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Lanier Middle School (Houston)

Bob Lanier Middle School, formerly Sidney Lanier Junior High School/Middle School, is a middle school (lower secondary school) in Houston, Texas, United States, with a ZIP code of 77098. Lanier, a school of the Houston Independent School District, handles grades 6 through 8.

Bob Lanier Middle School
Bob Lanier Middle School is located in Texas
Bob Lanier Middle School
Bob Lanier Middle School
Bob Lanier Middle School is located in the US
Bob Lanier Middle School
Bob Lanier Middle School
Houston, Texas, United States
Coordinates 29°44′31″N 95°24′20″W / 29.741875°N 95.405517°W / 29.741875; -95.405517Coordinates: 29°44′31″N 95°24′20″W / 29.741875°N 95.405517°W / 29.741875; -95.405517
Type Public School (US)
Motto Achievement with Honor
Established 1926
School district HISD - Central Region
Principal Katie Bradarich
Grades 6-8
Age range 10-14
Number of students 1,435 (2016/2017)
Color(s) Purple, Red and White
Mascot Purple Pups
Teams The Purple Pup
Newspaper The Purple Page
TEA Rating Recognized (2007/2008)
Magnet Partial: Vanguard/IBMYP

Lanier Middle School, named after former Mayor of Houston Bob Lanier, is located in Neartown and near Montrose and has both neighborhood non-magnet and Vanguard/IBMYP (of the International Baccalaureate) gifted/talented programs.



Lanier opened in 1926 as one of HISD's first junior high schools. This school was named for a well-known Confederate Soldier, Sidney Lanier. In 1926, the Purple Pup was adopted as Lanier's mascot.

In 1935, students from Lanier created a petition to rename Woodhead Street, named after John Woodhead, to Higginbotham Street, after the principal, Blanch Higginbotham. According to the article "Historic Houston Streets: The Stories Behind the Name," students at other schools used "Wood head" as a derogatory label for Lanier students, implying that they lacked intelligence. After hearing testimony about Woodhead's character, the Houston City Council decided to keep the previous street name. The students apologized to E. S. Woodhead, John Woodhead's brother and a Houstonian.[1]

In 1973, Lanier's Vanguard program was instated. Lanier received a rededication after renovations in 1982.[2]

In September 1991 Lanier was one of 32 HISD schools that had capped enrollments; in other words the school was filled to capacity and excess students had to attend other schools.[3]

Lanier's campus has been expanded numerous times since it was first built. The most notable expansion was the addition of the area of the building housing the cafeteria and gymnasium. This expansion has resulted in some quirks in the building that are still visible today, most notably a door leading to stairs to the basement that is only half-exposed above the floor of the hallway. These stairs are no longer in service, though the door can be opened even though it's blocked by the hallway floor. Students aren't allowed to open the door and/or go down those stairs. Prior to this expansion, the cafeteria was located where the library is today, on the third floor. A dumbwaiter, located where the elevator is today, carried food to the cafeteria.

The windows at Lanier were upgraded at some point. Originally, they were 4-panel window panes that could each be opened. They were upgraded to standard slide-open windows. Possibly at this point, for currently unknown reasons, many of the windowsills in the back side of the school were bricked up.

Lanier's first floor flooded in 1998 due to Tropical Storm Frances. In the early 2000s (decade), to reduce echoing in the classrooms and to allow easier installation of network hardware, a false ceiling was installed in almost all classrooms and hallways. Sometime after 2001, televisions that were in every classroom were removed.

Prior to the 2008/2009 school year, Lanier had a third temporary building which housed bathrooms and water fountains, though only one water fountain out of three was operational as of 2005. At the start of this school year, the building housing the bathrooms was removed, and the other two temporary buildings were moved from the field to other parts of the campus.

Lanier was renovated during the 2008/2009 school year, with a new paint job, new interior signage, and new walkways to the new locations of the temporary buildings.

GSG (Guidance and Support Group) is a class similar to homeroom including students from each grade and each cluster, where students go to every day except Friday to discuss abuse, drugs, social problems, goal-setting, and other issues, and also play organized games, most notably handball (called Moonball among the students). Competitions in organized games between GSGs are very common. Students stay in the same GSG for all three years. Two or three students in the last part of their seventh grade year are elected to be the student "leaders" for the next year's GSG class, and teach the class. Each GSG is a bit different and has a family type environment where all students are helped to feel comfortable and ask for help whenever needed.


On February 12, 2016 the HISD board voted to require Lanier to change its name in an effort to purge HISD of school names based on Confederate figures, even though the Lanier students approved of keeping the school's name.[4] Former teacher Jim Henley stated that Lanier was known as a creative artist and that he was not known as a Confederate soldier.[5] Mike Tolson of the Houston Chronicle wrote that since Lanier had only a small number of works, he "is not studied much these days[...]and students who are not from his native Georgia are unlikely even to know his name."[6] Tolson argued that "For the majority minority board, [Lanier] was low-hanging fruit, along with other men who actually served the Confederate cause in a more serious way and are not studied in classes on American poetry."[6]

In May 2016 the HISD board voted to rename the school after Bob Lanier, former Mayor of Houston.[7] "Lanier Watchdogs", a group of Lanier parents, accused the HISD board of omitting the cost of renaming the school; this group hired Wayne Dolcefino to assist their investigation.[8]

In April 2016 a group of parents asked HISD board member Jolanda Jones to apologize to students who opposed the name change after she accused them of bullying other students in favor of the name change during a board meeting. Dolcefino investigated the issue and found no evidence of bullying. Jones refused to apologize despite her claims being totally discredited.[9] Jones will run for re-election in 2019.

In May 2016 a group of residents threatened to sue HISD if it followed through with renaming Lanier.[10] In June 2016 a group of eight Houston area residents, including alumni and parents, had given HISD a second ultimatum; when HISD did not accept it, they sued HISD to get an injunction to prevent the name changes. Dolcefino serves as their spokesperson.[11]

John Nova Lomax argued against the renaming in Texas Monthly on the grounds that Bob Lanier had a mixed political legacy.[12]

Neighborhoods servedEdit

Several areas of Houston inside the 610 Loop are zoned to Lanier,[13] including Afton Oaks, River Oaks,[14] Boulevard Oaks, Avalon Place, Southampton Place,[15] Shadyside, Broadacres,[16] portions of the Neartown area west of Montrose Boulevard (including portions of Montrose west of Montrose Boulevard, Castle Court, Hyde Park, Richwood, Lancaster Place, and Cherryhurst[17]), Weslayan Plaza, Oak Estates, Royden Oaks, Ranch Estates, Highland Village, Lynn Park, West Lane Place, Rice Village, most of Upper Kirby (areas of the district located west of Edloe and north of Westpark, residential areas located east of Edloe, west of Kirby, north of U.S. Route 59, and areas located east of Kirby).


In the 1995-1996 school year, 82% of black students and 70% of Hispanic students at Lanier passed state tests.[18] 98% of White students had passed the same tests. Tom Monaghan, the principal, said "If you looked at the big picture, we looked pretty good. But we said, 'That's not good enough. We have to look at the zoned kids.'"[19]

The school added an extra teacher for mathematics remediation for 8th graders, established new instructional strategies for language arts, added additional mathematics instruction for 7th graders in need of help in mathematics content, and created after-school reading and writing groups for Latino students. In the 2000-2001 school year, after the measures were taken, 89% of black students and 86% of Hispanic students passed state tests.[18]

As of 2011 Lanier had received Texas Gold Performance Awards based on performance in language arts, mathematics, reading, science, social studies, and writing.[20]


The campus consists of a three story main building, a separate building (containing a band and a drama room), and 2 temporary buildings (for leadership, debate, health, and the weight room). Lanier has an indoor pool located in the basement of the main building. Lanier also has an auditorium with a wraparound balcony located in the center of the campus between the South and North Patios, the latter officially named the "Tom Hutch-Hutchings Memorial Gardens" in honor of a longtime Lanier World Cultural Studies teacher. There is also a Chess Patio where one can play chess located next to the cafeteria. Lunch may be eaten on the South (also known as Purple) or Chess Patio, in addition to the cafeteria.[citation needed]

In the main building, the first and second floors have 7th and 8th grade classes. The third floor has 6th grade and core classes.[21]

"The Pipe of Peace", a mural by the artist Grace Spaulding John, is located at the school.[22]

Extra-curricular activities and non-core classesEdit

Lanier has a wide array of activities that students can participate in.

Sports: Track and Field, Cross Country, Volleyball, Football, Soccer, Baseball, Softball, Basketball, and Swim Team.

Classes and after school Activities: Speech and Debate, Drama, Art/Media Kids, robotics, chess club, Model United Nations, photography, Fiction Club, Geography Club, NJHS, Band, Cheerleading, Dance, Breakdance, Name that Book, Ladies of Lanier, Student Council, Orchestra, Yearbook, MathCOUNTS

Lanier Dance has won five consecutive national championships, six consecutive state championships and has been named the top dance team in all of HISD multiple times. Lanier Dance is under the direction of Kelsey Joseph and Suzanne Wolfe.

Lanier's debate team have won 9 consecutive national championships and are very successful team led by Franz Hill. The Lanier Band has won the Texas regional band competition back to back and is led by Ali Jackson and the Lanier drama team has won multiple competitions in the last three years. Although not a fine arts magnet like Johnston Middle School, Lanier has repeatedly placed higher in competitions, and although the band program has over two hundred students, the band is directed by only one person, who manages the band very well. The Lanier band is considered the best HISD Middle School band.

Laurette McDonald, the former conductor of the orchestra, lead the students with many awards and an excellent orchestra, who is the best best in the district(HISD)and number three in the state. In 2013, she was replaced by Aleta Cole and McDonald transferred to Bellaire High School.

Languages: Spanish, French, German, Mandarin Chinese

School uniformEdit

All Lanier students are required to wear school uniforms consisting of monogrammed LMS polo shirts in colors of red, black, white, and late in the 2013 school year (around May) purple shirts were brought back. They had not been available for about 10 years. The polo shirts purchased at the school and pairs of khaki bottoms (trousers, shorts, capris, or skirts) Skirts and capris are for girls only.[23] GSG leaders wear maroon and green shirts. This uniform was instituted at the start of the 1997/1998 school year.

The Texas Education Agency specifies that the parents and/or guardians of students zoned to a school with uniforms may apply for a waiver to opt out of the uniform policy so their children do not have to wear the uniform; parents must specify "bona fide" reasons, such as religious reasons or philosophical objections.[24][25]

Student disciplineEdit

The school enacted attendance policies meant to maintain a high level of student attendance, and the school threatens to criminally prosecute parents of students consistently committing truancy. The school had received awards[which?] for having high student attendance rates.[20]

Student bodyEdit

During the 2009/2010 school year, Lanier had 1,319 students.[26]

50% qualified for free or reduced lunch.

Feeder patternsEdit

Zoned schoolsEdit

Elementary schools that feed into Lanier [13] include:

All students who are zoned to Lanier are zoned to Lamar High School.[32]

IB programEdit

The IB programs at Poe, River Oaks, Roberts, and West University elementaries feed into Lanier's IB program. Lanier accordingly feeds its IB students into Lamar High School's IB program.[33]


Lanier is located west of Houston's Neartown neighborhood. Lanier is nearby single-family houses and small shops. A convenience store, a hardware store, and a few restaurants are near Lanier Middle School.

The Upper Kirby district, which is near Lanier, plans to establish a "teen center" at Richmond at Wake Forest geared toward students at Lanier, St. John's, Lamar, and other Upper Kirby schools and schools near Upper Kirby. Funding issues have delayed establishment of the center.[34]

Admissions policyEdit

Students zoned to Lanier automatically are eligible to attend the school, and are automatically able to attend the Vanguard program if they qualify.

For non-zoned students to attend Lanier, parents must submit Vanguard magnet application forms.[35] Admissions from this point on are drawn randomly on a lottery-basis. 256 students are drawn each year. Students beyond this are put on a wait-list.

Notable alumniEdit



  1. ^ Hinton, Marks. "Historic Houston Streets: The Stories Behind the Name" (Archive). The Heritage Society at Sam Houston Park. July 19, 2007. Retrieved on April 18, 2009.
  2. ^ "A Hypertext History of Lanier." Lanier Middle School. August 18, 2004. Retrieved on April 18, 2009.
  3. ^ Markley, Melanie. "32 schools hit enrollment cap." Houston Chronicle. Thursday September 26, 1991. A17. Retrieved on April 24, 2009.
  4. ^ Smith, Michelle Leigh. "HISD Trustees Ignore Community, Vote to Change Lanier & Johnston's Names" (Archive). Southwest News. February 16, 2016. Volume 30, No. 38. p. 1, 15. Retrieved on February 20, 2016.
  5. ^ Lomax, John Nova. "Should Houston’s Lanier Middle School Lose Its Name Because Of Confederate Ties?" Texas Monthly. January 14, 2016. Retrieved on February 21, 2016.
  6. ^ a b "How to change Lanier Middle School's name without changing it." Houston Chronicle. February 12, 2016. Retrieved on February 21, 2016.
  7. ^ Clemons, Tracy. "HISD approves name changes for seven schools" (Archive). KTRK-TV. Thursday May 12, 2016. Retrieved on May 21, 2016.
  8. ^ Downing, Margaret. "Angry Parents Say HISD Deceiving Taxpayers Over Cost of Lanier Name Change [UPDATED]." Houston Press. Retrieved on May 25, 2015.
  9. ^ Downing, Margaret. "Lanier Parents Want Jolanda Jones to Apologize to Middle School Students." Houston Press. Tuesday April 26, 2016. Retrieved on May 25, 2016.
  10. ^ Downing, Margaret. "Tonight's Vote to Rename Schools Prompts a Letter Threatening Legal Action Against HISD." Houston Press. Thursday May 12, 2016. Retrieved on August 2, 2016.
  11. ^ Flynn, Meagan. "Parents, Alumni Sue HISD Over Renaming Schools Honoring Confederacy." Houston Press. Thursday June 23, 2016. Retrieved on August 2, 2016.
  12. ^ Lomax, John Nova (2016-05-11). "If We're Renaming Schools Named After Confederates, Take A Hard Look At Their Replacements". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 2017-05-23. 
  13. ^ a b "Lanier Middle Attendance Zone Archived 2008-04-11 at the Wayback Machine.." Houston Independent School District
  14. ^ "Map Archived 2008-07-05 at the Wayback Machine.." River Oaks Property Owners Association. Retrieved on December 4, 2008.
  15. ^ "Information: Schools." Boulevard Oaks. Retrieved on December 4, 2008.
  16. ^ "Broadacres" (JPG, Archive, PDF, Archive - Harris County Block Book. Retrieved on November 20, 2012.
  17. ^ Cherryhurst Civic Association
  18. ^ a b O'Reilly, p. 41.
  19. ^ Robert Rothman (Winter 2001–2002), "Closing the Achievement Gap - How Schools Are Making It Happen", Journal of the Annenberg Challenge, 5 (2), retrieved January 3, 2014 
  20. ^ a b Deneen and Catanese, p. 93.
  21. ^ "Building Map." Lanier Middle School. Retrieved on August 9, 2011.
  22. ^ Chapman and Berry, p. 90. "One surviving school mural, "The Pipe of Peace," can be found at Lanier Middle School. Its creator was Grace Spaulding John, a noted artist who had organized the first professional artists' gallery in Houston a few years earlier. Mrs. John and[...]"
  23. ^ "Uniform and Apparel Policy." Lanier Middle School.
  24. ^ "DOCKET NO. 008-R5-901." Texas Education Agency. Accessed October 13, 2008.
  25. ^ "School Uniforms", Texas Education Agency. June 2, 2008. Retrieved on June 20, 2017. "(c) A parent or guardian of a student assigned to attend a school at which students are required to wear school uniforms may choose for the student to be exempted from the requirement or to transfer to a school at which students are not required to wear uniforms and at which space is available if the parent or guardian provides a written statement that, as determined by the board of trustees, states a bona fide religious or philosophical objection to the requirement."
  26. ^ "Lanier Middle School" Profile. Houston Independent School District.
  27. ^ "River Oaks Elementary Attendance Zone Archived 2007-11-28 at the Wayback Machine.." Houston Independent School District.
  28. ^ "Poe Elementary Attendance Zone Archived 2009-02-27 at the Wayback Machine.." Houston Independent School District.
  29. ^ "Roberts Elementary Attendance Zone Archived 2012-02-08 at the Wayback Machine.." Houston Independent School District.
  30. ^ "St. George Place Elementary Attendance Zone Archived 2008-04-11 at the Wayback Machine.." Houston Independent School District.
  31. ^ "Wilson Elementary Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District.
  32. ^ "Lamar High School Attendance Zone Archived 2011-09-28 at the Wayback Machine.." Houston Independent School District.
  33. ^ Lescalleet, Cynthia. "Schools achieve long awaited status" (Archive). River Oaks Examiner. Thursday, March 17, 2005. Retrieved on September 23, 2015.
  34. ^ "Upper Kirby plans flood relief / While residents hope for other projects, funds remain scarce." Houston Chronicle.
  35. ^ "Magnet English Home." Houston Independent School District.
  36. ^ Lee, Michael. "Stanford student hoping to change game of basketball". The Washington Post. Retrieved 6 January 2014. 
  37. ^ a b "Purple Page". Lanier Middle School PTO. November 11, 2005. 
  38. ^ "A Hypertext History of Lanier". Lanier Middle School. Archived from the original on 2004-10-26. 
  39. ^ "United States Middle Schools". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2018-07-12. archivedate=4 Mar 2016}}
  40. ^ Cooley, Denton Arthur (August 4, 2007). "Dr. Denton Arthur Cooley". Digital Archives (Interview). Interviewed by William H. Kellar, Ph.D. Houston Public Library. 
  41. ^ "Biography". U.S. Congressman John Culberson, 7th District of Texas. Archived from the original on 2006-03-29. 
  42. ^ a b "Distinguished HISD Alumni Archived 2012-05-15 at the Wayback Machine.," Houston Independent School District
  43. ^ Mitchell, Rick (September 30, 1994). "On the brink of stardom: There's another George on country's horizon". Houston Chronicle. 
  44. ^ Golodryga, Bianna [@biannagolodryga] (1 Apr 2010). "Who knew, @samchampion & I both went to Lanier Middle School! His is in Fairfax, mine, Houston. BTW- Sidney Lanier was a poet & musician" (Tweet). Retrieved September 18, 2010 – via Twitter. 
  45. ^ "Gov. Mark White". Houston Oral History Project. University of Houston. Retrieved March 11, 2017. Then we went to junior high school at Sidney Lanier and then on to Lamar High School. 

External linksEdit