KLEIN — Klein Forest High School, located approximately 30 miles northwest of downtown Houston, is one of only five high high schools in the United States to have been acknowledged as a 2018 State School of Character by Character.org.
At the helm of Klein Forest is Jacksonville High School graduate Lance Alexander, who serves as principal of the 3,750-student school.
Klein Forest is included on a short list of 65 schools nationwide that have been recognized and is the only high school in Texas to appear on the listing.
The school has come a long way in a short period of time.
As recently as four years ago Klein Forest was anything but a model school, but three years ago a committee of Klein Forest staff, students and community members formulated a plan to improve things at the school by establishing a core values program.
The following year an additional core value, one addressing diversity, was tacked on.
Character education lessons were developed and made a daily priority and students were quickly able to maximize their learning while making their values intentional.
The Golden Eagles have taken their original character values program to an entirely different level by striving to adhere to five core values: be the legacy, live the golden rule, practice mindfulness, embrace diversity and radiate school spirt, according to a Klein Independent School District press release.
Those values are credited with having launched Klein Forest, a district where 96-percent of the students are classed as minority students (hispanic accounting for the bulk of that group), into the next level.
The minority average at Texas schools is 71-percent.
Character.org and its state affiliates annually select schools and school districts that demonstrate a dedicated focus on character development that has a true and positive impact on academic achievement, student behavior and school climate.
For comparison purposes, Klein Forest has an 81-percent graduation rate, according to publicschoolreview.com., with the district spending coming in at $10,428 per student. Tyler Robert E. Lee (2,222 enrollment) maintains a 71-percent graduation rate and forks over $13,381 per pupil, while Longview High's graduation rate is 77-percent and the district spending per student being a whopping $23,855.
The enrollment at Longview is 2,242.
Klein Forest will celebrate its 40th anniversary in 2019 and will remain a State School of character for three years.