proof of HISD residency.
Bellaire offers testing during the second or third week of January. Every applicant has to take the test. Bellaire asks that students arrive 30 minutes before the test is scheduled and bring two #2 pencils and photo identification.
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Bellaire offers three tracks – On-Track, AP, and IB. Dual enrollment classes are also available to supplement any of the above tracks.
In the AP track, Pre-AP classes lead to the 22 classes from the College Board’s Advanced Placement (AP) curriculum. Bellaire’s AP courses include: AP English Language, AP English Literature, AP Art History, AP Biology, AP Environmental Science, AP Chemistry, AP Computer Science A/AB, AP U.S. History, AP Government U.S./Comparative, AP Human Geography, AP Economics Macro/Micro, AP European History, AP Art 2D, AP Art Drawing, AP Chinese Language, AP French Language, AP French Literature, AP German Language, and AP Italian Language.
In order to graduate with an IB Diploma, students are required to complete six subjects — three Higher Level and three Standard Level courses. These subjects include: a first language, a second language, math, science, social science, and an IB elective. Students must also complete 150 hours of CAS (Creativity, Action, and Service), a 4,000 word research essay, and a capstone course titled “Theory of Knowledge.”
IB requirements aside, Bellaire also follows Texas state graduation requirements. Students now matriculating will graduate under the new Foundation High School Program. The basic requirements are as follows: four credits of English, three credits of math, three credits of science, four credits of social studies, one credit of PE, one-half credit of Health, two credits of the same language (other than English), one credit of fine arts, and three and one-half credits of electives, for a total of 22 credits.
Most students who graduate under the Foundation High School Program will take one or more “endorsements” in addition to the basic curricular requirements. An endorsement is essentially the high school equivalent of a college major. Students who take an endorsement must complete 26 credits, including a fourth credit each of math and science and any additional credits needed to fulfill the endorsement’s curricular requirements.
There are five possible endorsements: STEM, Business and Industry, Public Services, Arts and Humanities, and Multidisciplinary. Bellaire offers all five.
- To earn an endorsement in STEM, a student must complete a coherent sequence of courses from CTE courses within the STEM cluster, computer science, math, science, or any two of these four.
- To earn an endorsement in Business and Industry, a student must complete a coherent sequence of courses from a focus area in CTE, or English electives, or technology applications, or a combination of any of these three.
- To earn an endorsement in Arts and Humanities, a student must complete a coherent sequence of courses in social studies, a language other than English, two levels in two languages other than English, ASL, the fine arts, or English electives not counted under Business & Industry.
- To earn an endorsement in Public Services, a student must complete elective credits in JROTC or a coherent sequence of courses from the CTE focus areas in Education & Training; Government & Public Administration; Health Science; Human Services; or Law, Public Safety, Corrections, and Security.
- To earn an endorsement in Multidisciplinary, a student must complete a coherent sequence of four courses related to preparation for entering the workforce; or one advanced course in each of the four core areas; or four AP, IB, or dual credit courses from the core areas, economics, languages other than English, or the fine arts.
A student who qualifies for at least one endorsement also qualifies for the Distinguished Level of Achievement supplementary endorsement, which is a necessary prerequisite for in-state college admission under the top 10% rule. Students may also earn Performance Acknowledgements for noteworthy career-focused or academic achievements, including qualifying scores on AP and IB exams and the PSAT, SAT, and ACT.
Accommodations are available for students with special needs who meet the requirements for admission. If the parents already have documentation about the student’s special needs, the school will need a copy of that documentation. After receiving the documentation, the school will set up an annual ARD meeting that the parents, the student, an administrator, a core subject teacher, a special education teacher or 504 representative, and an HISD advocate will attend to discuss the specific modifications necessary for the student and to create an individualized education plan (IEP) for the student. Every teacher will receive a copy of the modifications for the student after they are set in the ARD meeting.
If the parents want to request modifications for their child, then the special education teacher will give the student’s teachers paperwork to document the student’s behavior and any modifications the teacher uses for the student. After 6 weeks of documentation, the teachers will turn in the paperwork, and the special education teacher or 504 representative will call a meeting similar to an ARD meeting. If the meeting determines that the student needs accommodation, then the school will have documentation of the student’s special needs and will follow the same procedures as above.
With its World Languages Magnet Program, Bellaire offers courses in eleven languages: Arabic, French, German, Hebrew, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Russian, Spanish, and Mandarin. Non-magnet students must complete at least two years of a foreign language to graduate — three years if the student wishes to earn a Distinguished Diploma. Magnet students must take four years of one language and one year of a second language. If they completed one year of their first language in middle school, they can take three years of the first language and two of the second language.
Bellaire students must complete at least one year of a fine arts elective to graduate. The options include band, dance team, dance classes, orchestra, choir, and theatre arts. The University Interscholastic League sponsors all of these with the exception of the dance classes, so students in these programs have the opportunity to participate in competitions against other schools through UIL.
In its multiple computer labs, Bellaire offers AP Computer Science A and AB, IB Computer Science, Web Technologies, and Digital and Interactive Media as a part of its career and technical education department. However, a technology credit is no longer required to graduate.
Bellaire offers a number of different clubs and activities to its students. Some examples include Astronomy Club, Culinary Club, Jazz Club, Model United Nations, Mock Trial, National Honor Society, Quidditch Club, and Yoga Club. UIL activities include yearbook, theatre, cheerleading, debate, guitar, and newspaper.
Bellaire has twelve UIL sports teams: football, baseball, softball, volleyball, and boys’ and girls’ basketball, wrestling, soccer, track, cross-country, tennis, golf, and swimming. Bellaire also fields boys’ and girls’ teams in one non-UIL sport: lacrosse. Athletic facilities include a gym, a baseball field, and an outdoor track.
All parents are welcome to join the Bellaire PTO (Parent Teacher Organization). The PTO organizes a variety of events such as fun runs, teacher appreciation luncheons, and camps. The school also has a Shared Decision Making Committee, through which interested parents can join with teachers and community members to advise the principal on important administrative matters.