Three student ambassadors took the African-American Advisory Committee on separate tours of the Yates HS campus.
Members of the HISD African-American Advisory Committee held their regular meeting Wednesday at the historic Yates High School campus. In November, HISD voters approved a $1.89 billion bond package that includes $59.5 million to build a modern new Yates campus.
HISD Community Relations Liaison Lawrence Allen who has been instrumental in assembling the group of educators, journalists, community, and business leaders said Yates High School was selected as the site of this month’s meeting because of its longstanding commitment to excellence in education, a sentiment echoed by Yates Principal Marla McNeal-Sheppard.
“Although Yates has always been known for excelling in athletics, we are extremely proud of our triumphs in academics,” said McNeal-Sheppard. “There have been an increasing number of students applying for admission into our communications magnet program and in 2012 the number of scholarships increased from $2.1 million to $3.5 million dollars.” However despite the successes, she said there is more work to be done. “We’re always working to create business partnerships and to get more resources for our students,” she said.
A highlight of the meeting was when three student ambassadors took the group on separate tours of the campus. Senior Talisha Rhodes who will be studying nursing beginning this summer at Prairie View A&M University was one of the student ambassadors. As Rhodes guided her group through the school’s television studio, graphic design classrooms, and printing press, she raved about what her years at Yates have meant to her.
“Since I started until now, I have changed a lot but only for the better,” said Rhodes. “I will miss my teachers who pushed me to work hard, especially Ms. Clayton. Although I’m excited about studying nursing, I’m going to miss Yates, but I look forward to returning to the school to share my experiences with other students.”
Advisory committee member Dr. Jacqueline H. Cobbin said Yates is a wonderful example of what’s right with our schools. “You can tell from walking through the halls and meeting with the students, teachers, and Principal McNeal-Sheppard how enthusiastic and energized everyone is about Yates,” said Cobbin.
The African-American Advisory Committee was created in 2011 by HISD’s Strategic Partnership Department to advise and support HISD in strengthening and encouraging public support of HISD schools, improving student achievement, and increasing parental and community involvement within the African-American community.
Nearly half of all voter-approved projects will be under construction by 2014
The Houston Independent School District today announced the construction timeline for the 40 schools slated to be built or renovated under the voter-approved $1.89 billion 2012 bond program. Continue reading →
The Houston Independent School District is launching an Advisory Committee for Supplier Diversity to build on the ongoing success of its program for minority and women-owned business enterprises. Continue reading →
The Houston Independent School District will open the solicitation process Saturday, Dec. 1, for architectural and engineering firms seeking to take part in the $1.89 billion 2012 bond program to replace and modernize schools across the city.
The 2012 bond will create thousands of jobs over the next six to eight years as the Houston Independent School District embarks on a $1.89 billion program to repair or replace 38 schools, improve middle school restrooms and provide district-wide upgrades in technology, security, and athletic facilities. Continue reading →
Thirty-eight Houston Independent School District campuses, including 28 of the city’s high schools, will be rebuilt or renovated under a bond proposition that won voter approval by better than a 2-1 margin on Tuesday.
The $1.89 billion measure passed with overwhelming support, earning 69 percent voter approval, according to unofficial results tabulated by the Harris County Clerk’s office. More than 312,000 ballots were cast in the election.
“Houston voters sent a message today that all children, regardless of where they live, deserve to attend quality school in quality buildings that offer our great teachers the tools they need to prepare students for a successful future,” said Trustee Michael Lunceford, president of the HISD Board of Education. “The new schools that will be built because of this vote will benefit today’s students, their future children, and even their grandchildren.”
HISD asked voters to consider the bond proposition after an independent evaluation of the district’s facilities showed that the average Houston high school is more than 50 years old and lacks the proper infrastructure to support modern technology and teaching strategies. The evaluation found that the cost of maintaining these deteriorating schools would soon surpass the replacement cost. Past HISD bond measures, including the 2007 plan that was passed with 51 percent of the vote, have focused on the district’s elementary and middle schools.
Because of the large amount of construction included in the 2012 bond proposition, HISD will spread the work out over the next six to eight years. This approach will help control costs and allow the district to gradually phase in a 4.85-cent property tax rate increase over the next five years. The district will soon seek bids from firms interested in performing the architectural design and engineering work on the first batch of projects. The list of school projects to be included in the first phase of construction is being developed with an eye toward breaking ground on at least one project in each geographic district within HISD around the same time. Construction work is expected to begin in 2014. Click here for more details about the 2012 bond package.
“When this work is finished, Houston will boast the most modern portfolio of urban high school campuses in America,” Superintendent Terry Grier said. “For years, HISD has been a national model for other urban school districts that are striving to simultaneously close the achievement gap while raising the level of achievement of all students, including the highest performers. Thanks to Houston’s voters, we will finally have quality campuses to fully support our students’ strong academic progress.”
Projects funded though the bond proposition include:
New campuses for 20 high schools
High School for the Performing and Visual Arts
North Early College
South Early College
Partially replacing 4 high schools
Young Men’s College Prep Academy
Young Women’s College Prep Academy
Renovating 4 high schools
Converting 5 elementary schools into K-8 campuses
Garden Oaks Montessori
Mandarin Chinese Language Immersion School at Gordon
Wharton Dual Language School
Building 3 new elementary school campuses
Relief school on the west side
Replacing/completing 2 new middle school campuses
Grady (new addition to complete new campus)
Dowling (new campus)
In addition, the bond includes funds that would improve conditions for students in all HISD schools. This includes:
$100 million for district-wide technology improvements
$44.7 million to replace regional field houses and improve athletic facilities
$35 million to renovate middle school restrooms
$17.3 million for district-wide safety and security improvements
The Board of Education has also agreed to rebuild two schools – Condit Elementary and High School for Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice – either through the sale of surplus district property, or by using any potential leftover bond funds.
Historic neighborhood schools and prestigious schools of choice to be replaced
HISD will now completely rebuild some of Houston’s most historic neighborhood high schools across the city. Some replacement schools will maintain their existing building structures while their interiors are transformed. These schools include Austin, Davis, Lamar, and Milby. The remaining replacement schools, including Yates, Washington, and Lee, will be demolished and replaced with entirely new buildings. New campuses are also in the works for some of HISD’s prestigious specialty schools, including the nationally renowned High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, DeBakey High School for Health Professions, and Eastwood Academy. All three schools made this year’s Children at Risk list of the Houston region’s Top 10 high schools.
The new HSPVA will be built downtown near Houston’s vaunted Theater District on land that HISD already owns at 1300 Capitol. DeBakey, meanwhile, will be relocated to property within the Texas Medical Center.
Each campus included in the bond package will have a Project Advisory Team made up of staff, parents, and community members, who will have input in the design and construction process to ensure that each school’s unique needs are addressed.
New schools to support continued academic achievement
Houston ISD students have made great strides in the classroom over the past several years. Click here to read more about the strong academic progress being made by HISD students.
“We know that what happens inside our classrooms is more important than the physical classrooms themselves. Our work to put effective teachers in every classroom and strong principals in every school is paying off,” Dr. Grier said.
HISD’s dropout and graduation rates are at record levels after four consecutive years of moving in the right direction. Hundreds more Houston students are scoring at the college-ready level on the SAT than at any other time in the district’s history. The same goes for the number of HISD students earning college credit through tough Advanced Placement exams, which is up 45 percent since 2009. And this year, Houston was the only Texas school district to be among the four finalists for the nation’s most prestigious education award: the Broad Prize for Urban Education.
Superintendent Terry Grier will answer questions today at 10 a.m.
HISD Superintendent Terry Grier will provide information and answer questions about the Houston Schools Bond during the district’s first-ever Twitter Town Hall. The event will be held today at 10 a.m. on the district’s main Twitter account, @HoustonISD. Students from Davis, Furr, Sam Houston, Bellaire, Worthing, Yates, Lamar, Lee, and Sharpstown High Schools plan to participate. Their schools would be rebuilt under the bond proposition, which is the last item on the General Election ballot. To join the discussion, send tweets during the event to @HoustonISD with the hashtag #HISDBond.
In an effort to reach out to eligible voters across the city and provide them information on the HISD 2012 bond proposal, which is the last item on the ballot, the Houston Independent School District is hosting a bond information phone bank on Univision 45.
Dozens of experts on the HISD bond proposition will be on hand to take calls from viewers on Monday, October 29 from 7 to 10:30 p.m.
Tune in to Univision 45 for the HISD Bond phone bank and hear from principals and parents talk about the needs of their schools and current campus conditions.
Volunteers include HISD school improvement officers, principals and administrators. The purpose of this phone bank is to ensure that all Houston voters are well informed on the 2012 HISD bond proposal when they go to the polling sites.
There will be bilingual volunteers ready to take your calls in English or Spanish. For more information on the HISD Bond, call the phone bank on Monday, October 29 from 7 to 10:30 pm at 713 390-5956.
HISD’s $1.89 billion plan would rebuild or renovate 38 schools across the city and help improve conditions for students in all HISD schools, if approved by voters on November 6.