When the dust settles and the state-of-the-art Clear Lake High School is complete, the adjacent Clear Lake 9th Grade Center will be repurposed as a hub of student collaboration and community partnerships. In 2018, The 9th grade center will be used to support special programs such as Gifted and Talented’s Alpha, Special Education’s HEARTS, CCISD’s dual credit, and Robotics competitions in lieu of a 2007 board decision to convert the school into an intermediate school.
“The enrollment trends in this part of the school district simply do not support the need for an intermediate school without an enormous shift of attendance boundaries that would negatively impact hundreds of CCISD students from League City to Houston,” said Greg Smith, Superintendent of Schools. “We needed to get creative to ensure the building is used at its maximum capacity with the shared understanding that when future enrollment trends in the Clear Lake area require an intermediate school, we can turn it into a traditional school for grades 6-8.” In 2007, the community supported the conversion of the Clear Creek 9th Grade Center and Clear Lake 9th Grade Center into two intermediate schools. The Clear Creek 9th Grade Center did transition into an intermediate school but the school district held off on converting the Clear Lake 9th Grade Center so it can be used during the rebuild of Clear Lake High School.
On September 27, the school board approved a plan to use the 9th grade center as a student learning support center, essentially giving adequate space to district-wide programs that have either outgrown their existing space or did not necessarily have a central location. The district’s Alpha program, which provides enrichment opportunities to CCISD’s gifted and talented students in grades 4-5, will be moved to this location once the Clear Lake High School rebuild is completed and the school is no longer using the 9th grade center. Currently, Alpha is housed out of University of Houston Clear Lake, however, access to space and days have been reduced due to the downward expansion of the university. “We are grateful to Dr. William Staples and the UHCL team for providing these enrichment opportunities to our students,” said Smith.
The Helping Each Adult Reach Transition Services (HEARTS) program is for CCISD graduates with special needs. The state-recognized program is currently spread out at each of the high schools, limiting access to a variety of career-readiness resources. Under this plan, these students will be able to receive real work training so that they can lead a quality life and contribute to the local economy. “We envision the student learning support center will have an operational café and print shop that can serve the community,” said Cyndi Short, Executive Director of Special Services. “This program has been such a vital part of a young adult’s life and to be able to expand our workforce development services to them will be a life changer for these young men and women who we serve until they are 22 years old.” The facility will also be used as the district’s special education administration office.
In the area of community partnerships, the school district has offered much-needed lease space to Operation School Bell, a philanthropic program of the Bay Area Assistance League. The Bay Area Assistance League has been serving CCISD students for many years, providing new clothing to children. This will allow the program to serve more students with ample dressing room and storage space.
The school district anticipates the student learning support center to open in 2018, following the completion of Clear Lake High School. The new Clear Lake High School will serve grades 9-12 under one roof with a capacity of 2,500 students.