Chinquapin Prep

Founded in 1969 by Bob and Maxine Moore, Chinquapin Preparatory School is an independent college preparatory school serving disadvantaged youth, particularly minorities, in grades six through twelve. Bob Moore, former head of the English Department at St. John’s School, wanted to “provide incentive for students who have high potential, but limited opportunities.” The school’s motto, “Quid pro Quo” (Something for Something), is reflected in the way students give time and effort to take care of the school in return for their education. Male students in grades 7 – 12 and even faculty live on campus. Female students and 6th grade boys are transported in daily. In 2010, the school added “preparatory” to its name, and in 2013, Laura Henry became the school’s first female director.

Chinquapin Preparatory School

2615 East Wallisville Rd., Highlands, TX 77562                               Dr. Laura Henry, Interim Director

(281) 426-5551                                                                                            Ms. Tina Barr, Director of Admissions

Religious Affiliation

Chinquapin Prep has no religious affiliation, but the school is open to religion. The teachers are allowed to show their different cultural holiday traditions, such as hanging Christmas decorations around the school in December.

Location and Facilities

Chinquapin’s 55-acre college-like campus is located 25 miles east of downtown Houston, just north of I-10, in Highlands, TX. The campus is located next to the Highlands Reservoir and surrounded by homes and fields. The school boasts 24 buildings, including a 13,000 volume library, kitchen, gym with weight rooms and locker rooms, music and art studios, two dormitories and residences for up to 22 adult faculty and staff members. The campus also has outdoor fields for football and baseball. As the school was named after a type of tree, each time a teacher reaches 20 years of education there, the school plants a chinquapin tree and plaque in his or her honor.


For Early Admission, the application process at Chinquapin generally involves: 1) Admissions Testing, 2) Interview, 3) Two most recent Report Cards, 4) Online or In-person Application with Essay Questions, 5) Two Letters of Recommendation, 6) Most Recent Standardized Test Scores, 7) Copy of Most Recent form 1040 Tax Return.

For Regular Admission, the process involves: 1) Online or In-person Application with Essay Questions, 2) On-Campus SSAT Testing, 3) Interview and School Tour.

The Late Admissions process involves completion of the following: 1) Online or In-person Application with Essay Questions, 2) Two most recent Report Cards, 3) Two Letters of Recommendation, 4) Most Recent Standardized Test Scores, 5) Copy of Most Recent form 1040 Tax Return.

Chinquapin recommends attending their open house to tour the campus, interact with faculty, and fill out an application form. Select students will be able to shadow a current student for the day and potentially be offered early enrollment by March. Other students may receive invitations to attend a one-week summer “try-out” at the school in mid-June at no cost. Chinquapin then selects the best-qualified students from the one-week summer sessions to attend the school in the fall.

The application process is free of charge. All applicants are required to take the SSAT. Families pay a minimal amount of tuition, and if they cannot pay, the school offers work-study options. Chinquapin is highly selective and does not value legacy highly. Sixth grade is the prime entry point; approximately 44% of middle school applicants are accepted, while about 15% of high school applicants are accepted.

Academic Tracks and Curriculum

Chinquapin is a college preparatory school that offers Regular and Advanced programs of study with the goal of teaching students to “reason carefully and logically, think creatively and sensitively, and to communicate precisely and articulately.” Along with core classes, students must take two half-credit courses in Fine Arts. AP courses offered include Spanish, English and Statistics, and students can start taking these in 11th grade. In order to graduate, acceptance into a 4-year university is required.

Special Needs

No specific services are offered for students with special needs. However, the school offers small class sizes and a family atmosphere, in that the teachers also live on campus and invite students over at least once a month. Juniors and seniors can also participate in the mentorship program, in which the student communicates and spends time with a mentor of the same gender and who works in the student’s career field of interest.

Foreign Languages

Chinquapin Prep offers Spanish beginning in 9th grade, up to AP, and is experimenting with online programs in French and Mandarin.


Students must complete two, half-credit courses in Fine Arts. Course options include: Piano, Guitar Ensemble, Studio Art, Journalism and Drama. Examples of other electives for juniors and seniors, which vary yearly, include: Creative Media, Ceramics, Media Literacy, Technology and Engineering, and Photography using the school’s darkroom. Chinquapin also offers Creativity Week and Junk Art, through which students have won art contests.


Students may bring personal computers to school for academic use and may only use them in the classroom with teacher permission. Students must sign computer use policy forms, and Chinquapin filters their Internet for content. For juniors and seniors without personal computers, student equipment checkout is allowed, whereby students can borrow laptop computers even for home use. Chinquapin also provides up to 20 netbook computers to girls in need who apply under the Girls Netbook Loan Policy.

Chinquapin boasts two computer classrooms, and teachers can also check out computers for their classes. Students learn to use popular computer programs such as PowerPoint, iMovie and Garage Band. Chinquapin recommends to parents which laptops, tablets, or smartphones to purchase in various price ranges.

Extracurricular Activities

Chinquapin boasts that it stresses, “ethical behavior, self-discipline, responsibility for one’s actions, and a caring attitude.” A student participates in six core classes, Physical Education, electives and chores. The students’ chores are based on the school’s motto “Quid pro Quo” in that they are giving back to the school by maintaining the campus, cleaning, serving food and taking care of the grounds and plants. Chinquapin employs only 1 full-time groundskeeper and no janitors.

Current Chinquapin students are building a self-sustainable classroom. Special Events include Creativity Week, a Cupcake Bakeoff, Homecoming with Volleyball and Soccer games, and Bocce Ball Tournament. Fundraisers for the school include an annual Sporting Clays Shoot, the Chinquapinopoly Gala (based on the game Monopoly), and pro golfer Rory McIlroy’s 6 Bags Project. For Community Service, the students can volunteer at a children’s triathlon or even live with a host family in a foreign country and participate in service there. During the summer, students benefit from free opportunities, such as Rice University’s Business or Film programs or even study abroad programs.


The school fields competitive teams in middle and high school across eight sports: baseball, basketball, bowling, cross-country, golf, soccer, track, and volleyball.  Most sports offer both varsity and junior varsity teams.  Chinquapin Prep is a member of the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools.

Parent Involvement

Parents can join the Chinquapin Association of Parents and Students (CAPS) to stay involved with students, plan school activities, volunteer and offer ideas. CAPS Members pay $5 per family each year and meet once a month on Saturday mornings at the school. Annual events include: two school cleanup days, Christmas dinner, teacher appreciation dinner, cultural festival held at the school’s annual Visitor’s Day, end of the year seniors party, and fundraisers, such as raffles and breakfast taco sales. 

Chinquapin Preparatory School Fast Facts

School Type Independent, Coeducational,

Special Program Emphasis

Religious Affiliation Nonsectarian
Uniforms Dress Code Only
Date Founded 1969
Endowment Budgeted funding sources are: 63.8% from private donations and events, 16.8% from endowment, 13.6% from designated funds, 3.1% from tuition, 2.3% from the School Hot Lunch program (their only government aid), 0.4% from interest and dividends, and 0.1% from miscellaneous sources.

Over the years, the school has built an endowment of well over $10 million.

Grades Served 6-12
Enrollment 160
     Grade 12 18
     Grade 11 23
     Grade 10 19
     Grade 9

Grade 8

Grade 7

Grade 6





Student to Teacher Ratio 9:1
Faculty with Advanced Degrees (#/%) 16/70%
Minorities in Student Body


Academic Tracks Offered Regular, Advanced
Advanced Placement Courses Offered English, Statistics, Spanish
Languages Offered Spanish
Calendar (Semester / Trimester / Other) Semester
Interscholastic Sports Programs 8
Graduating Seniors  
National Merit Semi-Finalists (#/%) N/A
Average SAT Scores N/A
     Mathematics N/A
     Critical Reading N/A
     Writing N/A
% Students Admitted to 4 Year University 95%
Admissions (Private Schools)  
Prime Entry Points 6th
Tuition Grades 6-12 All students are on scholarship, but charged a small tuition of $35 to $200 per month, based on family income.
Student Fee N/A
Registration Fee N/A
Students on Financial Aid 100%


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

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