The concept of Calvin Nelms Charter High School began in 1988, when Dr. Ron Nelms, assistant superintendent of Kilgore ISD, was given the task of decreasing the escalating dropout rate (19%). Together with Bobby Benbow, Vocational Director, Dan Chadwick, Principal, and Thomas George, Curriculum Director, a plan was developed to create a self-paced individualized high school. Students would attend 4 hours per day and work 15 hours per week. Funding was maximized by having two sessions (one in the morning and one in the afternoon). Additional funding was generated by having as many as possible in a 15 hour per week work cooperative. Students were scheduled 4 hours per day to generate full ADA funding from the Texas Education Agency. Teachers worked both sessions and created a family environment for at-risk students. The design was researched based on the school-within-a-school concept. This original school is still functioning well and has graduated several hundred students after 12 years of success.

Therefore, Calvin Nelms Charter High School is not a new thing; it is based on 12 years of success and the originator's 91 cumulative years of experience working with at-risk students.

Dr. Nelms wrote his dissertation for his Ph.D. from Texas A&M on this original school. The conclusion of the dissertation was that more schools offering individulalized self-paced instruction are needed. Each new school should not be a clone of the first, because it would need to be customized to the personnel, students, culture, and location.

In the early months of 1998, Dr. Nelms decided to follow through with the suggestion of research. An opportunity was available to apply for a charter school through the Texas Education Agency. This new charter is an independent school district and reports directly to the Texas Education Agency. Approval was granted in August 1998 to open in the fall of 1999. Start up funds helped to find lease space, develop curriculum, hire personnel, and recruit students.

Calvin Nelms Charter High School opened on August 16, 1999 with 7 students, however our limited space was full by February. We rented a larger space in August 2000 and increased our enrollment to 150. By January 2001, CNCHS was at capacity again with 180 students.

In the summer of 2001, property was purchased near Fry Road and Clay Road in Katy and plans were designed to build several buildings. Plans include two buildings, each housing 160-180 students, operating separate from each other thereby keeping a small family environment.

Today, Calvin Nelms Charter Schools main campus consists of a large 19,000 sq ft of structure which houses administration, classrooms for 9th-12th graders, and a theatre arts area. Grades 6 through 8 are housed in a separate area with nine possible classrooms, an administrative office and a vocational/technical building.

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