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Former Gov. Mark White joined this week with Project Advisory Team members from the school that will bear his name to hear an update on the project, and discuss plans for technology components and furnishings within the new building.
White, the 43rd governor of the State of Texas, has been supportive of the new school throughout the planning and design process, and said he is looking forward to the school’s opening in August.
“I’m impressed with the designs, and very proud to be associated with it,” said White, who attended HISD schools from kindergarten through high school graduation. “HISD has been a big part of my life, and my family’s life.”
As governor, White was a strong advocate for public education and is credited for passage of the Educational Opportunity Act, which resulted in student SAT scores being increased and teachers receiving the largest proportional salary increase in the state’s history. Other reforms enacted during his tenure include health insurance benefits for retired teachers and the “No Pass, No Play” provision to ensure that students make passing grades before participating in extracurricular activities.
Mark White Elementary is designed to accommodate 750 students in Pre-K through grade 5. Established to relieve overcrowding at nearby schools on the west side of the city, the school does not have an established attendance zone. Rather, priority enrollment will be given to students residing in the Briargrove Elementary School, Emerson Elementary School, Piney Point Elementary School, and Pilgrim Academy attendance zones.
The school also will offer a French language immersion program, the first of its kind at a public school in Texas. The program will start with pre-k and kindergarten students in the first year, adding a grade level each subsequent year.
“We’re very pleased with the enrollment numbers so far, and we’re already working with some of our new parents to organize a PTO,” said Lisa Hernandez, principal of the new school. “I’m grateful to Gov. White for his interest and ongoing support.”
The school is located at 2515 Old Farm Road, between Westheimer Road and Buffalo Bayou.