Carnegie Vanguard High School

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Carnegie Vanguard High School
1501 Taft Street


United States
CoordinatesCoordinates: 29°45′14″N 95°23′08″W / 29.754°N 95.3855°W / 29.754; -95.3855
TypePublic Magnet School
School districtHouston Independent School District
Area trusteeDiana Dávila
CEEB code443541
PrincipalRamon Moss
Staff32.10 (FTE)[2]
Enrollment626 (2017-18)[2]
Student to teacher ratio19.50[2]
ScheduleAll Classes Daily
Color(s)      Red, White, & Blue
USNWR rankingNo. 8 (2017)[1]
InformationNo Uniform

Andrew Carnegie Vanguard High School, named after Andrew Carnegie,[3] is located in the Fourth Ward of Houston, Texas near Downtown and was formerly located near Sunnyside.[4] The school serves grades 9-12 and is part of the Houston Independent School District.[5] It is the only High School Vanguard Program in HISD meaning that all students are labelled as gifted and talented by testing and the school has students take all Advanced Placement core classes as part of its curriculum.

Carnegie Vanguard's academics have been widely recognized in the country. For the past several years, Carnegie Vanguard has been consistently ranked the top ranked public high school in the Houston area and a top 25 public high school in the country by several major magazines and journals including Newsweek, The Washington Post, and US News and World Report.


Jones High School, the former home of the HISD Vanguard program

Jones High School[edit]

The HISD Vanguard program was designed to serve the needs of gifted and talented students. From fall 1977 to spring 2002, the HISD High School Vanguard Program was a separate program located at Jesse Jones High School.[6] It is one of the many Magnet schools in HISD designed to attract a diverse ethnicity of students by former HISD Superintendent Billy Regan.

Move to Sunnyside Campus[edit]

The reinstatement of Lawrence Allen, the Jones HS principal, who was put in charge of the comprehensive program at Jones, prompted the HISD Vanguard program separation.[7]

Carnegie Vanguard High School opened in August 2002 in the former Carnegie Elementary School building on Scott Street and Airport Boulevard near the Sunnyside neighborhood.[8] Carnegie began its first year as a separate school (2002–2003) with 173 students.[9] The elementary school students who attended Carnegie Elementary were moved to Woodson Middle School, which became the Woodson K-8 School;[10] Woodson now has only elementary grades.[11]

In November 2008, HISD proposed to rebuild Carnegie and Worthing and have the two schools share the same cafeteria. Parents at Worthing accepted the proposal while parents at Carnegie asked for the proposal to be discontinued due to high violence levels at Worthing.[12][13][14] On December 4, 2008, Abelardo Saavedra, the HISD superintendent at the time, shelve plans of Carnegie and Worthing sharing cafeterias since the proposal had insufficient support from the board of trustees.[15]

Carnegie Vanguard High School old campus

Fourth Ward campus move[edit]

In 2009, HISD administration proposed relocating Carnegie to the Fourth Ward. District administrators favored the move because students come from across the school district, and the central location would make transportation easier.[16] During that year the school board approved of the plan.[17] The former Sunnyside Campus has been used for military tactical training by multiple agencies, including the United States Army.[18]

Groundbreaking occurred in May 2011.[19] The current campus opened in August 2012.[20]


The theater is a former Orange Crush bottling plant

Current Fourth Ward Campus[edit]

The current campus is located in the Fourth Ward, Houston.[21] It is in proximity to Downtown,[16] and to Midtown.[22] HISD provides school bus transportation to students who live more than two miles away from the school.[23] The new campus is located on a 6-acre (2.4 ha) plot at the northeast corner of West Gray Street and Taft Street. The new building can house up to 750 students. Parents, staff members, and students provided input for the design of the new CVHS campus. The building committee lobbied for a central courtyard, which is a part of the school's culture.[24] The new building shares its site with the Gregory Lincoln Education Center.[25] The district had initially intended for a new campus of the High School for Performing and Visual Arts to be built at the site that is occupied by the new Carnegie.[26] Rey de la Reza Architects, Inc. developed the current Carnegie campus. The theater building is a former Orange Crush bottling plant and is one of the few remaining Art Deco buildings in Houston. The HISD bond did not cover the Orange Crush renovation.[22]

Previous Sunnyside Campus[edit]

The previous Carnegie campus was located in the former Carnegie Elementary School building off of Scott Street and Airport Boulevard near the Sunnyside neighborhood.[8] The former Carnegie Elementary building had about 42,500 square feet (3,950 m2) of space, including the exterior corridors.[27] The old campus was located adjacent to a horse pasture. Lisa Gray of the Houston Chronicle said that the "shabby" campus was "far not only from most of its students' homes, but also from most Houstonians' consciousness."[22] Gray also said that "By accident, the old elementary school's layout promoted the kind of effortless mixing that the latest designs for offices and research facilities strive to encourage."[22]



Carnegie Vanguard offers only Pre-Advanced Placement (Pre-AP) and Advanced Placement (AP) courses in English, Math, Science, and Social Studies as well as Honors elective courses in core subject areas. The curriculum for every course is written to go above and beyond state and district standards. Carnegie Vanguard courses move at a quicker pace, cover more material, and are project based. They rely heavily on discussion and seminar style delivery of course information and the use, interpretation, and delivery of research.

Each Carnegie Vanguard student is required to take at least 10 AP courses before graduation: AP English Language and Composition, AP English Literature, AP Capstone {Seminar and Research}, AP Physics 1, AP Human Geography, AP World History, AP US History, AP Economics, and AP US Government and Politics. Students can potentially take up to 18 Advanced Placement classes if desired.


For the past several years, Carnegie Vanguard has been consistently ranked as a top 30 public high school in the country by several major magazines and journals including Newsweek, The Washington Post, and the US News and World Report.

2013 2014 2015 2017 2018
Washington Post 17 23 6 1 N/A
US News and World Report 28 1 143 8[1] 15
Newsweek 13 11 9 1 N/A

Standardized Testing[edit]

Carnegie scores the highest scores on the SAT and PSAT on the Critical Reading Section and Mathematics Section in HISD, just beating Debakey High School.


The school capacity is 750 students. About 185 spots are available for incoming 9th grade students and a small number of spots are available for incoming 10th graders.[28] CVHS is not a zoned school so students in the immediate neighborhood are not automatically accepted. There are no admission spots for 11th and 12th graders. Carnegie has an admission rate of about 20% and receives over 1500 applications for less than 200 seats every year.

The Carnegie application process segregates students by whether or not they are Gifted and Talented (G/T) in HISD. Students not already identified as G/T in HISD or attending a private school must submit take a test to see if they are G/T and provide other academic information while qualified HISD G/T don't need to provide anything more.[29]

Qualified applications are placed into a lottery to see if they will be accepted. Students that are poorer and/or minority do receive more preference in the lottery. The school automatically accepts qualified students who have siblings that currently are in the 9th through 11th grade at Carnegie, given there is enough space.[29]

Carnegie has no formal feeder patterns as it is a magnet school and serves students from all over the HISD area. Carnegie attracts many students who are enrolled in private schools for middle school.[29]

Official seal of Carnegie Vanguard HS.

Student Body[edit]


The school capacity is 826 students.

2019-2020 Ethnic Demographics:[30]

33% Hispanic

30% Asian

22% White

10% Black

4% Other

College matriculation[edit]

100% of students that graduate from Carnegie attend a 2 or 4 year college or university. Usually most graduates chose to matriculate at the University of Houston or the University of Texas at Austin.[31] Carnegie students have also been accepted to many prestigious and highly selective colleges including Rice University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, Yale University, Stanford University, Wellesley College, Duke University, University of California - Berkeley, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Spelman College, Howard University, University of California - Los Angeles, Georgia Institute of Technology, Emory University, Brown University, Columbia University, Tulane University, University of Virginia, University of Michigan, New York University, Washington University in St. Louis, and the University of Chicago.


Open Club for any freshmen that need advice and help with any school subjects
Club Description
Interact Open Volunteering Club who hosts the Annual International Festival. It is the largest club in the school.
National Honor Society (NHS) Application Based Club for High Achieving Students.
Robotics Open Club competing in both VEX and FIRST Robotics competitions. Students have regularly reached the world championships for the Vex Competition.
Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Open club for female students interested in STEM.There are many trips and guest speakers.
UIL Academics Open club for educational competitions against other schools. Carnegie has won almost all local tournaments.
Environment, Community, Outdoor (ECO) Open club for being earth friendly and going on camping trips.
Junior State of America (JSA) Open club for Non-Partisan Political Discussions and attendance of political conferences each semester.
Mu Alpha Theta (Math Honor Society) Application Based Club for High Achieving Students in Math.
International Thespian Society (ITS) Application Based Club for students who love theater. They won the state title in UIL Theater in 2014.
Hispanic Honor Society Application Based Club for Hispanic students or high achieving students in Spanish class.
Linguistics Club A club for those in love with language



Current sports[edit]

Carnegie competes in UIL Region 3, District 18, Conference 6A with schools twice to five times larger.[32][33] This conference includes Bellaire HS, Chavez HS, Lamar HS, Heights HS (formerly named Reagan HS), Westside HS, and Westbury HS which have students populations of 2000 students or more.

Sports UIL Teams Boys Girls Notable Achievements
Cross Country Yes Freshmen, Junior Varsity, and Varsity Teams per gender. Yes Yes Girls Varsity Team moves to regionals in 2015 and 2016.
Volleyball Yes Freshman, Junior Varsity and Varsity. No Yes -
Tennis Yes Consist of singles, doubles, and mixed teams. Yes Yes -
Basketball No One team. Yes No 2017 Magnet School Championship Winner
Soccer No One team per gender. Yes Yes Girls Soccer Team competed in championship match in 2016.
Baseball Yes UIL Team Yes No 2017 Sylvester Turner Invitational Winner; 2015 Davis Invitational Winner Rugby (7v7) No One team. No Yes Team may be discontinued.
Robotics Yes Multiple teams. Yes Yes 2019 State Championship Win in VEX Robotics
Cheer No One team. Yes Yes

Special School Status[edit]

In 2015, Carnegie Vanguard was the only magnet-only school to have UIL Sports. When other magnet-only schools complained that they were not accepted by HISD UIL Department for UIL sports, the school board took action. The HISD School Board originally thought it was fair take away Carnegie UIL Sports and take away the ability for other magnet-only to get UIL Sports to be consistent and because they falsely thought Title IV was not met at Carnegie Vanguard. But, in November 2015, over 1000 individuals signed an online petition asking the HISD athletics director, Marmion Dambrino, to have Carnegie remain in UIL. The HISD School Board voted that Carnegie will continue to participate in the UIL as well as letting other special school status schools get UIL sports.

Notable alumni[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Carnegie Vanguard High School". U.S. News & World Report. 2017.
  2. ^ a b c "CARNEGIE VANGUARD H S". National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved March 25, 2020.
  3. ^ ""Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2006-03-22. Retrieved 2006-01-20.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)." Houston Independent School District. June 4, 2007. Retrieved on November 26, 2008.
  4. ^ "1501 Taft Houston, TX 77019"
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-06-05. Retrieved 2013-07-11.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ Carnegie Vanguard — School Information
  7. ^ Downing, Margaret. "The Great Divide." Houston Press. March 7, 2002. 1. Retrieved on December 22, 2009.
  8. ^ a b Martin, Betty L. "HOUSTON ISD / Bond benefits Carnegie Vanguard." Houston Chronicle. Thursday December 20, 2007. ThisWeek 4.
  9. ^ "Carnegie Vanguard High School." SchoolDigger. Retrieved on November 26, 2008.
  10. ^ Downing, Margaret. "A Split Decision." Houston Press. April 18, 2002. 1. Retrieved on December 22, 2009.
  11. ^ Home. Woodson Elementary School. Retrieved on December 5, 2018.
  12. ^ Mellon, Ericka. "Plan for Carnegie-Worthing shared campus raises concern -- UPDATED." Houston Chronicle. November 11, 2008.
  13. ^ Mellon, Ericka. "School plan seen as win-lose proposition." Houston Chronicle. November 12, 2008. Retrieved on January 19, 2010.
  14. ^ Downing, Margaret. "Backlash Upon Backlash at HISD." Houston Press. December 2, 2008. 1. Retrieved on November 16, 2010.
  15. ^ Mellon, Ericka. "Carnegie-Worthing shared campus on hold for now." Houston Chronicle. Retrieved on December 4, 2008. Retrieved on December 22, 2009.
  16. ^ a b Mellon, Ericka. "Fourth Ward site likely for new Carnegie Vanguard High School." Houston Chronicle. November 17, 2009. Retrieved on November 24, 2009.
  17. ^ Mark, Steve. "Exit for 2 HISD trustees, new campus for Carnegie Vanguard" (Archive). West University Examiner. December 11, 2009. Retrieved on December 17, 2009.
  18. ^ Jessica Willey (29 January 2013). "Army drill scares residents on Houston's south side". KTRK. Archived from the original on 3 February 2013. Retrieved 3 February 2013.
  19. ^ "Carnegie Vanguard celebrates long road to new campus groundbreaking". Bellaire Examiner at the Houston Chronicle. 2011-05-19. Retrieved 2019-01-14.
  20. ^ Meeks, Flori (2013-04-03). "Midtown a good fit for innovative campus". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 2019-01-14.
  21. ^,-73.979681&sspn=0.73819,1.454315&t=h&hnear=Fourth+Ward,+Houston,+Harris,+Texas&z=15
  22. ^ a b c d Gray, Lisa. "Gray: Praise for Carnegie." Houston Chronicle. Thursday September 13, 2012. Retrieved on September 17, 2012.
  23. ^ "Student Eligibility Archived August 26, 2012, at the Wayback Machine." Houston Independent School District. Accessed July 14, 2008.
  24. ^ Morris, Mike. "Carnegie Vanguard ‘investors' plan its move." Houston Chronicle. February 26, 2010. Retrieved on March 4, 2010.
  25. ^ "Houston Planning Commission Agenda." Houston Planning Commission. 93/101. September 16, 2010.
  26. ^ Downing, Margaret. "Carnegie Vanguard May Finally (And Happily) Move To A New Home." Houston Press. Thursday December 10, 2009. Retrieved on September 8, 2011.
  27. ^ "Plans ready for Carnegie Vanguard High School." Ultimate Montrose at the Houston Chronicle. December 8, 2010. Retrieved on December 21, 2010.
  28. ^ "Admissions / Frequently Asked Questions". Retrieved 2017-01-17.
  29. ^ a b c "Carnegie Vanguard High School Profile and Review". The Houston School Survey - School Research, Reviews, & Forum. Retrieved 2017-01-17.
  30. ^
  31. ^
  32. ^ a b "Activities Directory". Retrieved 2017-01-17.
  33. ^ Foushee, Sean. "High School Golf Scoreboard > Texas". Retrieved 2017-01-19.
  34. ^ Grant, Clyde (interviewer). "Artist Spotlight Love Life Archived 2008-09-05 at the Wayback Machine." Drench Magazine. Retrieved on July 4, 2010.
  35. ^ "Carnegie’s Community Service Requirement Archived 2010-07-26 at the Wayback Machine." Carnegie Vanguard High School. Retrieved on November 13, 2010. "Anthony Obi, who was a member of the 2005-2006 senior class, volunteers at his church by helping out around the building and assisting those in need of a few extra hands."

External links[edit]