Pershing Middle School (Houston)

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Pershing Middle School
Pershing middle school.jpg
Address
3838 Bluebonnet
Houston, Texas, 77025
United States
Information
Type Public
Established 1928
Principal Kim Heckman
Grades 6-8
Enrollment 1,816[1] (2011-2012)
Color(s) Red, black, and white
Mascot Panda[2]
Magnet Fine arts
Website

John J. Pershing Middle School is a middle school in Houston, Texas, United States. It is located in the Braeswood Place neighborhood, near the Texas Medical Center.[3]

The school, that serves over 1,800 students in grades 6 through 8, is managed by the Houston Independent School District. Pershing has a neighborhood program, a Pre-AP Gifted and Talented program, and is a fine arts magnet school.

History[edit]

West University Place Pershing Junior High School, which was named after John J. Pershing, was established in 1928. Pershing originally was connected to West University Elementary School (which was located in the city of West University Place after the city incorporated in 1938); the school moved to its own campus at 7000 Braes Boulevard in Houston in 1949.[4] The campus was worth $2 million. This relieved West University Elementary. An arson incident occurred in August 1958.[5]

In September 1991 Pershing was one of 32 HISD schools that had capped enrollments; in other words the school was filled to capacity and excess students had to attend other schools.[6] In 1992 there was a proposal to convert Gordon Elementary in Bellaire into a middle school to serve Bellaire residents. This proposal was favored by those zoned to Jane Long Middle School but it was opposed by those zoned to Pershing as they did not want to lose access to the school. The Gordon proposal ultimately did not happen.[7]

Pershing had, in March 2002, a waiting list of 1,000 students for 120 places.[8]

Originally, Houston ISD planned to remodel Pershing's 1949 campus. When HISD found that building a new campus from scratch would be more cost-effective, HISD decided to pursue that goal.[4] Construction started on Pershing's brand new two-story 216,000-square-foot (20,100 m2) campus at 3838 Bluebonnet (on the same site as the old campus) during the summer of 2005. Construction was expected to end in Summer 2007, and the new campus was originally expected to open in Fall 2007 [1]. The lead architect for the campus was PGAL, with Gilbane as the lead project manager. The original budget was $16,900,000 United States dollars. The construction costs totaled $24.4 million, and the final costs, including books, computers, and architect engineers, totaled $31 million.

The new building opened on Thursday, January 18, 2007; originally the building was slated to open the previous day, but weather conditions lead to the temporary closing of all HISD schools for January 17.[4]

Pershing Middle School's campus prior to the addition of lettering

Portions of the former Pershing building remain because many chimney swift birds appeared in the chimney. The Migratory Bird Act makes the act of tearing down the Pershing chimney illegal.[9]

In April 2014 two librarians at the school were informed that budget cuts would eliminate their positions. Michelle Leigh Smith of the Village News and Southwest News stated that "parents believe many of HISD Superintendent Terry Grier's policies are tearing the district apart" and that because principal Kim Heckman "is considered one of Grier's rising stars" therefore "[s]ome believe Heckman is carrying out his agenda" at Pershing.[10]

Campus as seen from Stella Link
Rear of the campus

Neighborhoods served by Pershing[edit]

Pershing, which is located in the Braeswood Place neighborhood, serves several areas of Houston that are in and out of the 610 Loop,[11] including Braeswood Place, Linkwood, Knollwood Village, Woodshire, Woodside, Westridge, Southgate, Old Braeswood, Morningside Place, Westwood, Link Valley, a portion of Meyerland,[12] a portion of Maplewood, and Sunset Terrace/Montclair.[13] In addition to portions of Houston, Pershing also serves the cities of Bellaire,[14] Southside Place,[15] and West University Place.[16]

Rice Village Apartments and Morningside Square, two Rice University graduate housing complexes that admit families, are zoned to this school.[17]

Around the early 1990s portions of the City of Bellaire west of the 610 Loop were zoned to Jane Long Middle School,[18] while portions inside the 610 Loop were zoned to Pershing.[7]

Academics[edit]

The school specializes in music.[8] It is a fine arts magnet school.[19] The school clusters students into groups of 150. Each grade level has a number of clusters of students. One team of teachers is assigned to each cluster and this group of teachers is asked to know the students and their families.[3] The racial demographics of each cluster are engineered to match that of the entire school.[20] William G. Ouchi, author of Making Schools Work: A Revolutionary Plan to Get Your Children the Education They Need, wrote that this "achieves an intimate scale" for the students.[3]

In 2008, 93% of students passed state tests, with 84% of black students passing and 79% of Hispanic students passing. Seven years earlier, 67% of students passed state tests, with 47% of black students passing and 37% of Hispanic students passing.[21]

As of 2010, teacher Charles Coursey requires students to do gardening before their instructional time and during afternoons. During class he allows students to eat portions of the vegetables that were harvested in the garden. On Saturdays the organizers sell the rest of the produce at the Rice University farmers' market. The proceeds go to purchasing supplies for the gardening program.[22]

Athletics[edit]

Teams are known as the 'Pandas'. Sports teams include baseball, basketball and lacrosse for boys and lacrosse and softball for girls.[2]

Student body[edit]

As of the 2013-2014 school year Pershing had 1,656 students, making it HISD's second largest middle school.[10]

During the 2011-2012 school year, Pershing had 1,816 students.[1]

Approximately 36% of the students qualified for free or reduced lunch.

In 2008 William G. Ouchi, author of Making Schools Work: A Revolutionary Plan to Get Your Children the Education They Need, described Pershing as a racially and socioeconomically diverse school.[20] That year, Pershing had a large number of immigrant students.[23] As of 2008, of the 1,903 students at the school, 405 were in the fine arts program. There were 1,610 students that attended the school five years earlier. In 2008, there were 150 slots for new entrants into the magnet program and there were 1,100 applicants.[21]

Feeder patterns[edit]

Many students at Pershing move on to Bellaire High School and Lamar High School, two public high schools considered to be elite.[21]

Elementary schools that feed into Pershing[11] include:

The following elementary schools partially feed into Pershing:

High schools which have attendance zones coinciding with Pershing include Bellaire High School,[33] Lamar High School,[34] Madison High School,[35] Westbury High School,[36] and Lee High School[37] All pupils zoned to Lee may also choose to go to Lamar or Westside High School.[38]

All students zoned to Pershing have the option to attend Pin Oak Middle School.[39]

Notable alumni[edit]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Pershing Middle". National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved November 3, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "Pershing Middle School". USA Today. Retrieved November 3, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c Ouchi, p. 149.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i Viren, Sarah. "It won't be strictly `old school' at Pershing now / Emotions mixed as students leave vintage campus for all-new digs." Houston Chronicle. Sunday January 14, 2007. B1 MetFront. Retrieved on November 14, 2011.
  5. ^ Gonzales, J.R. "John J. Pershing Middle School." Houston Chronicle. March 4, 2010. Retrieved on November 14, 2011.
  6. ^ Markley, Melanie. "32 schools hit enrollment cap." Houston Chronicle. Thursday September 26, 1991. A17. Retrieved on April 24, 2009.
  7. ^ a b McAdams, p. 58. "Bellaire residents who lived east of the 610 loop were zoned to Pershing Middle School"
  8. ^ a b Toppo, Greg (2 March 2002). "Parents line up to get children into choice schools". The Daily Gazette. Retrieved 3 November 2013. 
  9. ^ "Flight of the chimney swifts." West University Examiner, July 17, 2007
  10. ^ a b Smith, Michelle Leigh. "Pershing MS Faces New Round of Staff Reductions" (Archive). Village News and Southwest News. April 8, 2014. p. 1, 13. Retrieved on April 13, 2014.
  11. ^ a b "Pershing Middle Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District
  12. ^ "Map of Meyerland Sections." Meyerland. Retrieved on December 15, 2009.
  13. ^ "Block Book Map Search." Harris County Tax Office. Retrieved on February 27, 2009.
  14. ^ "Bellaire City." United States Census Bureau. Retrieved on February 27, 2009.
  15. ^ "Southside Place City." United States Census Bureau. Retrieved on February 27, 2009.
  16. ^ "City Map." City of West University Place. Retrieved on February 27, 2009.
  17. ^ "Property Comparison." Rice University Graduate Housing. Retrieved on October 2, 2011. "Morningside Square Apartments Updated Oct 26, 2010 2401 & 2409 Shakespeare St Houston, TX 77030" and " Rice Village Apartments Updated Oct 26, 2010 2410 Shakespeare St Houston, TX 77030"
  18. ^ McAdams, p. 57.
  19. ^ Foster, Robin (7 October 2010). "Parents start blog supporting option to attend Pershing MS". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 3 November 2013. 
  20. ^ a b Ouchi, p. 151.
  21. ^ a b c Ouchi, p. 150.
  22. ^ Johnson, Ruthie. "Local Spotlight: Pershing Middle School." Houston Press. Wednesday September 1, 2010, Retrieved on December 7, 2011.
  23. ^ Garza, Cynthia Leonor. "School a haven for new arrivals / Leader helps his immigrant HISD students feel at home at charter campus." Houston Chronicle. Saturday October 1, 2008. B1 MetFront. Retrieved on December 13, 2008.
  24. ^ "Condit Elementary Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District.
  25. ^ "Twain Elementary Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District.
  26. ^ "West University Elementary Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District.
  27. ^ "Horn Elementary Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District.
  28. ^ "Longfellow Elementary Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District.
  29. ^ "Lovett Elementary Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District.
  30. ^ "Red Elementary Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District.
  31. ^ "Roberts Elementary Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District.
  32. ^ "Shearn Elementary Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District.
  33. ^ "Bellaire High School Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District.
  34. ^ "Lamar High School Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District.
  35. ^ "Madison High School Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District.
  36. ^ "Westbury High School Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District.
  37. ^ "Lee High School Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District.
  38. ^ Home Page as of May 9, 2005. Lee High School.
  39. ^ "Pin Oak Middle School." The Southwest District. Houston Independent School District.
  40. ^ a b "Distinguished HISD Alumni," Houston Independent School District

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Condit, Mark Twain, West University, Horn, Longfellow, Lovett, Red, Roberts, Shearn
Houston Independent School District
Grades 6-8
Succeeded by
Bellaire, Lamar, Madison, Westbury, Lee, Westside