+ Our History
Recognizing the need
A precursor of The Monarch Institute for Neurological Differences, The Monarch School was founded in 1997 in response to a critical need in our region—to serve students with neurological differences who required a program that provided cognitive, emotional and social development components. Before The Monarch School existed, many families were forced to send their children to residential, out-of-state schools.
Building the foundation
We conducted a feasibility study, comprised of research and focus groups that included educators, psychologists, parents and community members. We needed to affirm the need and determine if the Houston community would support its first therapeutic day school. The results were overwhelmingly positive, the need was great and the support was assured.
During the first year, Head of School Dr. Marty Webb and a Director of Development worked full time to lay the foundation for the school. We then formed an Executive Board from the four original co-founders. We recruited an Advisory Board of parents and community members and a Professional Advisory Board of psychologists, special educators, neurologists and psychiatrists. We developed a database of friends of the school, created a business plan and secured seed money through an annual fund, foundation grants and a gala fundraiser. Gradually, we hired a small but competent initial faculty. Our vision was beginning to take form.
But finding and securing a site proved an enormous challenge, which wasn’t solved until late in the spring of 1998. Just before the school was to open in August, we were able to lease ground space at the Houston Mennonite Church, where three modular buildings were placed. The next and equally formidable challenge was to educate the community about the opening—and uniqueness—of Houston’s first therapeutic day school.
We opened our doors in the fall of 1998 to 23 students. At that time, there were seven professional educators, three part-time psychologists, a secretary and a Development/Admissions Director. Evaluations at the end of the year were overwhelmingly positive, and community support for the school continued to grow dramatically.
Growing and expanding
Each year after, we grew in size and support. By the third year, enrollment had tripled. We were using all of our classrooms in the portable buildings, as well as all of the rooms in the Houston Mennonite Church. We had hoped to place additional portable buildings on the property, but zoning did not allow it. And so we looked for additional space and found it five blocks away in a business park. We renamed the original site our Apprentice Campus.
The Craig and Lee Williams Challenger Campus opened in the fall of 2001 after a summer of intense remodeling. The additional 7,000 sq. ft. included five classrooms, a woodshop, a fitness room, a large community meeting room and several offices. Two years later, we added an additional office suite for the Learning Center and the Life Academy, bringing the total space of the Challenger Campus to 10,000 sq. ft.
Beginning in the spring of 2002 and culminating in August of the same year, the co-founders who formed the original executive board resigned and were replaced by a board that included Dr. Webb and was more representative of the parents and community. We wrote new bylaws, and the board began taking a proactive role in strategic planning for the future.
Things looked bleak in 2005, when we lost our lease, but MetroNational Corporation stepped forward with a generous 90-year lease on 10.75 acres in Northwest Houston. Having this piece of land allowed us to begin an aggressive capital campaign, which resulted in the completion of the Chrysalis Building in August, 2009.
Building for the future
Phase II of the construction of the Butterfly Building and Monarch Center began in July 2012. The Butterfly Building was completed in September 2013 in time for the 2013-2014 school year. The Butterfly Building hosts the Challenger and Voyager levels. With the completion of the Butterfly Building, the Chrysalis Building now hosts our Novice and Apprentice levels.
+ SACS CASI
SACS CASI is the accreditation division of AdvancED—the parent organization for the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA CASI), the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI), and the National Study of School Evaluation (NSSE). Their Quality Assurance Review Team visited Monarch and noted that we excelled in all accrediting standards in every category.
The Monarch School was first accredited by the Association for Specialized Elementary School Accreditation (ASESA) in April, 1999. This accrediting group was formed in Dallas to fill a specific need of elementary schools in specialized education. ASESA operates under a system of internal study and external examination—the same format most accrediting agencies use. A series of interim reviews are conducted, and re-examinations occur at five-year intervals.
In June 2001,at the end of three full years of operation, we were eligible to apply for accreditation through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). After preparation and site visits, The Monarch School was officially awarded full accreditation on December 7, 2002, in a ceremony at the SACS annual meeting in San Antonio.
A beautiful plaque now hangs in the school office, proclaiming The Monarch School an accredited school for 2003 by the SACS Commission on Secondary and Middle Schools and the Commission on International and Trans-Regional Accreditation.
+ Awards and Nominations
April 4, 2017 Mayor Sylvester Turner and the City of Houston awarded a Proclaimation in honor of The Monarch School and Institute
2015 Urban Land Institute (ULI) Award Finalist and People’s Choice Award
January 2015 Texas Private Schools Association (TPSA) featured School of the Month
2014 NAPSEC Award for Leadership & Innovation in Special Education -- National Association of Private Special Education Centers
2014 Best of Green Schools -- K12 School or Campus-- The Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC)
Houston’s 50 Most Influential Women of 2014 -- Monarch Founder Dr. Marty Webb -- Houston Woman Magazine
2014 LEED® Gold Level Certification--U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design
2014 Mayor's Proud Partners Award --Keep Houston Beautiful
2014 Greater Houston Reuse Contest-1st Place – City of Houston
2011 Nominee for Houston West Chamber of Commerce Star Award
2010 LEED® Gold Level Certification--U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design
Designed to Earn the Energy Star
Energy Star Rating, using Green-e®-certified green power since 2007
2010 Mental Health Association Award
AGC Apex Award (Mission Constructors)
School Planning & Management: Sustainability & Innovations Award
E.P. Maxwell Sheffler Distinguished Service Award (Dr. Marty Webb, Founder and Head of School)
+ Notable Events
September 2019 Monarch Faculty chosen to present at the Soaring to New Heights Conference, highlighting our successes serving individuals with neurological differences
2019 Better Business Bureau Top 25 Houston Area Charities
August 2019 The Monarch School and Institute was selected to be featured on ABC13, showcasing our relevance and contributions to the community on behalf of individuals with neurological differences
August 2019 Monarch Faculty chosen to present at the Texas Autism Conference
May 2019 Monarch Faculty chosen to present at the Quest for Success Conference
April 2019 Monarch Adult Learners developed and hosted Annual Employability Workshop
2018 & 2019 Monarch Instructional Staff selected to present literacy progress of students at the International Literacy Association's Annual Conference
2018 Monarch Instructional Staff selected to present literacy progress of students at the World Autism Organization Annual Conference
2018 Monarch Faculty provided training on providing a sensory-friendly environment for Houston Public Library managers and Mod Pizza management
December 2018 Monarch Warrior Course Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
September 2018 Monarch Faculty chosen to present at the Houston Arts Partners Conference
September 2017 Monarch Faculty chosen to participate in the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards - EPPP Standards Setting Workgroup Committee
June 2017 Monarch Faculty chosen by the LRP Publication - Special Ed Connection Newsletter to be interviewed on social media's impact on students
2017 Monarch Faculty selected to present at the international conference for Mod Pizza on working with neurologically-different employees
+ Our Founder
-Marty Webb, Ed.D. read more