Westchester Academy for International Studies

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Westchester Academy for International Studies
901 Yorkchester, Houston, TX
United States
Coordinates 29°46′51″N 95°35′01″W / 29.780831°N 95.583537°W / 29.780831; -95.583537
Established 1967–1985; 1987–2000; 2001–present
School district Spring Branch Independent School District
Director Jennifer Collier
Staff 35
Faculty 70
Grades 6–12
Number of students 960
Color(s) Blue, orange, green
Mascot Wildcat
Newspaper Under the Arches, The Westchester Wildchatter
Yearbook Miacis

The Westchester Academy for International Studies (WAIS) is a public charter school in the Spring Branch Independent School District in Houston, Texas. It serves grades 6–12 and is a part of the International Baccalaureate program. Jennifer Collier and Alexia Greiner were announced as the new Director and Assistant Director during the summer of 2013. The assistant directors are Kathy Menotti and Alexia Greiner.


Westchester High School (1967–1985)[edit]

Due to the expanding enrollment of Memorial High School the school district built Westchester High School in 1967. The school opened with an enrollment of one thousand eight hundred students. After seven years the school had increased to nearly four thousand students. The campus could not support the numbers, and as such Stratford High School was built in close proximity to Westchester, opening in 1974.

Due to the oil bust in the early 1980s, the destruction of nearby apartment complexes, and many original home owners keeping their homes after their children had grown, enrollment in all SBISD high schools dropped dramatically. By 1985, the resulting decreases in enrollment forced the school board to close Westchester and relocate its former students to Memorial and Stratford High Schools. Most Westchester students ended up attending Stratford High School, which for many years kept a permanent display case dedicated to Westchester memorabilia.

Westchester Campus of Houston Community College (1987–2000)[edit]

During a thirteen-year period the campus was leased to Houston Community College.

In 1987 about 30 students from SBISD and the Houston Independent School District gathered at Westchester High to study Japanese on every Saturday.[1]

Westchester Academy for International Studies (2001–Present)[edit]

After this duration Spring Branch ISD made plans for the campus that resulted in a massive amount of construction and improvement on the pre-existing campus. In 2001 it reopened its doors as "Westchester Academy for International Studies". The school would eventually cap at one thousand students spanning across grades 6-12th. During the 2004-05 school year, the campus was shared with Stratford, due to renovations occurring on Stratford's campus. It is notable for being the only high school in Spring Branch ISD to offer the International Baccalaureate Diploma program at grades 11 and 12, an authorized Middle Years IB Program for grades 6-10, and is currently pursuing authorization for the IB Career-related Certificate.

The campus of WAIS is divided into several wings (A-E). The A Wing houses the middle school, foreign language department, and technology classes. The B Wing houses the auditorium, cafeteria, choir room, and main office. The C Wing house the wood gym and health classroom. The D Wing houses the rubber gym and storage areas. Lastly, the E Wing houses the upper school.

National Blue Ribbon School[edit]

WAIS was named a 2011 National Blue Ribbon School. It is one of only 304 schools nationwide to be honored for overall "academic excellence" and for success in closing student achievement gaps. Only 10 schools in Texas were named Blue Ribbon Schools in 2011.

Weekend uses[edit]

The Japanese Language Supplementary School of Houston (ヒューストン日本語補習校 Hyūsuton Nihongo Hoshūkō?), a supplementary Japanese school operated by the Japanese Educational Institute (JEI), holds its classes at WAIS on Saturdays.[2] It is for children between ages 5 and 18 who are Japanese speakers.[3]

Notable alumni[edit]

Popular culture[edit]

In Reba (TV series), Reba's daughter attends Westchester High School. The school mascot is the Wildcats, and was filmed in the Wilchester subdivision.[4]


  1. ^ "LANGUAGES DRAWING STUDENTS Houston schools increase offerings to meet demands." Associated Press at The Dallas Morning News. Wednesday January 7, 1987. News 11B. Retrieved on November 28, 2011.
  2. ^ Home page. Japanese Language Supplementary School of Houston. Retrieved on March 30, 2014.
  3. ^ "Japanese Language Study Program Spring Branch Independent School District." Spring Branch Independent School District. Retrieved on March 30, 2014.
  4. ^ "Reba Season One - Fun Facts, Questions, Answers, Information". Retrieved March 14, 2013. 

External links[edit]