Lee High School (formerly named Robert E. Lee High School) is a secondary school located at 6529 Beverlyhill Street in Houston, Texas, United States in ZIP Code 77057. Lee High School serves grades 9 through 12 and is a part of the Houston Independent School District. The school has a largely foreign-born student body which originates from many countries.
YES Prep Lee, a charter middle school, was located inside the Lee High School campus; the school planned to expand to a six through 12 campus with 30 classrooms. YES Prep Lee, now YES Prep Gulfton, is no longer located inside Lee High School.
Lee High School was named after Robert E. Lee and was opened in 1962 to relieve high attendance at Lamar and Bellaire high schools. At that time, Lee High School had an all white and mostly affluent and suburban student body.
The United Daughters of the Confederacy's Robert E. Lee chapter number 186 supported the school in its early years; it donated portraits of Lee, gave American Civil War-related books to the library, and gave the school a rebel flag. The school's symbol was the general's family coat of arms, which has a squirrel on the top holding a nut. In 1999 the school's name was changed to simply Lee High School, and its logo became that of a four-point, star-bodied person.
As times changed, the demographic of Lee's student body shifted. As of 2008, it was made up predominantly of Hispanic immigrants and sons and daughters of Hispanic immigrants. Lee's student body was relieved of about 1,000 students when Westside High School opened in 2000, removing the last significant numbers of middle-class students and non-Hispanic White students. When Westside opened, residents of the Lee attendance boundary gained the option to attend Westside instead of Lee, with no free transportation provided. By 2004 three out of every four Lee students were born to non-English-speaking households.
In 2003 the school dropped American football from its sports program; Westside drained most of the American football players from the school and the school did not have enough children who were interested in playing American football. This is likely because American football is not a popular sport in the home countries of its largely Hispanic student body.
According to an October 2004 report given by whatkidscando.org called "Students as Allies in Improving Their Schools," Lee students did not cite many academic concerns when filling out surveys about their school experiences; 80% of students favored replacing the tennis courts with basketball courts, 96% of students favored cleaning the bathrooms, and 52% expressed a desire to help clean the bathrooms. The school had a split opinion about the idea of giving guided tours of the students' neighborhoods to the teachers.
Newcomer Charter High School (as of 2007, it is known as Liberty High School), which opened in January 2005, was housed in Lee High School until summer 2007, when the new campus at 6400 Southwest Freeway (U.S. Highway 59) opened.
According to the Houston Independent School District October 2006 "For Your Information" newsletter, Lee was one of four high schools that took the most Hurricane Katrina evacuees.
Charles Rotramel, the owner of the nonprofit program Youth Advocates, stated in a 2006 Houston Chronicle article that Lee High School, Westbury High School, and Sharpstown High School have suffered from the actions of youth criminal gangs.
In 2007, a study by Johns Hopkins University and the Associated Press referred to Lee as a "dropout factory" where at least 40% of the entering freshman class does not make it to their senior year.
In 2009 an increasing number of students took Advanced Placement exams; a March 2009 Houston Chronicle article stated that the student body will take around 550 AP tests in May 2009, eight times the number of tests taken in 2004.
By 2010 Lee continued to face issues regarding low academic performance, despite various programs implemented at the school designed to increase student achievement.
During the 2006-2007 school year Lee had 1,954 students. 78% of the student body qualifies for free or reduced lunch and the federal aid associated with those programs.
In a 2003 article by the Houston Press, principal Steve Amstutz stated, referring to the "Hispanic" designation, "But that covers from Nuevo Laredo to Tierra del Fuego. We're from the top of Mexico to the south of Argentina. And I've got kids from everywhere in between"  Amstutz said in a 2002 article that "Sometimes I can lose a whole country in a day, other times I can gain one." In 2010 Harvin Moore, a member of the HISD school board, said "There is no high school in Houston that has a more unique and difficult challenge with respect to a significant portion of the children who attend there," citing the concentration of older immigrant students who come from third world countries and often lack basic education.
Many areas of Houston outside of the 610 Loop have zoning regulations that funnel students to Lee High School, such as Uptown Houston, St. George Place (Lamar Terrace), Larchmont, Briargrove, Shenandoah, Tanglewood, Tanglewilde, Briar Meadow, Briarcroft, Woodlake, Jeanetta, the Houston ISD portions of Piney Point Village and Hunters Creek Village, Sharpstown Country Club Estates, Gulfton, and small portions of Westchase east of Gessner Road.
Lee High School provides students the options of taking college-ready classes that can earn them college credit and the experience of taking real college classes.
There are at least 18 Advanced Placement subjects taught at Lee. They include:
AP World History
AP U.S. History
AP U.S. Government & Politics
AP English Language
AP English Literature
AP Calculus AB
AP Calculus BC
AP Art History
AP Studio Art
AP Spanish Language
AP Spanish Literature
AP French Language
AP Environmental Science
AP Physics B
Throughout the years, the number of students taking AP courses and exams has increased since the AP Program was introduced at Lee.
Lee High School has an on-campus nursery to assist teenage mothers attending the school.
The school is also known for its humanities electives, which are subsided into four Academies:
Other sports include
Lee High School allows for students to wear any collared shirt, plain, plaid, or striped, with no pictures, prints, graphics, or advertisements. Collared shirts may have logos at or smaller than 1.5 by 1.5 inches (3.81 by 3.81 centimeters). Students may wear Lee High School and college and university t-shirts.
Elementary schools that feed into Lee include:
Middle schools that feed into Lee include:
A K-8 school that feeds into Lee: Pilgrim
Residents of the Briargrove, Emerson, Pilgrim, and Piney Point elementary attendance zones may apply for the Briarmeadow Charter School, so the K-8 school students may attend Lee, although they are also eligible to attend Lamar or Westside High Schools.