Top Houston Public Schools

Public schools are taxpayer-funded, governmental institutions. Compared to private schools, public schools must follow generally strict anti-discrimination guidelines and be able to adequately educate any student that walks in the door. Any student living within a “zoned” school’s geographic area of enrollment may automatically attend that school at no cost and with very little hassle.

However, there are some special, “magnet” schools, that do cater to specific types of students and require an application to attend. This site focus on these select public schools. Public Magnet School programs in the Houston area are usually structured in three different ways:

  1. Schoolwide Magnet – All students, zoned and applicants, benefit from this specialized program; no application necessary for zoned students to benefit.
  2. Dedicated Magnet – No students are zoned to these schools; everyone is admitted based off of their qualifying applications.
  3. School-Within-A-School (SWAS) – Admitted students benefit from a specialized program but may also take normal classes; zoned students generally may participate in the special program without applying.

For families residing within the Houston city limits, the two main school districts are

Arabic Immersion Magnet School

Arabic Immersion School HISD
The Arabic Immersion Magnet School (AIMS) is an HISD public elementary school. With fewer than 100 students per grade level, AIMS is the first and only public Arabic immersion school in the country. The Arabic Immersion Magnet School (AIMS) opened its doors in fall 2015. Located at the site of the former Holden Elementary, it currently serves only PreK-4 students, ...
Read More

Garden Oaks Montessori

Garden Oaks Montessori
Garden Oaks Elementary was established in 1940 as a Kindergarten through 6th grade campus.  In 1994, a caring and committed group of parents worked to advocate for public schools, which resulted in the establishment of a Montessori program at Garden Oaks. Today, Garden Oaks Montessori Magnet provides authentic public Montessori education to a diverse, PK3 through 8th grade learning community ...
Read More

Harvard Elementary

Harvard-Elementary-HISD
On September 18, 1898, Harvard Elementary School opened its doors to the children of the south end section of the Houston Heights. The mission of Harvard Elementary School is to empower each student with the global awareness, knowledge, skills, and values necessary to make a better world. Founded in 1898 in the Houston Heights, Harvard Elementary began with 30 students ...
Read More

Horn Elementary

Horn Elementary School Front Houston ISD
Horn Elementary was founded in the year 1949.  It is is located in the affluent, independent municipality of Bellaire in southwest Houston, and it serves grades PreK-5.  The school was completely rebuilt by HISD in 2010-2011. Horn Academy, named after educator Paul W. Horn, is an elementary school in HISD with a magnet program and Gifted/Talented Neighborhood program. Horn has ...
Read More

Kolter Elementary School

Kolter Elementary School
Kolter Elementary School opened in 1960 and was named after Jennie Kolter, a teacher who lost her life protecting her students in a 1959 tragedy at Poe Elementary. Kolter is a Foreign Language Magnet School where children in grades K-5 study a foreign language and culture. Kolter Elementary School, founded in 1960, was named in honor of Jennie Kolter, a ...
Read More

Lovett Elementary School

Lovett Elementary School
Lovett Elementary School, founded in 1957. Edgar Odell Lovett Elementary School was named for the first President and Founder of the Rice Institute, now Rice University. Most recently, Lovett was awarded as a Magnet School of Excellence by Magnet Schools of America and selected as a Blue Ribbon School for 2016. Lovett Elementary School, founded in 1957, was named for ...
Read More

Mandarin Immersion Magnet School

Mandarin-Immersion-Magnet-School-HISD
The Mandarin Immersion Magnet School (MIMS), formerly the Mandarin Chinese Language Immersion Magnet School (MCLIMS) is a magnet primary school located in Houston.  The school opened in the former Maud W. Gordon Elementary School. The school was openened in August 2012 with grades Kindergarten through 2.  The school uses a 50-50 immersion model. Half of the instruction is in Mandarin ...
Read More

Mark Twain Elementary

Mark Twain Elementary School Houston ISD
Mark Twain Elementary School opened its doors on September 11,1950.  Since 2005, Mark Twain Elementary School has been an authorized IB World School.   They are an International Spanish Academy and have a Dual Language program that consists of one dual language class at each grade level. Named for the classic American author, Mark Twain Elementary (MTE) opened in 1950 in ...
Read More

Poe Elementary

Poe-Elementary-HISD
Edgar Allan Poe Elementary School is a primary school located at 5100 Hazard Street in Houstn, Texas, United States.  It has bilingual programs for all grade levels and a fine arts magnet program.  Poe Elementary School was established in 1928.  From 1986 to 1996, Poe Elementary served a section of River Oaks as the neighborhood program of River Oaks Elementary ...
Read More

River Oaks Elementary

river-oaks-elementary-HISD
River Oaks Elementary School is a magnet Vanguard school for the Houston Independent School District. It is located in the River Oaks neighborhood of Houston, Texas, United States. River Oaks Elementary School has an accelerated multidisciplinary curriculum. River Oaks opened in 1929. River Oaks Elementary (ROE), an HISD Vanguard magnet and Vanguard Neighborhood school, first opened its doors in 1929 ...
Read More

Roberts Elementary

Roberts-Elementary-HISD
Roberts Elementary School operates as part of the Lamar High School feeder pattern in the Central Region of HISD. The mission of Roberts Elementary is to provide a rigorous academic curriculum for all students that is relevant, allowing for different ways in which students can demonstrate mastery and be challenged in making connections to "real-world" applications. Named after former Texas ...
Read More

T. H. Rogers School

TH Rogers Elementary School Houston ISD
T. H. Rogers School opened in 1962.  The school was named after Thomas Horace Rogers, who served as the principal of San Jacinto High School Houston, Texas.  In 1980 T. H. Rogers was converted into a magnet school. Founded in 1962, T.H. Rogers sees itself as “a lighthouse beacon that safely guides all children into harbors of success.” T.H. Rogers ...
Read More

The Rice School La Escuela Rice

Rice School Houston ISD
The Rice School opened on August 1994. The Rice School serves grades kindergarten through 8 in Houston, Texas. Rice is a part of the Houston Independent School District. Rice is a magnet school that has Houston ISD's "Technology and Spanish" program. The Rice School/ La Escuela Rice, founded in 1994, was originally intended to serve as an overflow elementary school ...
Read More

Travis Elementary School

Travis Elementary School
William B. Travis Elementary School is a public elementary school in the Woodland Heights area of Houston, Texas. It is a part of the Houston Independent School District (HISD).  Travis Elementary was constructed in 1908 and the three-story building had 12 classrooms, and construction ended in 1909. Travis Elementary School was founded in 1910. Preserved and renovated portions of the ...
Read More

West University Elementary School

West University Elementary School
West University Elementary School is one of the most coveted public elementary schools in Houston ISD. However, due its extreme popularity among its affluent neighborhood, the school has no room for out of zone magnet transfers and therefore lost its magnet status in 2013. Founded around 1928, West University Elementary School (WUES) was originally connected to Pershing Middle School, which ...
Read More

Wilson Montessori

Wilson-Montessori-HISD
Woodrow Wilson Elementary School was named after the 28th president of the United States.  Woodrow Wilson Elementary School was built in 1924 on the site of the summer farm home of Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar, the president of the Republic of Texas from 1838 to 1841. Woodrow Wilson Montessori School, founded in 1925, serves students in grades PreK-8. Wilson Montessori is ...
Read More

Baylor College of Medicine

baylor-college-of-medicine-academy-HISD
Baylor College of Medicine Academy at Ryan (BCMAR) was opened in 2013. BCMAR is a unique Medical Magnet School that offers a rigorous health science based curriculum to students. Every class taught at Baylor College of Medicine Academy at James D Ryan MS is Pre-AP. Baylor College of Medicine Academy at Ryan was opened in 2013 on the site of ...
Read More

Garden Oaks Montessori

Garden Oaks Montessori
Garden Oaks Elementary was established in 1940 as a Kindergarten through 6th grade campus.  In 1994, a caring and committed group of parents worked to advocate for public schools, which resulted in the establishment of a Montessori program at Garden Oaks. Today, Garden Oaks Montessori Magnet provides authentic public Montessori education to a diverse, PK3 through 8th grade learning community ...
Read More

Lanier Middle School

Lanier-Middle-School-HISD
Lanier opened in 1926 as one of HISD's first junior high schools.  Lanier was renovated during the 2008/2009 school year, with a new paint job, new interior signage, and new walkways to the new locations of the temporary buildings.  Students zoned to Lanier automatically are eligible to attend the school, and are automatically able to attend the Vanguard program if ...
Read More

Mandarin Immersion Magnet School

Mandarin-Immersion-Magnet-School-HISD
The Mandarin Immersion Magnet School (MIMS), formerly the Mandarin Chinese Language Immersion Magnet School (MCLIMS) is a magnet primary school located in Houston.  The school opened in the former Maud W. Gordon Elementary School. The school was openened in August 2012 with grades Kindergarten through 2.  The school uses a 50-50 immersion model. Half of the instruction is in Mandarin ...
Read More

Pershing Middle School

Pershing-Middle-School-HISD
West University Place Pershing Junior High School, which was named after John J. Pershing, was established in 1928.  It is a fine arts magnet school.  The school, that serves around 1,650 students in grades 6 through 8, is managed by the Houston Independent School District. Pershing Middle School was established by HISD in 1928. Originally connected to West University Elementary ...
Read More

Pin Oak Middle School

Pin-oak-middle-school-HISD
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 ...
Read More

T. H. Rogers School

TH Rogers Elementary School Houston ISD
T. H. Rogers School opened in 1962.  The school was named after Thomas Horace Rogers, who served as the principal of San Jacinto High School Houston, Texas.  In 1980 T. H. Rogers was converted into a magnet school. Founded in 1962, T.H. Rogers sees itself as “a lighthouse beacon that safely guides all children into harbors of success.” T.H. Rogers ...
Read More

The Rice School La Escuela Rice

Rice School Houston ISD
The Rice School opened on August 1994. The Rice School serves grades kindergarten through 8 in Houston, Texas. Rice is a part of the Houston Independent School District. Rice is a magnet school that has Houston ISD's "Technology and Spanish" program. The Rice School/ La Escuela Rice, founded in 1994, was originally intended to serve as an overflow elementary school ...
Read More

Wilson Montessori

Wilson-Montessori-HISD
Woodrow Wilson Elementary School was named after the 28th president of the United States.  Woodrow Wilson Elementary School was built in 1924 on the site of the summer farm home of Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar, the president of the Republic of Texas from 1838 to 1841. Woodrow Wilson Montessori School, founded in 1925, serves students in grades PreK-8. Wilson Montessori is ...
Read More