Poe Elementary School (Houston)

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Poe Elementary School

Edgar Allan Poe Elementary School is a primary school located at 5100 Hazard Street in Houston, Texas, United States. A part of the Houston Independent School District (HISD), the school, which was built during the 1920s,[1] is located in the Chevy Chase subdivision of the Boulevard Oaks neighborhood west of Rice University.[2] The school was named after Edgar Allan Poe.

Poe Elementary, as of 2001, had about 700 students. It has bilingual programs for all grade levels and a fine arts magnet program.[3] The 1980 Houston/Harris County Metropolitan Area Southwest-Westpark Corridor Transitway Alternatives: Environmental Impact Statement of the Urban Mass Transportation Administration described Poe as "a thriving, well-integrated magnet school".[4]

The Poe Cooperative Nursery School (Poe-Co), a pre-school, is located on the school grounds; it was established in 1974 in order to revive enrollment at Poe Elementary. It earned National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) accreditation in 1991, making it the first parent cooperative preschool to do so.


Poe was established in the 1928.[5] It was originally an elementary school reserved for white people and others who were not black. It was previously called "Chevy Chase Elementary School".[6]

The Poe Elementary School Attack occurred on September 15, 1959, when a man named Paul Orgeron detonated a bomb during recess at Poe Elementary School, killing himself, a teacher (Jennie Katharine Kolter), a custodian (James Arlie Montgomery, for which Montgomery Elementary was named [1]), and three 7-year old boys (Billy Hawes, Jr., John Fitch, Jr., and Dusty Paul, Orgeron's son). Ruth Doty, the principal, was partially deafened in one ear by the blast.[citation needed] Unlike school attacks in the early 21st century, there was no constant national and international media coverage of the Poe attack. No memorial was constructed at Poe Elementary. HISD named two new elementary schools after victims of the attack: Kolter Elementary School in Meyerland and Montgomery Elementary School in Southwest Houston.[7]

Poe was desegregated by 1970.

In 1985 a new classroom wing opened.[8]

From 1986[9] to 1996,[10] Poe Elementary served a section of River Oaks as the neighborhood program of River Oaks Elementary School had been removed.[11]

Ann McClellan served as principal of Poe beginning circa 1990, and according to the Houston Chronicle, during her tenure Poe "earned its reputation for high TAAS scores and academic standards."[12] She served in that capacity until 2001, when Debbie Verdon became principal on July 23. Verdon previously worked in the Grapevine-Colleyville Independent School District as a principal.[12]

When the 2005-2006 school year concluded, Will Rogers Elementary School closed. Poe Elementary School gained the portion of the Will Rogers zoning boundary that was east of Weslayan.[13][14]

Jeff Amerson became principal in 2011; he formerly taught at Pershing Middle School and The Rice School, and prior to becoming Poe's principal he was the principal of Garden Oaks Elementary School.[15]

Poe became an International Baccalaureate Primary Years school on February 22, 2016.[16]


Poe Elementary, which has a light pink, velour brick exterior, copper sheet metal in a natural tone, and a multicolored natural slate roof, uses an American Colonial and Georgian theme. It was the prototype of Architect Harry D. Payne's school design for HISD.[17] Poe's sister schools are River Oaks, Briscoe, Field, Henderson, and Wharton elementaries, which all share the same floor plan. Payne gave each of those schools its own unique exterior.[18]

The school library, previously consisting solely of the area of three classrooms, received an over $80,000 renovation and expansion in 2002. Parents and other area residents contributed $50,000 while the parent-teacher organization (PTO) held fundraisers and other events to generate $40,000. As of 2002 the school library had six IBM compatible computers and four iMacs.[19]

Poe Elementary has a fireplace and chimney given to the school by Ima Hogg. As of 2010 the fireplace is located in the art classroom.[20]


The school has dance, music, Suzuki violin, and visual art classes as part of its magnet program.[15]


As of 1985 about 200 Poe students lived north of U.S. Highway 59 and used a bridge on Woodhead Drive to travel to the school, south of the freeway; at least twenty students regularly traveled as pedestrians while about 66% of those north of U.S. 59 were driven in private cars. School bus service was not available since the students lived too close to the school.[21]

School culture[edit]

Every year Poe Elementary holds a carnival patronized by members of the Boulevard Oaks community, parents, and future parents. The carnival raises funds to cover budget gaps not supported by HISD or by the State of Texas.[22] The school also holds an annual auction fundraiser.[23]

School uniforms[edit]

Poe students (since fall 1998, as of 2006) have to wear school uniforms.[24]

At first, students had a choice of white, red, yellow, or navy blue T-shirts and polo shirts and school T-shirts.[25] Later the school banned all non-Poe logo shirts. As of 2006, all shirts must have the Poe logo.

Students must wear khaki bottoms.

The Texas Education Agency specified that the parents and/or guardians of students zoned to a school with uniforms may apply for a waiver to opt out of the uniform policy so their children do not have to wear the uniform; parents must specify "bona fide" reasons, such as religious reasons or philosophical objections.[26]

Poe Cooperative Nursery School[edit]

Poe Cooperative Nursery School

There is an affiliated private preschool, Poe Cooperative Nursery School (Poe-Co), which shares a campus with the public Poe elementary school. It was established after a decline in enrollment at Poe Elementary in the 1970s that occurred due to racial integration.[27] While the parents themselves administer the school and serve as assistants in the classrooms, HISD provides the building space and the supporting utility and maintenance services.[27]

The preschool opened on February 4, 1974,[8] with two classes of students. The enrollments of these two classes were filled shortly after PoeCo opened. Poe Elementary received an increase in enrollment after PoeCo opened.[27] The preschool was originally held in temporary locations,[8] with some located in the Poe property and some outside of Poe.[27] In 1985 two classrooms in the north wing of the Poe school building were converted into preschool classrooms.[8] The preschool earned National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) accreditation in 1991, making it the first parent cooperative preschool to do so.[8]

Each parent of an enrolled student must work at the preschool for two days out of every month.[28]

PoeCo holds an annual garage sale to support its operations.[29] PoeCo parents also assist in the wider Poe Elementary carnival by manning booths and/or babysitting for parents who work in the carnival.[30]

Neighborhoods served[edit]

The school serves multiple neighborhoods and areas:[31] Boulevard Oaks (including Broadacres),[32] Lancaster Place, Ranch Estates, Richwood, Castle Court, Southampton,[citation needed] Shadyside,[33] Rice Village,[citation needed] a portion of Neartown[34] (including sections of Montrose[35]), portions of the Houston Museum District area,[36] a portion of Riverside Terrace,[37] and a portion of Upper Kirby (areas of the district located west of Edloe and north of Westpark, residential areas located east of Edloe, west of Kirby, and north of U.S. Route 59, and residential areas east of Kirby).[38] In addition, the The Greenway Condominiums (14 Greenway and 15 Greenway) are zoned to Poe Elementary.

A public housing complex, the Ewing Apartments, is zoned to Poe.[39]

Feeder patterns[edit]

Most residents of the Poe attendance boundary are zoned to Bob Lanier Middle School (formerly Sidney Lanier Middle) in Neartown,[40] while a few are zoned to Cullen Middle School.[41] All residents of the Poe attendance boundary are zoned to Mirabeau B. Lamar High School in Upper Kirby.[42]

Miscellaneous usage[edit]

Poe Elementary serves as a polling location during elections. The Houston Press ranked it as the best polling center in Houston in 2003.[43]


  • Driscoll, Amy. Cases in Early Childhood Education: Stories of Programs and Practices. Allyn and Bacon, 1994. ISBN 0205150217, 9780205150212. Chapter 7, Poe Cooperative Nursery School "Parent Involvement: Building Community for Children and Parents" is on pages 113-130.

Reference notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Information: Schools." Boulevard Oaks. Retrieved on December 4, 2008.
  2. ^ "Civic Association Architectural Review/Deed Restriction Contacts." Boulevard Oaks. Retrieved on December 25, 2012.
  3. ^ Galloway, Melissa Bech (2001-10-17). "At Poe, the 'treat' goes on". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 2016-12-07. 
  4. ^ Houston/Harris County Metropolitan Area Southwest-Westpark Corridor Transitway Alternatives: Environmental Impact Statement. Urban Mass Transportation Administration, 1980. p. IV 48.
  5. ^ "Elementary Schools (K-Z)." Houston Independent School District. Retrieved on December 19, 2016.
  6. ^ The Building Program of the Houston Independent School District, 1924-1930. Press of Morin and Maes. p. 69. - "Chevy+Chase"+Poe+Houston+Elementary#tbm=bks&q="NEW+BUILDINGS+Henderson+Chevy+Chase+(Poe)"&* See search page - "Table 11 Accommodations Proposed and Completed From the Third Bond Issue White Schools Elementary Schools[...]NEW BUILDINGS Henderson Chevy Chase (Poe) Forest Hill (Briscoe) River Oaks"
  7. ^ Lomax, John (2013-02-15). "Suffer the Children". Houstonia. Retrieved 2016-12-06. 
  8. ^ a b c d e "History." Poe Cooperative Nursery School. Retrieved on December 6, 2016.
  9. ^ Berryhill, Michael (1995-04-13). "Class War". Houston Press. Retrieved 2016-12-20. 
  10. ^ "1996-1997 HISD ATTENDANCE BOUNDARIES." Houston Independent School District. June 30, 1997. Retrieved on September 8, 2009. "To create boundaries for River Oaks ES, Kindergarten to 2nd grade "
  11. ^ Markley, Melanie. "Winds of change alarm River Oaks Vanguard parents."[dead link] Houston Chronicle. Sunday April 2, 1995. p. A33. Retrieved on October 22, 2012. Available on NewsBank (Record: HSC04021265468), accessible with a Houston Public Library card. "As it now stands, River Oaks children are zoned to one of three schools outside their community -- [...] Poe Elementary on the other side of the Southwest Freeway in Southampton [...]"
  12. ^ a b "Poe Elementary welcomes principal, and a new look". Houston Chronicle. 2001-08-23. Retrieved 2016-12-07. 
  13. ^ "St George Place ES Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District. Retrieved on December 19, 2016.
  14. ^ "W. Rogers Elementary Attendance Zone," Houston Independent School District. Retrieved on December 19, 2016.
  15. ^ a b Mut, Elaine Matte (2011-07-20). "Poe Elementary welcomes Jeff Amerson as new principal". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 2016-12-07. 
  16. ^ "Edgar Allan Poe Elementary School." International Baccalaureate Organisation. Retrieved on December 25, 2016.
  17. ^ Payne, Harry D. A.I.A. "Six New Elementary School Buildings for the Houston Independent School District." American School & University, Volume 2. Educational Division of North American Publishing Company, 1930. p. 84-88. CITED: p. 87 (PDF p. 4/5) - See: page 37 of Volume II. - This source refers to Poe as "Chevy Chase Elementary School"
  18. ^ Ewing, Betty. "River Oaks grads, you can relive those good old days." Houston Chronicle. Monday November 29, 1976. Section 2. Page 1 ().
  19. ^ Galloway, Melissa Bech (2002-03-14). "Poe Elementary School library receives myriad of renovations". Houston Chronicle. p. ThisWeek p. 1.  - NewsBank Record: 3527291. Available from the Houston Public Library website, accessible with a library card number and PIN.
  20. ^ Reed, Michael (2010-01-12). "A hearth away from home". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 2017-03-02. 
  21. ^ US-59 (Southwest Freeway) Improvement and Widening, Transitway Project, Harris County: Environmental Impact Statement. Federal Highway Administration, May 6, 1985. p. 6-12.
  22. ^ Martin, Betty L. "Poe Elementary’s 60th annual carnival set for Saturday." Houston Chronicle. Wednesday October 22, 2008. Retrieved on October 11, 2011.
  23. ^ Delange, Jennifer (special to The Examiner) (2016-03-15). "Poe Elementary annual fundraiser dubbed huge success". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 2016-12-07. 
  24. ^ "School Uniforms," Poe Elementary School
  25. ^ "School Uniforms" as of July 6, 2004, Poe Elementary School
  26. ^ "School Uniforms", Texas Education Agency. June 2, 2008. Retrieved on June 20, 2017. "(c) A parent or guardian of a student assigned to attend a school at which students are required to wear school uniforms may choose for the student to be exempted from the requirement or to transfer to a school at which students are not required to wear uniforms and at which space is available if the parent or guardian provides a written statement that, as determined by the board of trustees, states a bona fide religious or philosophical objection to the requirement."
  27. ^ a b c d Driscoll, p. 114 (see Search view #1 and Search view #2 and "Their+discussions+resulted+in+the+founding" Search view #3) "In the early 1970s, enrollment at Poe Elementary School declined dramatically in response to the court-ordered racial integration of the Houston Independent School District. Poe parents approached the superintendent with their concern about declining enrollment and the loss of neighborhood children to private schools. Their discussions resulted in the founding of a preschool as a way of attracting community families to Poe. (Hansen, 1992) The school district provided space, utilities, and nominal maintenance, while parents coordinated administrative details[...]"
  28. ^ Hewes, Dorothy W. It's the Camaraderie: A History of Parent Cooperative Preschools. Center for Cooperatives, University of California, 1998. ISBN 1885641230, 9781885641236. p. 328.
  29. ^ "Poe Co March 1 garage sale has treasures galore." Article written by staff of the Poe Cooperative Nursery School, published in the Houston Chronicle. Tuesday February 25, 2014. Retrieved on December 6, 2016.
  30. ^ Driscoll, p. 126.
  31. ^ "Poe Elementary School Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District. Retrieved on December 19, 2016.
  32. ^ "Boundary Map." Boulevard Oaks. August 1, 2008. Retrieved on December 20, 2016.
  33. ^ McCoy, Terence (2012-10-10). "Millionaires Clash Over Shadyside Mansion". Houston Press. Retrieved 2016-12-20.  "In 1983, the Shadyside property owners' association bought the only two streets inside the community, Remington and Longfellow lanes,[...]"
  34. ^ "Neartown Boundaries." Neartown Association. Retrieved on December 20, 2016.
  35. ^ Map of Montrose. Houston Chronicle. Retrieved October 20, 2008.
  36. ^ Mulvaney, Erin. "Neighborhoods: Museum District becomes a place of contrasts." Houston Chronicle. July 8, 2016. Retrieved on July 11, 2016. "The community,[...]is bordered by U.S. 59, Texas 288, Hermann Park and the Texas Medical Center."
  37. ^ Wollam, Allison. "Riverside Terrace bucks housing slowdown." Houston Business Journal. August 15, 2008. Retrieved on April 18, 2009. "It’s becoming common practice for homes in the Riverside Terrace area — a historic Inner-Loop neighborhood bounded by Scott, North MacGregor, Almeda and Wheeler[...]"
  38. ^ "District Map." Upper Kirby. Retrieved on December 20, 2016.
  39. ^ Home page. Ewing Apartments. Retrieved on December 19, 2016. "1815 Ewing St, #9B Houston, TX 77004"
  40. ^ Lanier Middle School Attendance Zone," Houston Independent School District. Retrieved on December 19, 2016.
  41. ^ Cullen Middle School Attendance Zone," Houston Independent School District. Retrieved on March 17, 2016.
  42. ^ Lamar High School Attendance Zone," Houston Independent School District. Retrieved on December 19, 2016.
  43. ^ "Best of Houston 2003 Edgar Allan Poe Elementary School Best Election Polling Place". Houston Press. Retrieved 2017-03-02. 


External links[edit]