Not long ago, hardy German settlers judged the salt grass pastures and rich farmland of what is now Memorial High School to be a promising combination. They had no way of knowing then that the farms and forests would one day be overwhelmed by urban sprawl. Now the church and small cemetery at Long Point and Campbell Road are among the few reminders of those early homesteaders of Spring Branch Independent School District.
As recently as the early fifties some of the old farms were still being worked, but the explosive growth of the City of Houston finally spilled over and a building boom reshaped Spring Branch's north side. However, the Memorial area remained much the same, where many residents lived on 3 to 7 acre tracts and students rode horseback along the streets. Soon the Memorial area was caught up in its own real estate boom and Spring Branch ISD had to find ways to meet the challenges of a yearly growth rate of 300% at one time.
In this setting, Memorial Senior High School was opened in 1962. Many soon called it the flagship school because of its high standards and high ability, high achieving students, 98% of whom attended college. A federal census ranked Memorial parents as having the highest level of education in the Houston area.
Memorial's whole world erupted in the early eighties. Suddenly Memorial was a part of an urban community and the faculty had to develop skills to cope with an increasingly diverse population, a growing number of at-risk students and a rising rate of student mobility. With shared leadership, before the term "site-based management" became popular, the Campus Advisory Team, consisting of eight faculty/staff and eight community/parent members, led by the principal, learned to negotiate consensus. Using the Effective Schools approach and practicing the belief that all students can and will successfully complete high school, we realize that diversity is an asset.