Empowerment High School participated in College & Career Institute

Sparks were flying at Texas State Technical College as the 11 high school students enrolled in a nine-day College and Career Institute got some hands-on experience welding.

The institute is the first of its kind for TSTC and is a partnership between the college, Project Grad Houston, Café College Houston and the Texas Workforce Solution (TWC).

“It has been a pleasure hosting these students on campus,” said TSTC Recruitment Coordinator Marigold Sagrado. “They are attentive, well-mannered and I know they will be successful.”

The students participating in this institute were from Houston-based Southwest Charter School, Sharpstown High School and the Partnership for the Advancement and Immersion of Refugees and have shown an interest in pursuing science, technology, engineering and mathematic (STEM) fields.

“It’s always great when we can bring quality program options and a college experience opportunity to high school students who may not get this chance anywhere else,” said Anne Sung, Project Grad Houston vice president and chief strategy officer.

The institute focused on five career areas offered by TSTC: Cyber Security Technology, Welding Technology, Precision Machining Technology, HVAC Technology and Diesel Equipment Technology.

Instructors from each program engaged the students with hands-on career exploration activities and spoke with them regarding education pathways, the college application and financial aid process and careers they can pursue if they obtain a certificate or associate degree from TSTC.

During the institute students also received lessons on job interviewing and resume writing. Students learned how to represent themselves professionally by practicing greetings, handshakes, eye contact and self-introductions.  A portion of their time was also dedicated to interviews skills and resume development.

“We want these students to leave this institute open to the idea that college is a possibility and that they can be successful,” said Adriana Estrada, College Institute coordinator. “It’s about college and career readiness.”

To experience a real-work environment, the students also visited TSTC Board of Regent Joe Gurecky at his local business Gurecky Manufacturing, Inc. They had the opportunity to tour the facility and speak to professionals in the industry.

“All of the students have expressed interest in pursuing TSTC after high school,” said Sagrado. “I consider this 100 percent success.”

Sung said their data shows that students who attend at least two institutes are more likely to enroll in college after high school.

“The impact of these institutes helping students get inspired to go to college is very powerful,” said Sung. “And we’re very grateful to our partners at the TWC and TSTC for making this program possible for our students.”

Sotelo, Amanda. “TSTC Hosts Summer College and Career Institute” Downtown Houston BubbleLife, 5 July 2017. Web. 20 July 2017

View complete article. 

Southwest Schools Awarded T-Stem Academy Designation

We are pleased to announce that Southwest Schools has been approved for the designation of a T-STEM Academy by the Texas Education Agency (TEA).

The Texas Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (T-STEM) Initiative provides a foundational approach to empower teachers, inspire students, and advance the studies in these four fields.  


A T-STEM Academy is rigorous secondary school focusing on improving instruction and academic performance in science and mathematics-related subjects and increasing the number of students who study and enter STEM careers.

Southwest Schools joins the select group of only 22 schools to join the 121 Academies who have received the designation.  Going forward, Southwest Schools will serve as a demonstration school and learning lab to showcase innovative instruction methods which integrate technology and engineering into science and mathematics instruction.

Southwest Schools successfully completed the rigorous designation process by demonstrating the key elements of the T-STEM blueprint, including:

  • Mission-driven leadership
  • T-STEM Culture
  • Student Outreach, Recruitment, and Retention
  • Teacher Selection, Development, and Retention
  • Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment
  • Strategic Alliances
  • Academy Advancement and Sustainability

In an open letter to our District, Mike Morath, TEA Commissioner of Education writes, “Thank you for Southwest Schools’ hard work and dedication in providing STEM opportunities for students so they may accelerate their learning and graduate from high school prepared for the post-secondary path of their choosing.”

For more information on Southwest Schools and T-STEM, contact Dr. Brenda Arteaga, Southwest Schools Superintendent.

Southwest Schools Graduation 2017

The Southwest Schools graduating seniors will be recognized on Friday, May 26, 2017 at 6pm at Houston Baptist University located at 7502 Fondren Rd, Houston, TX 77074.

Ceremony photos will be available to view and purchase through Rhonda Floyd Photography.

  • Visit
  • Click “Find your Photos”
  • Click “Sports and Portraits taken after Feb 14 2017
  • Click “Events”
  • Click  Gallery Name – May26
  • Enter  your email
  • Enter password swhs17

New Career and Technology Center

Southwest Schools is pleased to announce the expansion of Southwest Middle School and Southwest High School with the addition of the new Career and Technology Center to serve the District’s secondary students.

The STEAM facility, located within the Middle School and High School complex, will introduce more than 17,500 square feet of space for math, science, fine arts, and technology courses. Features will include flexible and collaborative spaces, state-of-the-art computer systems, industrial learning equipment, a performance hall, and more.

Known for its safe, innovative and intimate campuses, Southwest Schools will be able to accommodate an additional 60 high school and 110 middle school students from across the Houston area. “We planned this expansion as part of Southwest Schools strategic plan to provide more space for innovative teaching and learning, with a focus on enhancing 21st Century career and college readiness”, says Dr. Brenda Arteaga, Superintendent.

The Center that was designed by local Houston architect, Kay Macias, is being constructed by Longevity Realty Partners (LRP) and is scheduled to open for the 2017-2018 school year.

For enrollment information, to learn more about Southwest Schools or to become a community partner, please visit


Board Member Ed Vesely Copilots B-17 Plane at Airshow

Ed Vesely Copilots B-17 Aircraft
Ed Vesely Copilots B-17 Aircraft

On April 21st, Southwest Schools Board Member Ed Vesely, served as copilot on a B-17 aircraft at the Gulf Coast Salute Airshow at Tyndall AFB in Panama City, Florida.

Mr. Vesely, Senior Sales Director at Welsch Aviation, is a seasoned pilot with 40 year’s flying experience.  He is also a respected member of the Board of Directors at Southwest Schools and continuously provides valuable insight and guidance to our district.

Mr. Vesely is one of the few people that are lucky enough to fly the aircraft known as “The Flying Fortress”.  Primarily used as a military plane in WWII and then as a civilian aircraft for several years after, there are currently only 15 of the 12,731 originally produced, flying today.

B-17 Aircraft Photo
B-17 Flying Fortress Aircraft


Now Enrolling for the 2017-2018 School Year

Welcome New Students!

 Enrollment applications are now being accepted at all Southwest Schools campuses for the 2017-2018 school year. Click here to apply.

 About Southwest Schools

Southwest Schools is a premier school district open to students in the Greater Houston Area.  Small, safe campuses provide the perfect setting to help kids Pre-K through 12th grade learn, grow and prepare for their futures!


Mangum Elementary Welcomes New Principal

Welcome Maryury Fernandez M.Ed.,  Mangum Elementary Principal

Southwest Mangum Elementary is pleased to welcome Maryury Fernandez as our new Principal and wish Dr. Olivares good luck in her new role as Chief Operations, Accountability, & Compliance Officer at Southwest Schools district headquarters.

About Ms. Fernandez:

Maryury Fernandez began her career in education in 1988.  Ms. Fernandez has served as a bilingual teacher, Bilingual/ESL Instructional Supervisor, Assistant Principal, and Multilingual & Assessment Director, mostly in Houston Independent School District and Southwest Schools. She has held positions in both the elementary and secondary settings and is deeply committed to improving academic achievement and lifelong learning skills for all students.  Maryury came to Southwest Schools in 2012, and proudly served as the Multilingual & Assessment Director for four years.  Maryury Fernandez is an advocate for all students, and she appreciates the challenges that students from low income families face.  Ms. Fernandez believes that all children can succeed when provided the right support.

She sets high expectations and supports a rigorous academic program at Mangum Elementary School.  Her number one goal is that students receive the foundation to be college and career ready and achieve lifelong success.

Delayed Start (10:00 AM) – Wednesday, January 18

Due to weather conditions in the Houston area, all Southwest Schools will have a delayed start of 10:00 AM, today, Wednesday January 18, 2017.  Schools will close at normally scheduled times.

Southwest Receives “Superior” Rating for 15-16 Fiscal Year

Southwest Schools has received a Rating of “Superior” from the Texas Education Agency for its 2015-2016 fiscal year School FIRST (Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas) for its excellence in fiscal management according to state guidelines. The School First Report is based on 20 indicators which gives a district a numerical value. The purpose of the financial accountability rating system, known as the School Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas (FIRST), is to ensure that open-enrollment charter schools are held accountable for the quality of their financial management practices and that they improve those practices. The system is designed to encourage Texas public and charter schools to better manage their financial resources in order to provide the maximum allocation possible for direct instructional purposes. Southwest Schools’ Business Department continues to strive for excellence and transparency. This state award is evident that employees are committed to financial responsibility and to meeting state guidelines.

Latin Women’s Initiative Awards Grant to Southwest Schools

The Latin Women’s Initiative awarded a generous grant in the amount of $15,000 to Southwest Schools to support the district’s Summer Reading Program.

The program aims to help children and teens retain and enhance their reading skills over the summer. Research has shown that kids who participate in these programs are 52 Lexile points ahead of their peers who do not. Summer reading programs are also an antidote for learning loss. So instead of losing knowledge and skills during the summer months, kids who attend reading programs actually show gains.

Latin Women's InitiativeThe mission of the nonprofit Latin Women’s Initiative is to support such programs and is dedicated to making a difference in the lives of Latin women and their families by providing both financial and volunteer support to several local nonprofit organizations in our community.

SHAC/Local Wellness Meeting Notice

School Health Advisory Council (SHAC)/Local Wellness Meeting Notice:

November 2, 2016

9:00 AM

Southwest Schools’ Central Office

3333 Bering Drive, Houston Texas


January 10, 2017

9:00 AM

Southwest Schools’ Central Office

3333 Bering Drive, Houston Texas

High School Students Participate in Mock Election

Last week, a mock Presidential election was held at SWHS as part of the Mexican American Bar Association’s (MABAH) Mentor Leadership Program.

sws-mock-election1  sws-mock-election2

Ninth graders Melissa Roman and John Valdaverde posed as our candidates and the student body was amazing with their input and knowledge of the candidates.

sws-mock-election-melissa-roman    sws-mock-election-john-valdaverde

Southwest thank MABAH members and other volunteers, including: Attorney Carolina Diaz-Orturza; Judge Joe Villarreal; Attorney Lupita Matcschiner; Mr. Jesus A. Salinas (Law Student); Manuel Solis (Law Student); Ms. Dominique Patterson; and Mrs. Ernestine Pierce.

Generous Grant from Chevron for Project Lead the Way

Chevron LogoWe are pleased to announce that Southwest Schools has been awarded a grant from Chevron to expand the Project Lead The Way (PLTW) program across our District.   The grant will focus on the implementation of three programs: LAUNCH for elementary; GATEWAY for middle school; and ENGINEERING for high school.

PLTW is a nonprofit organization that provides a transformative learning experience for K-12 students and teachers across the U.S.  Among other significant findings, independent research studies reveal that PLTW students outperform their peers in school, are better prepared for post-secondary studies, and are more likely to consider careers as scientists, technology experts, engineers, mathematicians, healthcare providers, and researchers compared to their non-PLTW peers.

STEM education is key to keeping the U.S. competitive. Project Lead The Way offers students and educators world-class curricula and teacher training to help kids obtain the in-demand, transferable skills they need to excel. Chevron is proud to partner with Project Lead The Way to help provide access to engineering curriculum to 100,000 students across the U.S.

Visit  to learn more.

Welcome New Middle School and High School Principals

It is with great pride and excitement that we introduce Mr. Ralph Butler and Mr. Albert Fernandez as the newly appointed principals of Southwest High School and Southwest Middle School.

Both principals are experienced leaders and dedicated to ensuring that our students and staff have the best learning environment possible.

To learn more about Mr. Butler and Mr. Fernandez, visit

Ralph Bulter
Mr. Bulter, Principal Southwest High School
Albert Fernandez
Mr. Fernandez, Principal Southwest Middle School

Southwest High School to Receive Project GRAD Grant

We are excited to be included as a part of Project GRAD Houston’s grant announcement – wonderful news for all of our students!

The Mission of Project GRAD

Project GRAD improves lives in low-income communities by helping students develop and achieve their educational aspirations.

The Mission of Project GRAD

  • More than 6,750 have enrolled in college with Project GRAD’s support.
  • More than 1,900 GRAD Scholars have graduated college.
  • More than 2,000 GRAD Scholars are currently enrolled in college and pursuing their degrees.
  • GRAD Scholars are on track to achieve a 60% college completion rate – nearly 2.5 times the rate of their peers throughout Texas.

About the Grant

AT&T’s Aspire Initiative is a national initiative focused on increasing high school success for at-risk populations.  Project GRAD and AT&T have been partners for the last 7 years in working together to improve high school success for Houstonians.  AT&T is awarding Project GRAD Houston with a two-year $1,000,000 grant to expand GRAD support to students enrolled in Southwest High School (among others).  GRAD will work collaboratively with school and district faculties and staff, community organizations, and area colleges and universities to reach an additional 1,735 Latino high school students considered “at-risk,” resulting in increased college readiness and high school graduation rates.

Pictured below (front row 2nd from left and 4th from left) Dr. Brenda Arteaga, Superintendent of Schools and Janelle James, CEO of Schools.

Presenation of ATT Check to SWS - Project Grad

College Signing Recognition Day

College Signing Recognition Day, students are recognized for their commitments to the colleges and universities that they were accepted to and plan to attend in the fall semester. This initiative is recognized to “inspire every student in America to take charge of their future by completing their education past high school, whether at a professional training program, a community college, or a four-year college or university.” Recruiters, counselors, and teachers have worked diligently with seniors and all are invited to attend the event in which students signed letters of commitment. Student’s that received scholarships from various that college’s or university’s are also recognized. The following colleges/universities and their representatives plan to attend this great event:

Houston Baptist University: Kelli Fyke
Houston Community College: Athena Walker
Lamar University: Elizabeth Richard (alumni)
Prairie View A&M University: Ramiro Bautista
Sam Houston State University: Kendrick Donahue (alumni)
Texas State University: Herbert Harry
University of Houston – Downtown: Wesley Wells