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Houston ISD votes for Leadership Change

Former superintendent Abelardo Saavedra, right has been voted in to replace Grenita Lathan, left, as the search continues for a permanent superintendent. SEE UPDATE. SAAVEDRA WITHDRAWS.

BULLETIN: Saavedra withdraws; HISD Board to reconsider plans

The Houston Independent School District is bringing in a new interim superintendent. It’s the third leadership change this year for Texas’ largest school district.

At a contentious meeting last Thursday night, the school board voted 5-4 to replace Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan with former superintendent Abelardo Saavedra, while they are searching for a permanent one.

Former Superintendent Abelardo Saavedra will serve as Interim Superintendent for six months during the search for a permanent superintendent. Saavedra was HISD’s superintendent from 2004 to 2009, and has recently served as superintendent of South San Antonio ISD. He will reportedly not pursue the permanent superintendent position.

“It is nothing that has anything against Dr. Lathan, and the work that she does, and the work that she’s done up to this point,” HISD Trustee Diana Davila told News 88.7. “We just want this to be a fair process for all candidates that are interested in coming down to Houston ISD.” Davila said she welcomes Lathan to apply for the position.

Grenita Lathan was chosen as Interim Superintendent, after the departure of Superintendent Richard Carranza.

Lathan will resume her previous role of Chief Academic Officer on Monday.

The motion to replace Lathan was met with backlash from several board members.


School districts deal with threats, including Aldine

Alleged Threat to Aldine HS student Warnesha Crawford. (Image courtesy KRIV)

HARRIS COUNTY – Following the school shooting in Santa Fe last week, authorities report that there has been an increase in threats recorded across many schools in the county.

At least seven school districts in the area have had to deal with threats, by searching for senders, sending additional police, and hardening security features. Districts with problems included Clear Creek and Huffman, where students had guns, Cleveland where a student had a gun replica, and YES Prep West, Crosby, La Marque, and Aldine where threats were recorded.

The Harris County District Attorney’s office has reported that they filed charges against 24 students since last week’s shooting at Santa Fe. Most of these were against kids whose ages were from 12 to 16, but some were as young as 10.

John Jordan of the DA’s office said that it was imperative that these cases be filed, to protect other teachers and students. If a potential problem is seen, it must be reported and investigated, he said, “because you never know who the next shooter is going to be.” In Aldine, channel 26 Fox new’s Randy Wallace reported that a student, Warnesha Crawford, had received a threatening text from a fellow student that she claimed had been bullying her. She identified the student to school authorities, but her mother claimed they did not take the appropriate action, and the sender was still in school.

Aldine ISD officials issued a statement saying they were aware of the situation and were handling it according to the “student code of conduct.” (more…)

HISD Board of Education approves plan to rebuild four Harvey-damaged schools

Scarborough Elementary school, one of the 4 four Houston ISD most damaged schools by Harvey to be rebuilt.

Dec. 14, 2017 – The Houston Independent School District Board of Education during its December meeting on Thursday approved a plan to rebuild four elementary schools that sustained the most severe flood damage as a result of Hurricane Harvey.

Facilities assessments of the four elementary schools — Braeburn, Scarborough, Kolter, and Mitchell — found significant property damage, as well as a strong need to raise the elevation of the buildings to prevent potential future flood damage.

The cost to replace the four schools is estimated at $126 million, which will be funded by a combination of Operations reserves and Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ) funds.

“The damage to these four buildings was catastrophic,” Superintendent Richard Carranza said. “Our Chief Operating Officer and his team looked at them and believed it would be the most effective use of HISD resources to tear down and rebuild. We look forward to getting these students back into their home campuses that will be better equipped to sustain major storms in the future.”

The proposal trustees approved calls for the four schools to be demolished and rebuilt at their current sites. The plan requires the students and staff to remain in their current temporary locations until new facilities can be reconstructed at their original location. Those new facilities could be completed and open to students in 2020.


Dr. Bamberg Region 4 Superintendent Of the Year

During the June 13 Aldine ISD Trustees meeting, President Rose Avalos announced that Dr. Wanda Bamberg had been named the Region 4 Superintendent of the Year.
Aldine ISD’s Trustees nominated Dr. Bamberg for this prestigious award.
Dr. Bamberg competed against other superintendents from throughout Region 4, which includes 54 schools districts from the greater Houston area.
All of the superintendents who were nominated had to submit applications that focused on a number of areas including administration and school climate, school board-superintendent relations, school improvement, fiscal management, facilities management, instructional management, student management, personnel management, and school-community relations.
“Our board of trustees nominated Wanda knowing confidently that she would be an excellent choice due to her reputation not only in the Houston area but around the state,” said Aldine ISD Trustee President Rose Avalos. “She leads a large and successful school district through collaborative decisions that are best for the children of Aldine. She is willing to make those difficult decisions when it comes to the best interest of Aldine students and employees. We are very proud of her selection and are confident that she will be successful at the state level of competition.”
By being named Region 4’s Superintendent of the Year, Dr. Bamberg is now in line to compete for Superintendent of the Year of the State of Texas. The overall state winner will be announced at the Texas Association of School
Administrators (TASA)/Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) annual convention, scheduled Sept. 30-Oct. 2, at the Austin Convention Center. The announcement will be made during the Second General Session, set for Saturday, Oct. 1 at 10:30 a.m.
Dr. Bamberg is currently serving her fourth year as superintendent and will enter her fifth year as superintendent when the 2011-12 school year begins on Aug. 22.
Dr. Bamberg is the third Aldine ISD superintendent to be named Region 4 Superintendent of the Year. Former Superintendent Nadine Kujawa earned the honor in 2006 and former Superintendent M.B. “Sonny” Donaldson earned the honor in 1994 and 1995.

Mac Arthur students receive scholarships

At a recognition ceremony at Hinojosa E/CPK Center on Wednesday, May 18, 2011, six graduates from Hinojosa EC/PK Center, now young ladies studying at MacArthur high school, received scholarships.
Each student received $500 scholarship that will help them pay part of their expenses at the university they plan to attend.
These scholarships are part of a program that Hinojosa Center has: within the program, teachers from Hinojosa keep track of their students all the way to high school. “All year long teachers check on them to make sure they made it through,” said Sandra Arredondo, principal at Hinojosa EC/PK Center. “All these ladies went to Hinojosa 14 years ago, and now they are seniors at MacArthur.”
For next year, 190 students have been identified already who will be seniors at MacArthur. “This year, we helped 150 Hinojosa bears that were at MacArthur,” said Arredondo. “We want them to accomplish their dreams, go to the university and come back to this community to do wonderful things.”
At the ceremony, Hinojosa center also recognized community partners who had help them in some way or other in the past and the present.
One of the partners to be recognized was East Aldine Managment District for the improvements to the community such as side walks and a water fountain outside the school.
Northeast News was also recognized for covering schools news.

Blackwell, Stubblefield named Aldine ISD’s top principals

MacArthur Senior High School principal Nancy Blackwell and Stephens Elementary School principal Raymond Stubblefield were recently named Aldine ISD’s top principals by their peers.
Blackwell was named the district’s Secondary Principal of the Year, while Stubblefield was named AISD’s Elementary/Intermediate Principal of the Year. The two were voted as the district’s top two principals in balloting by other principals across the district.
Blackwell has been an educator for 36 years. She began her career as a teacher at Orange Grove Elementary School. During her tenure in Aldine, she has served as principal at Worsham Elementary School (four years), and Hambrick Middle School (nine years) before being named the principal at MacArthur Senior High School six years ago.

Stubblefield has been an educator for 21 years. He began his career as a middle school/intermediate social studies teacher before serving as an assistant principal at Johnson Elementary School, Parker Intermediate School and MacArthur Ninth Grade School. He also served a program director for three years before being named the principal at Mendel Elementary School. Six years ago he was named the principal of Stephens Elementary School.
Blackwell and Stubblefield will be honored at the Employee Awards Banquet in May.

North Forest “State of the District” reveals progress

GREENSPOINT– Some 500 educators and supporters of the North Forest ISD gathered for lunch last Friday at the Marriott Hotel, and heard a report on the “State of the District 2010” delivered by a Powerpoint program, and an animated talk by NF ISD superintendent Dr. Adrain Johnson.
The meeting started with welcoming remarks from the 2010-11 Teacher of the Year, Mrs. Tamica Kirby-Barnes, NF High School principal Dr. C. A. Williams, and Board of Managers president George McShan. In his remarks, he noted the “incredible progress” of the district in the last two years, with 6 Recognized campuses, and a new attitude toward management and education.
Board of Managers’ Carolyn Bullard-Williams introduced the staff produced Powerpoint review of the District’s progress. This video covered the high points of the year, including the Mission, the Vision and the Staregies which are guiding the new NFISD.

Strategic Priorites on the video included Student Achievement, Quality Workforce and Compensation, Technologically Advanced Facilities, Financial Stability and Governance, and Safety and Community Involvement.
Superintendent Johnson’s talk elaborated on each of these themes, with personal experiences and heartfelt dedication to achieving greatness within the District. He noted that “we’ve come a long way” with reference to the last 200 years of minority struggle for equality, as well as the last two years of improvement at the District.
He singles out the Board of Managers for their help in the achievements. He also presented recognition to his department heads.
In his own enthusiastic way, Johnson said “we want to be outstanding. A new day brings new opportunity, and there is a New Day.”
Johnson also touched on some of the problems of the District, and assured the audience that they were being solved. One of the biggest, the Unacceptable rating at the high school, is being met with a new spirit, new leadership, community involvement, and state help, he said.
He repeatedly made reference to the relationship between the school district and the community, and how they need to help each other to move forward economically and educationally.
Highlights of the year that Dr. Johnson referred to in his talk included: a YES charter school within the district, to offer an educational option to academically interested students; a dual language learning environment; a partnership with Houston Community College for dual credit/college courses; use of Title I Priority Schools grant to improve the high school; receipt of a $1 million BP grant; a full day Early Childhood program; recruitment of highly qualified teachers, including the TFA program; computer access of student information from home computers; website redesign; expansion of a Business Partners Program; community festivals, clean-up, and outreach; a revamped and award winning police department. In addition, the District is working to establish an adjunct Education Foundation to facilitate funding of additonal advanced programs.
The luncheon closed with remarks from Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee, whose interest in the District has helped raise large sums of money for improvements to facilities and programs. She celebrated the “Bounty of Diversity” represented by North Forest.

Aldine ISD volunteers ‘Reach out to Dropouts’

More than 500 volunteers in Aldine ISD hit the streets bright and early on Saturday, Sept. 11, to encourage high school students to return to school during the annual Reach Out to Dropouts Walk Day Event.
The effort attracted 543 volunteers from across de district. Volunteers gathered at six Aldine ISD schools- Aldine Senior High, Carver High School, Eisenhower Senior High, Hall Center for Education, MacArthur Senior High School and Nimitz Senior High School- for training prior to visiting students to encourage those who have left high school to return.

Volunteers made 260 student/parent contacts, and left door hangers at another 219 homes with information on how students can go about re-enrolling. On the day of the walk, 30 students began the re-enrollment process, while another 29 return to school the day of the walk and 36 other students made commitment to return to school.
Aldine ISD board members, along with Superintendent Dr. Wanda Bamberg, cabinet members, AISD principals, teachers and community volunteers gave of their time on Sept. 11 to participate in the annual Reach Out to Dropouts Walk Day event.

Aldine ISD to focus on college readiness

It’s never too soon for students to start thinking about college.

With that in mind, Aldine ISD will make a concerted effort during the 2008-09 school year to assist students and their parents about the steps they need to take to enter college once they receive their high school diplomas.

Aldine ISD, along with Cy-Fair, Goose Creek, Houston and Spring Branch, are participating in the Preparing to Dream program, a three-year initiative sponsored by Houston A+ Challenge and the National College Access Network. This initiative is funded through a grant from Houston Endowment.

The goals of the initiative are:

•Increase the number of students pursuing a post-secondary education

•Increase the number of students successfully completing college preparatory or accelerated learning classes (honors, advanced placement and dual credit)

•Improve college entrance exam and placement scores

•Increase the number of students completing college admissions and financial aid forms in a timely manner.

AISD will have a districtwide focus on college readiness and will strive to create a culture among its students to encourage them to go to college. Additionally, the Preparing to Dream campaign will raise public awareness of the importance of a post-secondary education for all students. The district also wants to prompt students and parents to take action now to plan, prepare and pay for college.

The initiative will be led by Dr. Charlotte Davis, director of guidance and counseling, and Twiana Collier, coordinator of student financial aid. Counselors at all campuses will spend time counseling students regarding post-secondary options. Additionally, financial aid sessions will be made available to high school students in the fall and spring and for middle school students in May. Scholarship and financial aid information will also be placed on the district’s website (

“The Preparing to Dream initiative represents a great opportunity for Aldine students,” said Superintendent Wanda Bamberg, Ed.D. “We have always had a focus of trying to help our students and community identify opportunities and scholarships for college. This initiative will help us revise and focus our efforts to reach more students and make college a reality.”

For more information, contact Collier at (281) 985-6649.