Alief Independent School District
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District Information

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District Description and Alief History 

Alief ISD, founded in 1917, is located in southwest Houstonan urban community with thriving businesses, active churches, and excellent recreational facilities. The district encompasses 36.6 square miles.

An exemplary education is provided for students in prekindergarten through grade twelve. The district strives to provide a variety of educational opportunities in academics, the arts, and career and technology education. Special education, gifted/talented (grades K-12), English as a second language (ESL), and bilingual programs are among the support strands available.

Alief ISD is the most ethnically diverse of school districts of comparable size in Texas. Virtually every culture of the modern world is represented in its 42,000+ student enrollment; over 60 languages and dialects are spoken. Guest speakers, culture clubs, and ethnic fairs help promote multicultural appreciation.

Alief ISD's beautiful facilities are a focal point of the community and represent a major property investment by its taxpayers. The district employs a full-time police department to protect this investment, as well as to maintain a safe environment for students and staff. 

Looking back: 100 years in Alief…

The area within Alief ISD boundaries today is a bustling urban community, while only a few decades ago, it was a sparsely populated flatland.

In looking back from the Year 2000, we find that some things, however, are still the same as they were many years ago for those of us who live and send our children to school in Alief today. Very old records tell us that even in its early days Alief was a community that cared for its children. Parents wanted excellence in education in a safe environment, and that is still the mission of the district. Alief ISD is fortunate that parents, other community residents, and business partners show their support by generously giving their time, materials, funds, and much more to benefit Alief’s 42,000+ students at 39 campuses.

In contrast with the present, Alief (once known as Dairy) was a rural community of about 30 families in the early 1900s. The area was described as a flood-prone prairie, where farmers grew rice, cotton, and corn and raised cattle. Going to Houston meant a 30-mile round trip by wagon on an unsurfaced pathway. When the area was flooded, the only way to get to town was by a small train that ran through Alief.

A three-story brick school was built in 1911, replacing a small frame structure previously used as a schoolhouse. Alief’s Dairy School, District 46, officially became an independent school district in 1917, and like the village it was renamed for the community’s first postmistress, Alief Ozelda Magee.

Alief’s second general store opened in 1915; the stores were popular gathering places for residents. By 1920 a few Alief citizens had automobiles. Electric service, however, wasn’t available until 1935, and residents had to wait several more years for telephone lines to be installed.

The three-story school building was condemned in 1939, so children had to attend classes in a nearby frame structure called the auditorium. It was also used for church services, weddings, and other community events. In 1940 a school annex was added.

Construction of the Alief campuses that exist today began with financing from bond issues in the early 1960s. Alief Elementary School, later renamed for teacher Cynthia Youens, was the first to be built in 1964.

Even as recently as 1970, the Alief community was more pastureland than developed acreage. A few subdivisions of single-family dwellings dotted the map. Several of today’s major thoroughfares, including the route of the Sam Houston Tollway, were gravel roads. The district only had three elementary schools and a combination junior-senior high school, which became Alief Middle School.

As with many areas close to a metropolis, however, sooner or later urbanization occurs. A huge tract of vacant land was sold, and the Brown & Root complex was built on part of it. Apartment buildings mushroomed over another large portion. Alief’s population almost quadrupled between 1970 and 1985, and business, big and small, multiplied in the community. Annexation of sizable chunks by the city of Houston began in 1977, and Metro bus routes were extended to the suburb.

The community and the district have steadily continued to grow. A fourth high school is under construction. The twenty-second elementary campus opened in August 1999, and the fifth intermediate, in August 2000. There are also two ninth-grade centers, six middle schools, and an alternative learning center currently in the business of educating the children of Alief.

Prepared by the Community-School Relations Department