HISD Announces Meetings to Discuss School Transition Plans

Sterling HS students will move to Jones HS campus during construction; Ryan MS students would move to Cullen MS

Four community meetings have been scheduled for Tuesday, February 26 to discuss HISD’s plan move students out of two school buildings at the end of this school year.

Under the plan, the current student bodies of Sterling and Jones high schools would be combined into a single campus on a permanent basis.  Students from Sterling will move to the Jones campus and remain there while the new Sterling campus is under construction as part of the recently approved HISD bond program.  The school would operate as a single campus, with all students joining together to compete on the same academic and athletic teams.  Once the new campus opens in late 2016 or early 2017, all students currently zoned to Jones would be rezoned to the new school, a $72.3 million campus capable of supporting modern technology and accommodating the latest approaches to collaborative learning.

In addition, students currently zoned to Ryan Middle School would be permanently rezoned to nearby Cullen Middle School beginning this summer.

By combining these student bodies, the larger schools will have additional funding needed to offer a stronger variety of academic course offerings and other services to students.  Ryan is currently the smallest neighborhood middle school in HISD, with fewer than 300 students.  The Jones campus has the capacity to hold 1,500 students, but enrollment has dropped below 500.  Because HISD funds schools based on enrollment, schools with few students struggle to offer elective courses that are outside of the basic core curriculum.  Small schools also offer few extra-curricular activities.

The HISD administration plans to ask the Board of Education to keep the Jones and Ryan campuses open after the neighborhood students have moved to their new schools.  Ryan would be repurposed as The Medical and Health Professions Academy at Ryan Middle School.  This district-wide magnet middle school would seek to prepare more students to compete for admission into the highly selective DeBakey High School for the Health Professions. Last week, the HISD Board of Education voted to seek federal grant dollars to help start the new school.

HISD is exploring options for keeping the Jones campus open as a district-wide Vanguard magnet school for gifted and talented students once the new Sterling High School is opened.  Jones was the original home of the Carnegie Vanguard High School, which now has its own campus.

Community meetings will be held at each of the four affected campuses at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, February 26.