College and School Districts Put Students First
One of the most critical components of a thriving community is access to a good education, and in that area, Tomball is setting an example for others. Students in Tomball have unique opportunities to enter the workforce or institutions of higher education with superior qualifications thanks to partnerships between Lone Star College-Tomball and local school districts, such as Tomball Independent School District and Klein Independent School District.
Tomball ISD’s Tomball Star Academy, an early college high school, has partnered with Lone Star College-Tomball to help students prepare for their futures. Incoming freshman have the opportunity to earn up to 60 hours of college credit and graduate high school with an associate degree. Courses are free to students in the early college high school program.
Another way Tomball ISD helps scholars reach their full potential is through its career and technical education program. Tomball ISD boasts numerous career pathway areas, such as ag mechanics, construction, culinary arts, education and training, general health care, EMT, computer science and engineering.
In addition, the Tomball Scholarship Foundation, a nonprofit organization, raises money to award scholarships to graduating seniors. The scholarship money is used for tuition at any campus within the Lone Star College System. Students who place emphasis on academic achievement and those in need of financial assistance are eligible to apply. One hundred percent of all donations are applied to tuition costs.
Tomball ISD and Lone Star College also collaborate on events throughout the year that benefit the community and provide educational opportunities.
Another partnership is the Advanced Nursing Pathway available to students through a partnership between Lone Star College and Klein Independent School District that creates a fast track pathway for students to complete a course of study that results in them becoming registered nurses or completing a bachelor’s degree.
“Students identify if they’re interested in the program in eighth grade, and we select students from across all of Klein ISD. They begin as freshmen at Klein and take a pretty traditional schedule of courses — with the exception of college PE — that first year,” said Deborah Bronner-Westerduin, director of career and technical education programs at Klein ISD.
As sophomores, students in the program begin taking mixed classes, with core areas at the college level, and by their senior year, they are attending classes full time at Lone Star College. When the students in the program graduate from high school, they have a certified nursing assistant certification, as well as have completed 18 credit hours toward a licensed vocational nursing certification, and have the choice of immediate employment or of continuing on a full academic pathway.
The occupational outlook in Texas mirrors what is needed across the United States. Health care is a growing field, and the medical pathways available give students a fast track to a high-demand career.
“We are thrilled about the partnership and about serving two populations: employers who need nurses and students who need careers,” said Beth Gilleland, executive director for college and career pathways at Klein ISD.
The program uses occupational information as something of a guiding force. In the state of Texas, a licensed vocational nurse earns an average wage of about $47,000 annually, and the demand is expected to increase by 27 percent.
“That’s a huge opportunity for students, to be able to earn that kind of salary in a very short time within graduating from high school,” Bronner-Westerduin said.
The nursing program is outstanding, but is only one of many. Klein offers 43 different career pathways that encompass 15 career clusters, meaning students have an array of options to consider and explore.
Charter schools offer another education option for families. ComQuest Academy Charter High School in Tomball was founded on the belief that all children can learn and that education is paramount to a strong society. All grade levels are taught according to Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, and students are required to participate in state mandatory testing. Lonestar Academy teachers and staff are passionate, motivated and nurturing. The curriculum encourages learning through music, creativity and imagination. Students participate in gardening, cooking, knitting, sewing and craft activities.
Fostering a Faith-Filled Learning Atmosphere
Helping develop well-rounded individuals, private and parochial schools in the greater Tomball area offer students an excellent education with a biblical worldview.
Concordia Lutheran High School
Concordia Lutheran High School is a nationally accredited exemplary college preparatory school that serves families in Tomball, Magnolia, The Woodlands, as well as the greater Houston area. Concordia’s state-of-the-art educational facility resides on its 40-acre campus and currently houses about 600 students and 70+ staff and administrators.
Concordia has become the affordable school of choice within the Northwest community, regardless of religious affiliation. While being a Lutheran high school, it welcomes any student of non-Lutheran affiliation, which represents 68 percent of its current student population.
Concordia’s mission of “Building Lives of Excellence Upon the Foundation of Christ” reflects a Christ-centered education that generates excellence in Christian character, academics, competition and performance. Academically, Concordia’s curriculum provides students with rigor, distinction and high standards in an atmosphere of diverse opportunities.
Throughout school history, Concordia has produced AP scholars, National Merit scholars, National Hispanic scholars, along with numerous other academic and leadership accolades. Concordia graduates are discerning, motivated, accountable servant leaders and 98 percent of them pursue higher education.
In comparison to local high schools, Concordia differentiates itself with class sizes averaging 20.45 and a student/faculty ratio of 14-to-1, which allows for many leadership opportunities, as well as the opportunity to participate in multiple school activities. They proudly state that 68 percent of Concordia students are active in one of the fine arts programs and 74 percent participate in at least one of their 20 athletic programs in a competitive TAPPS 6A Division. Concordia students greatly benefit from a strong, well-rounded and academically competitive high school experience that prepares them for college and beyond.
Salem Lutheran School
“Well-grounded in Christ and well-rounded for life” is the vision Salem Lutheran School holds for its student body. Students are surrounded by professional educators, who support growth in academics as well as character.
Salem’s goal is to guide each child to find his or her natural ability and nurture the nature with curriculum and instruction that is challenging and rewarding. Extracurricular activities that integrate subjects like STEM and maximize fun are available after school, along with athletic leagues beginning in fifth grade.
Salem’s girls’ volleyball team won the state championship last year and both the girls’ and boys’ basketball teams were invited to the National Invitation Middle School Tournament in Valparaiso, Indiana, last winter. Students are active and enjoy being involved in physical activity. Brain breaks, recess and before school PE are part of the plans to educate the whole child.
Parent communication, community involvement and differentiated instruction are three hallmarks of innovation and success. Salem is a National Blue Ribbon School and Dr. Mary Beth Gaertner was named a National Distinguished Principal for Texas. Salem was also named an Exemplary Accredited School by the National Association of Lutheran Schools in St. Louis, Missouri.
Salem Lutheran School offers tuition reduction based on need and desires to be a microcosm of the community. Students are taught leadership skills in class and provided opportunities to use them to serve the community.
Rosehill Christian School
Rosehill Christian School is where believers send their children because the journey matters. The school partners with Christian homes to develop young men and women of character who are equipped to lead the next generation for Christ.
As an interdenominational Christian school, children dedicated to Christ from over 100 local churches have attended Rosehill Christian since the 1990 founding of its prekindergarten through 12th grade school.
Teachers use a blend of traditional teaching strategies, enriched by hands-on activities and a full range of instructional technology to reach its diverse learners. The school offers an extensive selection of dual credit and AP classes, elective courses, athletic programs and community service opportunities to enable students to fully develop their broad range of gifts and talents.
Rosehill Christian is also the only private Christian school in the area to offer an agricultural science course to complement its 4-H program. Its 17 competitive sports teams train their student athletes using a first-class athletic training center and sports complex. The recent graduating class also earned 670 hours of college credit, saving families $1.5 million in out of state tuition.
Saint Anne Catholic School
Saint Anne Catholic School has been serving preschool through eighth-grade students and families in the greater Tomball area since 1984. As part of the Saint Anne Catholic Parish on Cherry Street, its experienced and dedicated faculty believes that every student has the ability to achieve success within their individual potential. The school is committed to forming active, life-long learners who embrace Christ and the church, in a collaborative effort with parents and families.
The school’s educational programs are designed to provide an academic experience driven by inquiry and to challenge students at their appropriate developmental level. Solid programs in mathematics, reading, language arts, science, social studies and religious studies extend through middle school. Students at all grade levels engage in STEM inquiries as part of the science and technology courses of study, as well as art, music, foreign languages, physical education, and an elective robotics program in middle school.
Saint Anne also boasts a well-appointed library, a science laboratory and a technology laboratory, with access to digital devices and programming across all grade levels and subject areas.
Rounding out the Saint Anne experience is a competitive middle school sports program, open to students in grades five through eight. The Crusaders have championship banners in football, soccer, volleyball, basketball and track. Last year, both the football and volleyball teams brought home GHCAA championships.
Saint Anne graduates attend public, private and Catholic high schools in the greater Houston area. Each member of the class of 2018 has entered the high school of their choice.
Step By Step Christian School
Step By Step Christian School provides a premier college preparatory education to its students. Classes are offered from preschool to junior high, as well as infant and toddler care.
Biblical instruction at Step By Step Christian School prepares pupils for service and leadership by developing integrity and encouraging them to apply these principles to their everyday lives. Individual instruction assures success for all students in the classroom, from gifted students to those with learning challenges.
Complementing academics, spiritual enrichment includes daily, nondenominational Bible studies and weekly chapel gatherings with praise and worship. A few of the many activities at the school include cheerleading, flag football, drama, chess and Girls Scouts.