Booker T. Washington High School (Houston)
Booker T. Washington, which serves grades 9 through 12, is a part of the Houston Independent School District. Booker T. Washington has a neighborhood program that serves neighborhoods outside the 610 Loop and inside Beltway 8 in the northwest part of Houston, including the neighborhoods of Independence Heights, Highland Heights, and most of Acres Homes. The school was named after education pioneer Booker T. Washington.
The school was established in 1893 in Houston's Fourth Ward as "Colored High." The first location for the school, 303 West Dallas, is considered to be within Downtown Houston as of 2007. Originally it was the only secondary school for black people in the city. In 1925 the school board stated that it would build a new black high school due to the increasing black population. The Houston Informer stated that the schools need to be named after prominent black people from the city and/or other successful black persons. The original colored high school was renamed after Booker T. Washington, a famous black educator who became the namesake of many black schools in the Southern United States. The school was given its current name in 1928. Washington was relieved by the construction and opening of Jack Yates High School and Wheatley High School in the 1920s.
After Franklyn Wesley retired as principal in June 2007, Houston ISD chose Mark Bedell, formerly an assistant principal at Worthing High School, as the principal. Victor Keys, an assistant principal and an alumna of Washington, will remain as an assistant principal. Some alumni of Washington High School and members of the community around the school protested the decision to hire Bedell because they wished for the district to hire Keys instead of Bedell. The current principal is LaShonda Bilbo-Ervin.
In February 2012, because the school population was at a historic low of 823, several members of the Independence Heights community, led by Sylvester Turner, a Texas Legislature representative, advocated for reinvestment in the school. They advocated for making Washington competitive with Reagan High School and Waltrip High School. The leaders argue that HISD had neglected the school. Turner and Washington High School officials established a donation campaign. As of January 19, 2012, the campaign raised $135,000. Kroger donated $10,000 of the funds.
As of Fall 2018, the students and staff of Booker T. Washington entered their new building under the leadership of Carlos Phillips, II, Ed.D. (principal since Fall 2015). The new $56.5 million campus is located at 4204 Yale St., Houston, Texas 77018 and was built as part of the HISD 2012 Bond Program. The morale of the students and staff have been positively impacted by this new start and the eagles are soaring higher than ever.
In 2012 Houston Community College established an auto mechanic program at Booker T. Washington. The previous auto mechanic program closed around 1997. Before 2012 the auto shop had been filled with waste. The Houston Independent School District paid $300,000 to restore the auto shop.
Sylvester Turner advocated for the replacement of the gymnasium floors; they were replaced in the northern hemisphere fall of 2011. Turner said in February 2012 that the campus needed an overhaul greater than the $3.8 million that the district allotted to the school as a result of the previous bond election.
Houston ISD provides school bus transportation to students who live more than two miles away from the school. Students zoned to the school and students who are enrolled in the magnet program are eligible for bus transportation.
The Texas Education Agency specified that the parents and/or guardians of students zoned to a school with school uniforms (the definition includes dress codes which limit colors) 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.