Lanier was founded in 1926 as Lanier Junior High School, one of the first junior high schools in HISD. It takes its name from Southern poet Sidney Lanier. Lanier Middle School still occupies its original building, although it has undergone many renovations to upgrade its existing facilities. Lanier’s mission is to “provide a relevant rigorous academic curriculum in order to encourage students to become self-directed lifelong learners who are innovative problem solvers, effective communicators, open minded thinkers, and caring participants in their local and global communities.” The school offers a G/T Vanguard magnet program geared toward challenging students who have exceptional abilities, and it is also the only HISD middle school to offer the IB Middle Years Program.
As a magnet school within HISD, Lanier Middle 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.
Lanier’s campus, situated at Westheimer and Woodhead in Montrose, includes a three-story main building, a separate building for band and drama, and two temporary buildings for leadership, debate, and health. An auditorium is located in the center of the campus. Athletic facilities include an indoor pool in the basement and an all-purpose sports field behind the main building. The main building and the campus have undergone many renovations since the school’s opening in 1926, most recently in 2008/2009.
Students may be eligible to attend Lanier by virtue of zoning (see map below). To participate in the magnet program, however, even zoned students must complete the magnet application process.
The requirements for this process are as follows:
- A completed application
- Final report card averages from the previous year
- A teacher recommendation form
- Naglieri (NNAT) test results, and
- Stanford test results.
Students from non-HISD schools must set up NNAT testing through the district.
All applicants who have met the requirements are placed into a lottery from which approximately 275 students are selected to be a part of the program. The remaining applicants will be placed on a waiting list.
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Lanier features two academic tracks, Vanguard Magnet/GT and the IB Middle Years Programme (IBMYP). The IB program is schoolwide, while the Vanguard program is a magnet school-within-a-school.
Lanier is the only middle school in HISD that hosts an authorized IBMYP. The five-year IB program is designed to prepare students for the IB program at Lamar High School, with three years at Lanier (grades 6-8) and two years at Lamar (grades 11-12). Students in the IBMYP are required to take English, math, science, fine art, technology, physical education, and a second language.
Lanier’s Vanguard Magnet/GT program is designed to allow students to complete the regular sixth through eighth grade track in two years. In their eighth grade year, Vanguard students primarily take courses for high school credit.
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.
Lanier offers Spanish, French, German, and Mandarin Chinese. Students in the IB program are required to take courses in a second language.
Lanier hosts programs in five fine arts subject areas: band, choir, dance, drama, and orchestra. Students in these programs have the opportunity to participate in a variety of competitions throughout the state.
Students are prohibited from bringing electronic devices onto campus, with the exception of cell phones, which must be kept in lockers during school hours. Computers are available during supervised class time, provided that students follow the Acceptable Use Policy.
Lanier offers a number of extracurricular clubs and activities, including Speech and Debate, Drama, Art/Media Kids, Robotics, Chess Club, Model United Nations, Photography, Fiction Club, Geography Club, National Junior Honors Society, Band, Cheerleading, Drill Team, Name that Book, Ladies of Lanier, Breakdancing, Student Council, Orchestra, Yearbook, Continental Math League, MathCOUNTS, and Visual/Media Arts. More than 50 clubs meet on Friday mornings for a 40-minute club time.
Lanier offers both University Interscholastic League sports programs and club sports, including baseball, boys and girls basketball, cross country, football, boys and girls soccer, swimming, track and field, volleyball, and softball.
Lanier offers a PTO for parents to form committees and volunteer. To volunteer through the PTO, parents must first complete training through HISD’s Volunteers in Public Schools 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.