John Marshall High School Redevelopment

JMH renderingCome see the new building!


Thanks for visiting the BPDC website which is a great way to stay connected to all the changes in our neighborhood, including a major one to John Marshall, historically West Park’s neighborhood high school.

Read about school construction in this post:


JMHS Academic Design Principles

Drawing of a proposed Alumni hallway with memorabilia, awards, and reclaimed architectural pieces from the 1932 JMHS.

As you are well aware, John Marshall High School is in a key transition period right now. As the school continues to be rebuilt and is scheduled to open for the start of the 2015 school year there are many things that are being done beyond setting footers and erecting steel beams to make the “new” John Marshall a more structurally sound place for its’ students, faculty and members of the community to establish it as a hub of the neighborhood. As a community organization interested in the betterment of the neighborhood as a whole, Bellaire-Puritas Development Corp. is a part of the John Marshall Advisory Committee which is a pool of community members who have genuine interest in making the new John Marshall High School the gem of the neighborhood and the best it can be.

During the course of the John Marshall Advisory Committee members have given input and suggestions of what they would like to see the new John Marshall stand for, represent and offer in terms of programs and extracurricular activities. Out of this input the Guiding Principles for the John Marshall Redesign were developed. These guidelines focused on the need for John Marshall to meet the demand for a high-quality, college-ready education, while at the same time meeting criteria of students who are focused on career or post-secondary technical school. Preparing students for life after high school along with transforming JMHS in a manner that addresses and meets the needs of the people who live within the diverse social-economic community JMHS serves. The committee is aiming for John Marshall to be not just a school, but a community anchor that draws together a community of people around a common interest of excellence in education for all students in the community.

To accomplish these objectives the committee has focused on six major points that will all lead to a more forward-thinking John Marshall High School.


The John Marshall mascot is the Lawyer, based on 4th Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall.  The mascot is shown getting into the Halloween spirit for a JMH festival for elementary students put on by the senior class.

The John Marshall mascot is the Lawyer, based on 4th Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall. The mascot is shown getting into the Halloween spirit for a JMH festival for elementary students put on by the senior class.

The role of John Marshall in a students’ education must be one that instills confidence, inspires the student to be the best he or she can be and provides them the necessary tools they need to be successful. A goal to right away establish a culture and a classroom community that focuses on positive work habits and attitude, self-discipline and motivates the students to push through tough situations and does not allow them to fail. This should help empower the students that attend the school to take ownership of their education and understand the skills and the knowledge they are there to learn and seek help for when a problem arises that they are having trouble.
The academic goals that John Marshall will strive to pursue must be set at a higher standard to achieve the level of quality that is desired. Basing academic programs on designs that are research-based, time-tested and innovative in order to ensure high academic performance and engagement

among all students so each may find a place academically. Holding all students to high expectations based on a rigorous standards-based curriculum that is aimed to provide every student a chance, as well as the goal to graduate and be ready for a trade school or college and career in high-wage work and high-demand fields. JMHS should look to maximize students’ connection to adults through career exposure, mentoring, field studies, community service, internships, jobs and consultation with outside experts from within and outside the community.


Organized teaching and the learning around mastery rather than seat time or minimum standards: learning should be the constant; time the variable.

In order for the John Marshall to become the desired school it intends to be it must ensure rigorous instruction to promote the development of critical thinking, analysis, application and problem-solving skills.  JMHS must look well into teaching and learning innovation and prioritize cooperative, project based learning methods and environments. Since not one person is the same, JMHS cannot not be a one-size-fits all learning environment.  They must incorporate different methods and styles of learning the same thing to accommodate different learning abilities and multiple intelligences. JMHS should reflect on tangible local, regional, national and global issues that prioritize project-based learning, creating, thinking, and presenting. The goal is to make school interesting, exciting and worth the effort it will take to achieve the diploma.


Establishing the key staff and faculty that will bring success to the school is a must for John Marshall High School. JMHS must have the right staff in place that provides the right skills and values to fulfill the schools’ mission. The teachers must first and foremost understand the commitment to the requirements and expectations and demands the job entails to provide the best education JMHS can.

JMHS needs to hire school leaders who lead a shared vision for the schools and work actively as agents of change and promote teamwork among administration and other coworkers in the design, hiring, curriculum, teaching, scheduling and professional development that will be required at a school undergoing the changes JMHS will need.


Establishing John Marshall as not just a school, but a community hub will provide the neighborhood as a whole a sense of pride and oneness that can bring together the community outside of the classroom. JMHS must open the school building and grounds to the community to serve as a center of

community after school hours, late at night and on the weekends, for learning, leisure and recreational activities.

Taking students outside their classrooms to learn and experience hands-on learning to utilize the skills that were learned in the classroom. Through “reaching back” to promote the school to K-8 students JMHS must encourage student enrollment and to instill school pride from around the community.


John Marshall High School must identify a governance mechanism that ensures the long-term success of the schools at John Marshall and engages the community in supporting this vision. Active promotion and expectation that John Marshall will participate in neighborhood and community development conversations will be a large part of the schools’ role in the community. JMHS must look to support family literacy efforts in partnering

organizations and promote high-quality preschool programs and elementary schools in surrounding neighborhoods as well as empower parents as partners in education.

Promotion and the ability to ensure the design and organization of the schools are built on an understanding of the community context and that it reaches all students’ to achieve educational achievement to seek to build, nourish and sustain public participation and engagement in education within the community.

The design principles highlights:

  • SMALL SCHOOL CAMPUS to enable the personalized attention and relationship-building that has been so successful on the John Hay campus
  • FOCUS ON HIGH-QUALITY COLLEGE & CAREER READINESS for success in college or technical schools
  • SAFE CLIMATE built on inclusiveness and pride
  • A VIBRANT LEARNING COMMUNITY where all students find their passion and feel they have a place in the school
  • RIGOROUS CURRICULUM that sets high expectations and graduates all students ready to be successful in college and careers
  • RELEVANT AND DIFFERENTIATED TEACHING that engages students in ways that ensure mastery of minimum standards and that ensures a personalized approach to helping students learn
  • SCHOOL-COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIPS to support the design for an open and accessible school building after hours to engage the neighborhood and make the school the center of community strength
  • COMMUNITY LEARNING/VOLUNTEERISM with opportunities to connect young people to real world experiences to gain skills and work experience.


  • Photos of the groundbreaking from July 18th here
  • Construction will continue until the new building opens in August 2015 with a capacity for 1260 students.
  • The JMH Alumni Association has arranged to have hundreds of bricks preserved and available for purchase.
  • JMHS - 20th Century buildingElements from the front building’s façade were salvaged and will be preserved for use in the new building and also for public art in the community. These include the cornices (the top tier along the roof the building) the sandstone arch in the front entrance, limestone medallions and other features from the façade like metal spandrels under the windows. The granite steps have been preserved as well as the gazebo that was in the courtyard by the library. (see more on preserving the history in this blogpost from the summer tour of the outside and the “forgotten mural” )



 Buy a piece of John Marshall history!

John Marshall Alumni Association is selling bricks from old John Marshall’s building to raise funds for program support and scholarships through its endowment. Use this form to buy a brick.

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