Carnegie Vanguard High School

Carnegie Vanguard High School (CVHS) started as a school-within-a-school Vanguard program at Jesse H. Jones Senior High School in 1977.  In 2002, CVHS became an independent high school.   CVHS’s mission is “to provide a unique and challenging learning environment to prepare the diverse gifted & talented population of Houston Independent School District for leadership in a global society.”  In May of 2013, Newsweek Magazine ranked CVHS as the 28th best public high school in the nation.

Carnegie Vanguard High School

1501 Taft St., Houston, TX 77019                                             Mr. Ramon Moss, Principal

713-732-3690                                            Ms. Melaney Aschner, Magnet/GT Coordinator

Religious Affiliation

As a public school, Carnegie Vanguard High School 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

Completed in time for the 2012-2013 academic year, Carnegie’s brand new campus sits on a 6-acre lot at the corner of West Gray and Taft next to Gregory Lincoln Magnet School.  The school is LEED certified with green facilities and operations, including a green roof.  Many views from within the campus face inward to two courtyards, which is designed to emulate a small liberal arts college.  Carnegie’s new campus includes a parking garage, library, amphitheater, and a large open green for soccer, volleyball, and baseball.  The historic Settegast building along West Gray Street will house the school’s Fine Arts program and is scheduled to be completed for the 2013-2014 academic year.


Carnegie’s admission process is split between applicants who are already identified as Gifted and Talented (G/T) in HISD and those who are not already identified at G/T.  Both prospects must complete the Carnegie Vanguard Application (they do not accept the Magnet application) and demonstrate proof of HISD residency.

Students already identified as G/T in HISD must submit along with the application their HISD G/T Middle School Identification Matrix (or G/T profile sheet) and a copy of their G/T status report.

Students not already identified as G/T in HISD or attending a private school must submit along with the application their previous year’s final report card and a Teacher Recommendation Form.  If available, students must also submit their most recent Stanford/Aprenda results (within the last 12 months) and Naglieri (NNAT-2) results (current year).  If a student currently attends an HISD school but is not considered G/T, then the student must complete the NNAT-2.  If a student currently attends a private school, then the student must complete both the NNAT-2 and the Stanford test.

Qualified applications are then placed into a lottery if the number of applications outnumbers the number of available positions at Carnegie.  The school reserves 20% of its openings for applicants whose siblings are currently enrolled and gives extra weight to students who are of low socio-economic status.  Should the number of legacy applicants exceed the number of reserved positions, then a separate lottery is held.  Unfortunately, the school’s few slots are highly coveted and the application process as very impersonal.

Academic Tracks and Curriculum

Carnegie Vanguard offers one track—AP.  Pre-AP classes lead to the 20 classes from the College Board’s Advanced Placement (AP) curriculum.   The only Honors classes are electives.   CVHS offers these AP courses: AP English Language, AP English Literature, AP Art History, AP Spanish Language, AP Spanish Literature, AP Calculus AB/BC, AP Statistics, AP Biology, AP Environmental Science, AP Physics, AP Chemistry, AP Computer Science, AP Human Geography, AP World History, AP U.S. History, AP Government, AP Economics Macro/Micro, and AP European History.  Carnegie encourages its students to earn a Distinguished Diploma.

In order to graduate with a Recommended Diploma, students must complete 26 credits: English (4), Social Studies (4), Math (4), Science (4), Foreign Language (2), Athletics (1), Health (1/2), Speech (1/2), Fine Art (1), Computers and Technology (1), and Electives (4).

In order to graduate with a Distinguished Diploma, students must complete 26 credits: English (4), Social Studies (4), Math (4), Science (4), Foreign Language (3), Athletics (1), Health (1/2), Speech (1/2), Fine Art (1), Computers and Technology (1),  and Electives (3).  Note that a Distinguished Diploma requires one more year of a foreign language.

Special Needs

If the student meets the admissions requirements for the HISD school, then the student with special needs will be accommodated.   If the parents already have documentation about the student’s special needs, the school will need a copy of that documentation.  After receiving the documentation, the school will set up an annual ARD meeting that the parents, the student, an administrator, a core subject teacher, a special education teacher or 504 representative, and an HISD advocate will attend to discuss the specific modifications necessary for the student and to create an individualized education plan (IEP) for the student.  Every teacher will receive a copy of the modifications for the student after the ARD meeting has determined them.

If the parents want to request modifications for their child, then the special education teacher will give the student’s teachers paperwork to document the student’s behavior and any modifications the teacher uses for the student.  After 6 weeks of documentation, the teachers will turn in the paperwork, and the special education teacher or 504 representative will call a meeting similar to an ARD meeting.  If the meeting determines that the student needs modifications, then the school will have documentation of the student’s special needs and will follow the same procedures as above.

Foreign Languages

CVHS students must complete at least three years of a foreign language to graduate.  Instruction in several languages is offered—Latin up to Latin IV, Spanish up to Spanish III followed by AP Spanish Language and AP Spanish Literature, French up to French IV (Language and Culture AP), Mandarin, and Arabic (currently only counts an elective).  If a student has completed a language credit in seventh and eighth grade, then one foreign language credit is earned towards graduation.


CVHS students must complete at least one year of a fine art elective to graduate.  Some of the more notable options include art I-IV, theatre, and photography.  Carnegie plans to repurpose the Settegast building to house its Fine Arts program.  The building is intended to include a theatre, photography studio, art studio, and music studio with access to the outside amphitheater.  Carnegie is also planning on repurposing a former Orange Crush facility into a performing arts building at a later date.


CVHS offers Business Information Management as a part of its career and technical education department and AP Computer Science as part of its science department, but a technology credit is no longer required to graduate.

Extracurricular Activities

CVHS offers a number of different clubs and activities to its students.  Some examples include: UIL (University Interscholastic League) Academic Competitions, Photography Club, Checkers Club, Model United Nations, Live Music Club, Yearbook, Newspaper, and National Honor Society.


Students are not required to participate in a sport at CVHS.  The school has only four UIL teams: baseball, cross country, tennis and volleyball.  Carnegie intends to include four tennis courts, two baseball fields, a beach volleyball court, and a multi-purpose gymnasium with the new campus pending success of independent fundraising.

Parent Involvement

The CVHS Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) supports clubs, community events, teacher appreciation, fundraising events, and more. Currently, the PTO has been the driving force for funding construction projects not covered in the schools budget such as the performing arts building; it raised over $175,000 in 2012.  The PTO’s purpose “is to promote and provide social and cultural opportunities for Vanguard students, to improve the school environment, and to foster further development of the Vanguard program and other gifted and talented programs both within and outside HISD.”

Carnegie Vanguard High School Fast Facts

School Type Public/Magnet/Vanguard
Religious Affiliation None
Uniforms Dress Code Only
Date Founded 2002
Grades Served 9-12
Enrollment 458
     9th Grade 157
     10th Grade 133
     11th Grade 87
     12th Grade 81
Student to Teacher Ratio 16:1
Faculty with Advanced Degrees (#/%) 7/34 %
Minorities in Student Body 58 %
Academic Tracks Offered AP
Advanced Placement Courses Offered 20
Languages Offered Arabic, Chinese, French, Latin, and Spanish
Calendar (Semester / Trimester / Other) Semester
Interscholastic Sports Programs 2
Graduating Seniors  
National Merit Semi-Finalists 2013 (#/%) 5/ 6 %
Average SAT Scores (Class of 2011) 1849
     Mathematics 624
     Critical Reading 613
     Writing 612
% Students Admitted to 4 Year University 90-95%
Public School Stats  
Gifted and Talented Students 98%
Free & Reduced Lunch 28%
AYP (2006-2012) Met AYP
TEA Accountability (2006-2011) Exemplary


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