Academies » Houston High School Academies

Houston High School Academies

What are the Academies at Houston High School?
Houston High School offers the Honors Academy and the Leadership Academy, open to both residents of Germantown and non-residents. The advantage of being part of one of these academies is that they offer a focused educational experience tailored to your interests and goals. Joining an academy offers an exclusive opportunity to engage deeply in your areas of interest alongside fellow students who share your same passion and drive, fostering a unique environment for specialized learning and personal growth. The Honors Academy provides rigorous academic challenges and opportunities to earn college credits, while the Leadership Academy emphasizes developing leadership skills, fostering community impact, and enhancing personal growth within a small cohort of students with similar goals.
Honors Academy
The Houston High Honors Academy consists of over 450 students in grades 9-12. These students hail from all parts of Shelby County, Tennessee representing 22 middle schools. 
 

The Honors Academy challenges students to pursue excellence both in academic coursework and school and community leadership. Members of the Academy have chosen to distinguish themselves academically and to participate actively in service to the school and local community.


Through the Honors Academy experience, students cultivate life skills such as leadership, cooperation, organization, and responsibility. During their senior year, Honors Academy members will complete a capstone project as a culminating experience that will carry them beyond their high school years.

As you prepare to apply for the Houston High School Honors Academy, please review the required information and documentation.
 

Academic Background

The application will ask for general academic information, additionally some documentation will be required:
  • Knowledge of the applicant's Fall 2023 Semester Grade Averages in English, Mathematics, Social Studies, Science, and Foreign Language
  • PDF document or image of the applicant's most recent report card (or transcript if applicant is a current high school student)
  • TCAP ELA and Math Score Reports from the 2022-2023 School Year; Click here for information on accessing this report
  • Knowledge of applicant's current levels of English, Mathematics, and Science​​ (honors, APEX, standard, etc.)
  • Score report from a nationally-normed achievement data (Pre-ACT, ISEE, ERB, PSAT, ACT, SAT, IOWA​)​
    • *If applicant does not have documentation listed above, HHS will provide them an opportunity to take the ACT Explore as a part of their application process.
 

Personal Information Section

Responses to short essay questions about classes, activities, community service, leadership, and integrity​​.
  • What class(es) outside of your core classes do you enjoy? What do you enjoy most about it?
  • What activities are you involved in outside of the school day?
  • One important aspect of the academy experience is community service. Describe a community service project you have been involved in at school or in the community. What did you learn from that experience?
  • Describe a time when you have exhibited leadership at school or in the community.
  • Integrity means being true to ourselves and being honest, upright, and decent in our dealings with others. Describe a time when you have exhibited integrity even when it might have been unpopular. What did you learn from that experience?


Honors Academy Writing Prompt

Many scientists and environmental activists have been researching and refining alternative energy sources for transportation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but this comes at a high cost to consumers. After exploring the articles below, write an essay based on the following prompt:Electric cars are a viable alternative to gas-powered vehicles. Defend, challenge, or qualify this statement using evidence from the provided articles.  
 
Sources:
 
  • To support your ideas, cite textual evidence from at least two of the provided articles. You may incorporate specific examples from your own knowledge and experience. ​Be sure to identify your sources by the name of the publication. If you use outside sources, please identify them in your essay and include a list of sources at the end of your essay in MLA format. 
  • Remember that your response will be evaluated on your understanding of the articles and on the quality of your writing. Your essay should be between 500-600 words in length. After composing your essay in a word processing program, you will upload the document as a .pdf or .doc attachment.  
 

Honors Academy ACT Explore Testing

The ACT Explore, an 8th grade version of the ACT, will be given at Houston High School during the following dates and times. Testing lasts approximately 2.5 hours. You DO NOT need to register with the ACT, but you DO need to sign up for a testing date. If you have conflicts on the testing dates, please email us at [email protected] to make alternate arrangements.

 

Saturday, January 27 at noon

Saturday, February 3 at noon

Tuesday, February 6 at 4:30 PM

Leadership Academy
The HHS Leadership Academy consists of over 100 students from all over Shelby County, Tennessee. Through the Leadership Academy experience, students cultivate character, personal responsibility, organization, community service, and networking skills, preparing them for success in college and beyond.
 
Leadership Academy students are deeply involved in the school community through both academic and extracurricular pursuits, providing them with opportunities to hone their leadership skills and work to achieve the goals they set for themselves.

 

During their senior year, Leadership Academy members will complete a capstone project as a culminating experience that will carry them beyond their high school years.

As you prepare to apply for the Houston High School Leadership Academy, please review the required information and documentation.
 

Academic Background

The application will ask for general academic information, additionally some documentation will be required:
 

Personal Information Section

Responses to short essay questions about classes, activities, community service, leadership, and integrity​​.
  • What class(es) outside of your core classes do you enjoy? What do you enjoy most about it?
  • What activities are you involved in outside of the school day?
  • One important aspect of the academy experience is community service. Describe a community service project you have been involved in at school or in the community. What did you learn from that experience?
  • Describe a time when you have exhibited leadership at school or in the community.
  • Integrity means being true to ourselves and being honest, upright, and decent in our dealings with others. Describe a time when you have exhibited integrity even when it might have been unpopular. What did you learn from that experience?


Leadership Academy "The Houston Way" Video Prompt

Instructions: Create a 60-second video to accompany your application to the Leadership Academy at Houston High School. Your video should reflect your unique story and aspirations, focusing on the following key points:
 
Why Houston High School? What draws you to Houston? Express how the Leadership Academy aligns with your future academic and career goals.
 
Impact and Legacy: Reflect on the type of impact you wish to have at Houston High School. How do you see yourself making a difference in our community?
 
 

Video Guidelines:

  • Your video should showcase your leadership potential in a professional way yet creative, reflecting your personal narrative.
    Ensure clarity and conciseness, as the time limit is strictly one minute. Videos longer than 60 seconds will not be considered.
  • Videos do not need professional production but should maintain a standard of quality (i.e. make sure our team can both see and hear you clearly in the video). Videos filmed on phones are perfectly acceptable.
  • Consider both content and presentation—let your personality and enthusiasm shine through!
 
Note: This video is a crucial component of your application. It offers a window into your aspirations, values, and potential contributions to the Houston High School community. We look forward to seeing your story unfold!

FAQs for Houston High School's Academies

What is the advantage of being in an academy program?
Students who participate in the Honors Academy or Leadership Academy programs become part of a smaller, focused cohort of students with similar goals, fostering a unique environment for specialized learning and personal growth. This built-in support system offers a chance to engage deeply in your areas of interest alongside fellow students who share your passion and drive.

Can I apply for both the Honors and Leadership Academies?
Students are encouraged to apply for the academy that they feel will best enhance their future goals. If a student is interested in both academies, the student can apply for both. Those who apply and qualify for both academies will have the opportunity during the interview to clarify their priorities with our admissions team as students are only permitted to be in one academy​​.

I do not reside in the attendance zone for Houston High School. Can my child still apply?
Yes, School Choice (Open Enrollment) is available for those outside the attendance zone from January 8th to February 5th, 2024. This process is separate from the academy application process. This allows students from different areas to apply and potentially join the academies​​. Click here to check your attendance zone and read more about the School Choice process. School Choice students who are accepted into an academy are given priority status over other School Choice applicants to Houston High School. 
 
What supports are afforded to students in the academies?
Students in the academies receive support through various program elements such as leadership retreats, career series opportunities, academic clubs, service learning, and a capstone project. These experiences are designed to build leadership and academic skills, provide community engagement opportunities, and support personal and professional development​​.
 
What are the academic requirements for the Honors Academy?
Members of the Honors Academy must earn a combined total of at least 12 Honors, Advanced Placement (AP), and/or Dual Enrollment credits during grades 9-12. All incoming freshmen Honors Academy students take Honors English 9 so that they will have a common class with other freshmen in the cohort. This rigorous academic path prepares students for success at the college level​​. Students also complete a capstone experience which can include the AP Capstone program or a project focused on an area of academic, career, or community emphasis. 
 
What is the AP Capstone Diploma, and how can students earn it?
The AP Capstone Diploma is awarded to students who score 3 or higher in AP Seminar and AP Research and on four additional AP Exams. This program enhances discipline-specific study through AP courses and develops skills in research, analysis, and evidence-based argumentation​​.
 
What are the academic requirements for the Leadership Academy?
Members of the Leadership Academy must take a half credit service learning class. Students are also highly encouraged to take Dual Enrollment Oral Communication and multiple classes in an area of career focus. 
 
What distinguishes a graduate of the Honors Academy?
Graduates earn a Germantown Municipal Schools Honors Diploma, meeting specific credit and GPA requirements. They also have the opportunity to graduate with state honors and distinction by meeting certain ACT/SAT benchmarks and completing additional achievements like earning industry certifications or participating in Governor's schools​​. The Honors Academy recognizes student accomplishments at our annual Celebration of Excellence, and students receive a special stole and medal to wear at graduation. 
 
What distinguishes a graduate of the Leadership Academy?
Graduates demonstrate strong leadership skills and character, preparing them to excel in life in and out of school. The Leadership Academy helps students highlight their strengths and develop connections with classmates, staff, and the community. When they meet all program requirements, Leadership Academy students receive a special stole and medal to wear at graduation. 
 
Are there community service requirements for academy students?
Yes, students in both academies must complete 12 hours of community service each year in various areas including service to the school and in their areas of interests. 
 
What kind of leadership and development opportunities do the academies provide?
Each academy holds seminars focusing on leadership and character development, requiring regular attendance. Additionally, students in both academies will complete a capstone project in their senior year, showcasing their unique skills and strengths​​.