History of Highland Park Middle School
In 1937, the original high school building on Normandy was renamed Highland Park Junior High School and became the new home for seventh, eighth, and ninth graders. When the ninth graders moved to the high school in 1970, the name changed again to Highland Park Middle School. Just three years later, the Board of Trustees decided to name the district's oldest building in honor of the late president of the board, Arch H. McCulloch. Today the McCulloch name lives on in the intermediate school.
In 1995, Highland Park Independent School District opened the doors to its first new school building in nearly fifty years. The facility was designed around the instructional program and featured two schools within one structure -- Highland Park Middle School for seventh and eighth graders and McCulloch Intermediate School for fifth and sixth graders. The two schools share a common campus, along with a 465-seat cafeteria, an 851-seat auditorium, and a 10,000 square foot media center. There are also three gymnasiums to accomodate sports activities and serve the physical education and recreational needs of the students. There are also three computer labs, and the entire building is wired with fiber optics to equip the school for future advances.
When Highland Park Middle School was being designed, the HPISD Education Planning Committee made it known that the building was not the main concern. Quality education was. For that reason, after studying educational facilities around the United States, the committee came up with a "pod" teaching plan in which four classrooms are arranged together to allow four teachers to team teach the same group of students for an entire year.
Highland Park Middle School has been nationally recognized as a leader in middle school education and was one of 25 schools in the country to particpate in the Future Consortium sponsored by the Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development. The school has been recognized by the U.S. Office of Education as a "Blue Ribbon School" for having an "exemplary secondary program." Since 1994, HPMS has been named an "Exemplary" school by the Texas Education Agency and received Gold Performance Acknowledgements for attendance, Campus Comparable Improvement in reading, and Algebra I End-of-Course. In 1998, the middle school was also selected as a Texas Mentor School as part of a grant from the Carnegie Foundation.
In 2003, Highland Park Middle School students also excelled as:
- The Tribal Tribune, HPMS' student newspaper, won national awards for its journalistic excellence;
- HPMS drama students received recognition for outstanding choreography from the Musical Theater International Festival for Junior High Students; and
- Middle school students also received recognition at the state level UIL Interscholastic Press Conference and were honored with the Award of Distinguished Merit.
In 2003, Just for Kids and the Texas Business and Education Coalition named Highland Park Middle School to its "Honor Roll" schools list as a consistent performer in educating students.