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Annual AISD State of District / AEF Breakfast

Aldine ISD Superintendent Dr. LaTonya M. Goffney delivers remarks as members of her Student Ambassador Group look on during Aldine ISD’s State of the District/AEF Breakfast on Thursday, Nov. 1.

On Nov. 1, Aldine ISD held its annual State of the District/AEF (Aldine Education Foundation) Breakfast at the Hilton Houston North Hotel. This year’s event was the first for Superintendent Dr. LaTonya M. Goffney, who was named Aldine ISD Superintendent of Schools in April.

Members of Dr. Goffney’s Student Ambassador Group led the presentation and provided information on the district. The breakfast also served as the kickoff for AEF fund campaign.

AEF President Richard Cantu spoke on behalf of the Foundation.

Blanson CTE student Ariana Lopes Rodriguez opened the breakfast by leading the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance and the Pledge to the Texas flag. The colors were presented by the Davis High School ROTC.

Victory Early College High School student Carolyn Garcia introduced members of the Aldine Board of Trustees who attended the event, Dr. Goffney and members of her Executive Leadership Team. She also introduced elected officials who attended, which included State Reps Ana Hernandez and Armando Walle, and Houston City Council member Jerry Davis.

The audience was then treated to a performance by the All-District Choir, under the direction of Daryle Freeman, choir director of Davis High School.

Davis High School student Sandra Garcia introduced AEF Board members and district stakeholders, which included students, parents and grandparents, business partner, community partners, and nonprofit and education partners.

Board Vice-President Paul Shanklin delivered the invocation and after breakfast, Cantu delivered remarks on behalf of AEF.

“Each year since 2012, the Aldine Education Foundation has joined Aldine ISD at this breakfast event to celebrate the successes of the previous school year and to learn how we as a Foundation can continually increase support for bigger, future successes,” he said.

He explained the Foundation focuses its support in two major areas, scholarships for graduating AISD seniors and teaching grants to support educator excellence.

Cantu said in the fall of 2017, AEF awarded 13 teacher grants totaling $60,268. In the spring of 2018, AEF awarded $66,000 to 80 outstanding educators to thank them for their dedication to the district’s students.

Also in the spring of 2018, Cantu said AEF awarded $412,000 in competitive scholarships to 126 Aldine ISD students. AEF also informed 88 ninth through 12th graders across 11 campuses that they would receive their part of $30,000 in scholarship funding upon their graduation. Those students earned grades of 95 or higher in every class during the 2017-18 school year.

“This district needs and deserves our support,” Cantu said. “This is why the AEF Board builds assistance across this generous community. We believe in the students and staff of Aldine ISD, and we hope you will join us to support their continued successes.”


Lone Star College announces scholarships for students from underserved communities

Lone Star College students and officials celebrate the announcement of the LSC Promise Firsts Scholarship program. Pictured (left to right): LSC graduate Jesús Contreras; Stephen C. Head, Ph.D., LSC chancellor; Alton Smith, Ed.D., LSC Board of Trustees chair; LSC graduate Rachel Perez; Massey Villarreal, LSC Foundation Board director; Mario K. Castillo, LSC chief operating officer & general counsel.

HOUSTON (Oct. 26, 2018) – Students living in communities that traditionally lack resources to succeed now have an opportunity for a brighter future thanks to the Lone Star College Promise Firsts Scholarship program.

“I am very proud that Lone Star College can now provide additional scholarships specifically designed to help lift students from these communities through higher education,” said Stephen C. Head, Ph.D., LSC chancellor.

Eight donors pledged a total of $250,000 for the fund and another $250,000 in matching dollars will be provided through Lone Star College Foundation from the Chancellor’s discretionary fund.

The LSC Promise Firsts Scholarship program will be made available to qualifying first-generation students to go to college, first-time-in-college, and first responders. A first-generation college student is defined as a student whose parents have not attended college. A student who has never attended a postsecondary college or university is considered a first-time-in-college student.

“To the donors who have helped out, I would like to say thank you,” said Racheal Cummings, LSC graduate. “My experience at Lone Star College was amazing. I have met so many people who have helped me on my journey and have learned so much.”

The eight donors include Magdalena and Tony Grijalva; H-E-B.; Alex and Cathy Lopez Negrete, Lopez Negrete Communications; George and Kathryn Martinez; Paula Mendoza, Possible Missions; Monty & Ramirez, LLP; Saul and Lisa Valentin; and Massey Villarreal. The LSC Promise Firsts program is scheduled to begin fall 2019.

“I am grateful to these individuals who have joined me in supporting our community,” said Saul Valentin, LSC Foundation Board of Directors chair. “This investment in the future of these students will pay dividends for many years to come.”


Dr. Archie Blanson honored at dedication ceremony

Dr. Archie Blanson and his wife Beverly pose with Aldine ISD Superintendent Dr. LaTonya M. Goffney and members of the Aldine ISD Board of Trustees following a dedication ceremony to officially open the Dr. Archie L. Blanson Career and Technical High School. The ceremony was held on Sunday, Oct. 14.

Hundreds of family members, friends, and colleagues gathered to honor Dr. Archie Blanson for the dedication ceremony of the Dr. Archie L. Blanson Career and Technical High School on Sunday, Oct. 14.

Dr. Blanson devoted 39 years to Aldine ISD serving as a teacher, assistant director of buildings and properties, director of buildings and properties, executive director of buildings and properties, director of human resources, assistant superintendent of human resources and completed his Aldine career at the district’s deputy superintendent. In that role, Dr. Blanson oversaw AISD’s operations department.

Dr. Blanson thanked the many family members who made the trip to Houston to share in this special day and his immediate family.

“I want to recognize my wife Beverly, who has been my biggest supporter,” he said. “And I want to recognize my children, Christina, Daniel and Eric. They are my proudest accomplishment in life.”

He thanked his parents Lula and Nathan for instilling a strong ethic in he and his siblings, many of whom attended the dedication ceremony.

Dr. Blanson said education always played an important role in his life and he is glad he chose to have a career in education.

“As the son of sharecroppers, who missed a lot of school in the early years because I had to work, I had every reason not to succeed in life or in education,” Dr. Blanson said. “But instead of feeling defeated, I developed a strong thirst for education.

“Although going to college was not presented to me as an option when I was in high school, I made it an option for myself because I had very little marketable skills. So, with the help of my family I attended college. I just wanted to have options on deciding what I was going to be in life.”

He challenged the students at Blanson CTE to take advantage of the opportunities they have before them.


Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan to remain at the helm of HISD

Grenita Lathan remains as HISD Interim Superintendent.

Oct. 15, 2018 – The Houston Independent School District Board of Education announced today that Dr. Grenita Lathan will remain as the interim superintendent of HISD, the largest school district in Texas.

During a press conference at the Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center, trustees announced that they have mutually agreed to consider the reinstatement of Dr. Lathan as interim superintendent and the rescinding of Thursday night’s vote to appoint Dr. Abelardo Saavedra to the position.

“We are committed to working together as a board for the benefit of our students, and we are unified in our efforts to build a better governance structure for our children,” HISD Board President Rhonda Skillern-Jones said. “We are confident that Dr. Lathan is the right person to lead the seventh largest school district in the nation as our interim, and we thank the public for their encouragement and support.”

“We, the Board of Trustees of the Houston Independent School District, would like to apologize to Dr. Grenita Lathan, our students, the community at large, the parents and families, all HISD employees, and our business and community partners,” Trustee Diana Davila said.

“We will work to improve our behavior as adults, treat each other with respect, and embark on the right focus of doing all we can to improve academic achievement for all our students,” Trustee Jolanda Jones said.

Dr. Lathan will remain as interim superintendent of HISD while the executive search firm Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates conducts a national search for a permanent superintendent. Dr. Lathan will have the opportunity to apply for the permanent superintendent position.


Community working to revitalize Eastex Jensen Area

Last year’s parade floats travelled down Jensen Blvd.

Parade Marshals Mattress Mack & Jerry Davis

When communities struggle, whatever the cause, a unique opportunity exists to bring people together and focus on working for the benefit of the community. The Houston Northeast CDC and Jensen Jubilee Committee are committed to seizing this opportunity to help to rebuild a resilient community in the Eastex/Jensen area. On Saturday, October 20, 2018, the organizations will host their 5th Annual Jensen Jubilee Parade & Festival.

Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale, and City Council Member Jerry Davis (District B), will serve as Grand Marshalls for the parade starting at 10:00 am proceeding from 2800 Trout Street to 9001 Jensen Drive, where the Community Festival will take place immediately following the parade.

The purpose of the Jensen Jubilee project, which launched from strategic planning meetings to clean-up the area, is to promote sustainable revitalization through residential, commercial and economic development, historic preservation and the empowerment of our neighborhoods.

Some of the successes of the Jensen Jubilee collaborative include partnerships with residents, schools, churches, businesses, and public officials; providing scholarships to area high school students; hosting town hall and specialized meetings; organizing community clean-ups; and the opening of UT Physicians Community Health and Wellness Center Jensen. This shows that together with great partnerships and hard work, we are able to not just revitalize our community but also to rebuild it, says Pastor David Smith, president of the Houston Northeast CDC. The very fact that there is a coming together within the community is a huge step forward. The Houston Northeast CDC & The Jensen Jubilee Committee is grateful to all the partners who provide their time, expertise, and the perspective necessary to maintain the momentum and relevance in the community.

The Parade & Festival serve as the premium fundraiser to be able to offer the community services provided through the Jensen Jubilee collaborative.

Festivities will begin with the Jensen Jubilee Parade on Oct. 20th, of which the community is invited to come and enjoy at 10:00am.

After the parade, the Festival will kick off with music, kid’s zone and participation of over 30 service providers and vendors.

Introduction of King & Queen at last year’s Jensen Jubilee.


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.


BakerRipley Membership & Fee Information

By Leonardo Escalante, BakerRipley

What’s the cost?

• We have three different type of membership:

• Senior 65+ ($35 per year)

• Youth 16- ($35 per year)

• Family membership ($150 per year)

• Covers two adults in the household and all the kids under the age of 18

• For those that have United Healthcare or Community Health Choice medical plans, they qualify for a free family membership

What’s included?

• All classes, events, and workshops in the East Aldine Campus

• All classes, events, and workshops in any other BakerRipley Campus

• Exclusive membership events, like holiday parties, Halloween, Easter, birthday celebrations

• Discount on the rental of the space at any BakerRipley Campus for private events like, birthday parties, anniversaries, weddings, etc.

• Note: Services like monthly food fairs, health workshops, financial education workshops, annual Back to School event, community events, etc., are open to the public and no membership is required

Why does the membership have a cost?

• Increases level of engagement from community members as opposed to a free membership

• Its an investment made by community members that serves as their buy-in

What happens if a community member cannot afford the membership?

• We strive to ensure that the membership cost is not a barrier for community members

• In the given case that a community member is unable to cover the membership cost, we encourage them to come talk to us as there are different options that will allow the community member to obtain a free membership. For example, as mentioned, subsidized membership, and/ or sponsored membership.

Civic Club news

New date for Castlewood Civic Club Board Election

At the last civic club meeting, September 28, 2018, we proceeded to elect a new board for the civic club. No new nominations were made so the people in attendance voted to postpone the election to November 8, 2018. An effort will be made to seek candidates for President and Vice President as we have volunteers for the posts of Secretary and Treasurer. However, please note that all positions will be open to the floor for nominations that night and for voting into office.

The meeting to elect a new Board will be held at: Bethel Community Church, 2414 Lauder Rd., Houston, TX 77039. November 8, 2018 (Thursday) at 6:30 p.m. Any questions, please contact Connie Esparza at (832) 306- 0231.

Green Forest Civic Club Meeting

Green Forest Civic Club’s October 2018 has been rescheduled to Tuesday, October 23, 2018, 6:30 p.m. at the American Legion Hall, 3415 Aldine-Mail Rte. (next to Shipley’s Donuts). Please mark your calendar. Neighborhoods covered by GFCC are Eastex Freeway Forest and Fairgreen 1, 2, 3 & 4. Meetings are open to the public. For more information, please contact President Shirley Reed at 281-449- 7531 or Secretary Marina Flores Sugg at 281-442-3573.

National Night Out celebrated in many local Communities

Enjoying the NNO were HCSO deputies, East Aldine board members, Lone Star NH president Napoles and daughter, Representative Armando Walle, and the Chick-Fil-A mascot. Hundreds of others from the neighborhood enjoyed the evening, too.

Tuesday night, Oct. 2 many communities in the area stepped outside to meet and greet their neighbors, as part of the National Night Out program.

The event is meant to promote public safety, and community involvement. In this area, events were held in the East Aldine District at the new BakerRipley campus, in the Airline District at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, and in the North Houston District at Wussow Park.

In East Aldine, several hundred residents came out for a night of dancing, eating, games, viewing exhibits including the new BakerRipley campus, and music and fun as well as just meeting their neighbors.

The event was sponsored by the East Aldine District, BakerRipley, the Harris County Sheriff’s office, Brookside Funeral Home, Lone Star College, ESD #1, Westfield Fire Department, MacArthur Generals, MacArthur 9th grade, and Castlewood, High Meadows, and Green Forest Civic Clubs. Chick-Fil-A provided 400 sandwiches, which were quickly gone.

Aldine ISD Police arrest student for Instagram threats

HOUSTON, TX, September 26, 2018 — Aldine ISD Police arrested an Aldine Middle School student for posting threats on social media against a campus administrator on Wednesday, September 25, 2018. The Harris County District Attorney’s Office has filed a charge of felony terroristic threat against the student.

Late Tuesday, September 24, Aldine ISD Police received information that an individual was using Instagram to issue threats towards an administrator at Aldine Middle School. During their investigation the next day, Aldine ISD Police officers discovered information which led them to a student who was interviewed about the posts. The officers also found evidence that the threats originated from the student’s cell phone.

“I want to commend our district’s police officers for their quick action and for bringing this situation to a swift conclusion,” said Aldine ISD Superintendent Dr. LaTonya M. Goffney. “Aldine ISD will not tolerate any threats made against any Aldine ISD school or individual. We will work with law enforcement officers and the Harris County District Attorney’s Office to prosecute offenders to the fullest extent of the law.”

“Parents, I implore you to talk to your children and remind them that their actions can have serious consequences,” Dr. Goffney said. “Aldine ISD will continue to make the safety and security of our students and staff our top priority.”

Recently, the Houston FBI office held a press conference addressing threats and hoax threats. They provided the following information of the consequences individuals face when they make threats on social media. That information includes:

• Making hoax threats directed at schools is a serious criminal action that has potentially dangerous consequences. Hoax threats are not a joke. They have ramifications for both first responders and those who issue the threats.


Baker Ripley offers classes and services

BakerRipley’s new campus at the East Aldine Town Center offers a variety of opportunities for families and individuals.

The campus is a place of welcome, engagement and collaboration, where neighbors can enjoy a variety of programs, resources and services.

Individuals of all ages, from youth to seniors, will have access to tools and equipment for digital fabrication in the FabLab Houston.

Entrepreneurs will learn how to start or expand their business, adults will find continuing education opportunities, and youth will be able to develop their leadership skills. With the entrepreneurial spirit of East Aldine, as evidenced in the BakerRipley workshops over the last year, the center will be a place for neighbors to learn, make, and sell.

Families and individuals who want to participate in these opportunities will join with a yearly membership fee. For families, including 2 adults and all children in the household aged 17 and under, the yearly fee is $150. Individual memberships for Seniors aged 65+ the fee is $35. For Youth aged 14-18, the fee is $35.