Pin Oak Middle School

Pin Oak Middle School was established in 2002.   Pin Oak Middle School uses a House system to create smaller learning communities within the larger school setting. Students are assigned to House A, B or C, where they remain for their entire time at Pin Oak. All Houses provide access to Pre-AP and advanced classes. Magnet students are placed in House C.

Fast Facts

School TypeHISD Magnet, CoedGrades Served6-8
Religious AffiliationN/AEnrollment1239
UniformsDress Code   Grade 8398
Date Founded2002   Grade 7416
EndowmentN/A   Grade 6425
Student / Teacher Ratio18.30
Minority Enrollment57%
Head of SchoolMichelle Shoulders
Admissions DirectorJennifer Heemer

Academic TracksGTSports Programs11
AP or IB CoursesN/ASports LeagueN/A
LanguagesMandarin Chinese, French, German, Italian, and Spanish
First Bell8:15 am
Last Bell3:30 pm
Prime Entry Points6Tuition /b>N/A
Financial Aid StudentsN/A

Pin Oak Middle School in Detail

Founded in 2002, Pin Oak Middle School is an “application only” school, meaning that no students are zoned for it; every student must apply. Pin Oak includes a Vanguard program for Gifted/Talented students and a foreign language magnet. Pin Oak also has a house system where students are assigned a house and belong to it for their three years at Pin Oak. House C is reserved for the foreign language magnet students.

As a magnet school within HISD, Pin Oak 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.

Residing next to the 610 loop and US 59 in Bellaire, Pin Oak is surrounded by West University residential areas. Its 174,500-square-foot main building rests on eighteen acres of land that once housed horses. As a result, Pin Oak tries to include an equestrian theme in its image; its mascot is the Charger.

Pin Oak’s admissions process can be split into two categories: Vanguard Neighborhood and Magnet.

Any student residing in the zoned areas for Jane Long, Johnston, or Pershing Middle Schools can apply to the Vanguard Neighborhood program. In order to apply to this program, the parent needs to file for a Boundary Option Transfer with the school. The Boundary Option Transfer process runs concurrently with the Magnet application process. Eligibility for the Vanguard Neighborhood program is determined on the basis of Gifted/Talented status. If a student has not already been designated G/T within HISD, Naglieri testing may be necessary to ascertain eligibility. Eligible students are placed by means of a lottery system in which all eligible students have an equal chance of acceptance, though there are limited spots.

For the Language Magnet program, any student within the boundaries of HISD may apply, including the students in the above mentioned zoned areas. Parents must submit an application, the student’s final report card from the previous year, the first cycle report card of the current year, standardized test results, proof of HISD residency, immunization records, and a copy of the student’s permanent record/transcript. Students’ academic histories factor in to eligibility for the Magnet program. As with the Neighborhood Vanguard program, seats are awarded to eligible students on the basis of the lottery system.

Students admitted to the Magnet program may then also apply for the Vanguard Neighborhood program if they so wish.

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Pin Oak offers On-Track, Pre-AP and G/T classes for the core subjects: English, history, math, science, and foreign languages. In addition to the core subjects, Pin Oak offers ancillary courses in drama, guitar, chorale, art, orchestra, photography, life skills, and other subjects.

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.

Pin Oak offers classes in Chinese, French, German, Italian, and Spanish. Students in the magnet program complete one year of high school foreign language credit unless they opt for the Native Speakers track, wherein they can earn two years of high school foreign language credit. Native Spanish speakers have the opportunity to earn four years of high school foreign language credit if they complete Native Speakers 1 and the AP Spanish Language courses.

Pin Oak’s fine arts program includes band, orchestra, choir, dance, theatre arts, and visual arts. Pin Oak has received awards for its choral program, and its orchestra performs charity shows around Houston. The choirs – Boys Choir, Sixth Grade Choir, Intermediate Choir, Advanced Choir, and Show Choir – have performances throughout the year, including an end-of-year show called Pop Concert. Dance students can audition for the Pegasus Dance Company, which competes in 2 competitions per year and performs throughout the school year. Theater classes include Performance, Production Design, and Advanced Theater, which is only open to students by invitation.

Cell phones are not permitted at school, but students may bring E-readers, such as Kindles or Nooks.

Pin Oak offers more than 50 student clubs, including Young Ladies in Training, No Place For Hate, Arts and Crafts, Golf, Movie Club, Jewelry Club, and Student Council. Students can participate in competitions for choir, dance, art and orchestra. Additionally, annual trips to Washington D.C. and Yellowstone National Park are available to students.

Pin Oak fields more than thirteen teams across eleven sports: swimming, soccer, baseball, softball, track, lacrosse, volleyball, football, cheerleading, cross country, and basketball. Pin Oak’s athletic facilities include two baseball diamonds, a football field, two soccer fields, and three tennis courts. Although the school does not have a swimming pool, the pool at Johnston Middle School is available for Pin Oak athletes to use.

Parents can join the PTO to host events, volunteer, and help with fundraisers. In order to volunteer, parents must first 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.

Q&A With the Pin Oak Middle School

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