Edgar Allan Poe Elementary is a fine arts magnet school which is certified as an IB World School with a Primary Years Program (IB PYP). The school’s goal is to “develop creative thinkers and performers in the arts that recognize and appreciate how the arts, through time, have continued to distinguish as well as connect all cultures and societies.” It shares its campus with the Poe Cooperative Nursery School.
As a magnet school within HISD, Poe Elementary 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.
Poe is located in an affluent, verdant, residential neighborhood called University Place within the Boulevard Oaks historic district, just north of Rice University. The school sits between North and South Boulevards with Hazard Street to its east and Wilton Street to its west. Poe shares its campus with the Poe Cooperative Nursery School. Outside, there are fields, a playground, and a school garden.
Poe’s admissions process is split into two different types: zoned and magnet.
Students zoned to Poe Elementary will be accepted once their parents have submitted the proper documentation, as follows: current proof of address (bill or lease), a copy of the parent’s current driver’s license showing the same address, a copy of the student’s birth certificate or passport, tje student’s immunization records, a copy of the student’s Social Security card (if applicable), parental proof of custody (in cases of divorce), and the previous year’s final report Card and test scores (if enrolling in 1st through 5th grade). Students enrolling in kindergarten must be 5 years old by September 1st.
Parents of students living outside Poe’s zone must apply through the HISD magnet process. Students are selected through a lottery process after applications have closed. To apply for the Neighborhood Vanguard Program, students must submit a separate Vanguard Neighborhood GT application and be tested for gifted and talented status.
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Students take daily courses in reading/language arts, math, science, and social studies/IB. They attend the following ancillary classes: Art, Dance, Music, PE, and Technology. Additionally, Poe has one Spanish-English bilingual class in each grade.
In 2014, Poe was certified for the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program (IB PYP). The IB PYP program aims to “develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.”
Poe’s gifted and talented students can participate in two programs: the Vanguard Neighborhood Program and the FROGS (Friends with Really Outstanding Gifts who Succeed) enrichment program, which works with students on a daily basis.
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.
Poe offers one Spanish-English bilingual class in each grade. However, there is no foreign language requirement.
Poe is a Fine Arts magnet school. Students take classes in art, dance, and music. Poe hosts two art events: Fine Arts Career Week and All Art Day. During Fine Arts Career Week, local performing and visual artists share their experiences with students during ancillary periods. During All Art Day, students select a theme to explore and to present visually throughout the school. In 2012, students performed on stage in a Cinco de Mayo celebration.
In addition to a music class which is part of the ancillary rotation, all students have the option to study Suzuki violin (for an extra fee). Suzuki program participants have one private lesson and one small group lesson per week. They also have several opportunities to perform throughout the year.
Poe students learn the technology skills required for middle school. They conduct basic computer research, learn about trustworthy web sources, add artistic elements to documents, and create PowerPoint presentations. The Poe Library Media Center’s mission is to provide “equitable access for all students and teachers to books and reading, to information, and to information technology in an environment that is safe and conducive to learning.”
Poe has an Extended Day Program wherein students are led through different activities by certified teachers. Extended Day activities include homework, board games, soccer, outside play, computer time, and movies. During this program, students can also participate in the Name That Book program or Junior Achievement (grades 3-5 only). Additionally, there are several clubs which students can join, such as Art Club, Main Street Theatre, Media Club, Millionaire Book Club, Odyssey of the Mind, Poe Choir, Poe Pals, Spelling Bee, and Student Council. Fifth grade students can join the Safety Patrol if they have “shown good citizenship” during their time at Poe.
Fourth grade students take an annual field trip to Austin to explore the state capital.
Students attend PE during the school day and have the opportunity to explore sports through after-school clubs like Gymnastics, Track, Poe Dancers, and Soccer Camp.
Parents can join the PTO to volunteer to help with events or to chaperon on field trips. In the past, the PTO has put together ice cream socials, Fine Arts Career Week, carnivals, book fairs, auctions, Teach Appreciation Week, and All Art Day. Parents can also become a member of the Garden Club, help plan the Science Fair, or compile articles for the bimonthly newsletter.
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.