The Tenney School

In 1973, George and Judy Tenney founded The Tenney School, which uses a one-to-one teaching method. Each student meets with one teacher for each of the following core subjects: Math, Science, English and Social Studies. The Tenneys believe that this one on one format “allows each student to achieve his or her greatest academic potential.” The students meet in small groups for other subjects and electives. The school day is five hours long, leaving time for students, such as artists and athletes, to focus on their other talents after school. George and Judy Tenney retired in 2010, leaving their son, Michael, to head the school.

The Tenney School                                     

2055 South Gessner, Houston, TX 77063                                                Mr. Mike Tenney, Head of School

(713) 783-6990                                                                                                                                                                          

Religious Affiliation


Location and Facilities

In 1990, The Tenney School moved to its current location near the intersection of South Gessner Rd and Westheimer. It is located in West Houston inside the Sam Houston Tollway. The school is on the first floor inside an office building owned by the Tenneys. The surroundings include townhomes and doctors offices. The school will be expanding into a new facility nearby for the 2013-2014 school year. This new facility will offer a lunch and assembly room and will allow the school to double its enrollment over time.


A Tenney School student falls into one of the following categories: 1) advanced students 2) elite athletes, artists, etc. 3) English language learners 4) students with “unique learning styles.” The school is very selective, in that it only has 50 students total in grades 7 – 12. According to the school, the admissions process is very personalized “due to the small number of openings.”

The application process involves submitting a written application, school visit, and interview.

Academic Tracks and Curriculum

The Tenney School offers Honors, Standard, Modified and English Language Learner academic tracks. The school also offers AP courses beginning in 11th grade in the following subjects: Calculus AB & BC, English III & IV, Environmental Science, and US History. Electives include P.E., Spanish, Art, Computer, and SAT Preparation.

Students can earn a Minimum, Regular or Distinguished Diploma. Students who receive either the Regular or Distinguished Diplomas earn 26 credits: English (4), Math (4), Science (4), Social Studies (4), PE (1), Foreign Language (2), Fine Art (1), Speech (.5), Electives (5.5); the difference between the two diplomas is 2 foreign language credits vs. 3 for Distinguished and 5.5 elective credits vs. 4.5 for Distinguished. The Minimum Diploma is given to students who earn 22 credits, having fewer credits for Math (3), Science (2) and no credits for foreign language. One credit is equivalent to one year of study.

Special Needs

The Tenney School does work with students with learning differences. The one-to-one teaching method is conducive to advanced students, as well as those with learning differences. ”Students with unique learning styles can learn in an environment geared toward their strength.” English language learners are also accommodated by teachers who focus on reading and writing skills with them. The school day is shorter than that of a typical school, at 5 hours long; therefore, students have more time after school to dedicate to their other talents.

Foreign Languages

The Tenney School offers Spanish and French. Students are not required to take foreign language, but may choose to earn up to 3 foreign language credits. The foreign language classes are formatted as small groups, rather than one-to-one.


At The Tenney School, art class is offered as an elective. One fine arts credit is required for graduation. 


Computers are available in every room, but students may also bring their own laptops. Cell phones are not allowed in the school.

Extracurricular Activities

Students at Tenney can join the Student Activities Committee (SAC) to plan school-wide events and produce the school newspaper, the Tenney Times. They meet three times a week and include a middle school representative. Special events include Green Week in support of the environment, field trips to NASA and the Museum of Natural Science, and special days like Twin Day and College Shirt Day. Given the shorter school day, including study hall time to complete homework, students participate in their own extracurricular activities outside of school, such as athletics and arts. Flexibility in class scheduling is offered for students with special circumstances.



Parent Involvement

Tenney offers Parents’ Night in the fall. For parents to stay abreast with students and teachers, Tenney uses an online portal called Edline.

The Tenney School Fast Facts

School Type Independent, Coeducational
Religious Affiliation Nonsectarian
Uniforms Dress Code Only
Date Founded 1973
Endowment N/A
Grades Served 7-12
Enrollment 55
Student to Teacher Ratio 2:1
Faculty with Advanced Degrees (#/%) 14/52%
Minorities in Student Body 9%
Academic Tracks Offered Honors, Standard, Modified,

English Language Learner

Advanced Placement Courses Offered 6
Languages Offered Spanish, French
Calendar (Semester / Trimester / Other) Semester
Interscholastic Sports Programs N/A
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 N/A
Admissions (Private Schools)  
Prime Entry Points Rolling
Tuition Grades 7-12 $23,500-$25,050
Application Fee N/A
Students on Financial Aid N/A


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

Comments are closed.