Jones to become specialized Futures Academy; Dodson students will move to Blackshear, Lantrip, and the Rusk School
The HISD Board of Education on Thursday voted 6 to 3 to repurpose Jones High School into a specialized Futures Academy with trustees Rhonda Skillern-Jones, Anna Eastman, and Paula Harris opposed. Trustees also voted 5 to 4 to close Dodson Elementary. Anna Eastman, Rhonda Skillern-Jones, Wanda Adams and Paula Harris were in opposition. These votes come after weeks of debate and conversation including nearly 75 comments from concerned citizens during the board’s meeting and the removal of three schools from the original closure and consolidation proposal.
The trustees vote on Jones enables students to fulfill high school graduation requirements while earning industry certifications, college credits, and an associate’s degree. Jones High School students will be rezoned to Worthing High School and Sterling High School, and the campus will become a dual-enrollment-model Futures Academy without an athletic program. Students zoned to Jones High School will have priority enrollment access.
Beginning next year, students currently zoned to Dodson will be permanently rezoned to nearby Blackshear Elementary, Lantrip Elementary or The Rusk School. The Montessori program will move to Blackshear Elementary.
“School closure discussions are never easy,” HISD Superintendent Terry Grier said. “However, we must continue to have constructive conversations on the issue of school size and school efficiency. Not to do so could be harmful to our communities and the students that reside in them. The goal remains creating better, stronger schools.”
Since January when district officials proposed the closure of five schools – Nathaniel Q. Henderson Elementary School, Port Houston Elementary School, Dodson Elementary School, Fleming Middle School and Jones High School – they have heard from a students, parents and others in the community. That dialogue won’t end. “Our proposals for Jones and Dodson incorporate the feedback we heard from our stakeholders and we will count on them to work with us as we execute the plans the board approved today,” Grier said.
Trustees approved the adjustment of attendance boundaries for Billy K. Reagan K-8 School unanimously.
Board approves policies needed to implement House Bill 5 in 2014-2015
The Board of Education also voted Thursday to approve an official graduation plan for high school students. The district’s plan requires this year’s eighth-graders — the class of 2018 — to study under the new 26-credit Distinguished Level of Achievement Plan. Under this plan, students are 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.
Additionally, the board passed a district attendance policy and a new grading policy that ensures a student’s grade reflects the student’s level or degree of mastery of an assignment. HISD has planned community meetings in each trustee district and at the Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center to inform students and parents of the changes.
Trustees vote to expand dual language program school
Trustees also approved the expansion of HISD’s first Mandarin Chinese Language Immersion Magnet School through the eighth grade. Mandarin Chinese is the most spoken language in the world, and Texas’ trade with China has increased more than 600 percent over the past decade. Texas is second only to California among states that do the most business with China.
The board’s regular monthly meeting was held at 4 p.m. on Thursday, March 13, 2014, in the board auditorium of the Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center, 4400 W. 18th Street. For the full copy of the Board meeting agenda, click here.