Cinco Ranch High School

Cinco Ranch High School
Cinco Ranch High School
File:Cinco Ranch.tif
Cinco Ranch
Front View
23440 Cinco Ranch Boulevard
Fort Bend County, Texas

United States
Type Free public
Established 1999
School district Katy Independent School District
Principal James Cross
Faculty 179[1]
Grades 9-12
Enrollment 3,055 (2011)
Campus size 66 acres
Campus type Suburban
Color(s)           Maroon and White
Mascot Cougar

Cinco Ranch High School is a public high school located in unincorporated Fort Bend County, Texas, United States that serves grades 9 through 12 as part of the Katy Independent School District. It is located off Cinco Ranch Boulevard within the community of Cinco Ranch. The school opened in 1999.

Cinco Ranch High school was ranked 3rd by Newsweek magazine on its list of the top high schools in the United States in 2008 [5]. The school has also been rated the 3rd best high school in 2007 tied with Clements High School in the Houston region by the Houston Chronicle [6]. In 2010, Cinco Ranch High School was ranked 478th out of America's top 1,600 public high schools (top 6%) surpassing its regional academic rival Seven Lakes High School, which dropped to 689th in rankings.

The school was named a National Blue Ribbon School in 2008.[2][3]



Cinco Ranch High School opened in the fall of 1999 after a $143 million bond issue was passed in the spring of 1996 and another $324 million bond was passed in 1999 allowing for funding.[4] In the initial years, the school played host to displaced students from other Katy ISD schools including 8th graders displaced by overcrowding at Beck Junior High School in the 1999-2000 school year. Other relocations include students from West Memorial Elementary that moved to Cinco Ranch after the elementary encountered mold related issues in 2002.

The original building, built in 1999, has been expanded. It consists of a central rotunda, where the cafeteria, offices, and library are located. Attached to this are two long hallways running in opposite directions, which house classrooms. At the end of one of the hallways are the athletic facilities, including a natatorium, workout facility, gymnasiums, fields, and a stadium. At the end of the other hallway, on the opposite end of the school, are the fine arts rehearsal facilities, black box theatre, and the freshman center. The original facility was built on a 66-acre (270,000 m2) site by PBK Architects to support a maximum of 2,800 students.[5] The school has a net building area of 433,000 sq ft (40,200 m2). and cost of $37,507,000.[6]

The school benefited from the expanding budgets of KISD, which could be attributed to rapid growth in the surrounding areas and the addition of Katy Mills Mall, which, through taxes, gave a large boost to KISD funds. In 2001, many of the KISD high schools received renovations, and all received new performing arts centers (PACs). The KISD high schools also received additions of ninth grade centers, which may be attributed to the belief by the district that younger students benefit from an eased transition into high school. The PAC and 9th Grade Center were added to the fine arts end of the hallway at a cost of $11,356,050.[7] The addition of the Performing Arts Center has improved the quality of both theatrical and musical productions. The department includes the orchestra, choir, band, visual arts, and theater productions.

The secondary expansion, along with 9th grade gyms and offices, made for a very long and narrow two-story building with a total length of one quarter mile. This "tunnel effect" creates an environment for indoor running in the summer. Another large athletic accoutrement, added in 2004, is a hill more than 30 feet (9.1 m) tall with a paved running track paved to facilitate track runner training.

Past principals of Cinco Ranch High School include Dr. Lowell Strike (1999–2004) and Mrs. Bonnie Brasic (2004–2009). James Cross has served as principal since 2009.


  • April 14, 2011: Cinco students stage a walkout in response to budget and teacher cuts.[8] The following day, Cinco Ranch High School appeared on the front page of the Houston Chronicle for this mass student strike.

State championships

  • 2004 Texas 5-A Boys' Track & Field State Champions
  • 2005 Texas 5-A Boys' Track & Field State Champions
  • 2007 Texas 5-A Wrestling State Champions
  • 2010 Texas 5-A UIL News Writing Champion, also winning Tops of Texas, Ayla Syed


Classes range in size from just 10 in very specialized classes to over 35 (though rarely over 40)[citation needed] in some of the core subjects with an average of 20 students per class.[9][broken citation] A student can expect a class size around 26-30, generally with less in advanced courses (PreAP, AP, and GT [gifted and talented]) and more in Academic ("normal level") courses. Although the recent foreign language classes offered on campus during school hours (particularly the East Asian languages such and Japanese and Chinese) have been reported to average about 6 students to a classroom during the 2006-2007 school year. The school is noted by administrators and students for being highly competitive, especially with efforts to rank in the top ten percent of graduating classes, which guarantees admission to Texas public universities. The school is among the top 20 most academically rigorous in the state. Instruction is seen as being very rigorous in a district noted for its high quality programs across the board.

In April 2007, Cinco Ranch was rated by the Houston Chronicle as the third best high school in the Houston area, preceded only by the High School for Performing and Visual Arts (HSPVA) and YES College Preparatory. Included in this ranking were TAKS scores, graduation rates, ACT, SAT, and AP testing rates and scores, class size, teacher experience, and percentage of students from poor families.

In the 2005 school year:[10]

  • 508 of the school's 3,314 students took an Advanced Placement test; 89% of them passed and 30% received a perfect score.
  • The composite ACT score was 24.3, noticeably higher than the national average of 20.9.
  • A GPA of 3.8750 was required to enter the top quarter of the high school class.
  • The average SAT score was 1141, which is 113 points above the national average of 1028.

In 2008, Cinco Ranch was named a National Blue Ribbon School.[11]

The Best High School In America

A distinctive characteristic of the early years of this school was that between the years 2001 and 2004, and especially 2002 and 2003, the official slogan of the school, as given by the administration, was of Cinco Ranch being the "Best High School in America." Various derivatives were introduced, with announcements both via the public address system and large digitized message board in front of the school at various times announcing Cinco as having the "Best Students in America," "The Best Janitors in America," and so forth.

Critics questioned the lack of empirical data to support these assertions. It has been suggested by some that this motto and its corollaries were intended to be motivating and not taken in a literal sense. Critics replied that this was beyond the bounds of acceptable, literal or not. The issue was resolved in the Spring of 2004 as Mr. Lowell Strike, receiving his Doctorate and moving into the administrative branch of KISD, left the school. He was replaced by Bonnie Brasic, formerly of Mayde Creek Junior High School. She chose not to continue this tradition in the same pronounced manner, but the phrase is still in common usage, particularly from older administrators.

To replace the old slogan, a new slogan was given to the school, "Shining the Light onto the Future." Posters with this motto are placed in almost every classroom of the building, and can also be seen on the long hallways. However, the old slogan was resurrected for the 2006 Yearbook.

In 2011, Cinco Ranch High School did not rank in Newsweek's America's Best High School, while James E. Taylor High School, which was ranked 259 and higher than any other school in Katy ISD.

Extracurricular activities

Academic Decathlon

The school's academic decathlon team, first coached by Bruce Eaton and William Hollis, now coached by Misty Fincher and Susan Shank, has received 3 top ten finishes in the Texas Academic Decathlon competition, the latest of which was an eighth place in 2009. The team has had many students that have excelled in the academic decathlon, including the third place scholastic in the state of Texas Large School Competition.


The school opened with only two classes, and as a result the football team could not compete at the varsity level until the fall of 2000. Though largely unsuccessful at first, the team began improving beginning in 2002, missing the playoffs by a game that year and making the playoffs for the first time in 2005. In 2007 and 2009 the football team reached the third round of the Division 1 playoffs. Also in 2008 the team was able to defeat their well known rival, the Katy Tigers, for the first time to win their first district championship. In 2009 the team won its first regional title and became the Region 3 Champions.[12] The school competes at the varsity level in a variety of sports, with a particularly well-known track-and-field program, which won state titles in 2004 and 2005. In March 2005, the school had 27 athletes competing in the Nike Indoor Nationals at the PG County Sportsplex in Landover, Maryland.[13]

Cinco Ranch's wrestling team, currently coached by Bill Dushane, has consecutively won district championships six times, starting in the 2000/2001 school year. In 2007, the Cinco Ranch Wrestling team won the Texas State Championships for high school wrestling, with Matt Harris and Jamie Sheets claiming their own state titles, and Courtney Lindley becoming a State Runner Up as a sophomore. Altogether, the team produced six state champions.[citation needed] Swimming has also become a strongpoint of Cinco Ranch athletics. The girls' team have won district championships every year since 2001, while the boys consistently achieve secondto Taylor High School until 2008 when the boys won districts. On the regional level, the girls are often second to Kingwood High School; the boys usually attain third to fifth place.[citation needed]

Cinco Ranch's tennis team usually finds itself 2nd to Katy Taylor in District 18-5A play,[citation needed] but the team advanced to the Region III-5A Team Tennis Semifinals for the first time in school history in 2007. In 2008, the team snapped Katy Taylor's 13 year streak of district titles with a 10-8 victory, clinching the newly realigned District 17-5A title.

Cinco Ranch's soccer teams have also shown great success. The girls have won district almost every year since opening and have gone quite far in playoffs each year. Making it furthest to the regional playoffs. Abby Strickland, goal-keeper from 2004–2006, was recently named to the UIL All-Century First Team with Kaitlyn Eidson, midfielder, and Lauren Pfister, midfielder, were named to the Second Team.[14] The boys have had recent success in 2008. Led by Juan Nino, Josh Reicks, Preston Davis, Ryan Silvera, Francisco Diaz, Michael Strickland, and Stuart Howard, they lost to the would-be state champs, Flowermound Marcus, 2-1 in the state semi-finals in Round Rock, Texas. Flower Mound High School went on to win the state championship 3-0 over Klein High School, who Cinco Ranch had beaten in non-district play 3-2.


The Cinco Ranch Debate Team was founded in 2000 by coach and sponsor Perry Beard. Since 2003, the Cinco Ranch Debate Team has four qualifications to the NFL National Tournament in Student Congress and three qualifications to Nationals in Lincoln-Douglas debate. The team has also won the 5A UIL State Championship in Lincoln-Douglas Debate in both 2006[15] and 2007.[16] The 2007 NFL National Tournament saw the team's representative, Brian Agler, go to the elimination rounds in Lincoln-Douglas Debate, marking the first time the team cleared a student at Nationals. At the beginning of the 2008-2009 the team saw the arrival of a new coach, Syleta Harkins. Under her direction, the team moved away from being an exclusively LD and Student Congress team and branching out into Oratory, Public Forum, and interpretation events. The year 2009 saw the arrival of a new debate coach Kay Fenn. The team had a return to glory in 2009-2010 year, sending 3 students to the state championship in El Paso, Texas. Unfortunately, none of them placed at the state tournament, but their efforts showed that Cinco Ranch High School is a school capable of providing a high level of competition in debate. In the 2010-2011 year, the team had yet another new coach. Under the direction of Rita Perry, the team sent Ellie Wu and Luis Espinoza to the TFA state tournament in Oratory and Student Congress, respectively. Luis Espinoza was the only state-finalist amongst all the schools in Katy Independent School District having placed 4th.


The Cinco Ranch Theatre Company has been a regional qualifier for the past four years and also has qualified as one of the top eight plays in Texas at the state level in the UIL One-Act Play competition twice. The Company, formerly known as Cinco Dell Arte, qualified for the State UIL (University Interscholastic League) competition for the first time in 2005, and again in 2007.[17]

Computer science

The Cinco Ranch Computer Science team has won 3rd place in the TCEA State Programming Competition, as well as 2nd (2004), 3rd (2005), 3rd (2007), 6th(2008) and 2nd place at the HP CodeWars Competition (2000), 3rd (2005), 6th (2007), 5th (2008). The team advanced to Regionals for the last 3 years and also had an UIL State individual champion in 2008. The club hosts an annual programming competition and LAN Parties throughout the school year. Club Website: [7]


The various performing choirs have consistently received superior ratings at UIL and festival competitions. The CRHS Varsity Choir, Chorale, was chosen as a TMEA Performing Choir, one of eight, and only one of two 5A high school choirs, and has performed in San Antonio at the Texas Music Educators Association convention in February.The Chorale Varsity Choir has also participated in many invitational concerts throughout the past few years. In April 2010 The Cinco Ranch Choir was invited and participated in the DCINY Festival choral concert in Carnegie Hall under the direction of composer Eric Whitacre.[citation needed]


The Cinco Ranch Drumline won 1st place at the Foster Highschool Drumline Competition in 2007 as the overall winners taking first in Snare, Quads, Bass, and Cymbals. The Cinco Ranch Cymbal Line has won 1st place at the Foster Highschool Drumline Competition 8 times since they have entered the competition. (2003–2004, 2006–2011, they did not enter in 2005 due to Hurricane Rita.).[citation needed]


The Cinco Ranch orchestra has ranked in the top five orchestras in Texas since the school opened in 1999, and placed fourth in the 2005-2006 school year. Cinco Ranch was the #1 school in the region in 2006-2007, taking 27 of the 136 slots available in the Region Orchestras. It has performed around Texas and Louisiana and was invited to play in Carnegie Hall in the 2005-2006 school year.[citation needed] In Spring 2010, Cinco Ranch Orchestra attended Disney World for their out-of-state trip. These trips occur every fourth year. Since opening, the orchestra has been conducted by Brett Nelsen.


In the 2005-2006 school year, the newspaper County Line received the Silver Star award from the University Interscholastic League. Both the yearbook Panorama and County Line were also awarded with ratings of Distinguished Merit.[8] In the 2010-2011 school year, the Journalism team placed first in District for UIL.

The 2001-2002 yearbook, "Panorama", made news. When the yearbook publisher agreed to reprint the book with various corrections, school administrators asked that some essays be removed. These included an essay about a homosexual student “coming out”. A school administrator said that the yearbook was not an appropriate platform for the story. He said it was "OK for the newspaper". The yearbook was printed without the essay.[18]


"FIRST Team 624" or "CRyptonite Robotics" is a robotics team from Katy, Texas that was founded in 2001. The team competes in FRC (First Robotics Competition) events. They are known by their lime green spiked hair, green capes, and friendliness both on and off the field. In the last several years, FIRST Team 624 has won several awards including the Imagery Award five times, Judge's Award, Regional Engineering Inspiration Award, Animation Award, Safety Award three times, made it to the Quarter Finals at at the World Championship twice, and won the Bayou Regional and Colorado Regional.

Feeder patterns

The following elementary schools feed into Cinco Ranch High School:[19]

  • Fielder Elementary School
  • Williams Elementary School
  • Creech Elementary School
  • Exley Elementary School (partial)
  • Griffin Elementary School (partial)
  • Rylander Elementary School (partial)

The following junior high schools feed into Cinco Ranch High School:

  • Beck Junior High School (as of the 2010-2011 school year, all BJH students will go to CRHS)
  • Cinco Ranch Junior High School

Note: As of the 2010-2011 school year, McMeans Junior High School students no longer feed into CRHS. All MMJH students will go to Taylor High School. However, there's an exception: if a student has a sibling currently enrolled in the following school year of Cinco Ranch High School, then they have a choice of either going to Cinco or Taylor High School.

Enrollment trends

After opening, Cinco Ranch High School steadily grew to over 3,600 students due to the rapid expansion of the Katy area. However, enrollment has decreased due to the opening of nearby Seven Lakes High School in 2005. Cinco Ranch High School's maximum capacity is 3,000 students. [9]

  • 2007-2008 = 2,791
  • 2008-2009 = 2,834
  • 2009-2010 = 2,872
  • 2010-2011 = 2,986
  • 2011-2012 = 3,055

Newsweek Ranking

Newsweek annually ranks the top 1,600 public high schools in the nation out of the approximately 27,000 that exist in the country. Making the top 1600 places a high school in the top 6% in the nation. Cinco Ranch has made this list for at least the past five years.[20]

  • 2010 = 500th
  • 2009 = 468th
  • 2008 = 968th
  • 2007 = 515th
  • 2006 = 676th

References and footnotes

  1. ^ KISD Profile Cinco Ranch, July 2, 2006
  2. ^ "Twenty-six Texas public schools named NCLB- Blue Ribbons Schools." Texas Education Agency. September 9, 2008.
  3. ^ "Feds award 26 Texas schools with 'blue ribbon'." Houston Chronicle. September 9, 2008.
  4. ^ Sandra Bretting (2005). Katy Might Call Bond Election, Houston Chronicle, February 17, 2005
  5. ^ America's Schoolhouse Council (1998-2005). Cinco Ranch High School
  6. ^ PBK Architects. Cinco Ranch High School Primedia Business Magazines & Media
  7. ^ PBK (Houston). Ninth Grade Centers & Performing Arts Centers at Four High Schools, Primedia Business Magazines & Media
  8. ^ KHOU Channel 11: KISD Students Stage Walkout
  9. ^ School Report Card Data, July 3, 2006
  10. ^ KISD Profile Cinco Ranch, June 3, 2006
  11. ^ [1]
  12. ^ [2]
  13. ^ 2005 Nike Indoor National Results
  14. ^ [3]
  15. ^ "UIL Spring Meet 2006 - Meet Composite". University Interscholastic League. Retrieved 2008-05-04. 
  16. ^ "UIL Spring Meet 2007 - Meet Composite". University Interscholastic League. Retrieved 2006-05-04. 
  17. ^ Drama/One-Act Play: Regional Competitors, University Interscholastic League, July 9, 2006 [4]
  18. ^ "Two Houston area schools censor stories about gay students". Student Press Law Center. May 24, 2002. Retrieved 2007-10-15. 
  19. ^ KISD. "KISD Feeder Patterns". KISD. Retrieved 2006-12-13. 
  20. ^ America's Best High Schools

External links

Coordinates: 29°44′44″N 95°46′47″W / 29.745491°N 95.779613°W / 29.745491; -95.779613

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