Highland Park Independent School District – University Park, Texas

Highland Park Independent School District (HPISD) is a public school district based in University Park, Texas, within the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex.  HPISD serves most of the town of Highland Park, all of the city of University Park, and two small portions of Dallas. Those two portions are one that is north of Greenbrier Drive, south of Northwest Highway, east of the Dallas North Tollway, and west of Douglas Avenue; and one that is west of Preston Road and north of Colgate Avenue.  

The Dallas Independent School District surrounds HPISD on all sides. HPISD administers seven schools and seven campuses. The District is run by a school board consisting of seven elected, unpaid members. The District’s number for TEA reporting purposes is 057911.

John Scarbrough Armstrong was one of the major founders of the town and contents of Highland Park because he owned significant portions of the land that would become the town. In 1906, Armstrong purchased 1,400 acres of prairie land north of downtown Dallas.

After his death on April 26, 1908, his widow and sons-in-law—Edgar Flippen and Hugh Prather—took over his work. On April 14, 1914, the newly incorporated town of Highland Park petitioned the Dallas County Judge to allow them to establish an independent school district. From 1909 until this time, children wishing to attend school had attended classes in a little red frame house operating under the name of “Highland Park School” that had been moved to the 4700 block of Abbott by community leader Michael Costello and a group of citizens.

However, the judge granted the petition for an independent school district on May 5, 1914, and HPISD was born. Once the school district held an election for the first Board of Trustees, the Board began searching for a suitable location for the new school. Mrs. Alice Armstrong, the widow of the late John S. Armstrong, generously donated the needed land in the area bounded by Cornell Avenue, Byron Avenue, and St. John’s Drive-in memory of her husband, thus helping found the HPISD and its first school, appropriately named Armstrong. The Board of Trustees approved $30,000 in bonds to build the new Armstrong School on July 16, 1914.

Highland Park residents spearheaded the creation of the HPISD and asked the neighbors to the north to become a part of the district; taxes were lower since the district included University Park’s population.

Initially, the district did not receive funds from the U.S. federal government. Its student body was entirely white. The servants’ quarters in the houses did not have black children as the wealthy white families did not hire servants with families. As a result, HPISD had no black children in the 1950s and 1960s, when other Dallas-area school districts dealt with racial integration and white flight. The federal court orders to integrate had no effect on HPISD since it did not receive federal money.

As a result, the values of HPISD-zoned properties in University Park rose dramatically and the demographic makeup became wealthier, with smaller houses being replaced by larger ones circa the 1970s.


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