Vanguard School Houston: Everything You Need To Know!

Vanguard School Houston: All You Need To Know!

The Houston Independent School District (HISD) is home to 283 schools and over 200,000 students, making it the largest school district in the state of Texas. Within these schools is a branch that is referred to as the Vanguard program. Vanguard Schools in Houston are comparative to a talented and gifted school in other areas of the country.

Vanguard School Houston: What is the Vanguard Program?

The Vanguard program was designed in 1974 and was established for gifted students who excel in intellectual ability along with creative abilities or exceptional leadership qualities. The programs provide a curriculum that is structured, sequenced, and challenging by incorporating higher-level thinking skills and developing independent research skills in students. The program also maximizes the general school programs by going deeper and into more complexity than the regular school classes.

In the state of Texas, a gifted and talented student is defined as one who performs at or shows the potential for performing at an exceptionally high level of academic accomplishment and achievement when compared to others of the same age and environment. The student must also display signs of one or more of the following:

  •       Remarkably high performance in the arts or in intellectual capacities
  •       Strong leadership abilities
  •       Advanced skills in a specific academic field
  • Vanguard School HSID: Determining Gifted and Talented Status

    There are multiple components that are considered when determining if a child is gifted and talented within the vanguard schools in Houston. These components change depending on whether the child is entering kindergarten or is entering in grades first through twelfth.

    The matrix for students entering kindergarten consists of:

  • Woodcock-Johnson test scores (out of 42 points). This is a school readiness test.
  • Wechsler Nonverbal Scale of Ability scores (out of 42 points). This test assesses reasoning and problem-solving skills.
  • Parent Recommendation (out of 16 points)
  • The matrix for students entering grades 1 through 12 consists of:

  •       Iowa or Stanford scores (out of 40 points)
  •       CogAT scores (out of 30 points)
  •       Final Report Card grades for core subjects (out of 20 points)
  •       One Teacher Recommendation Form (out of 10 points)
  • Each of these different categories contribute to the overall score. If the student meets the minimum score that is required, they are then identified as Gifted and Talented and can be considered for the Vanguard programs. Vanguard Programs serve students in grades K-12 and are located within all HISD schools, but there are a few different kinds of Vanguard programs to consider: Vanguard Neighborhood and Vanguard Magnet.

    High scores on the various assessment tests are essential if your child is going to have great odds of being admitted into one of the more prestigious magnet schools. In order for your child to be ready for these challenging tests, we recommend you review every type of sample question your child will face on the CogAT, as well as access 25 free questions by clicking the button now below:

    Vanguard Neighborhood Programs Houston

    The Vanguard Neighborhood programs are designed to challenge gifted students in grades K-12 within the setting of their neighborhood school. Any student that is zoned to that particular school and that qualifies may receive Gifted and Talented services at the school. These services must follow specific guidelines, but will vary from school to school.

    The Vanguard program at neighborhood schools incorporate complex curriculum and modify the depth and pacing of the general school program. If you are happy with your specific zoned or neighborhood school and want your child to attend the Vanguard program there, then you do not need to worry about the magnet application process.

    Vanguard Magnet Programs Houston

    The Vanguard Magnet programs are designed for specific magnet schools within the district. There are ten Vanguard Magnet Elementary Schools:

  • Askew
  • Carrillo,
  • DeZalva
  • Herod,
  • Oak Forest
  • River Oaks
  • Roosevelt
  • T.H. Rogers
  • Travis
  • Windsor Village
  • There are six Vanguard Magnet Middle Schools:

  • Black
  • Burbank
  • Hamilton
  • Lanier
  • T.H. Rogers
  • There is one Vanguard Magnet High School:

  • Carnegie Vanguard High School
  • Each of the Vanguard Magnet schools in Houston have a specific theme that is incorporated into their curriculum as well as their classes. For instance, in a school that specializes in the fine arts, they would offer more classes in music, art, dance, and drama.

    Vanguard Schools Application Process

    Neighborhood Schools

    Students in all grades have the opportunity to apply for Vanguard services within their neighborhood school. It is important to remember, however, that some of the neighborhood schools have more students wanting to attend than seats available.

    The following steps are necessary in order to apply for the Gifted and Talented identification process:

  •       Obtain the Vanguard application form
  •       Collect the required records: Previous year’s report card, Standardized test scores, CogAT scores (if available),Teacher recommendation form
  • Submit application and all required records to the neighborhood school
  • The school will schedule the Gifted and Talented testing within a specific window of time as decided by the district. Once students are accepted into the Vanguard Neighborhood Program, they will remain in the program throughout the rest of their years in the district. If a student applies and does not meet the criteria necessary in order to be accepted, they may apply again the next year.

    Vanguard Magnet Schools

    The application can be submitted online or by paper. The time period for Magnet Programs applications in “Phase 1” is generally between October and early December. Families can choose up to 5 magnet programs and must rank the schools in order of preference. After this Phase 1 period, applications can still be submitted for schools with space between December and end of May.

    For Kindergarten Vanguard Magnet Programs, parents will be asked to choose a test date when they submit the application. The admissions process for some Vanguard Magnet Schools is very competitive. For example, for the Kindergarten incoming class in 2015-16, the odds were as follows for qualified applicants (not everyone who applies is qualified):

  • Askew Elementary: 100%
  • Carrillo Elementary: 100%
  • De Zavala Elementary: 100%
  • Herod Elementary: 42%
  • Oak Forest Elementary: 45%
  • River Oaks Elementary: 14%
  • Roosevelt Elementary; 100%
  • T.H. Rogers: 17%
  • Travis Elementary: 27%
  • Windsor Village Elementary: 97%
  • Also note that the schools reserve 25% of seats for qualifying siblings, so in many cases the odds are more difficult than these numbers show in some schools.

    Vanguard Program Houston Magnet Lottery

    As of the 2016-2017 school year, you could submit applications to up to ten magnet programs with five of them being Vanguard. The deadline for testing and applications is usually in December. Once this deadline has passed, each school holds a lottery (for all the students who passed the test) to determine who will be accepted, notifying those who obtained a seat by late March. If your child applied but was not chosen, they are placed on a waiting list in the order that the names were drawn. If your child is accepted, you have until April to inform the school if you want to attend.

    Obtaining a spot in the competitive Vanguard schools in Houston is a challenge that can be complex and complicated. If your child meets all of the requirements, getting the enriched curriculum that is offered at these schools can be exactly what he/she needs in order to reach their full potential. By finding out all of the information needed to help them, you can assist them in getting one step closer to meeting their goals and being successful.