Have you ever seen the television show Friday Night Lights about a small town in Texas and its heroic football team? Well, Austin is not a small town, and James Bowie High School in Southwest Austin certainly offers more than football. But the connection and involvement between the community with Bowie High School is reminiscent of the popular show. For people moving to Texas from other parts of the country, this can be a little surprising, but at Bowie having parental attention and support centered around kids’ high school activities is pretty normal.
My own relationship with Bowie High School is quite strong. Our oldest two kids graduated from this school. Kegan participated in the Air Force JROTC program and Honor was very involved in the art program, even joining her favorite teacher for an art field trip to Italy her senior year. Benton, our middle child, is a junior at Bowie now. Previously he was a swimmer, but now every spare moment of his extracurricular time is spent with the drama program, either performing with the Starlight Theater Company or in UIL competitions.
I am active with the PTA at Bowie and in my opinion, connecting with the PTA at any school can be a great way to determine whether the school culture is a good fit for your student and your family. It’s offers a way for you to speak to other parents about the issues that concern you and your child the most. The Bowie PTA’s website is www.BowiePTSA.org. There is a list of officers and contact information online, and even an email group you can join to stay up to date on school activities. One of the biggest events of the year is Homecoming, which is planned by the student council and the PTA and held in Bowie’s very own courtyard, under the heritage oak tree.
Some people wonder what it is like for a student to attend such a large school. Our families’ experience has been that the school works hard to offer opportunities for kids to connect with a class, club, sport, or activity that allows the kids to have a core group and not feel lost in the large school. Of course, it isn’t perfect and the school has its share of students who choose to make bad decisions. But the general environment is supportive of teenagers striving to do their best.
The school currently operates on a block schedule, with alternating “A” days and “B” days. Students attend periods 1-4 on “A” days, and periods 5-8 on “B” days. Classes are roughly 90 minutes each, allowing a deeper dive into content, which is especially valuable for hands-on learning such as science labs, and performance classes such as fine arts. The bell schedule is posted on the school’s website.
Each year the Texas Education Agency produces an Accountability Summary for each school in the state. In 2014 Bowie High School met the standard for every category that was measured. Also in 2014, Bowie earned the ranking of #115 out of all high schools in Texas in U.S. News and World Report’s best high schools report.
Bowie’s motto is Pride in Performance, and this philosophy is displayed throughout the school’s strength in many athletic, academic, and extracurricular activities. The school is known as a powerhouse in many sports ranging from football to lacrosse, volleyball to tennis. Virtually every sport has its own booster club and its own website. For example, you can learn all the details about Bowie Football and Bowie Girls’ Lacrosse on their respective sites. A complete list of the Bowie’s athletic teams, along with their coaches’ contact info and links to their websites can be found by clicking here.
School: James Bowie High School
District: Austin Independent School District
Year Opened: 1988
Address: 4103 W. Slaughter Lane, Austin TX 78749
Location: Southwest Austin
Size: 60 acres
Attendance: almost 3,000 students
UIL Division: 5A
School Colors: Red, Black, and Silver
Principal: Stephen Kane
Rodney with his son Kegan at graduation 2011 Rodney with his daughter Honor at graduation 2012