Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts

Coordinates: 32°47′28″N 96°47′48″W / 32.791185°N 96.796564°W / 32.791185; -96.796564
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Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts
Booker T. Washington HSPVA courtyard
2501 Flora Street


United States
Coordinates32°47′28″N 96°47′48″W / 32.791185°N 96.796564°W / 32.791185; -96.796564
MottoTo provide intensive training in the arts and academics.[2][failed verification]
School districtDallas Independent School District
PrincipalScott Rudes[1]
Staff54.89 (FTE)[3]
Faculty79[2][failed verification]
Number of students1,002 (2017-18)[3]
Student to teacher ratio18.25[3]
Color(s)Blue and Black[2][failed verification]    
MascotPegasus[2][failed verification]
Trustee dist. 9[4]
Learning Community  Magnet Schools Learning Community, Tiffany Huitt[5]
Designated24 April 2006

Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (BTWHSPVA) is a public secondary school located in the Arts District of downtown Dallas, Texas, United States. Booker T. Washington HSPVA enrolls students in grades 9-12 and is the Dallas Independent School District's arts magnet school (thus, it is often locally referred to simply as Arts Magnet). Many accomplished performers and artists have been educated in the school, including Norah Jones, Erykah Badu, Adario Strange, Valarie Rae Miller, Edie Brickell, Kennedy Davenport, Sandra St. Victor, Roy Hargrove, and Scott Westerfeld. Baseball Hall of Famer Ernie Banks is among the most notable graduates of the school previous to its conversion to the Arts Magnet.


Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts

In 1892, Dallas established its first high school for African-American pupils. In 1911, the school was enlarged and named the Dallas Colored High School. The school was moved in 1922 to larger quarters, designed by famed Dallas architects Lang and Witchell, and renamed Booker T. Washington High School, after the African-American education pioneer Booker T. Washington. For many years, it was the only Dallas high school that allowed students of color.

In 1939, Wilmer-Hutchins Colored High School of the Wilmer-Hutchins ISD burned down in a fire. Afterwards, African-American WHISD students were sent to DISD high schools for "colored" people such as Washington.[6]

In 1942, teacher Thelma Paige Richardson sued the Dallas School District, demanding equalization of pay based upon tenure and merit; the school district denied that any discrimination was taking place. Richardson, with the help of the NAACP, won the case, increasing general awareness of discrimination in the public school system.

In 1952, it was enlarged yet again, and given the new name as Booker T. Washington Technical High School.

In 1976, the school was repurposed as the Arts Magnet at Booker T. Washington High School, inheriting and expanding the magnet-school curricula that had been in place in the Performing Arts and Visual Arts clusters of Skyline High School's Career Development Center since 1970. The Arts Magnet became a prototype for magnet schools across the country. The repurposing was part of the federal court desegregation orders that created the magnet school system in Dallas ISD (Tasby v. Estes[7]). Paul Baker was selected by Superintendent Estes as founding director of the school.

The neighborhood surrounding Washington has evolved into the Dallas Arts District. The main school building was designated an official Dallas Landmark in 2006.[8]

In 2008, the building was enlarged a third time when a new $65-million facility designed by Brad Cloepfil of Allied Works Architecture, was completed. The expansion preserved the historic main building.[9]


The attendance rate for students at the school is 96%, equal with the state average; 32% of the students at Washington are economically disadvantaged, 2% enroll in special education, 31% enroll in gifted and talent programs, and 1% are considered "limited English proficient."[10] The class of 2017 managed to receive over $60 million in offered scholarships and grants.

The ethnic makeup of the school is 39% White American, 23% African American, 32% Hispanic American, 3% Asian American/Pacific Islander American, 3% multiracial, and 1% American Indian/Alaskan Native.[10]

The average class sizes at Washington are 20 students for English, 27 for foreign language, 19 for math, 22 for science, and 25 for social studies.[10]

Notable faculty[edit]

Notable alumni[edit]

Notable alumni include:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Administration: Principal, Dr. Gary Willams". Dallas Independent School District. Blackboard Inc. Retrieved 21 October 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d "Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts". Dallas Independent School District. Archived from the original on 19 May 2006. Retrieved 4 October 2006.
  3. ^ a b c "BOOKER T WASHINGTON SPVA MAGNET". National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved March 25, 2020.
  4. ^ Schools by Trustee Districts, 2007-08 (PDF), Dallas Independent School District, archived from the original (PDF) on 4 October 2007, retrieved 4 October 2006
  5. ^ School Leadership: Professional Learning Communities (PDF), Dallas Independent School District, 2018, retrieved 3 January 2020
  6. ^ Benton, Joshua (15 July 2005). "A family on both sides of district's demise; Pioneer fought to save W-H; granddaughter cast key vote to close it". The Dallas Morning News. p. 1A. Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 22 August 2009.
  7. ^ "DISD Desegregation Litigation Archives: Background Info". Underwood Law Library. Southern Methodist University, Dedman School of Law. Retrieved 3 January 2020.
  8. ^ "Booker T. Washington School". Dallas Landmarks, Structures, and Sites. City of Dallas. Retrieved 3 January 2020.
  9. ^ "Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts / Allied Works Architecture". ArchDaily. 7 March 2011. Retrieved 24 February 2019.
  10. ^ a b c "Booker T. Washington High School - Dallas, Texas". Retrieved 4 October 2006.
  11. ^ a b c Larson, J. Louise (16 February 2008). "Dallas performing, visual arts school set for Taste of the Arts". The Dallas Morning News. Archived from the original on 22 January 2009. Retrieved 1 May 2008.
  12. ^ "Artists A-Z Biography: Erykah Badu". VH1. MTV Networks. Archived from the original on 2 April 2007. Retrieved 7 April 2007.
  13. ^ "Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas | | Arts & Entertainment". 2007-09-30. Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2022-02-10.
  14. ^ "Fete for Banks Here Tuesday". The Dallas Morning News. 9 October 1955. Retrieved 14 June 2011.
  15. ^ Milestones by Arts Magnet High School Archives. Retrieved 2020-08-04.
  16. ^ "Arlo Eisenberg: Burgers, Hookers and Art". Archived from the original on 14 February 2012. Retrieved 7 April 2012.
  17. ^ "Biography". Retrieved 11 December 2012.
  18. ^ "Artists A-Z Biography: Norah Jones". VH1. MTV Networks. Archived from the original on 23 March 2007. Retrieved 23 March 2007.
  19. ^ Dallas Jazz Piano Society (26 September 2017). "Four-Time Grammy Award Winning Oak Cliff Native Shaun Martin Headlines Dallas Jazz Piano Society Showcase: Booker T Washington Alum's Concert to Benefit Key for Kids Music Education Program" (Press release). Archived from the original on 15 September 2018. Retrieved 15 September 2018.
  20. ^ Collar, Matt. "Shaun Martin: Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 3 January 2020.
  21. ^ "Biography". Elizabeth Mitchell Central. Archived from the original on 4 April 2007. Retrieved 7 April 2007.
  22. ^ "BLUES JUNCTION Productions - Shawn Pittman: The BLUES JUNCTION Interview". Retrieved January 13, 2020.
  23. ^ "Electronic Provocateur Marc Rebillet Returns Home to Dallas with an International Following".

External links[edit]