Board of Education to consider school closures, graduation plan

Proposal would close Jones, Dodson; new graduation plan under HB 5 would include Algebra II requirement

The Houston Independent School District Board of Trustees will review proposals to close Jones High School and Dodson Elementary School, and vote on new policies associated with House Bill 5 during a board meeting planned for Thursday, March 13.

During Monday’s Board Agenda Review meeting, several options were presented for consideration in the event of a vote to close the two schools, including:

  • Move the Montessori program at Dodson Elementary to Blackshear Elementary. The students in special education classes at Dodson would also be relocated to Blackshear or other nearby schools.
  • Repurpose the Dodson facility as a potential relocation site for Project Chrysalis Middle School, a middle school law enforcement/criminal justice magnet program. Another use could be as a middle school energy institute magnet program. It also could be utilized to house other schools while permanent facilities are being constructed in the area.
  • Use Jones High school for a college preparation or Vanguard program, a career and technical educational center, or to house other schools while permanent facilities are being constructed in the area.

Also during the meeting, adjusted attendance boundaries for Billy Reagan K-8 will be considered to reflect a change in growth patterns in that school zone.

Administrators are recommending that the HISD Board approve an official graduation plan for high school students. The district’s plan recommended by the administration would require this year’s eighth-graders — the class of 2018 — to study under the new 26-credit Distinguished Level of Achievement Plan. Students will be required to take Algebra II and earn an endorsement. This pathway will make HISD graduates eligible for automatic admission into state universities, if they graduate in the top 10 percent of their class.

The board will also vote on new or clarified district attendance policies and a new grading policy that ensures a student’s grade reflects the student’s level or degree of mastery of an assignment. These and several other approvals are required to support the rollout plans to implement House Bill 5, the new law passed by the Texas Legislature that revamps graduation, and accountability requirements.

Other items of note include a request to expand the Mandarin Chinese Language Immersion Magnet School through the eighth grade.

The board’s regular monthly meeting begins at 4 p.m. on Thursday, March 13 in the board auditorium of the Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center (4400 W. 18th Street). The board is scheduled to receive status updates on a number of projects and to vote on several programs, contracts, and grants. For a full copy of the board meeting agenda, click here.  The meeting will be carried live on HISD’s website and on the HISD Channel, which can be found on Comcast channel 18 and AT&T U-verse channel 99.