High School for the Performing and Visual Arts

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Coordinates: 29°44′14″N 95°23′18″W / 29.7372°N 95.3883°W / 29.7372; -95.3883

High School for the Performing and Visual Arts
Houston, Texas
United States

High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (HSPVA or PVA) is a secondary school located at 4001 Stanford Street in the Montrose district of Houston, Texas. The school is a part of the Houston Independent School District.

The school educates grades nine through twelve. The school is divided into six departments: instrumental music, vocal music, dance, theater (including technical theater), visual arts, and creative writing (new to the 2011-2012 school year). Visual Arts was formed by the merging of what were formerly separate art and media departments. Students may initially audition for multiple art areas however if accepted are required to enroll in the school under only one art area, with later exceptions in rare cases, excelling students with enough credits are allowed to re-audition and with approval balance multiple art disciplines. At the end of every semester students complete a re-audition or portfolio review which does not determine whether or not they return to the school; reviews serve as part of the final grade for each art area.[1]

Students who fail classes (Both academic and art area) are placed on art area probation which makes them ineligible to participate in art area activities. If a student repeatedly fails his or her art area or academics he will most likely be removed from the school.

HSPVA was placed as the top school in the Greater Houston Area by Children at Risk's 2009 annual ranking of high schools,[2] and it still remains on the top ten list in 2012. Since 2003, HSPVA has had eight students named US Presidential Scholars in the Arts (Presidential Scholars Program) by the US Department of Education as selected by the National YoungArts Foundation (YoungArts).[3]

HSPVA does not automatically take in students from the surrounding neighborhood; the surrounding neighborhood is zoned to Lamar High School.[4]

Art areas[edit]

There are six art areas: vocal music, instrumental music, dance, theatre, visual art, and creative writing. There are subdivisions within some of these art areas. Instrumental Music breaks down into band, orchestra, jazz, mariachi, and piano. Theatre breaks down into musical theatre, acting, and technical theatre. A creative writing department was added in the 2011-2012 school year, raising questions about HSPVA's size and whether the current building will be able to house a new department.[citation needed]


The school was established in the former Temple Beth Israel

HSPVA was established in 1971.[5] The HISD Office of Board Services had, by January 1971, received letters written by art organizations in Houston. Those letters advocated for the creation of an arts magnet school.[6] The motion to establish this school was passed unanimously by the HISD school board during a period when it was divided ideologically. HSPVA was not the first magnet school in the U.S. but it was technically the first magnet school in Houston; this status was mistakenly attributed to River Oaks Elementary School.[7]

HISD chose Ruth Denney as the school's founding director.[6] The district asked Denney to choose between three potential sites: W. D. Cleveland Elementary School, Montrose Elementary School, and the former Temple Beth Israel building. After touring them, Denney selected the temple building and in May 1971 the final plans for HSPVA were presented to the school board.[8]

The school moved to 4001 Stanford Street, the site of the former Montrose Elementary School, in 1982.[citation needed]

In the 1990s, there was a proposal to move HSPVA to the Bob R. Casey Federal Building in Downtown Houston.[9]

Plans existed for a new HSPVA building to be located near the Gregory-Lincoln Education Center in Houston's Freedmen's Town Historical District in the Fourth Ward. The new building would have included a 2000+ seat state-of-the-art theater, updated facilities and possibly a recording studio. Construction was temporarily delayed due to the discovery of a possible American Civil War-era cemetery. In June 2007, the project page for the building displayed "CANCELLED".[10] The site that was to have the new HSPVA instead has the new Carnegie Vanguard High School.[11]

A block in Downtown Houston which currently holds a parking lot is a proposed new location for HSPVA. It formerly housed Sam Houston High School; at a later point the building housed the HISD headquarters.[12] The proposed building which would be five stories and 168,000 square feet (15,600 m2) in size,[13] has a cost of $ $80.2 million.[14] Ensler Architects designed the building, which is in the Houston Theater District.[15] Groundbreaking occurred on December 14, 2014.[16]

On October 13, 2016, the Houston Independent School District Board of Trustees sold the naming rights to the Kinder Foundation for a $7.5 million donation for capital improvements to the new facility. The school's official name of Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts or Kinder HSPVA will take place when the school moves to the new downtown location.[17] The district's original plans for HSPVA, without the deal, would not have been built partly due to inflation decreasing the value of the U.S. dollar. Some critics[who?] argued that financial mismanagement also contributed to the situation.[18]

One HISD board member, Jolanda Jones, spoke against the deal, arguing that it was selling out the rights to name a school and that HISD was not giving attention to the non-specialty schools in the district. Jones and Diana Davila were the only board members to vote against the deal. Mike Lunceford, a board member who supported the proposal, stated that the state government was not going to give additional funding, and other trustees supported the deal. Most speakers at the board meeting, including community members and HSPVA students and parents, supported the deal.[18]


The demographics for the 2011 - 2012 school year are listed below.[19]

Race/Ethnicity 2011-2012
African American 21%
American Indian <1 %
Asian/Pac. Islander 6%
Hispanic 21%
White 49%
Two or More 3%

Admissions patterns[edit]

Kinder HSPVA has no actual feeder patterns. Since it is a magnet school it takes students from all over HISD and, until recently, from districts outside of HISD.[20]

Kinder HSPVA takes students from many HISD middle schools. In addition, some students who are enrolled in private schools in the 8th grade, such as St. Mark's Episcopal School, Presbyterian School, River Oaks Baptist School, John Paul II School,[21] and Annunciation Orthodox School,[22] choose to go to Kinder HSPVA for high school.[23][24][25][26]

Notable alumni[edit]

Presidential Scholars in the Arts[edit]

  • 2014 - Reagan Lukefahr attended HSPVA but was enrolled in the high school Drama program at University of North Carolina School of the Arts at the time the honor was awarded.[39]
  • 2009 - Devyn Tyler[40]
  • 2008 - Janye Grant[41]
  • 2006 - Tassity Johnson, Eloise Santa Maria, Rachel Goss[42]
  • 2004 - Blake C. Williams[43]
  • 2003 - Roderick R Georg[44]



  1. ^ "The High School for the Performing and Visual Arts / Homepage". 
  2. ^ Mellon, Ericka. "3 HISD schools sweep top spots." Houston Chronicle. April 12, 2009. Retrieved on May 5, 2009.
  3. ^ "Awards - U.S. Presidential Scholars Program". ed.gov. August 31, 2016. Retrieved December 31, 2016. 
  4. ^ "Lamar High School Attendance Zone Archived September 28, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.." Houston Independent School District. Retrieved March 24, 2009..
  5. ^ "The High School for the Performing and Visual Arts / Homepage". 
  6. ^ a b Gore, p. 9.
  7. ^ https://books.google.com/books?id=o2lSdwON_ioC&pg=PA15 15.
  8. ^ Gore, Elaine Clift (January 1, 2007). "Talent Knows No Color: The History of an Arts Magnet High School". IAP. Retrieved December 31, 2016 – via Google Books. 
  9. ^ Sarnoff, Nancy. "Officials ponder downtown move for HSPVA." Houston Chronicle. October 14, 2009. Retrieved November 24, 2009.
  10. ^ HISD | Bond vgn-ext-hidden_DeptArticleCTD
  11. ^ Downing, Margaret. "Carnegie Vanguard May Finally (And Happily) Move To A New Home." Houston Press. December 10, 2009. Retrieved September 8, 2011.
  12. ^ Gonzales, J.R. "Sam Houston High School (old)." Houston Chronicle. March 30, 2010. Retrieved November 22, 2011..
  13. ^ Mellon, Ericka. "HSPVA to get $80 million makeover with roof terrace, outdoor dining." Houston Chronicle. October 15, 2014. Retrieved October 17, 2014..
  14. ^ Mellon, Ericka. "Cost questions hover over schools in HISD bond plan." Houston Chronicle. July 2, 2012. Retrieved October 17, 2014..
  15. ^ "HSPVA breaks ground for new school in downtown theater district." Houston Independent School District. December 15, 2014. Retrieved December 21, 2014..
  16. ^ "HISD breaks ground on four new campuses, celebrates first project to ‘go vertical’." Houston Independent School District. December 18, 2014. Retrieved December 21, 2014..
  17. ^ "HSPVA to be renamed after Kinder Foundation donates $7.5M". click2houston.com. October 14, 2016. Retrieved December 31, 2016. 
  18. ^ a b Downing, Margaret (2016-10-14). "Trustees Vote to Rename HSPVA and Jones Says HISD "Is Like a Pimp"". Houston Press. Retrieved 2017-01-11. 
  19. ^ "Research & Accountability / District Profiles High Schools Search Results". 
  20. ^ "The High School for the Performing and Visual Arts / Homepage". 
  21. ^ "St. John Paul II Catholic School". 
  22. ^ http://www.aoshouston.org/admissions/graduatingfromaos.shtm
  23. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on August 7, 2003. Retrieved May 1, 2006. 
  24. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on January 18, 2006. Retrieved November 9, 2012. 
  25. ^ http://www.robs.org/podium/default.aspx?t=1996
  26. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved May 23, 2007. 
  27. ^ a b c d e f g "The High School for the Performing and Visual Arts / Homepage". 
  28. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Distinguished HISD Alumni Archived May 15, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.." Houston Independent School District.
  29. ^ a b c d e f g "Outstanding Alumni." High School for the Performing and Visual Arts.
  30. ^ Golodryga, Bianna (July 8, 2010). "Bianna's Inspiration: My High School Teacher". ABC News. Retrieved June 4, 2017. 
  31. ^ Soap star talks about struggles, surviving Ike KTRK.com special report
  32. ^ Matusow, Cathy. "The Blog Age." Houston Press. October 28, 2004. Retrieved May 18, 2009.
  33. ^ "Videos Featuring Distinguished Alumni". Houston Independent School District. Archived from the original on November 8, 2015. Retrieved November 8, 2015. Matt Mullenweg - The founder of Wordpress is a Houston ISD graduate. In this video, HISD alumnus Matt Mullenweg describes his experiences at HISD schools, including Parker Elementary and HSPVA, and explains how he created Wordpress. 
  34. ^ Sorenson, Edith (May 30, 1996). "Press Picks". 
  35. ^ "Get Happy". October 21, 2008 – via IMDb. 
  36. ^ Cronin, Peter. "Donnie Scantz to the Rescue." SESAC Focus. Summer 2004, Volume VX, No. 2.
  37. ^ "Ronen Segev." Ten O'Clock Classics. Retrieved on May 18, 2009.
  38. ^ Berkowitz, Lana. "Ping Pong Playa busts stereotypes with comedic flair." Houston Chronicle. September 11, 2008. Retrieved September 12, 2008..
  39. ^ http://www2.ed.gov/programs/psp/2014/scholars.html
  40. ^ "2009 Awards - Presidential Scholars Program". ed.gov. January 29, 2015. Retrieved December 31, 2016. 
  41. ^ "2007 Awards - Presidential Scholars Program". ed.gov. January 29, 2015. Retrieved December 31, 2016. 
  42. ^ "2006 Awards - Presidential Scholars Program". ed.gov. January 29, 2015. Retrieved December 31, 2016. 
  43. ^ "2004 Awards - Presidential Scholars Program". ed.gov. January 29, 2015. Retrieved December 31, 2016. 
  44. ^ "2003 Awards Index - Presidential Scholars Program". ed.gov. November 2, 2012. Retrieved December 31, 2016. 

Further reading[edit]

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