Communications Arts High School

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Communications Arts High School
Communications Arts.jpg
11600 FM 471 W
San Antonio, Texas, Bexar County 78253
Coordinates 29°30′01″N 98°43′13″W / 29.500237°N 98.720151°W / 29.500237; -98.720151Coordinates: 29°30′01″N 98°43′13″W / 29.500237°N 98.720151°W / 29.500237; -98.720151
School type Public, High School Magnet
Founded 1995
School district Northside Independent School District
Superintendent Dr. Brian Woods
Principal Lisa Baker
Grades 9–12
Enrollment 530[1] (2010)
Color(s) Red     
Yearbook Unity

Communications Arts High School (commonly ComArts or CAHS) is a magnet school in the Northside Independent School District of San Antonio, Texas, United States. Founded in 1995,[2] the school has an enrollment of 100–130 students per class, accepting 130 freshmen per year.[3] The school is a "school within a school" sharing the campus of William Howard Taft High School with an academic focus on teaching multimedia and communications skills.


Communications Arts resides within the larger Taft High School campus in the C building. Teachers may elect to hold special classroom activities in the school's outdoor classroom, and students are allowed to have lunch there as well. Students taking Yearbook or Advanced Video Technology classes have access to a publications lab equipped with iMacs. The school is one of the smallest in the district, with there only being four hallways.


Admission to Communications Arts is open to Bexar County students with at least a C average and requires the submission of an application and the student's choice of an essay or a 5-minute video. Eligible applicants are entered into a lottery system with selected students notified by mail.[4] Prior to admitting the class of 2005, the admissions process did not operate as a lottery, and admitted students were selected based on the merits of their application. Each year, the school accepts approximately 130 freshmen.[3] As a public school, no tuition is charged to either in-district or out of district students.


Communications Arts' curriculum focuses especially on communications skills. All students are required to have at least three credits of Spanish.[2] Students are also required to take Digital Interactive Multimedia, Media Criticism, Communications Applications (speech), and Independent Study Mentorship classes over their four years, with the option of taking other advanced media classes separate from Taft. These courses include Art 4 Electronic Media (Advanced Video Production), Digital Graphics and Animation, AP Art History, and Yearbook.[5]

Additional emphasis is placed on college preparation. All students take the PSAT on campus once a year. All students take Advanced Placement courses, with students being required to take AP World History their sophomore year. Students also take AP US History, AP English III and IV as well as other AP science and mathematics courses on the Taft campus in their junior and senior years.[5] All AP courses are supplemented with test preparation books including those of companies like Kaplan, Inc which are given to students free of charge in their first semester. All core courses that are not offered as AP (such as World Geography) are offered as Pre-AP courses, though students may elect to take regular versions of the course on the Taft campus.[6] Students who follow the standard curriculum generally graduate with Distinguished Achievement Diplomas.

Students also participate in traditional electives, including fine arts and athletics, with Taft students.[6]

Student activities[edit]


Communications Arts student organizations generally operate independently of their Taft counterparts and include a National Honor Society chapter, Student Council, Environment Club, Photography Club, Creative Writing Club, Spanish Club, Girl Up Club, Semicolon (Poetry Club), PRIDE Club, Fellowship of Faith, Model UN Club, and Helping Hands. All organizations have faculty sponsors, which assist in any fundraising activities like selling food after school. Each class has its own organization as well, responsible for raising funds to prepare for senior year activities. These class officers are elected by the student body.[7]


The school's small atmosphere and numerous student organizations have fostered many annual events. These include musical events such as Commstock, an event where student bands perform, and Grassroots Cafe, an art house event with a focus on the environment. Additionally, the school hosts two festival style events in its outdoor classroom, Turkeyfest and Earth Day, sponsored by the Student Council and Environment Club, respectively. The Parent Support Group hosts an annual family picnic called CAHS in the Parking Lot. These events are generally fundraisers for the organizations that sponsor them.


The school's focus on communications pursuits fosters many student produced publications. These include weekly video announcements and an annual recruitment video, produced by the Advanced Video Technology class.[8] The school produces its own yearbook as well, under the title Unity.[9] Students also publish a Spanish language campus e-paper under the title La Communidad.


In 2008 and 2009, it was ranked 26th and 17th in Newsweek magazine's America's Top Public High Schools, respectively. In 2010, the school was ranked 19th in the nation by Newsweek.[1] It has consistently placed the highest of any San Antonio high school on the list since its inception in 2006.[1]

The school has been recognized by the Washington Post as one of the top 50 most challenging high schools in the nation since 2011.[10]

In 2011, the school was rated "recognized" by the Texas Education Agency.[11]


  1. ^ a b c "America's Best Highschools". Newsweek. Retrieved 26 March 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "Magnet High Schools Recruiting Students". NISD. Retrieved 25 November 2011. 
  3. ^ a b "About". Communications Arts High School Website. NISD. Retrieved 25 November 2011. 
  4. ^ "Admissions". Communications Arts High School Website. NISD. Retrieved 25 November 2011. 
  5. ^ a b "Typical Schedule". Communications Arts High School Website. Retrieved 25 November 2011. 
  6. ^ a b "Magnet School Brochure" (PDF). Magnet School Brochure. NISD. Retrieved 25 November 2011. 
  7. ^ "Student Organizations". Communications Arts High School Website. NISD. Retrieved 26 November 2011. 
  8. ^ "Video Announcements". Communications Arts High School Website. NISD. Retrieved 26 November 2011. 
  9. ^ "Yearbook Info". Communications Arts High School Website. NISD. Retrieved 26 November 2011. 
  10. ^ "America's Most Challenging High Schools - Communications Arts". Washington Post. 
  11. ^ "2011 Accountability Rating System". Texas Education Agency. 

External links[edit]