There was a school - likely a log cabin - in the Coppell area (renamed from “Gibbs Station”) as early as the 1870s. In 1879, school was held in the Grapevine Springs (historic park in Coppell) Methodist Chapel and seemingly occupied a number of local church buildings over time. By at least 1897, Coppell had its very own school building, and an even newer two-story building served students at the turn of the century. In 1927, the Dallas County School System acquired six acres of land in Coppell along present Southwestern Boulevard for $900, upon which a new brick building was built. Two rural schools, Gentry School and Bethel School, consolidated with Coppell School and moved into the new building, part of which is, today, Pinkerton Elementary. In 1928, Coppell School had 175 students in grades one through eight. Upon finishing the eighth grade, students attended Carrollton High School to graduate from the twelfth grade.
Coppell School ceased to be a county school in 1959 when the Coppell Independent School District was created. In the early 1960s, a decision was made to expand Coppell School into a full twelve-grade school, and a grade was added per year until 1965, when the first high school class graduated from Coppell High School. Two years later, a second school building was built to house grades seven through twelve; that building is the current location of Coppell Middle School West.
Until 1963, Coppell athletic teams were known as the Coppell Tigers. Then, partly because of the new professional football team in Dallas, and partly because Coppell was home to a junior rodeo, the mascot changed to the Coppell Cowboys.
As rapid city growth continued after 1967, Coppell Middle School was located on the same site as Coppell High School. Coppell Middle School East was added in 1986. Coppell High School moved to its present location in 1989 allowing Coppell Middle School West to take over the entire campus. Starting in 1983, Coppell added elementary schools until there were ten (the Lee Elementary site was re-purposed in 2008 as the district’s second “choice” high school), and Coppell Middle School North, built in 1998, brought the number of middle schools to three.
Coppell ISD’s second high school, New Tech High @ Coppell, opened in fall 2008 with two grade levels, ninth and tenth, and 275 students. This twenty-first century choice high school was founded on the concept of collaborative and project-based learning and was the forty-second New Tech High academic community of its kind in the country (today there are over 150 campuses in the New Tech Network).
In 2014, CISD opened Richard J. Elementary, the first LEED Gold Certified and Net Zero Energy elementary school in Texas. This elementary was built in the North Lake/Cypress Waters Development to address enrollment growth occurring in the southern sector of the district.
Student growth in Coppell ISD averaged over 16% from the mid-1980s. Today, as one of the largest employers in Coppell, with over 1200 employees, Coppell ISD is comprised of sixteen campuses serving nearly 11,900 students in grades PreK-12. The district includes ten elementary schools, three middle
schools, two high schools, and an alternative campus. Current growth projections of between 200 and 250 new students per year (for the next five years) indicates more schools will be needed.
Current and past campuses include the following:
Pinkerton Elementary, established as Coppell School in 1928, renamed Pinkerton in 1967
Coppell Middle School West, 1967 (Originally the north campus was the high school and the south campus was opened in 1979 as Coppell Middle School.)
Lee Elementary, 1983 (re-purposed in the summer of 2008)
Coppell Middle School East, 1986
Austin Elementary, 1987
Coppell High School, 1989 (with additions in 1993, 1997, 2001, and 2014)
Mockingbird Elementary, 1991
Wilson Elementary, 1992
Lakeside Elementary, 1993
Town Center Elementary, 1994
Cottonwood Creek Elementary and Valley Ranch Elementary, 1996
Coppell Middle School North and Denton Creek Elementary, 1998
CISD Annex (alternative education campus), 2000. Outgrew its original location and, once a new campus was identified, became known as Victory Place @ Coppell
New Tech High @ Coppell, 2008
Richard J. Lee Elementary, 2014
This high-performing and diverse public school system has earned a statewide and national reputation as a leading innovator in transformative and engaged learning for the 21st century. It proudly educates with a whole-child philosophy in mind boasting state and national championships in academics, athletics, and the fine and performing arts. In 2015, a record 37 National Merit Semifinalists were named in a district where a rigorous curriculum helps prepare 92% of all graduates to continue their educational pursuits at the university level.
The Coppell Independent School District is conveniently located approximately ten minutes north east of the Dallas-Ft. Worth International Airport in the North Texas area. Although the City of Coppell is just over 14 sq. mi. in size, the school district spans over 23 sq. mi. in the cities of Coppell, as well as portions of Dallas, Irving, and Grapevine.
(Special thanks to Wheelice “Pete” Wilson, Jr. and the Coppell Historical Society for their early timeline contributions.)