Mark Twain Elementary IB World School

Named after American author Samuel Clemens, Mark Twain Elementary (MTE) opened in 1950 in southwest Houston with a student body of 800 students.  Over time, student enrollment dropped significantly due to the lack of new families in the surrounding neighborhoods, and MTE was scheduled for closure in the 1980s.  However, the school was saved by young families moving into southwest Houston and by the school renovating its curriculum, which includes the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (PYP) and an optional Dual Language Program.  MTE became an authorized IB World School in 2005, and all attending students must participate in the IB PYP and the school’s Literary Development Magnet program.

Mark Twain Elementary IB World School

7500 Braes Boulevard, Houston, TX 77025                             Ms. Melissa Patin, Principal

713-295-5230                                                          Ms. Janelle Wade, Magnet Coordinator

Religious Affiliation

As a public school, MTE has no religious affiliation.  According to Houston Independent School District’s policy, every school has a moment of silence each day during which students can pray silently to themselves if they so choose.  Also, absences because of religious holidays do not count toward the student’s total number of absences.  However, the student is still responsible for the makeup work.

Location and Facilities

Mark Twain is located in an affluent neighborhood of single-family homes, Braeswood Place, just south of Rice University and west of the Medical Center. It is bordered by McGovern Park, the McGovern Stella Link Public Library, and a YMCA. Although it is still in its original location, MTE was remodeled in 2005. An outdoor track was built in 2012.


Mark Twain’s admissions process is split into two different types: zoned and magnet.  Although zoned students are automatically accepted into the IB and magnet programs, zoned students must still apply to the Dual Language Program in order to participate.  Parents of students living outside Mark Twain’s zone must apply through the HISD magnet process.  Students are selected through a lottery process after applications have closed.

Applications for the Dual Language Program can be acquired at a recruitment meeting in early December and must be submitted by the first week of January. Students applying to the program are tested for oral proficiency and development in their native language. The prime entry point is in kindergarten.

Academic Tracks and Curriculum

All Mark Twain students participate in its magnet program, called the Literature Development Center (LDC) and its IB Primary Years Programme. The LDC is a language arts lab through which students strengthen their reading and writing skills in two week blocks.  Select students in 1st to 5th grade are pulled out once a week for a 2-3 hour period for additional gifted and talented instruction.

MTE’s Two-Way Bilingual Immersion Program (TWBIP), also known as the Dual Language Program, works with both Spanish speaking and English speaking students. Students who complete the Dual Language Program receive a diploma from the ISA (International Spanish Academy) at the end of fifth grade in addition to their IB PYP diploma.

Special Needs

Standard HISD procedures.

Foreign Languages

Students may apply to the Dual Language Program, which is for both Spanish speaking and English speaking students.  Spanish literacy is emphasized and reinforced through technology and parent participation. There is one class offered per grade level. The number of students from English and Spanish speaking backgrounds is balanced evenly.

After school, students have the option of participating in the Extended Day Program (at an extra cost) where they can take classes in Chinese conversation, Sign language, and Spanish conversation.


The “Strings Program” is available to approximately 150 students who want to study strings (violin, viola, cello, guitar) through classes and individual lessons. Students can buy or rent their instruments. Extra costs apply.

Students learn about art history through the Art a la Carte program, in which trained volunteers make an appearance in the students’ regular classrooms. Students also attend art and music classes in their ancillary rotation.


Mark Twain staffs a full-time computer technologist in their Media Library. Technology is part of the regular rotation of ancillary classes.

Extracurricular Activities

Mark Twain offers a wide breadth of activities through Art a la Carte lessons, the Adopt a Monument program, and its Outdoor Classroom. Interested Students can also participate in the Odyssey of the Mind, Robotics, Chess, Name that Book Contest, and UIL tournaments.

After school, students can participate in Mark Twain’s Extended Day Program.  Some examples of offerings from past years include: Art, Chess, Pottery, Glee Club, Guitar, Jewelry, Science, Piano, Video Game Creation, Musical Theatre, Model Cars and Airplanes, Robotics, and Sculpture.


In addition to P.E. as part of the ancillary curriculum, students may join the Track Team.

Through Mark Twain’s Extended Day Program, students can have afterschool opportunities to try different sports, types of dance, and other activities including Ballet/Jazz, Baseball, Cheerleading, Chinese Contemporary Dance, Fencing, Hip Hop & Break Dance, Karate, Soccer, Volleyball, Zumba for Kids, and Yoga for Children.

Parent Involvement

Parents can join the PTO, become an Art a la Carte docent, chaperon field trips, or sponsor after school clubs. Father’s can join Dad’s Club, which supports the PTO and hosts events. Parents can also volunteer to become a Room Parent.

Mark Twain Elementary IB World School Fast Facts

School Type Public, Magnet
Religious Affiliation None
Uniforms Dress Code Only
Date Founded 1950
Endowment N/A
Grades Served PK-5
Enrollment 787
     Grade 5 111
     Grade 4 132
     Grade 3 126
     Grade 2 125
     Grade 1 133
     KG 139
     PK 21
Student to Teacher Ratio 16:1
Faculty with Advanced Degrees (#/%) 15/31%
Minorities in Student Body 46%
Academic Tracks Offered Magnet, IB
Advanced Placement Courses Offered N/A
Languages Offered Spanish, Chinese, Sign Language
Calendar (Semester / Trimester / Other) Semester
Interscholastic Sports Programs 0
Public School Stats (Public Schools)
Gifted and Talented Students 42%
Free and Reduced Lunch 13%
AYP (2007-2012) Met AYP
TEA Accountability (2007-2011) Exemplary


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

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