Friday, June 5, 2009

Save Houston Elementary Is Out To Beat the Clock

Concerned parent Elizabeth O'Hara Williams of Save Houston Elementary sent this summary of their meeting yesterday evening:

There were many teachers there, several parents, district representatives, Susie Byrd and Carlos Flores - our trustee. Dr. Garcia also spoke.

In a nutshell, Houston has until next spring to show, as Dr. Garcia said it, "significant progress" from parents, teachers and the neighborhood or the school will be closed. THIS MUST NOT HAPPEN!!!

According to school stats, there are about 348 students enrolled at the school currently. The target number of the '09-'10 school year is 384. How to get there???? That's where YOU come in.

There are two very important meetings where your input is needed. Mark these on your calendar.

June 11 @ Houston at 5:30pm. Meeting to talk about what we want in a new principal.

June 25 @ Houston at 5:30pm (or 6?? I can't remember now!) This is to get the ball rolling on the PTA. AT LEAST 20 people are needed to start the PTA and Dr. Garcia says one of the markers for success will be getting a working PTA off the ground.Dues will be $5 per member - DUES WILL BE COLLECTED ON THE 25TH SO BRING CASH!!

Karla Diaz is the PTA representative for the school. She can be contacted at Mr. Flores expects 100% from teachers and administrators - no less should be expected of parents so get involved.

At these meetings, future dates will be set so that everyone can get involved in the development of the "new" Houston Elementary. Among the realistic ideas being floated right now:

-dual-language program; potentially even adding a third language to draw more interest (read: kids) to come to Houston
-fine arts magnet (no other elem. school in district offers this)
-Head Start program -after-school program
-outreach to Fort Bliss

There are other, more aesthetic considerations as well such as getting Partners in Education to help donate time, money (ideally both!) to the school and help beautify it. "Team Houston" teachers and administrators already have some money for a new playground so it looks like we're on our way for that project. Good job guys! Carlos Martinez is our contact on at the district for Partners in Education:

There were some concerns about the departure/reassignment of the principal. No matter which side of the fence you fall, here's the bottom line: the school must move forward with whoever is the next principal. Time is not on Houston's side . . . do all you can to buy us more time.

Remember, you can also get updates on Facebook. Just search for: Save Houston Elementary. Save Houston can also be found on Twitter.

Carlos A. Martinez, Director of Community & Governmental Relations for EPISD said that "the vision of a revitalized Houston School was articulated last night by community leaders such as school trustee Carlos Flores, City Representative Susie Byrd, and parent Elizabeth O'Hara. It is ambitious and will benefit our students."

In an email to Elizabeth Williams he wrote:
Last night I observed high commitment and enthusiasm from the Houston School
community that wants to step up and participate in the revitalization of the campus. It is that kind of community involvement that can re-energize parents, teachers, and students to create a high performing learning community at Houston.

Please let me know how we can assist you with information and data about your Partners in Education (PIE) and Volunteers in Public Schools (VIPS) programs. They are important indicators of community involvement along with the start-up of a PTA.

Our records indicate that of the 19 PIEs at Houston, six partners are active. The most active partners are the Adult Probation Department, Papa John's, JJ's Pizza, UTEP-Teacher Education Dept., the Military Order of the World Wars, and Wet 'n' Wild.

For VIPS, Houston reported 19 volunteers that provided 1,450.5 hours of service to the school in 2008-2009. Of these 19 volunteers 8 volunteers recorded 1392.5 hours. As you can see there is a great deal of dedicated time and effort that is ahead of the task force for Houston in 2009-2010 academic year.

I look forward to working with you and the Houston Revitalization task force.

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