The Rice School/ La Escuela Rice, founded in 1994, was originally intended to serve as an overflow elementary school for nearby West University. However, the HISD board ultimately decided to open it as a dedicated magnet school, with special programs in technology and Spanish as well as a Vanguard Neighborhood program. The Rice School, which is still located on its original campus just south of West University, now includes a middle school as well as an elementary school. To this day, the school remains committed to its mission of “creating a College Bound culture.”
As a magnet school within HISD, The Rice 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.
The Rice School is located near North Braeswood Blvd, just south of West University.
The Rice School is a dedicated magnet school, meaning that admission is by application only. In order to apply, students must complete an online or paper application and send additional materials to the school by mail. For kindergarten applicants, the additional materials consist of proof of age 5 by September, proof of HISD residency, and a PreK progress report (if applicable). For applicants to grades 1-5, the additional materials consist of proof of HISD residency, the previous year’s final report card, and the report card for the first grading period of the current year. For applicants to grades 6-8, the additional materials consist of proof of residency, the previous year’s final report card, the final report card for the first grading period of the current year, STAAR scores, and Stanford scores.
Any student who lives within the HISD zone is eligible to apply. Applications are accepted from early November to mid-December for the subsequent school year, and admitted students are notified by late March. Admission is based on the lottery system, and all students have an equal chance of admission. The Rice School’s middle school division is one of HISD’s most selective, with an acceptance rate of 12.26%.
Students are not required to take an entrance examination to be eligible for admission. While neither interviews nor school visits are required for the admissions process, visits are available.
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The middle school division of The Rice School offers a Pre-AP curriculum in place of the standard On-Track middle school curriculum. The school also offers special programs in Spanish and a STEM Magnet program.
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.
Spanish is the only foreign language offered at The Rice School. Students in the elementary and middle school divisions may study it through a special program, and it is also available to all middle school students as an elective.
No information about The Rice School’s fine arts offerings is available at this time.
No information about The Rice School’s technological offerings is available at this time.
Personal devices such as cell phones are permitted on campus, but they are not to be used during the school day.
The Rice School hosts a chapter of the National Junior Honor Society, an organization which promotes community service and which is open to middle school students who excel academically. Other extracurricular activities include the Student Council and a Robotics Program. Additionally, parents may choose to enroll their children in an after-school program through the school, for a fee. These programs range from simple childcare to homework help sessions to fine arts classes.
The Rice School fields seven teams across five sports. Track and field is offered as a coed sport, and there are separate programs for boys’ and girls’ soccer and basketball. Cheerleading and volleyball are also available for girls. These programs are available to students in the middle school division.
The Rice School encourages parents to join the Parent-Teacher Organization, which coordinates parent volunteering, organizes student enrichment activities and other functions, and undertakes fundraising campaigns to support its activities. Parents who wish to volunteer through the PTO must also register with the HISD Volunteers in Public Schools program.
The school also has a Shared Decision Making Committee, in which interested parents can join with teachers and community members in advising the principal on important matters.