Education News

Houston Opens New ‘Energy Institute’ To Students, Teachers And Energy Industry

This year Houston will debut a one-of-a-kind school. It's an Energy Institute. The Houston Independent School District officially opened the school Wednesday to students, teachers — and energy executives.

When he grows up David Do wants to be like his dad, his granddad and his grandma.

“My family has always been an engineer. They were petroleum engineer, because back then it was somewhat popular. And now I want something different. So I’m going to try out something like environmental like wind or solar.”

David is thirteen years old. He’s already getting a head start on his career plan. He’s enrolled in Houston’s brand new Energy Institute High School.

The school is a special partnership between the nation’s seventh largest school district and the energy industry.

Andrew Houlihan is with HISD.

“The development of this school in the energy capital of the world, it’s about time.”

The school’s advisory board includes executives from Halliburton, Shell, Apache and other major energy companies.

Under the partnership with HISD, the board will help develop the school’s curriculum.

Barry Russell, president and CEO of the Independent Petroleum Association of America says the industry can help provide an experience that “transfers some of the booming aspects of what’s going on in the energy industry to the student experience.”

“To teach them some of the skills that are going to be needed in this environment, but also for them to kind of answer the question, ‘What it’s like to work for a company like Exxon Mobile?’”

The school’s academic focus is on science, technology, engineering and math. Students will also get hands on experience in areas like offshore technology.

HISD trustee Paula Harris hopes it inspires students to pursue careers in engineering, like she did.

“I wish you spend the first seven Christmases on an offshore rig like I did, logging wells. I definitely hope to see this type of introduction to this field, this early, will allow you the opportunity to see the world.”

There will be 200 students in the freshman class.

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Laura Isensee

Laura Isensee

Education Reporter

Laura Isensee covers education for Houston Public Media, including K-12 and higher education. Previously, she was a staff reporter at The Miami Herald and contributed to South Florida’s NPR affiliate. Her work has also appeared in The Dallas Morning News, Reuters and Clarín in Argentina. Laura has won awards for...

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