Lamar High School

In 1859, a school for local children opened at what, in 1936, would become Lamar High School.  Forty-six years later, Lamar added its IB program, and seven years after that, it added its Business Magnet Program.   Lamar serves River Oaks, the incorporated city of West University Place, and other Houston subdivisions.   Lamar’s mission is to create an atmosphere of “shared responsibility, academic challenge, intercultural understanding, and mutual respect.”

Lamar High School

3325 Westheimer, Houston, TX 77098                                                             Dr. James McSwain, Principal


Religious Affiliation

As a public school, Lamar 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

Currently residing in Upper Kirby, Lamar sits at Westheimer and Buffalo Speedway.  Lamar has four buildings, three of which are connected by second story crosswalks.  The North Building contains mostly administrative offices and classrooms, while the West Building contains science and computer labs and the East Building contains the library and theatre.  The school also has a performance hall, a traditional theatre, and a natatorium (a building containing a swimming pool).  2012’s HISD Bond will provide up to $108 million to essentially rebuild Lamar.  The project calls for renovating Lamar’s original 1937 building, entirely replacing the remaining buildings, and add additional parking.  HISD has selected Perkins-Will as the lead architect, expects to start construction in 2015 and finish by 2017.



Lamar’s admissions process is split into two different types: zoned and magnet.  However, all students need the following documents in order to register: 1) Student’s Birth Certificate, 2) Proof of Custody (if applicable), 3) Copy of Transcript/Permanent Record, 4) Copy of Immunization Record, and 5) Proof of HISD Residency.


For the Business Administration Magnet Program, all students must fill out the magnet application and submit the following information with it: 1) First 6-week Report for 8th Grade, 2) Previous Year’s Final Report Card, 3) Copy of Transcript/Permanent Record, 4) Standardized Test Scores, 5) Proof of HISD Residency.


NOTE: Even if the student is zoned for Lamar, the student needs to apply for the magnet program in order to participate in it.


If accepted, students must attend a three week Summer Academy in June, and all magnet students automatically participate in the IB program.  Only incoming 9th graders are accepted.


Academic Tracks and Curriculum

Lamar offers three tracks—On Track, Dual-Credit, and IB.  Pre-IB classes lead to the 30 IB classes.  Lamar offers only two AP courses: AP Calculus AB and AP Statistics.  Lamar currently has a partnership with Houston Community College that allows Lamar to offer its dual-credit track where students can get credit for English IV, college algebra, government, economics, and psychology from Houston Community College.


As well as its Business Magnet Program, Lamar also offers a variety of career pathways, including culinary arts, engineering, agriculture, communications, business, health science, marine biology, and government.


In order to graduate with an IB Diploma, students are required to complete six subjects, three Higher Level and three Standard Level courses.  These subjects include: first language, second language, math, science, social science, and an IB elective.  Students must also complete 150 hours of CAS (community, action, and service), a 4,000 word research essay, and a capstone course titled Theory of Knowledge.


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: 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

Lamar offers courses in eight languages: French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Russian, Spanish, and Mandarin.  Every language goes through level 4 except for French, German, Russian, Spanish, and Mandarin, which go through level 5.  Non-magnet students must complete at least two years of a foreign language to graduate—three years if the student wishes to earn a Distinguished Diploma.



Lamar students must complete at least one year of a fine art elective to graduate.  The options include band, dance, music, orchestra, art, choir, and theatre arts.  UIL sponsors the choir, so it participates in competitions against other schools through the University Interscholastic League.  However, every fine art department at Lamar has won accolades.



In its multiple computer labs, Lamar offers Business Computer Information Systems, Pre-IB Computer Science, IB Computer Science, Computer Aided Drafting, Magnet Business Image Management and Multimedia, and Desktop Publishing as a part of its career and technical education department.


Extracurricular Activities

Lamar offers a number of different clubs and activities to its students.  Some examples include: Academic Decathlon, Quill & Scroll, Odyssey of the Mind, Yearbook, Lamar Animal Welfare Society, Ping Pong Club, Breakfast Club, and Cheerleading.



Lamar has fifteen sports teams, including: football, baseball, softball, volleyball, field hockey, wrestling, golf and boys’ and girls’ basketball, lacrosse, soccer, track, cross-country, tennis, water polo, and swimming.  Athletic facilities include tennis courts, baseball fields, running track, football fields, basketball courts, and gun range.


Parent Involvement

The PTO comprises committees and volunteers who are in charge of school events, publications, and programs like Parent Partners and College Corner.

















Lamar High School Fast Facts


School Type Public, Magnet, IB
Religious Affiliation None
Uniforms Yes
Date Founded 1936
Grades Served 9-12
Enrollment 3003
     9th Grade 891
     10th Grade 670
     11th Grade 792
     12th Grade 650
Student to Teacher Ratio 18:1
Faculty with Advanced Degrees (#/%) 64/39%
Minorities in Student Body 66 %
Academic Tracks Offered On Track, Dual Credit, IB, AP
International Baccalaureate Courses 30
Advanced Placement Courses Offered 2
Languages Offered French, German, Russian, Italian, Spanish, Japanese, Mandarin, Hebrew
Calendar (Semester / Trimester / Other) Semester
Interscholastic Sports Programs 15
Graduating Seniors
National Merit Semi-Finalists (#/%) 2/0.5%
Average SAT Scores (Class of 2012) 1515
     Mathematics 514
     Critical Reading 508
     Writing 493
% Students Admitted to 4 Year University ~80%
Public School Stats
Gifted and Talented Students 25%
Free & Reduced Lunch 45%
AYP (2006-2011) Met AYP
TEA Accountability (2006-2007) Academically Acceptable
TEA Accountability (2007-2013) Recognized


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