Arabic Immersion Magnet School

Coordinates: 29°48′42″N 95°24′46″W / 29.8116°N 95.4129°W / 29.8116; -95.4129
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Arabic Immersion Magnet School
Arabic Immersion Magnet School former campus in the Houston Heights

Arabic Immersion Magnet School (AIMS) is a magnet school in the Montrose area of Houston, Texas. A part of the Houston Independent School District (HISD), it currently covers elementary school grades. It uses a grant from the Qatar Foundation,[1] and it is one of the first Arabic language immersion schools in the United States.[2] It is a part of HISD's efforts to increase the number of bilingual students.[2] Prior to 2019 the school was in the Houston Heights. Mahassen Ballouli became principal in Summer 2017 after the founding principal, Kate Adams, left.


On Thursday, November 14, 2014, the HISD Board of Education approved the establishment of the school.[3] The board approval was unanimous, and at the time there were no protesters. In May 2015 around 12 people complained about the future school to the HISD board.[4]

Its initial campus, in Block 21 of the Houston Heights,[5] previously housed Holden Elementary School and the Energy Institute High School.[1] The district planned to upgrade the heating and cooling systems, restrooms, lighting, and technology of the former Holden building.[6]

A total of 490 applications for 132 slots for students were submitted.[4] The school opened on Monday August 24, 2015 with 130 students,[7] all in preschool and kindergarten.[8] The school has plans to create one new grade level each year.[9] The school ultimately plans to have the eighth grade as the highest level.[6]

On the opening day a group of about 30 protesters gathered around the school,[7] accusing it of being anti-American and hindering assimilation.[4]

In May 2019 HISD announced that, effective fall 2019, AIMS will be located at the former High School for Performing and Visual Arts (HSPVA) in Montrose.[10] It is on Blocks 12 and 13 of the Lockard Connor and Barziza Addition.[11]


In 2015 each student spent half of their day learning in English and the other half learning in Arabic. The school focused on Modern Standard Arabic after an HISD cross-functional team deemed that it should do so.[8]

However, the school has now changed tack and has applied for IB (International Baccalaureate) status,[12] causing for a rewrite of the school's curriculum. The IB authorization process takes two to three years,[13] and it is expected that a new curriculum will have been developed by that time.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "VIDEO: HISD opens new Arabic Immersion Magnet School" (Archive). KRIV-TV Fox Houston. Retrieved on August 31, 2015.
  2. ^ a b Mitchell, Corey. "Houston to Open Arabic Immersion Elementary School." Education Week. December 12, 2014. Retrieved on August 31, 2015.
  3. ^ Mellon, Ericka. "HISD okays Arabic immersion schools." Houston Chronicle. November 13, 2014. Retrieved on August 31, 2015.
  4. ^ a b c Baddour, Dylan and Ericka Mellon. "Protesters at Houston's Arabic Immersion Magnet School on first day of class" (). Houston Chronicle. Monday August 24, 2015. Retrieved on August 31, 2015.
  5. ^ Harris County Block Book Maps. Volume 20: Houston Heights Index Map. Version 1 (PDF and JPG) and Version 2 (PDF and JPG). Also Volume 20, Page 17: Houston Heights Block 21 (PDF and JPG) which is marked for the Houston Independent School District.
  6. ^ a b "HISD proposes new Arabic Language Immersion Magnet to meet needs of culturally diverse city" (). Houston Independent School District. November 7, 2014. Retrieved on September 1, 2015.
  7. ^ a b Mitchell, Corey. "Critics Protest Opening of Houston Arabic Immersion Elementary School." Education Week. August 24, 2015. Retrieved on August 31, 2015.
  8. ^ a b Hernandez, Haley. "Protest held against new Arabic school in HISD" (). KHOU-TV. August 24, 2015. Retrieved on August 31, 2015.
  9. ^ "HISD Board of Education approves creation of Arabic Language Immersion Magnet School" (). Houston Independent School District. November 13, 2014. Retrieved on September 1, 2015.
  10. ^ "Arabic Immersion Magnet School relocating to former Kinder HSPVA campus". Houston Independent School District. 2019-05-09. Retrieved 2019-05-17.Spanish version
  11. ^ Lockard Connor and Barziza Addition, Blocks 12 and 13. Harris County Assessor's Block Book. Volume 23, Page 68 (PDF and JPG) and 69 (PDF and JPG). They indicate the Montrose School, which HSPVA was built upon and where AIMS moved to.
  12. ^ "International Baccalaureate (IB) Candidate School / International Baccalaureate". Retrieved 2018-03-06.
  13. ^ "Authorization timeline". International Baccalaureate®. Retrieved 2018-03-06.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

29°48′42″N 95°24′46″W / 29.8116°N 95.4129°W / 29.8116; -95.4129