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Posts published in October 2008

State gives North Forest ISD control to new board of managers, superintendent

The Texas Education Agency installed new leadership at North Forest ISD last Tuesday night, following up on a ruling that it made last August that the elected Trustees must improve the management of the district and repay outstanding monies to TEA.

In a relatively perfunctory series of two meetings, the new board of managers was first sworn in, and then a regular board meeting was convened to hear staff reports, vote on business matters, and listen to some presentations from students and parents.

The board room was packed for the meetings, mostly with approving parents, educators, and a large contingent representing B. C. Elmore school. A lively “rap” song/essay was presented by LaPatrick Haywood, a student at Elmore. The rap song was a combination of a welcome to the new board, and a plea for help to achieve a good education at North Forest.

Haywood ended his rhetoric with the line, “do you believe in me?” and in the spirit of the evening, board president McShan smiled and said “We believe in you.”

In the public comment session, Betty Robinson, president of the AFTA teachers’ association of North Forest ISD, welcomed the new board and spoke about the need for highly qualified teachers in the district, to get a quality educationa and to meet the requirements of AYP, the federal program that measures “Adequate Yearly Progress.”

Andrea Cuchine, spoke about putting Children First, and thanked the TEA for making changes in the leadership that will bring improvement. Referring to her real estate background, she said “you have the growth of our community in your hands,” and indicated that the district had to have quality schools if other improvements were to occur.

Other comments came from Larugene Young, and Ms. Hicks.

Robyn German Curtis, representing the grassroots educational advocacy group NEEF, NorthEast Education First, said they looked forward to an opportunity to improve, with TEA help. She urged the new leadership to listen closely and work with the community, and develop a comprehensive plan that the community could commit to and help implement.

In other business, the board mentioned that there will be a tax rollback election December 6, at which time a 13 cent per $100 valuation will be asked for, to help repay the funds that are due the state, and establish a more fiscally sound basis for the district to proceed.

The school calendar was amended, to make May 25 and June 4 instructional days to make up for time lost during the hurricane Ike. It is expected that the state will allow the district to waive any other makeup days, but principals at each school are developing plans to compensate for the educational time lost.

Fall Festival, Fall Fun at Sheriff’s storefront

A MUSIC GROUP from Escamilla School, led by the new music instructor Ralph Sanders, sings and dances the song “Rock and Roll is here to Stay” at last Saturday’s Fall Festival at the Sheriff’s storefront on Aldine Mail Route. This was only part of the fun, which included a Helicopter display, food, raffle, moonwalk, games, Harris County ESD#1 with free first aid kits, and Harris County Veterinary Public Health services, distributing free leashes to encourage dog owners to control their dogs. The festival raised money to benefit the storefront community outreach activities.

Clases de la computadora

Las clases de la computadora en Keeble se ofrecen a los padres cada semestre con los auspicios de uno de nuestros socios comerciales, el instituto mexicano en Houston vía el satélite del instituto tecnológico mexicano en Monterrey, México. Sobre la realización de 100 horas de estudio, los
estudiantes atienden a una graduación en el centro de convención de George Brown en junio que recibe un diploma hermoso. Las clases han dado muchas de las oportunidades de nuestros asistentes para que mejores trabajos y la capacidad ayuden a nuestros estudiantes a realzar su conocimiento y
capacidad en dominar el uso de la informática. La escuela es afortunada tener un profesor tan dedicado y tenaz, Sr. Antonio Benavidez.

Aldine ISD misses top Broad Prize for 3rd time; Will receive $250K in scholarships

Aldine ISD board members, administrators and other representatives were on hand in New York on Tuesday, Oct. 14, when the national winner of the Broad Prize for Urban Education was announced.

Aldine ISD was one of five national finalists for the award. The 2008 Broad Prize for Urban Education was awarded to Brownsville ISD.

On hand for the announcement were Aldine ISD Board President Steve Mead, Vicepresident Dr. Viola M. Garcia, Secretary Dr. Alton Smith, Assistant Secretary Rose Avalos, Board Members Merlin Griggs, and Marine Jones, Superintendent Dr. Wanda Bamberg, Deputy Superintendent Dr. Archie Blanson. Also on hand for the announcement were TSTA representative Carolyn Milton and business partner Ralph Wheeler.

Philanthropist Eli Broad at the New York Museum of Modern Art made the announcement of the winner. Also in attendance for the announcement were New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, former U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige and former U.S. Secretary of Education Richard Riley. NBC News Special Correspondent Tom Browkaw delivered the keynote address at a celebratory luncheon following the announcement.

“Aldine has made consistent student gains, particularly by Hispanic, African-American and low-income students,” said Mr. Broad. “While all large urban school districts in America have more work to do, the Aldine community can be proud that they continue to outpace other urban American school districts. We hope that other districts can learn from Aldine’s success.”

The Broad Prize for Urban Education is an annual award that honors the most outstanding urban school district in the United States that has made the greatest improvement in student achievement while reducing achievement gaps among ethnic groups and between highand low-income students.

By being named a finalist, Aldine ISD was awarded $250,000 from the Broad Foundation for college scholarships.

“We want to thank the Broad Foundation for their generous gift and for recognizing the strides Aldine ISD has made in educating all of its children,” said Mr. Mead. “Wanda and her team of administrators, principals and teachers should be commended for all of the effort and energy they have put in over the years in seeing to that all children in Aldine receive a quality education. We are indeed producing the nation’s best.”

“We are so appreciative of the Broad Foundation for selecting Aldine as one of its five national finalists and for the generous gift they provided to help Aldine students attain a college education,” Dr. Bamberg said. “Even though we were not the ultimate winner, being recognized on the national level endorses the long hours and hard work many have put in over the years in educating our children. Our board should also be commended for its vision and leadership in making academic gains among all of our students its top priority.”

For the third time in five years, Aldine was one of five national finalists from a field of 100 school districts who were identified by the Broad Foundation as being eligible candidates for the award based on size, lowincome enrollment, minority enrollment and urban environment.

Once the five national finalists were named, the Broad Foundation’s review board of 18 prominent education leaders from across the country – with the help of the National Center for Educational Accountability (NCEA) – analyzed extensive quantitative data and used their collective knowledge and experience to determine the five finalists.

Last May, a team of researchers and practitioners, under NCEA’s guidance, conducted a site visit to Aldine where they interviewed school board members, AISD administrators, staff members, community members and visited schools in the Mac- Arthur Senior High School vertical area, where they gathered additional quantitative and qualitative data.

Following the site visit, a selection jury met during the summer to review the information and select the winner.

The three other finalists were Broward County Public Schools, Florida, Long Beach Unified School District, CA, and Miami-Dade County Public Schools.

Aldine defeats Atascocita 14-10 in Homecoming game

High School Football this weekend included the game between Aldine and Atascocita, which Aldine won 14-10. In the Northeast News photos shown here, wide receiver Clyde Green of Aldine scores the first touchdown in an open field in the 2nd quarter, to tie the game at 7-7. In the upper right photo, he scores the winning touchdown after receiving a pass from Kietrell Anderson in the 3rd quarter and outrunning the defender. Photo right shows an Atascocita run.

Deluge floods cars along Eastex Expressway, frontage roads

NORTHEAST HOUSTON – Motorists were surprised last Wednesday by a short, heavy downpour that brought 3 to 5 inches of rain to many areas around Aldine and Humble.

At least 12 high water rescues were carried out by Houston and Humble fire departments, according to reports, and a total of 40 persons may have been led to safety.

The rain started in the afternoon, and because of the deluge it quickly filled low areas in the underpasses below Beltway 8 and the Eastex Expressway. As much as 8 feet of water could be seen in some locations, such as where Will Clayton Parkway and Lee Road cross under the highways. Drivers waiting at a stop light saw the waters quickly rising around them. The flooding was made worse by the fact that at least one TxDOT pumping station, near the intersection of US59 and Beltway 8, was overwhelmed and eventually failed. Trash and tree parts accumulated in the storm drains, making the water flow stop and back up. This debris may have been a result of Hurricane Ike, the Harris County Flood Control District said.

As late as Friday, there was still standing water in some of the underpasses, and at least one car was stranded and almost completely covered by water. Contractors were busy at the pump station, trying to rehabilitate it. Tow truck drivers had removed most of the cars they could reach, and drivers who had abandoned their vehicles were facing fines and storage fees of as much as $200.

Besides cars, large pickup trucks and a delivery van were also trapped by the rapidly rising waters.

Some drivers, such as Brenda McCann, left their cars and swam to safety. Others, such as Paul McLaren, stayed inside the car, surrounded by water, all night until it receded enough for him to get away to a dry lane.