Founded around 1928, West University Elementary School (WUES) was originally connected to Pershing Middle School, which later moved to its own campus. By the 1970s, the elementary school was described by some as “deteriorating”, but it was rejuvenated by parents in the 1980s. HISD expanded the school to its current size in 2006. Today, WUES serves more than a thousand students. Although its STEM Magnet program was discontinued in 2014, it still serves Gifted/ Talented students with a Vanguard Neighborhood program.
As a public school within HISD, West University Elementary 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.
Although part of HISD, West University Elementary is technically located in the municipality of West University Place. The school sits at the intersection of Auden St. and University Blvd. Built in 1928 and expanded in 2006, the school is surrounded by playing fields, affluent single-family homes, churches, boutiques, and the West University Place police headquarters.
Until 2014, West University Elementary offered a STEM Magnet program. However, this program has been discontinued as of the 2014-2015 school year. Students who have already matriculated into the program will be allowed to finish, but after that, the program will cease to exist unless parents and administrators successfully petition the district to allow it to continue.
In addition to the standard elementary school curriculum, the school also offers Gifted/Talented enrichment through a Vanguard Neighborhood 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.
Specific accommodation programs offered by the school include Skills for Learning and Living (SLL), Resource Services, Speech Therapy, and English as a Second Language (ESL).
No information about WUES’s foreign language curriculum is available at this time.
WUES offers West U Hands On Art as a monthly program during the school day, This program, led by parent volunteers, helps students learn about artists and create artwork using a variety of materials. The school also holds an annual Art Night for K-2nd graders.
The school has 280 computers, 150 of which are PCs and 130 of which are Macs. Students must agree to HISD’s Acceptable Use Policy in order to use school computers. Cell phones are permitted on campus, but they are to be turned off and stowed in lockers or backpacks during the school day.
WUES offers a number of clubs, such as Monthly Mustang, No Place for Hate, Chess Club, and Name That Book. Community service opportunities at the school include Shoes That Fit and UNICEF K.I.N.D. For the Shoes That Fit project, students donate thousands of shoes and socks to 13 elementary schools. For K.I.N.D., or Kids In Need of Desks, the students raise money to purchase desks for children in Malawi. WUES also hosts annual events, such as the Book Fair, Science Night, and the International Festival.
West University Elementary offers a co-educational program in track and field.
Parents can join the PTO, which is in charge of the Shoes That Fit and UNICEF K.I.N.D. service projects, the Pony Express newsletter, and annual events. Parents can also host Sociables, which are meet-and-greet parties to raise money for the PTO.
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.