The Houston Independent School District’s handling of the annexation of North Forest community schools earned accolades on Monday’s first day of school, according to news reports. HISD’s newest magnet schools and neighborhood elementary schools also created positive buzz.
ABC 13 KTRK’s Sonia Azad reported from Thurgood Marshall Elementary School that the first day of school found North Forest community residents pleased with the changes since the state-ordered annexation took place on July 1. “I’m happy that it’s HISD,” said parent Kimberly Hall. “I feel they’re going to learn more and have a productive year.” Third-grade teacher Leticia Alilionwu was delighted as well. “It’s been a long time coming,” she said.
KPRC Local 2 reporter Amanda Perez spoke to a few parents at Marshall, who reported that the changeover to HISD had been a smooth one. “The transition went well,” said parent Charles Malveaux. “North Forest is still a great district, and HISD is also a great district so the merge was perfect.” Earlier in the week, Channel 2’s Vice President and General Manager Jerry Martin aired an editorial wrapping up recent HISD initiatives, including North Forest improvements, and applauded Superintendent Terry Grier and his team on moving HISD “in the right direction.”
KHOU 11 News reporter Mia Gradney visited North Forest on Aug. 23 to interview parents and students. “We want to see some great things this year,” said parent Ivory Mayhorn. “We’re looking for a lot to happen with HISD. It’s all about the children.” KHOU-11 reported that 20,000 new textbooks, new desks, remodeled restrooms, and new playground equipment had students excited about returning to school.
Channel 39 was on hand at Marshall and the new Baylor College of Medicine Academy at Ryan, following Dr. Grier as he welcomed parents and students. “These kids are in good hands on their first day of school,” their reporter concluded.
Laura Isensee of KUHF-FM 88.7 was at Marshall with new Principal Hilarion Martinez, who said that his team has been working nonstop. “As you can see, we worked on everything from the murals to the flooring, painting, new classroom desks, and new technology,” Martinez said.
Ericka Mellon of the Houston Chronicle was at Marshall as well, reporting that Martinez surprised his staff with cupcakes and cards that read, “Our Teachers are the icing on the cake” and thanking them for the positive impact they will have on students. She noted that 11 employees at the school had enrolled their own children at Marshall, a testament to their faith in the school.
Before the school year began, HISD conducted the second of two Tele-Town Hall meetings for North Forest parents on Aug. 22. Listen to their questions and the answers provided by Dr. Grier, HISD board members, and administrative staff.
Brandon De Hoyos of News 92FM reported on HISD’s new elementary schools, including the brand new Atherton ES in the heart of the Fifth Ward and Lockhart ES on Houston’s South Side, both built with funds from the 2007 bond. HISD-TV features an up-close look at the new Atherton ES. Nearly 300 people turned out on Aug. 22 for the dedication of the new Lockhart ES, including Rev. William Lawson, pastor of Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church. Dogan ES has brand new facilities as well, and those students attending Sherman ES will be moving into a new school later this year.
HISD TV was at several campuses on the first day of school, getting feedback from students, teachers, and administrators at Marshall ES and Baylor. Dr. Grier visited HISD campuses on Monday as well, including Baylor, to welcome students and teachers as reported on the HISD website.
Energy Institute High School is the other new secondary magnet school that opened this fall to offer students a highly specialized curriculum. ABC 13 KTRK’s Kevin Quinn reported that students at Energy HS are learning at tables not desks, and they are encouraged to use their smart phones in class. Teamwork, initiative, leadership, and time management are just a few of things being encouraged by Principal Lori Lambropoulos.