Awty International School
|The Awty International School|
|7455 Awty School Lane
Houston, Texas, United States
|Type||Independent, Private, International School|
|Motto||An International School for an International World|
|Head of School||Ms. Lisa Darling|
The Awty International School is a private school located in Spring Branch, western Houston, Texas, USA, for students in pre-kindergarten through grade 12. With a bilingual program for French-speaking students from France and other countries, Awty is the largest international school in the United States and the largest private school in Houston.
On September 10, 1956 Awty opened at 3736 Westheimer Road. Originally a pre-school, it was founded by Kathleen "Kay" Awty. The school initially had 27 students at the kindergarten and prekindergarten levels.
The school moved to 1615 Garrettson Street in 1960. It served grades preschool through six by 1970, and by that same year there were 250 students. Its upper school division opened in 1975. In 1976 four female students graduated from high school and therefore were the first graduating class. In 1979 Awty merged with the French School of Houston and it began offering a bilingual program. that year, the school moved to its current campus.
In 1984 the school received its current name, the Awty International School. In April 1989 the school planned to start a German program with a similar structure to the French program because it expected to have 20 to 30 German students in the upcoming fall semester. In 1990 its preschool facility opened. Kay Awty died in 1996.
On the school's 50th anniversary in 2006, it was constructing a $5 million athletic complex including a 1,400-seat stadium, 85 parking spaces, and tennis courts.
Affiliations and accreditation
Awty is affiliated with the Mission Laïque Française. Agencies accrediting Awty include the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO), the Independent Schools Association of the Southwest (ISAS), the Council of International Schools (CIS), the Ministry of National Education of France, and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science of the Netherlands.
Awty is a member of the following organizations: CIS, IBO, ISAS, National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools (TAPPS), Houston Area Independent Schools (HAIS), and Texas International Baccalaureate Schools (TIBS).
The school has programs tailored to students who speak specific native languages. The school has English, French, Spanish, Arabic, Dutch, German, and Italian native language programs. All Awty students are required to take foreign languages. The foreign languages available include French, Spanish, and English.
The campus, with 15 acres (6.1 ha) of land, is in Spring Branch in western Houston. It is in proximity to the intersection of the 610 Loop and Interstate 10, and is northwest of it. The campus buildings together have 120 classrooms.
A three story, 65,000-square-foot (6,000 m2), 33-classroom facility, called the Levant Foundation Building, is located near the school's entrance. It was scheduled to open in August 2012. Ray Leiker of Bailey Architects designed this building. It includes administrative offices, a dining hall, two art rooms, and a digital photography room. This new facility replaced many temporary buildings. It and a five story parking garage were the first phase of a four-phase, $50 million building program consisting of facilities designed by Bailey Architects.
The current elementary building, with seven classrooms, was built for $5 million and was scheduled for a March 2014 completion. This building includes a computer lab, a media room, an infirmary, two art rooms, and a teacher's lounge and workroom. This, along with a planned preschool building, was the second phase. The new building had its ribbon-cutting ceremony held on April 14, 2014.
In 1998 Brookstone Corp. was building a 31,000-square-foot (2,900 m2) multipurpose performing arts and athletic building. This includes a performing arts platform with a rehearsal room, a gymnasium with locker rooms, and offices.
In 1990 the preschool building opened. In 1991 a science building for secondary students opened. In 1995 preschool classrooms were added, and the following year a multipurpose building opened. This one includes a library, a computer center, and foreign language laboratories.
Originally elementary school classes were located in the school's original building, "Big Blue." This building has the name because it is colored blue. Historically Awty relied on the use of temporary buildings. Demolition of "Big Blue" was completed in August, 2014.
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (May 2014)|
As of 2014 the school has over 1,550 students. This makes it the largest international school in the United States and the largest private school in Houston. As of that year the students originate from the United States, France, and 48 other countries. About 40% of the students are American, 30% are French, and the remainder originate from other countries. French students have parents in Houston working in the oil industry and other professional industries. In 2014 headmaster Lisa Darling stated that there was strong demand for Awty from companies such as Schlumberger, Total SA, and Technip.
The school was founded in 1956. Initially serving 22 students in grades PK4 and Kindergarten, the school rapidly expanded in later years. Currently, the Awty International School student body numbers 1564 students in grades PK3-12.
Admissions and tuition
As of 2014 the range of annual tuition is $16,000 to $22,000.
The athletic campus, Awty Field, is located at 1255 North Post Oak, adjacent to the main campus. Its opening ceremony was held on April 22, 2008. The athletic compound includes a stadium with 1,400 seats, four tennis courts, a press box, a polyethylene soccer pitch, 80 parking spaces, locker rooms, a storage facility, offices of coaches, and a concessions stand. In addition it has a running track that circles around the other facilities. The track is 400 metres (1,300 ft) long and has eight lanes. It has wide turns and a Beynon 1000 urethane surface. Stuart Holden, a midfielder for the Houston Dynamo and an alumnus of the school, attended the 2008 opening ceremony.
Prior to the opening of the athletic compound, each athletic team practiced in a different place. The tennis team played home games at tennis courts of other schools in the 5A district of the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools, and the tennis team practiced at the Memorial Park Tennis Center at Memorial Park. The track team historically practiced at several different stadiums of TAPPS 5A schools; in 2008 the team was practicing at the St. John's School. The soccer teams played only "away" games (games held at other schools or stadiums) before the opening of the new compound, and they practiced in a soccer field on the Awty premises. Annette Baird of the Houston Chronicle describes the former soccer field as "an undersized bumpy pitch".
In 1974 sports teams went by bus to the Post Oak Family YMCA for sports programs. Students taking bowling went to an area bowling alley. Students taking tennis went to the University Club at the Galleria.
Currently, students competing in swimming at Awty practice at Dad's Club.
- Hughes, Kim. "Awty school marks its 50th." Houston Chronicle. September 8, 2006. Memorial News. Retrieved on May 17, 2014.
- "About Awty" (Archive) Awty International School. Retrieved on May 16, 2014.
- Behrens, Tom. "Awty building planned for elementary grades." Houston Chronicle. November 19, 2013. Updated November 26, 2013. Retrieved on May 16, 2014.
- Farrar, Ross. "International school pupils to perform." Houston Chronicle. Sunday, April 16, 1989. Section C p. 1W. NewsBank Record Number 04*16*616464. Available from the Houston Public Library website with a library card.
- "Accreditations, Affiliations, & Memberships" (Archive). Awty International School. Retrieved on May 17, 2014.
- Wilkinson, Emily. "Houston private schools struggle with boom in applicants." Houston Business Journal. April 18, 2014. Retrieved on May 18, 2014.
- "Spring Branch Schools" (Archive). Spring Branch Management District. Retrieved on May 18, 2014.
- Baird, Annette. "Awty starts expansion project." Houston Chronicle. June 14, 2011. Retrieved on May 17, 2014.
- Baird, Annette."Awty International opens new $7 million sports complex." Houston Chronicle. May 19, 2008. Retrieved on May 17, 2014.
- "Texas." Engineering News-Record (ENR), ISSN 0891-9526, 03/1998, Volume 240, Issue 13. SECTION: PULSE; CONTRACTS/BIDS/PROPOSALS; p. 51 "A new performing arts and athletic center for The Awty International School is being built by Brookstone Corp. Located at 7455 Awty School Lane in Houston,[...]"
- "Texas Monthly's Guide to Private Schools Part Two." Texas Monthly. Emmis Communications, October 1974. Vol. 2, No. 10. ISSN 0148-7736. Start page 83. Cited: p. 89. "The Awty School/ 1615 Garrettson, Houston 77027"
- "Uptown Houston" Map (Archive). Uptown Houston. Accessed July 22, 2008.
- "Awty International picks interim head to lead school." Houston Chronicle. February 4, 2014. Retrieved on May 15, 2014.
- Radcliffe, Jennifer. "Wait for admissions decisions now focuses on email." Houston Chronicle. March 14, 2014. Retrieved on May 15, 2014. "The Awty International School sends emails to its accepted students, which allows for electronic enrollment, and mails letters to those who didn't make the cut, said Paul Arcenaux, director of admissions. Awty started email admissions last year, but still prefer to have phone conversations with people who are upset. "You owe them a listening ear and a chance to vent if they need to," he said."
- Hveem, Todd. "Athletics: Awty to inaugurate new stadium Tuesday." Houston Chronicle. April 20, 2008. Bellaire Sports. Retrieved on May 17, 2014.
- Cain, Josh (Associate Editor). "Meet the new headmaster of Houston's largest K-12 private school." Houston Business Journal. April 18, 2014.
- "Texas." Engineering News-Record (ENR), ISSN 0891-9526, 03/1998, Volume 240, Issue 13, p. 51 "[...]A new performing arts and athletic center for The Awty International School is being built by Brookstone Corp. Located at 7455 Awty School Lane in Houston[...]"
- Awty International School official site
- Architectural information on the renovation of Awty's lower school