Wunsche Academy to accept ninth graders beginning in 2015-16 school year

Wunsche Students at Carl Wunsche Sr. High School experiment with forensic science.[/caption]

After receiving feedback from students and parents regarding curriculum and course offerings, the Spring ISD board of trustees announced Jan. 8 Carl Wunsche Sr. High School will transition to a four-year high school campus.

The school, which currently enrolls 10th–12th grade students in specialized programs, will open its doors to ninth grade students for the first time beginning in the 2015–16 academic year. District officials said the transition is one facet of a comprehensive plan to strengthen the school's academic offerings, including its career and technical education programs.

"Wunsche has been a national leader since it opened, and we are pleased to take this fine institution to the next level by offering ninth graders the opportunity to begin their high school career there, obtain industry certifications and earn endorsements now available under the new graduation requirements outlined in House Bill 5," said Rhonda Faust, SISD board of trustees president.

House Bill 5, passed by the Texas Legislature in 2013 requires school districts to make courses available to students that allow them to complete curriculum requirements in multidisciplinary studies.

During the SISD board of trustees meeting, Wunsche Principal Bob Thompson said students will continue to be exposed to career and college programs through internships, mentorships and service-learning activities. Thompson said resources for the 26 specialized career pathways originally offered at the Wunsche campus will be spread throughout the district beginning in the 2015–16 school year.

"We are also excited about the possibilities of expanding career and technical opportunities at the district's other high schools," Faust said.

Thompson said SISD and Wunsche officials will continue to determine a need for high-demand jobs and expose students to specialized education and industry skills.

"The implementation of House Bill 5 has driven a growth in CTE [career and technical education] programs across the state," Thompson said. "Resources needed to support these programs and provide quality opportunities for all students must be maximized by all school districts."

Additionally, SISD officials have received ongoing input from local business partners, including Conroe Healthcare Center, Walgreens and Houston Northwest Medical Center, on ways to strengthen academic programs and extracurricular activities at Wunsche.

Beginning Jan. 20, SISD officials will accept applications through the end of March from current eighth grade students looking to enroll at Wunsche for the 2015–16 school year. Students will be selected through a lottery-based process for each of the 26 specialized career pathways at the high school.