Cinco Ranch High School
The school was opened in 1999 and has steadily grown to over 3,000 students due to the rapid expansion of the Katy area and graduates approximately 800 students a year. With the highest per capita income of high schools in the Katy area, Cinco Ranch has been given the distinction of the "rich school" with the average family of a student earning 132,297 U.S. dollars per year. In addition to being "rich", Cinco Ranch also tends to be highly competitive due to the education and income levels of the students' parents.
Cinco Ranch High School opened in the fall of 1999 after a 130 million U.S. dollar bond issue was passed in the spring of 1996 and another 324 million dollar bond was passed in the 1999 allowing for funding. In the initial years, the school played host to displaced students from other Katy ISD schools including 8th graders displaced by overcrowding at Beck Junior High School in the 1999-2000 school year. Other relocations include students from West Memorial Elementary that moved to Cinco Ranch after the elementary encountered mold related issues in 2002.
Upon opening Cinco Ranch also immediately began taking incoming 9th graders from surrounding areas previously zoned to other Katy area high schools. In 2002, the initial freshmen rezoned from surrounding high schools, in particular Katy High School and James E. Taylor High School, became the first to graduate, having spent 3 years at CRHS. It is notable that every successive year the number of graduating seniors has grown by more than 100, to a class of just over 700 in 2004. The class of 2004 was the only "5 year class," many of them having been among the Beck students that spent 8th grade at CRHS.
The original building, built in 1999, has been expanded. It consisted of a central rotunda, where the cafeteria, offices, and library were (and continue to be) located. Attached to this are 2 long hallways running in opposite directions, which house classrooms. At the end of one of the hallways are the athletic facilities, including a natatorium, workout facility, gymnasiums, fields, and a stadium. At the end of the other hallway, on the opposite end of the school, were the fine arts rehearsal facilities and black box theatre. The original facility was built on a 66 acre site by PBK Architects to support a maximum of 2,800 students. The school has a net building area of 433,000 Sq. Ft. and cost of $37,507,000 USD.
The school benefited from the expanding budgets of KISD, which could be attributed to rapid growth in the surrounding areas and the addition of Katy Mills Mall, which, through taxes, gave a large boost to KISD funds. In 2001, many of the KISD high schools received renovations, and all received new performing arts centers (PACs). The KISD high schools also received additions of ninth grade centers, which may be attributed to the belief by the district that younger students benefit from an eased transition into high school. The PAC and 9th Grade Center were added to the fine arts end of the hallway at a cost of 11,356,050 USD. The secondary expansion, along with 9th grade gyms and offices, made for a very long and narrow two story building with a total length of one quarter mile. This "tunnel effect" creates a good environment for indoor running in the summer. Another large athletic accoutrement, added in 2004, is a hill more than 30 feet tall with a paved running track paved to facilitate track runner training. However, even with the new addition, the growing enrollment has caused a steadily increasing number of portable classrooms to be added to the outside of the school.
Several days prior to January 6, 2006, the first day of school after the Christmas break, speed bumps were installed in the school parking lot. The angle on them was too low at first, so the speed bumps were raised before school began for the second semester. Unfortunately, the speed bumps were steep enough to cause significant damage to many student, teacher and parent cars. Due to a plethora of complaints. the original speed bumps were removed by morning of the 7th. Construction on less steep speed bumps commenced after this. They are now painted in a striped zebra pattern, as opposed to the earlier bright yellow color, and do not cause damage to vehicles if the automobile is moving slowly.
Pictorial Campus Tour
The school opened with only two classes, and as a result the American football team could not compete at the varsity level until the fall of 2000. The first several varsity teams were largely unsuccessful, but beginning in 2002, football began to assert itself, missing the playoffs by a game in 2002 and making the playoffs for the first time in 2004. The school competes at the varsity level in a great variety of sports, with a particularly well-known track-and-field program, which won state titles in 2004 and 2005. In March 2005, the school had 27 athletes competing in the Nike Indoor Nationals at the PG County Sportsplex in Landover, Maryland. Also its boys wrestling program has won districts for five years straight now.
Cinco Ranch has benefited from the addition of the Performing Arts Center, which has improved the quality of both theatrical and musical productions. The department, which includes the orchestra, choir, band, visual arts, and theater, is very well supported by booster clubs, just as athletics is. The Cinco Ranch Theatre Company (formally known as Cinco Del Arte) qualified for the State UIL (University Interscholastic League) competition for the first time in 2005.
Cinco Ranch's Academic Decathlon program is modestly prominent and is sponsored by two teachers, Mr. Hollis and Mr. Eaton, each of whom received the title of CRHS Teacher of the Year for 2005-2006 and 2004-2005, respectively. The Cinco Ranch Speech & Debate team has been successful over the past few years. Since 2003, the Debate Team has four qualifications to the NFL National Tournament in Student Congress and two qualifications to Nationals in Lincoln-Douglas debate. Additionally, the Debate Team had a student win the 2006 5A UIL State Championship in Lincoln-Douglas debate. 
Classes range in size from just 10 in very specialized classes to over 30 (though rarely over 35) in some of the core subjects with a average of 18.4 students per class. A student can expect a class size around 26-30, generally with less in advanced courses (PreAP, AP, and GT gifted and talented) and more in Academic ("normal level") courses. The school is noted by administrators and students for being highly competitive, especially with efforts to rank in the top ten percent of graduating classes, which guarantees admission to Texas public universities. The school is amongst the top 20 most academically rigorous in the state. Instruction is seen as being very rigorous in a district noted for its high quality programs across the board. To empirically quantify the rigorous nature of Cinco Ranch High School the following facts are presented for the 2005 school year:
- 508 of the school's 3,314 students took an Advanced Placement test with 89% of them passing and 30% receiving a perfect score.
- The composite ACT score was 24.3 which is noticeably higher than the national average of 20.9.
- A GPA of 3.8750 was required to enter the top quarter of the High School class.
- The average SAT score was 1141 which is 113 points above the national average of 1028.
Discipline and student culture
Katy Independent School District has been noted in the press, including the Houston Chronicle, as running "a very tight ship" with regards to disciplinary matters. While the district has a stated mission of maintaining high academic and disciplinary standards, it has been criticized in the press, including the Houston Chronicle, as including rules which are expansive to the very edges of what is legal. A general feeling exists among the student body that if you do something "wrong," as the administration may deem it, whether a rule exists on the matter or not, you will be dealt with harshly. According to material published in the school paper, this creates a feeling of a very secure environment, though some students question the costs.
It is also notable that data in regards to both acts and punishments is hard to come by, as KISD maintains a policy of not detailing incidents unless questioned. However, Cinco Ranch has a discipline referral rate of 7.4%, on par with the district's rate of 7.5%, with both notably exceeding the state average of 2.3% by a non negligible margin.
Cinco Ranch High School Controversies
References and footnotes
- ^ Muni Net Guide. Cinco Ranch Demographics, RICIC, L.L.C. MuniNet Guide, June 28, 2006
- ^ Sandra Bretting (2005). Katy Might Call Bond Election, Houston Chronicle, February 17, 2005
- ^ America's Schoolhouse Council (1998-2005). Cinco Ranch High School
- ^ PBK Architects. Cinco Ranch High School Primedia Business Magazines & Media
- ^ PBK (Houston). Ninth Grade Centers & Performing Arts Centers at Four High Schools, Primedia Business Magazines & Media
- ^ 2005 Nike Indoor National Results
- ^ Drama/One-Act Play: Regional Competitors, University Interscholastic League, July 9, 2006
- ^ <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>"UIL Spring Meet - Meet Composite". University Interscholastic League. Retrieved 2006-07-10.
- ^ School Report Card Data, July 3, 2006
- ^ KISD Profile Cinco Ranch, June 3, 2006[]
- ^ Dr. Leonard E. Merrell (2003). Safe Schools Require Rules, The Katy Sun, 11-27-2003
- ^ Texas Education Agency, AEIS Reports 1999-2000; 2000-01; 2001-02; 2002-03.