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Posts published in “Day: May 1, 2008

North Forest encouraged by preliminary TAKS scores

HOUSTON—North Forest ISD officials are excited by preliminary scores from the March 2008 administration of the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) tests that indicate all of the district’s elementary and middle school campuses are set to meet or exceed the state’s standards in the reading and math portions of the tests.
“Every elementary and middle school met the state standard in math and reading, and we have shown tremendous gains in both areas,” says NFISD Director of Secondary Education Dr. Veronica Sharp, adding that the percentage of students with commended performance on the tests—meaning they answered at least 90 percent of the questions correctly—also rose.
Officials also say the students’ performance is especially inspiring at a time when North Forest is managing a number of challenges.

“Even as North Forest’s board, administration and staff are squarely facing the challenges before the district, our students are determined to meet their goals and to achieve great things as they pursue their education,” says Interim Superintendent of Schools Williams Jones. “This news is not only a testament to their resolve and tenacity, but it speaks to the dedication of district staff to our students.”
In early March, students in third, fifth and eighth grades took TAKS reading exams, and fifth graders and eighth graders took the math tests.
The students must pass these tests to be promoted to the next grade level. State standards require 70 percent of students to pass the reading test and 50 percent to pass the math test.
The district’s total pass rate on the reading tests is more than 76 percent, according to preliminary scores. Out of the 1,616 students who took the reading tests, 1,238 passed. In math, 70 percent of the district’s fifth and eighth grade students passed.
Sharp also reminds that there are two more administrations of the math and reading tests—a chance for students who did not meet the standard to retake the test. Campuses have been providing those students with additional assistance, she says.“We have a chance to get more students to pass and we should see more success,” she says.
The required state standard in math is 50 percent and 70 percent in reading.

Lee, TEA’s Scott visit North Forest

U.S. Representative Sheila Jackson Lee, who represents part of the North Forest ISD service area, was in the district April 28 calling for the Texas Education Agency and the school board to work together to solve problems plaguing the district.
Lee organized a meeting between TEA Commissioner Robert Scott and board members at Thurgood Marshall Elementary.
The school district has been under a threat of takeover by the state following investigations into its finances, testing inregularies and poor performance on TAKS over the past five years. Ron Rowell, a conservator appointed by the TEA, now moniters board action. This year alone Rowe has cancelled a board meeting and has contradicted board decisions on more than one occasion.
Lee asked that the two sides work together to make the school district stronger.

Senior Housing opens on Tidwell

By Gilbert Hoffman
NORTH FOREST– A ribbon cutting on Thursday morning, April 17 marked the opening of a new Senior Housing project at 9110 Tidwell that brings attractive new housing units to the North Forest community, and promises to serve as a catalyst for continued improvements in the area, according to the sponsors.
Attending the ceremony were representatives from the city, and the Grace Cathedral Community Development Corporation, who sponsored the project and since 2000 have worked to bring it to realization. Participants included Houston Mayor Bill White, Pastor Charles H. Taylor, Sr. of Grace Cathedral Church, and Executive Director of GCCDC Lady Belinda E. Taylor. Master of Ceremonies was Mr. Willie R. Taylor, CDC president. Others that were present included State Representative Senfronia Thompson, Senator Mario Gallegos, and City Controller Annise Parker. City Council Members that sent representatives included Jarvis Johnson, Sue Lovell, and Peter Brown. Also attending were Board members from CDC and their advisory board, and church members from Grace Cathedral. A total of over 100 persons attended the event.

The project was conceived in 2000, and took advantage of a state program for tax credits that helped with the financing and the rental levels. The Homes Funds grant in the amount of $700,000 was received in 2005 from the City of Houston, allowing the project to move forward. Groundbreaking took place in February, 2007. Construction development proceeded with the help of NRP Group LLC, a national specialist in senior housing, with offices in San Antonio and Cleveland, Ohio.
Residents of the project must be at least 55 years old. There are two types of apartment homes. The one bedroom unit has 750 square feet, and the two bedroom, two bath unit has 987 square feet. Each type of unit includes an outdoor balcony/patio, a laundry space in the unit, and a desk/work area as well as a kitchen, dining room, and bedrooms with walk-in style closets.
Residents also have use of the clubhouse, which has meeting rooms, fireplace, swimming pool, fitness center, computer center, picnic area with barbecue grills, and more.
The site is on a METRO busline, and has a gated entrance for security. Pets will be welcome at the project, according to the management. For senior living, there will be planned activities and social events.
In addition to Senior Housting, the GC CDC has received grants to fund Summer Youth Programs for children in the area.
The housing was built on land that Grace Cathedral Church originally purchased in 1997, according to Pastor Charles Taylor, Sr., Founder of the GC CDC and Senior Pastor of the church.