On Wednesday night, Houston ISD hosted its first ever Tele-Town Hall event to discuss the upcoming annexation of North Forest ISD to HISD. More than 800 people had the opportunity to speak, in English or Spanish, with HISD administrators about such topics as school closings, magnet enrollment, dress codes and special education services for incoming North Forest students.
“We had a lot of interesting questions and a lot of people wanting information so I think it went very well”, said panelist and HISD Board District II trustee Rhonda Skillern-Jones.
Other panelists for the night’s event included HISD Superintendent Dr. Terry Grier, Chief Human Resources Officer Dr. Rodney Watson, Chief Operating Officer Leo Bobadilla, School Services Officer Lupita Hinojosa, Senior Manager of Federal & State Compliance Mark White and Multilingual Manager Evelyn Castro.
Panelists answered caller concerns, which ranged from methods HISD uses to prevent bullying to future employment for NFISD faculty. Many callers expressed concern that services provided for students in their current district would be altered or diminished, but administrators eased worries by pointing out the many opportunities for continued growth within HISD.
“I want North Forest parents to know and feel confident that everything possible is being done to make sure the transition is smooth and that their kids are a major concern for the HISD administration and superintendent and that we are doing everything we can to make sure they get the best education possible once the transition is made,” Skillern-Jones stressed.
The Texas Education Commissioner has ordered the Houston ISD to annex the North Forest ISD effective July 1, 2013. Approximately 7,000 NFISD students will become HISD students on the annexation date.