McMillen High School

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A stone arcade lines the front entrance of McMillen High School
C.A. McMillen High School
750 North Murphy Road
Murphy, Texas
United States
Coordinates 33°01′41″N 96°36′38″W / 33.028133°N 96.610598°W / 33.028133; -96.610598Coordinates: 33°01′41″N 96°36′38″W / 33.028133°N 96.610598°W / 33.028133; -96.610598
Type Free public
Motto Cultivating our potential yields a thoughtful revolution.
Established 2011
School district Plano Independent School District
Principal Brian Lyons
Grades 9th and 10th
Enrollment 1,161[1]
Campus size 282,000 square feet
Area Dallas
Campus type Suburban
Color(s) Navy Blue and Gold          
Mascot Lion

C.A. McMillen High School, commonly known as McMillen High School, McMillen, or MHS, is a secondary school serving grades nine and ten, located in the East Cluster of the Plano Independent School District. Murphy Middle School and Armstrong Middle School feed into McMillen. Students graduating from McMillen will attend Plano East Senior High School for the eleventh and twelfth grades. In 2015, the school was rated "Met Standard" by the Texas Education Agency.[2]

McMillen Lions


C.A. McMillen High School is named in honor of Comfort Allen McMillen, a farmer who owned large tracts of land in what is now the city of Murphy, Texas.[3]

McMillen High School's inaugural year was 2011-2012, with doors opening in August 2011. It is Plano Independent School District's sixth (and most recent) 9-10 high school and was built to relieve overcrowding at nearby T. H. Williams High School. The first principal, George King, helped to plan and oversee the design and construction of the campus.

Design & Construction[edit]

The 282,000 square-foot two-story high school was designed by the SHW architectural firm, and the construction of the school was given to the Cadence McShane Companies, who completed the project under-budget at $37,074,743.[4] Situated on the same site as Murphy Middle School and Tom Kimbrough Stadium, McMillen High School was designed to complement the architectural style of the adjacent facilities.

The high school's exterior façade is composed of structural steel, masonry, and cast stone. McMillen has a total of 67 classrooms, 10 science laboratories, band and music spaces, library, competition and practice gymnasiums, an auditorium, and a full-service cafeteria and kitchen. The campus also has several athletic venues, such as a practice softball and baseball field, batting cages, a running track, and practice football fields. McMillen athletes compete at the adjacent Tom Kimbrough Stadium in sports such as football and track. The school also has a parking lot with 224 parking spaces.[5]

Because McMillen was built in 2011, the campus features many unique design and architectural aspects that are not found at any other school in the district. SHW Group designed the 278,800 SF building to include a series of both formal and informal learning spaces. Each education wing is intended to promote collaboration between students and teachers in both the "pod" (an innovative learning and gathering area featuring whiteboards, study tables, and chairs) and the classrooms surrounding it. The pods were designed to provide flexibility and additional space for instruction, discussion, and project work. The campus also features comfortable seating areas and café tables for the students.[6]

Natural light is also a key element in the overall design concept. Clerestory light penetrates from the second floor spaces down to the first floor in the public corridors, educational wings, and classrooms. Glass walls in the classrooms not only allow for this access to natural light, but also visual access to all parts of the education wing.

Instead of having dry erase boards, each classroom at McMillen has one wall coated in IdeaPaint, which allows the whole wall, from floor to ceiling, to be written on. The "board" also doubles as a projection screen and allows teachers and students to write on the images shown on wall.[7]

One of the campus's cutting-edge "pods", or learning centers.
The main hallway of McMillen features sleek furnishings and comfortable gathering areas for its students.
The innovative library features comfortable seating areas and a wide selection of books.


Brian Lyons is the current head principal, being so since the start of the 2013-2014 school year. He replaced George King, who is now the current head principal of Plano East Senior High School.

Current assistant principals are Eric Lockett, Tracie Langford, and James "JD" Dearing.


The current enrollment at McMillen is about 1,161.[8] In recent years, enrollment levels have dropped slightly due to the opening of the International Baccalaureate (IB) World School at nearby Plano East Senior High School, as significant numbers of students from the feeder middle schools to McMillen (particularly Murphy Middle School) choose to participate in the IB Program at Plano East rather than taking the more "traditional" route at McMillen.

In the 2015-2016 school year, McMillen High School, along with two other Plano ISD 9-10 campuses (Jasper High School and Shepton High School), piloted a block lunch program, in which all students are on lunch at the same time during the day. "Lions Lunch" at McMillen is 72 minutes long and was designed as an opportunity for failing students to attend tutorials. In Spring 2016, McMillen instituted mandatory academic tutorials during the first half of "Lions Lunch" for students failing 2 or more classes. Overall, the "Lions Lunch" block lunch system has seen success with generally positive student, parent, and teacher reception.

A small handful of middle school students (often from adjacent Murphy Middle School) take 7th period mathematics courses at McMillen that are not offered at their middle school. These courses include Geometry and Algebra 2. Exceptional mathematics students also have the option of sitting in on one of McMillen's Pre-Calculus classes.

School hours are 9:00 AM–4:15 PM, with doors opening at 8:00 AM in the morning and the building usually remaining open until about 5:30 PM for after school activities. McMillen High School is a closed campus, meaning that all students must remain inside the building during school hours.


Like most other Plano ISD 9-10 high schools, McMillen offers 3 AP (Advanced Placement) classes; AP Human Geography, AP World History, and AP European History (elective). Beginning with the 2017-2018 school year, McMillen will offer AP Computer Science Principles as a new course open to both freshmen and sophomores as an elective credit. AP Human Geography is commonly taken by freshmen students as an alternative to the required geography class, and AP World History is commonly taken by sophomore students as an alternative to the required world history class. AP European History is an elective that sophomores can choose to take. Due to very low course request numbers for the class in the 2015-2016 school year, AP European History was not offered during that year. AP students at McMillen can choose to take the AP exam for their corresponding classes, offered each May by the College Board. Students earning a 3, 4, or 5 on the AP exam may be eligible for college credit.

Like the other five Plano Independent School District 9-10 high schools, McMillen offers a Humanities class for gifted-and-talented (GT) students as a continuation from the elementary school and middle school PACE (Plano Academic Creative Education) program. Humanities is a one-period class that students take for two years. Though both 9th and 10th grade students are sitting in the same classroom and learning the same content, 9th grade students earn a Pre-AP English I credit (4.5 GPA) and 10th grade students earn an AP World History credit (5.0 GPA). The Humanities course curriculum follows the AP World History course but is split between two years (Humanities I and Humanities II).

In addition to the AP courses McMillen High School offers, the campus also has a range of On-Level and Pre-AP (Honors) courses for students to choose from, as well as various electives such as Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID), Peer Assistance and Leadership (PALs), fine arts, art, engineering, and computer technology.

McMillen students can choose from a variety of foreign language classes, including Spanish, French, German, Latin (available online), Chinese, and American Sign Language. The foreign language rooms boast high-tech language learning labs for students to practice speaking.

Extracurricular activities[edit]

McMillen offers: Band, Choir, Orchestra, Theater, PALS, Athletics, Student Senate, HOSA Future Health Professionals, National Honor Society (NHS), Library Teen Advisory Board, Drill Team, and Marching Band. Other organizations have been founded by McMillen students in recent years, including COBALT (Corporation of Business and Law Technology) and Mock Trial.

McMillen students have won numerous awards for their excellence in athletics, community service, speech and debate, fine arts, and other programs throughout the school.


The school colors are navy blue and gold, and the school mascot is the Lion.

The McMillen Lions compete in the following sports:

Athletes in select sports, such as swimming, must travel to Plano East Senior High School to compete. Students with stellar athletic ability may choose to compete with the Plano East athletic teams instead of with the McMillen athletic teams.

The 2015-2016 McMillen marching band practices its marching routine in the summer months.

Music Programs[edit]

McMillen offers Band, Orchestra and Choir classes. The band is under the direction of Christopher Brown, and Ryan Albert. Their marching shows over the past years were Pirates of the Caribbean (2012), Arabian Nights (2013), Frozen (2014), and Holst's The Planets (2015). The choir is under the direction of Nicholas Blaine, and the orchestra is under the direction by Maria Lewis Rohr.

The bands, orchestras, and choirs perform in University Interscholastic League (UIL) festivals, as well as local music contests, such as the Choice Music Events. All the music programs (band, choir, and orchestra) send many students to the All-Region events each year. Each program also routinely earns University Interscholastic League (UIL) Sweepstakes Awards, the highest rating awarded at the annual Texas UIL large group competition. McMillen also hosts the Plano Independent School District East Cluster Solo & Ensemble Festival each spring for orchestra students.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]