The John Cooper School

Founded in The Woodlands in 1988, The John Cooper School (JCS) was named after the original headmaster of Houston’s Kinkaid School. The JCS is an independent, coeducational college preparatory school for students in grades Pre-K – 12. The school is located on a 43-acre campus owned by Mr. George Mitchell, the founder of The Woodlands community.

Editor’s Note posted on May 16, 2014 – An updated version of this profile is now online at our sister publication

The John Cooper School

1 John Cooper Drive

The Woodlands, Texas 77381                                                                Mr. Michael F. Maher, Head of School

281-367-0900                                                                                   Mr. Craig Meredith, Director of Admissions

Religious Affiliation

The John Cooper School is nonsectarian. While JCS believes that organized expression and promotion of specific religious beliefs “within the school environment is not appropriate,” the school accepts students and faculty of various faiths.

Location and Facilities

John Cooper’s 43-acre campus is located 40 miles north of Houston in The Woodlands, west of I-45 on Woodlands Parkway. Wooded areas and homes surround the school. The original building was built in 1988, and new facilities have been added in 2001, 2005, 2008 and 2011, including fine arts classrooms and a student center. The Lower and Middle/Upper School buildings boast science labs, libraries, multi-purpose rooms and computer labs. The campus also holds two gymnasiums, two visual arts buildings, dining hall, tennis courts and lighted fields for football, baseball, softball, track and soccer. In 2008, the school opened a 515-seat performing arts center with a dance studio and classrooms for band and choir.


The John Cooper School’s admissions process generally includes: 1) Online Application, 2) On-Campus Testing for grades PK-4 or ISEE Testing for grades 5-12, 3) Academic Records, 4) Teacher Recommendations, 5) Interview and Observation. When selecting students, the school first considers capability, then special talents and relation to current or former JCS students.  The school describes its admissions process as “competitive.”

Academic Tracks and Curriculum

JCS offers a regular academic track in grades K – 12 with Advanced and AP courses available beginning in 9th grade. In order to graduate, students are required to take five academic courses each year and earn the following credits through high school (one credit is equivalent to one year of study): English (4), Foreign Language (3), History (3), Math (3), Science (3), Physical Education (2), Fine Arts (2), Electives (2). In the Upper School, 18 AP classes are offered.

Special Needs

The John Cooper School has no specific policy in place for students with special needs, but they do offer a Learning Resource Team and counseling services for all grades. The school boasts that it will “help make and implement accommodation strategies.”

Foreign Languages

JCS offers Spanish to all grades, French and Latin beginning in 7th grade, and AP level classes. Upper school graduation requirements include 3 consecutive years of a foreign language.


JCS offers ceramics, media, printmaking, digital photography, video production, sculpture, advanced studio art, AP studio art, AP art history, yearbook, drama, concert choir, band, orchestras, dance and ensemble groups, such as jazz band and symphonic band. Special events include Middle and Upper School drama, choir and band productions throughout the year. Two years of visual or performing arts are required for graduation.


JCS allows students to bring and use their own laptops and tablets beginning in 8th grade in the libraries, classrooms and study hall for school related work. Students are not required to bring laptops to school. Library computers offer subscriptions to online encyclopedias, e-books and 65 research databases, all of which can be accessed from home, as well, using the library’s website.

Extracurricular Activities

The Lower School at John Cooper sponsors a Student Council, Chess Club, Spanish Club, Future Scientists and Engineers, Dance, Video Broadcasting, Math Club, and Animal Art Club. JCS’s Middle School sponsors Math Club, Chess Club, International Club, Science Club and Student Council. The Upper School offers 15 clubs and organizations for 9th-12th graders.

Community service in the Lower School includes “Quarters for Quarters” collection for Habitat for Humanity, the Salvation Army Giving Tree and The Woodlands Interfaith Food Drive. Middle and Upper School students can participate in Habitat for Humanity, holiday food and clothing drives and Interact Club. All Upper School clubs require community service as part of their charter.

The Middle School Student Council sponsors three socials each year and a fall carnival for Lower School students. Middle School students participate in the annual three-day Minimester program and weeklong spring trips, including a trip to Washington D.C. for 8th graders. The Upper School Student Council sponsors dances, pep rallies, tailgate parties, open mic nights and spirit weeks throughout the year. The school also offers drama, band and choral productions and the annual Fine Arts Festival, which features visual and performing arts by students, alumni and faculty.


John Cooper Middle School competes in the Greater Houston Athletic Conference and offers interscholastic sports to seventh and eighth grade students. The Middle School offers the same sports as the Upper School except golf, swimming and tennis. In the Upper School, football and baseball are offered for boys, volleyball and softball for girls. Teams for both boys and girls include: cross country, soccer, basketball, tennis, golf, track and swimming. JCS’s Upper School competes with 19 teams in the Southwest Preparatory Conference.

Parent Involvement

JCS offers organizations for parents, such as Parents’ Forum, Friends of the Fine Arts (FOFA) and Booster Club. Parents’ Forum, comprised of an executive board, committee chairs and grade representatives, recruits volunteers, organizes fundraisers, sponsors social events and facilitates information flow between the school and parents. Members of FOFA help host the annual Fine Arts Festival and also receive advanced ticket purchasing privileges for all fine arts events. Parents can participate in the athletics-supporting Booster Club or volunteer in JCS’s Spirit Store. For parents to stay abreast with students and teachers, the school uses an online portal called Edline.

The John Cooper School Fast Facts

School Type Independent, Coeducational
Religious Affiliation None
Uniforms Lower/Middle School: YesUpper School: Dress Code Only
Date Founded 1988
Endowment $20M
Grades Served PK-12
Enrollment 964
     Grade 12 81
     Grade 11 83
     Grade 10 80
     Grade 9Grade 8Grade 7

Grade 6

Grade 5

Grade 4

Grade 3

Grade 2

Grade 1












Student to Teacher Ratio 11:1
Faculty with Advanced Degrees (#/%) 60/60%
Minorities in Student Body 34%
Academic Tracks Offered Regular, Advanced, AP
Advanced Placement Courses Offered 18
Languages Offered French, Spanish, Latin
Calendar (Semester / Trimester / Other) Semester
Interscholastic Sports Programs 11
Graduating Seniors
National Merit Semi-Finalists (#/%) 10/12%
Average SAT Scores 2020
     Mathematics 660
     Critical Reading 624
     Writing 621
% Students Admitted to 4 Year University 100%
Admissions (Private Schools)
Prime Entry PointsTuition Pre-K and K K, 6, 9$17,260
Tuition Grades 1-5Tuition Grades 6-8Tuition Grades 9-12 $19,000$20,465$21,325
New Student Fee $1,000
Students on Financial Aid 12%

Excerpted from General Academic’s publication, “Houston Private & Select Public Schools: Survey, Analysis, and Research, 3rd Edition.”