John H. Reagan High School, named after a 19th century politician, is one of Houston’s oldest high schools, having been founded in 1926. Located in the Houston Heights, Reagan serves 9th-12th grade students as HISD’s Magnet School of Computer Technology. Reagan has also recently been certified as an IB World School, and it offers the IB Middle Years Programme in partnership with Hogg Middle School.
As a magnet school within HISD, Reagan 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.
Reagan is located in the historic Houston Heights district just northwest of downtown. It is nestled between 13th, 14th, Oxford, and Arlington streets. In 1904, the campus was home to the original Houston Heights High School, which burned down. Reagan was built on the site in 1926, though the original building has since been completely renovated, most recently in 2006-2008.
The school has two gymnasiums, an auditorium, dance rooms, technology rooms, a piano lab, a choir/band hall, and a library. It also has a two-story parking garage, an auto shop, and a large track and field. Interestingly, Reagan’s gymnasium is the home court of an American Basketball Association (ABA) team, the Houston Takers.
Reagan’s admissions process is split into two different types: zoned and magnet. Parents of students living outside Reagan’s zone must apply through the HISD magnet process. Parents must complete an online application and submit the following documentation to the school’s magnet office: the previous year’s final report card, the report card for the first grading period of the current year, STAAR and Stanford scores, and proof of HISD residency. Current HISD students may not need to submit additional documentation.
HISD residents should apply during the Phase 1 application window, which lasts from late September until early December for the subsequent school year, and admitted students are notified by late March. Admission is based on the lottery system, and all eligible students have an equal chance of admission.
While zoned students are automatically admitted to the school, they must fill out a magnet application in order to be considered for the magnet program.
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Reagan offers three general tracks—On Track, Dual Enrollment, and AP. In the AP track, Pre-AP classes lead to the 15 classes from the College Board’s Advanced Placement (AP) curriculum. In order to take advanced classes, students must turn in a Pre-AP/AP Entrance Agreement Form and fulfill prerequisite courses.
Students at Reagan are split into five “academies,” which are made up of core teachers and specialty teachers. The academies are Business, Health Science, Fine Arts (freshmen only), Engineering & Architectural Design, and the Magnet/Technology Academy. The Magnet/ Technology Academy serves approximately 700 students. Each academy works with students to help them find related job opportunities and potentially receive college credit from Houston Community College.
Students enrolled in Reagan’s Dual Language Program acquire a high level of comprehension in both Spanish and English, the ability the express themselves fluently in both languages, familiarity with two cultures, and bilingual skills in all academic disciplines.
In conjunction with Hogg Middle School, Reagan has implemented the IB Middle Years Program (MYP) for ages 11 to 16. IB students are required to study a first language, a second language, humanities, sciences, mathematics, arts, physical education, and technology. In their final year, students undertake an independent “personal project.”
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. Reagan 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 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 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 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.
Reagan offers foreign language classes in both Spanish and German, including German I-III, Spanish for Native Speakers, and Spanish V AP Literature and Culture. Students must complete at least two years of a foreign language to graduate—three years if the student wishes to earn a Distinguished Diploma. Reagan is an International Spanish Academy with a Dual Language Program in Spanish and English.
Reagan’s Fine Arts Academy offers the following classes: Dance, Art, Painting, Sculpture, Studio Art, Theatre Arts, Technical Theatre, Music History, Choir, Mariachi, Marching Band, Instrumental Ensemble, and Mass Media: TV & Radio.
As HISD’s Magnet for Computer Technology, Reagan incorporates technology heavily into its curriculum. Magnet students can specialize in Computer Programming or Finance. Computer Programming, an intensive four-year college preparatory program, teaches students basic and advanced programming techniques and emphasizes math through calculus, science through physics, and computer science. Finance, also a four-year program, assists students in “developing a knowledge and awareness of the global economy in which we live and the increasing role of technology in the world of business and finance.”
Reagan has offered the following clubs during past school years: Art, Auto Skills USA/VICA, Band, Business Professionals of America, Choir, Christian Students Union, Class Year Clubs, Cycling Club, Dawg Proud, DECA, Diversity Club, Drama, Ecology Club, FBLA, Garden Club, Gent Phi Gent, H2BAM, HOSA, Interact, Jazz Band, Jr. Achievement, JROTC, Lovely Leading Ladies, Mademoiselles, Mariachi, Math Club, National Honor Society, PADA/SADA, PAL, Photo Club, Poetry/Book, Robotics, Sculpture, Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, Spanish Club, The Whiz Kids, Theater, Tri-M Music Honor Society, Technology Student Association, UIL, University Outreach, and Youth and Government/Key Club.
Male students at Reagan can participate in the following sports: baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, soccer, swimming, tennis, track & field, and wrestling. Female students can join basketball, cross country, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, track & field, and volleyball. Students can also join cheerleading, the drill team, or the Reagan Redcoats competitive dance team.
Parents can join Reagan’s PTO, which organizes fundraisers and campus events and coordinates volunteering. In order to volunteer through the PTO, parents must be approved through HISD’s Volunteers in Public Schools (VIPS) program.
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.