Connie Smith has been selected as the new principal of North Forest High School. Smith has 20 years of experience in education and has served as a teacher, content specialist, teacher coordinator, dean of instruction, and elementary and middle school principal. In 2017, Smith’s leadership at Thomas Middle School earned the campus four distinctions in mathematics, social studies, student progress, and postsecondary readiness. Smith is an Army veteran and holds a Bachelor of Science in biology from Dillard University and a Master of Education in mid-management from Prairie View A&M University.
With a stunning view of the forest as a backdrop, North Forest High School stakeholders celebrated the grand opening of the first new high school to be built in the area in almost five decades.
More than 200 community members, students, and staff gathered Friday in the school’s dramatic two-story dining commons for the event, which featured student speakers, performances by the NFHS choir, and remarks by HISD Board of Education President Rhonda Skillern-Jones and Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan. Continue reading
The Houston Independent School District Bond Oversight Committee got an up-close and personal look at a 21st-century learning environment on Tuesday when they toured the new North Forest High School during their regular quarterly meeting.
The eight-member group gathered first in the auditorium for a brief introduction and a chance to see the space’s retractable seating, before moving on to the dramatic main hall, which serves as a focal point for the school.
The space features modern chandeliers and lots of windows providing both natural light and views of the surrounding landscape. It connects to a food-court-style dinning commons with two levels of flexible seating. Continue reading
Hundreds of North Forest High School students followed Principal Darryl Henson across Mesa Road on Monday, coming together to formally mark their transition into their new school.
The $59.5 million campus is the first new high school built in the North Forest community in almost 50 years.
“It’s important to show our students that we are coming over into a new environment that was built just for them,” Henson said, talking about the importance of the ceremonial walk from the old building to the new one. “I want the kids to feel a sense of pride and ownership.”
Three Houston Independent School District high schools and one elementary school will open their doors and welcome students in to new facilities when they return from winter break on Jan. 8.
The schools are Sharpstown, Scarborough and North Forest high schools, and Robinson Elementary School.
Sharpstown was rebuilt and Scarborough was renovated as part of the district’s voter-approved 2012 Bond Program. The construction of the new North Forest High School and renovation of storm-damaged Robinson Elementary School were overseen by the bond team, but not funded with bond dollars. Continue reading
With construction almost complete, the North Forest High School Bulldogs are on track to kick off the 2018 spring semester in their new building.
Both doors and kitchen equipment have arrived for installation, and marker boards are scheduled to be delivered in the coming weeks, project officials said. Carpet and ceiling tile installation also is underway.
The $59.5 million campus, which is being built on the east side of Mesa Road across from the existing school, will accommodate 1,300 to 1,500 students.
Worthing feeder pattern schools join forces for ‘Southside Takeover’
HISD Superintendent Richard Carranza took to the streets of the Sunnyside community on Saturday, Aug. 19, for the first ever “Southside Takeover,” a back-to-school bash to kick-off the start of the 2017-2018 school year and the start of Achieve180.
“Achieve 180 is more than a plan or initiative,” said Carranza. “It’s a movement to better serve our historically underserved and academically challenged schools.”
The “Southside Takeover” featured Carranza at the helm of a parade with students, staff, and parents from Worthing High School, along with various other campuses in the south area, and a resource fair for families with free immunizations, school supplies, backpacks, uniforms, food, and entertainment. Continue reading
Dr. Darryl Henson has been selected as the new principal for North Forest High School. Dr. Henson returns to Houston from Ysleta ISD, where he has been serving as the principal of Parkland High School for the last two years. Under his leadership, Parkland earned all seven academic distinctions from the Texas Education Agency. Dr. Henson began his career in education as an elementary teacher in Austin before joining HISD in 2007 as a special education teacher at Wisdom High School. He also held other administrative roles as assistant principal at Heights High School and as an elementary and middle school principal in El Paso. Dr. Henson earned his bachelor of science degree in elementary education at the University of Texas in Austin, master’s degree in education from the University of Texas, Arlington, and a doctor of education from the University of Houston.
Construction on the new North Forest High School, located on the city’s northeast side, is now 50 percent complete and scheduled to be finished in the third quarter of 2017.
“The project has really gained momentum over the last quarter,” said HISD Senior Manager of Construction Services Meredith Smith, who is overseeing the project. “We’re right at the half-way point now, and there’s lots of activity on the site. We’re seeing progress every day.”
The new $59.5 million campus, which is being built on the east side of Mesa Road across from the existing school, will accommodate 1,500 students. Continue reading
In this week’s “I Am HISD,” which features district students, graduates, employees, volunteers, and other team members, probation officer Juan Sorto talks about what prompted him to become a member of HISD’s Volunteers in Public Schools, why he is so passionate about working with students in the North Forest area, and who inspired him to reach for greatness as a child.
You approached HISD several years ago with a very specific request: to volunteer in schools that used to be part of North Forest ISD. Why was serving students in that part of town so important to you?
I moved to the North Forest area in 2001, and I still live there today. It has a lot of students who are in the same situation I was as a kid. They are growing up in the same condition—poverty. I was raised by a single mother who didn’t know any English and barely finished the second grade, and I was the first person in my family to graduate from high school and go to college. When I finally reached a level where I was stable in life and had a disposable income, I wanted to get more involved with kids who were struggling themselves but maybe didn’t know how to succeed.