Education is constantly changing. Each academic year brings new things being taught to children, new staff members and, every so often, new buildings. It’s because of those changes that it’s important to regularly take stock with what’s happening in our local schools. 

Galveston Independent School District will host a schools tour at 8 a.m. Wednesday at Oppe Elementary, 2915 81st St., 8:50 a.m. at Scott Collegiate Academy, 4116 Ave. N12, and at 9:45 a.m. at Ball High School, 4115 Ave. O.

Schools remain one of the biggest reasons why families move to a community. Generally, these potential residents will ask others what their opinions are about the school system. This alone makes it vital to have as many people attend these tours as possible so they can spread the word about what they see. 

Those set to benefit from the tour include those running for or working with city government, local realtors, human resource directors, business owners, community leaders, those active in neighborhood associations and parents thinking about enrolling students in the public school system. 

The tour is an example of how innovative approaches to education are taking root in Galveston’s public schools. In 2009, GISD earned a Magnet Schools Assistance Program grant to institute magnet programs at four elementary schools and Central Middle School. Oppe Elementary is now a magnet school for coastal studies.

Throughout the school, photos and projects based on the study of marine biology, coastal ecology and environmental science adorn the walls and trophy cases. Last school year, the school’s environmentally conscious Green Team helped write a bill that made the Kemp’s ridley sea turtle the official sea turtle of Texas.

If Oppe is an example of how a magnet grant can transform a school, tours of Scott Collegiate Academy and Ball High School will give participants an idea of how two schools are set to integrate yet another Magnet Schools Assistance Program grant toward new visions and goals.

The core idea behind Scott Collegiate Academy is to prepare students for higher learning in pre-advanced placement, advanced placement, and dual credit classes. The new grant will go toward purchasing new technology for students, project-based learning and for staff members who will be able to make the school’s mission a reality.

Ball High is already making waves for its extensive career and technology class offerings, dual credit and advanced placement options, and its innovative Ball Preparatory T-STEM program. It will have a different look next year with five new small learning magnet communities that focus on career pathways, paid for by grant funding. These communities will be discussed on the tour.

There are many Galvestonians who tout their Ball High alumni status with pride. But many of those same individuals admit to not setting foot on the campus in years. They will be surprised by what’s happening at the Island’s biggest high school and what’s set for the near future.

Please join us this Wednesday. Contact the GISD Communications Department, 409-766-5145 or

Johnston Farrow is the communications specialist for Galveston ISD.

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