Lanier Middle School (Houston)
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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.
|Sidney Lanier Middle School|
|Houston, Texas, United States|
|Type||Public School (US)|
|Motto||Achievement with Honor|
|School district||HISD - Central Region|
|Number of students||1,435 (2016/2017)|
|Color(s)||Purple, and White|
|Teams||The Purple Pup|
|Newspaper||The Purple Page|
|TEA Rating||Recognized (2007/2008)|
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.
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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.
In 1973, Lanier's Vanguard program was instated. Lanier received a rededication after renovations in 1982.
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.
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. Former teacher Jim Henley stated that Lanier was known as a creative artist and that he was not known as a Confederate soldier. 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." 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."
In May 2016 the HISD board voted to rename the school after Bob Lanier, former Mayor of Houston. "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.
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. 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. 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.
Several areas of Houston inside the 610 Loop are zoned to Lanier, including Afton Oaks, River Oaks, Boulevard Oaks, Avalon Place, Southampton Place, Shadyside, Broadacres, 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), 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. 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.'"
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.
As of 2011 Lanier had received Texas Gold Performance Awards based on performance in language arts, mathematics, reading, science, social studies, and writing.
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.
In the main building, the first and second floors have 7th and 8th grade classes. The third floor has 6th grade and core classes.
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, Drill Team, Name that Book, Ladies of Lanier, Breakdancing, Student Council, Orchestra, Yearbook, MathCOUNTS
The Lanier dance team, the Expressions, are have won 3 consecutive national championships, and their officer line is the best middle school officer line in HISD. The Expressions also do many trips, including performing in Disney. They are 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
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. 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.
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.
During the 2009/2010 school year, Lanier had 1,319 students.
50% qualified for free or reduced lunch.
Elementary schools that feed into Lanier  include:
- River Oaks 
- Poe (partial) 
- Roberts (partial) 
- St. George Place (partial) 
- Wilson (partial) 
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.
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.
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. 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.
- Muthu Alagappan (Pioneer of basketball analytics)
- Walter Cronkite (Journalist)
- Denton Cooley (Surgeon)
- John Culberson (Congressman)
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- Linda Ellerbee (Journalist)
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- Lanier Middle School
- Lanier Middle School PTO
- Lanier Middle School Radio
- Letter from Goforth Law Firm about the Renaming (Archive)
River Oaks, Poe, Roberts, St. George Place, and Wilson
|Houston Independent School District
Lamar High School