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SAM HOUSTON HIGH SCHOOL CLOSED

The Texas Commissioner of Education has ordered HISD’s Sam Houston High School closed because it failed to make enough academic progress, but Superintendent of Schools Abelardo Saavedra said he is working with the commissioner’s office and the Board of Education on ideas to repurpose the school with exciting new programs for students beginning in August.
Although Sam Houston High has made academic progress, the progress in math was not enough this year to earn a rating of Academically Acceptable from the state. Dr. Saavedra and board members met Wednesday with Commissioner Robert Scott, who said the school must close because this is the sixth straight year it has been rated Unacceptable.



“This is not the end of the story, though,” Dr. Saavedra said. “We will work with parents to develop a plan to take to the school board and then to the commissioner to repurpose Sam Houston High School and to start exciting new programs with many new teachers beginning in August. We will continue serving the community that has been proud of the progress at Sam Houston.”
Dr. Saavedra said the school district will first meet with parents of incoming ninth-graders and with parents of current Sam Houston students in a series of sessions June 10 and 11 designed to get the community’s thoughts. The superintendent wants to take a proposal for new school programs at the Sam Houston site to the school board for approval June 12 and submit it to Commissioner Scott on June 13 for review and approval.
The Texas school accountability system requires that all students and student groups (African-American, Hispanic, white, and economically disadvantaged) meet the academic standard in every subject before a school can be rated as Academically Acceptable. At Sam Houston High School, HISD officials were not able to help the school make enough progress in math.
“Sam Houston has made some good progress these last few years. We’re all proud of the hard work of the teachers, the students, the parents, and the community, and we are committed to many more great things in the future for that community.”
The programs opening next August at the repurposed school would be entirely new. The HISD administration wants to talk with, and get thoughts from, parents about an exciting new program with an emphasis on math, science, and technology.
Commissioner Scott said up to 75 percent of the teachers at the school must be replaced. The teachers reassigned from Sam Houston High will have a chance to be hired into positions elsewhere in the district.
Dr. Saavedra said he will ask the school board to approve special bonuses for new teachers who agree to take on the assignments at the new, repurposed Sam Houston.
A new principal has already been appointed. Jane Crump, the very successful principal of Robert Louis Stevenson Middle School, was named last month to lead the Sam Houston campus next year.
“We are all very proud of the hard work that has gone into improving Sam Houston, and of course we’re very disappointed that we were not able to get the kind of academic growth we needed. But there is extremely strong support in the community for the educational needs of the children in the area, and we are excited about working with the parents, the school board, and the commissioner to start great new academic traditions at the repurposed Sam Houston,” Dr. Saavedra said.
Sam Houston’s performance on the state TAKS test has improved over the past four years. This year, 81 percent of Sam Houston students passed the TAKS reading test, up seven points from last year, and 83 percent of students passed the social studies TAKS test. In fact, Sam Houston’s scores in reading and social studies are so good they are at the “Recognized” level, the state’s second-highest academic grade.
Overall, Sam Houston’s passing rate on both the math and science TAKS improved from 45 in 2007 to 50 percent in 2008.
Sam Houston’s progress across the board is better than the state-average progress in reading, math, and social studies from 2004 to 2007 during those four years.