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Posts published in “News Index – North Forest News”

HCC North Forest opens new facilities

Ribbon cutting participants included HCC-NE President Monique Umphrey, Maxine Lane-Seals, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, HCC Chancelor Cesar Moldonado, HCC Board Chair Carolyn Evans-Shabazz, State Rep. Senfronia Thompson, Judge Joe Stephens, Millicent Edwards, and many others from the HCC and North Forest community, past and present.

NORTH FOREST – After many years of planning and construction, the Houston Community College Northeast finally was able to open their new North Forest expansion facilities at a ceremony last Tuesday morning. The complex of buildings will house a new academic wing, expanded work force offices, and a unique auto maintenance training facility.

Dr. Cesar Maldonado spoke about the importance of the new campus not only being an educational opportunity, but a driver of economic development for the whole community.

The hour-long ceremony was not only a chance for HCC educators to speak about the new programs and opportunities, but it also became somewhat of a reunion party for all the past North Forest school officials that had endured closure of their district, and hoped this was a closure of their educational future achievements.

The main speaker for the event was Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, who had worked to save the old North Forest ISD, and now was able to help bring funding for the new community college campus to the area. She spoke about not only the present opportunities, but also a vision of expansion into a complete campus. She noted that there was a lot of vacant land adjacent, and saw the North Forest campus expanding again. She congratulated the community leaders that had worked hard to bring the campus into North Forest. She noted that it had taken several attempts to bring the promised funds into reality for the college.

North Forest area plans New Management District

SB390 Bill promoters include State Representatives Harold Dutton and Senfronia Thompson, Pastor Lightfoot, SB390 bill sponsor Senator Borris Miles, and Charles Noble, president of the Fontaine/Scenic Wood Civic club.The North Forest and Northeast Houston neighborhoods are about to get their own management district, pending the final vote and signature of the governor.

A group of citizens, headed by State Senator Borris Miles, have been working to get approval of SB390, and the votes in committee in both the House and Senate have been unanimous. Without any opposition, the bill is expected to pass before the end of the session in June.

A management district, with power to assess money through taxes and assessments of various sorts, would make a huge difference in the quality of life, and services available in the Northeast Houston area, according to Miles.

Early registration kickoff fair at HCC North Forest Campus

Houston Community College’s new North Forest Campus.

HOUSTON (November 8, 2018) – With rapid changes in technology, the economy and career opportunities, having advanced education and training is critical. The HCC North Forest Campus has expanded to provide more classes and training opportunities for the community to reach their educational goals. For those who may need guidance in getting started in school or simply what to know what career options are available, the HCC Northeast Forest Campus is hosting an “Early Registration Kickoff Fair” from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. on Thursday, November 29. The newly expanded campus is located at 6010 E. Little York Road, Houston, Texas 77016.

Representatives will be available to provide information regarding training programs, academic courses, Seniors 55 yrs.+ tuition discount program, certifications and student support services. There will be drawings for prizes and light refreshments will be served.

Brutal robberies continue at North Forest’s Commons of Grace apartments

Only weeks after a series of robberies and threats to elderly residents occured at the Commons of Grace apartments on Tidwell Road, Houston Police and Channel 2 News have reported another brutal attack and robbery of a resident.

This follows promises by management of increased surveillance and more security guards for the complex, as well as changes in locks and gates.

In the most recent incident of crime, it is alleged that four men accosted an elderly man, Percy Gipson, as he returned from work at 3:30 am on Friday July 27. He was allegedly attacked with a hammer in the hallway of his apartment building, beaten and robbed of his wallet, keys and a gun.

According to his grandson, Damil Gipson, visiting his grandfather at Memorial Hermann Hospital emergency room, Gipson suffered a fractured skull and was bleeding from the brain.

Regional property manager for NPR, the manager of the apartment complex, Maritza Miranda told Channel 2 that they are Òbeefing up the patrolÓ and working with authorities to stop the crimes. She said they have surveillance video that may show the perpetrators of the attack, and this has been given to the police.

Northeast YMCA is a community asset

By Christine Nguyen

It’s a building that’s almost impossible to find, nestled literally on the offshoot of a long and winding road, but somehow the Northeast Family YMCA has become an indispensable part of the North Forest community.

“The YMCA plays a big role [in these people’s lives],” day camp director Jared Hale said. “We cater to the children, but we have senior citizens who love the program. We have teens that love the program. We have people who are involved in the program and don’t even know… Whether they know it or not, they’re contributing to the YMCA and we’re contributing back to the community.

Walk into the Northeast Family YMCA on any given day and you’re likely to find community members of all ages, from toddlers to seniors. Currently, the Northeast Y has 330 memberships, which means that an average number of 1,000 or more individuals pass through the building each month.

Community Executive Director Demetta Landry says the Y prides itself on being a place easily accessible to anyone.

“There are kids here whose parents came to this Y when they were growing up.” Landry said. “We’re here to take care of their kids just like we took care of them. They trust us. And with the seniors, they know they can come here, get some good exercise … and do stuff, instead of just staying at home.”

The Northeast Y offers a variety of programs and classes, ranging from swim lessons and sports for the youth to aerobics and line dancing for adults. The building itself houses a number of facilities including an outdoor pool, a multi-purpose gym, two fitness centers and a playroom.

During the summer, the Y offers a day camp for young teens and kids as young as 3 years old, which Landry says is immensely helpful for parents who may have to work during the daytime and need a “safe place” for their kids.

The Northeast Y isn’t only focused on accessibility in terms of age either. Although the Y relies heavily on membership and class fees, Landry says it is constantly seeking out new sources of funding to be able to provide financial assistance to those in need, whether it’s through United Way dollars or the Y Partners Campaign.

The Partners Campaign works to raise money from board members, benefactors, Y members and staff to allow everyone to participate in the Y, even those who can’t afford the membership.

“It’s all money that we pretty much raise ourselves to keep us going,” Landry said. “Our rates are based on what our community can afford, so we work really hard to try to raise as much as we can because there’s a great need in our community.”

Currently, through the Partners Campaign, the Northeast Y does apartment outreach at Haverstock Hills Apartments, which was once considered the most dangerous complex in the Houston area. Through the program, the Y provides a variety of sports and enrichment activities to more than 700 youth who live in the complex.

But for Landry, who has worked at the Northeast Family YMCA for almost 28 years, this relationship isn’t a one-way street. She says the community has changed her life just as much as the Y has changed theirs.

“I’ve never really wanted to work anywhere else,” Landry said. “I believe in the mission, and I love this community. It’s my family.”

North Forest HS shooting incident mars attempts at district progress

NORTH FOREST– Police responded last Tuesday to a shooting inside North Forest High School. Incidents continue to happen at North Forest High School, possibly affecting the District’s appeal of closing the district. This time a student was shot by another student, who had a gun apparently to protect himself from others who were “bullying” him.

An 18-year-old, Warren Lewis, shot a16-year-old freshman in the leg in the middle of a second floor hallway around 12:30 p.m. The incident “was apparently the result of a dispute between a group of students that started off-campus and continued onto the campus,” said Sue Davis, spokeswoman for North Forest ISD. “The 16-year-old was not part of the dispute, so he was not the intended target of the alleged shooter.”

A nearby teacher, in a government class, who happened to also be a deputy constable, apprehended the shooter. Lewis has been charged with aggravated assault while the 16-year-old boy is in stable condition at a local hospital. In court Wednesday, prosecutors said that he actually fired the gun 5 times, and filed additional charges of carrying a gun on campuse.

This is the second incident within three months at North Forest High, back in October, two students were expelled after they attempted to hide a gun that one of them had brought to class.

North Forest ISD recently received final orders from the state Education Commissioner to close down and merge with Houston ISD by July, which they are appealing.

Statement from Edna Forté, Superintendent, North Forest Independent School District:

January 10, 2012

At approximately 12:30 p.m. today, an 18-year-old 12th grade student allegedly shot a 16-year-old 9th grader at North Forest High School. The 9th grader was shot in the leg and taken to hospital in stable condition. The alleged shooter was apprehended at the school and turned over to the Houston Police Department. The school was put on lockdown until it was determined the situation was over and then students were allowed to return to class after about 30 minutes. The parents of both students have been notified.

The ensuing investigation by school officials has determined the incident was apparently the result of a dispute among students that started off-campus. The student who was shot was apparently not the target of the alleged shooter.

While the high school has metal detectors, it is still under investigation as to how the alleged shooter got the gun into the school. As a result of this incident, the school district has determined to keep the metal detectors in operation longer each day.

The district has also decided to ban backpacks that are not transparent at the high school. The district will purchase clear backpacks for all the students and hopes to have them available by next Tuesday.

North Forest High School preparing students for top college admissions programs

According to North Forest High School principal James Troutman, this year’s graduating class of 239 Seniors has a number of outstanding students, that are well prepared to continue their education at top tier colleges throughout the state and nation.

Students at North Forest High School are beginning to receive acceptances from colleges they have applied to this year. In a recent series of interviews, the Northeast News learned about some of the top students in the graduating class, and what their achievements and goals are for the future.

Sarah Taylor is interested in film, and plans to continue her education at either NYU in New York, or UT Austin in their Communications program. Her interest in file and theater is life long, and she looks forward to learning more and a career in this field.

Last summer she was able to further her interests by participating in a 5 week summer course in film at the University of Houston. She learned to do editing, camera work, directing, and scouting locations.

At North Forest, she is president of the theater group and a technical director, but admits she doesn’t like acting as much as the technical aspects.

She has recently directed a one act play, “Charity Case” for the UIL competition. Sara is also making a one act movie, 7 to 10 minutes long, of Shakespeare’s MacBeth, albeit a modern adaptation.

Sara is graduating number 5 in her class of 239, and her philosophy is to make the best of what you opportunities have given you. She is also vice president of the student government association.

Claiborne Jones is an athlete as well as a scholar, and interested in chemical engineering for his future. He has been accepted at UT Austin, and exhibits an extremely positive attitude. He is already a longhorn fan, and plays NF football as a wide receiver, and is captain of the baseball team.

His engineering interests stem from his involvement in the NSBE, or National Society of Black Engineers. He recently returned from a conference of this group of students, and served as board member. This group is very active at North Forest, thanks to the teacher, Ms. Valencia Dutton, and the support of Shell Oil Company.

Claiborne is also interested in music, and plays the violin and viola. His philolophy is summed up as “I like to exceed expectations.”

His advice to other students is to stay in school, and get involved in your community.

Rayshanda Massey is also interested in engineering, and has been accepted at Texas A & M. She will major in either industrial engineering, or Early Childhood Education.

Rayshanda is another member of the NSBE, and went to the St. Louis conference, where she was elected a vice president.

She indicated that North Forest High School has an Engineering Design Presentation class that has been influential in developing her interest in engineering, with computer work and AutoCad experience.

She also participates in the Dual Credit program offered by HCC-NE at North Forest, gaining college credit in English.

Rayshanda’s interests include ROTC, captain of the majorettes, and a program at TSU of the national Upward Bound experience. She has participated in this for 3 years, taking pre-calculus and visiting other colleges as part of the program. She said there are 5 students from North Forest currently in the Upward Bound program.

Rayshanda wears a TAMU sweat shirt, as she smiles and says she is definitely as Aggie. But she adds, that she sees herself as “born to be a leader.”

It would seem that this comment could well apply to all three of the outstanding students presenting themselves from North Forest High Schoool.

TEA issues Final Closing Order to NF

By GILBERT HOFFMAN, Northeast News

NORTH FOREST– The public and the District held a celebration party Thursday night, heaping praise and accolades on the newly appointed permanent Superintendent, Ms. Edna Forté. Several board members, past and present, and the HCC-NE President, Margaret Ford Fisher, wished Forté well in her position.

Unfortunately, by the next day, Friday, the happy thoughts had turned sour, when the District received a letter from Texas Education Commissioner Robert Scott, informing them that a Final Decision had been made, and they would be dissolved as of July 1, 2012. At that time, the Houston ISD is ordered to absorb the North Forest district and its 7500 students, according to the letter. Scott’s letter was not entirely unanticipated, but the District has maintained all year that they would be able to correct the long-standing academic and financial problems, and get TEA approval.

Public statements rebutting the closure notice were immediately issued by Superintendent Forté and Congresswoman Jackson-Lee.

The community, with the strong support of Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, has waged a campaign to save the district from closing. In fact, an “Education Town Hall” was held after the NFISD fete Thursday evening, as Lee returned from a meeting in Austin with TEA. Another meeting Sunday afternoon, at 3 pm in the Shadydale Elementary school, continued organizing the community support against the TEA decision.

In his 8 page letter to the District, Scott cited the district and the high school for a 2011 rating of Academically Unacceptable (AU), and further noted that this was the third consecutive year for the district, and the sixth consecutive year for the high school. He continued that the district earned a substantial financial accountability rating for the fourth consecutive year.

Therefore, he stated that these findings “require me to assign the North Forest ISD a 2011-2012 accreditation status of Not Accredited-Revoked and to close the district effective July 1, 2012.”

The letter contains a long and detailed list of deficiencies that the TEA Conservator assigned to the district has identified. Scott indicates that most of these have not been solved satisfactorily.

In regard to previous academic accountability ratings, Scott notes that on Nov. 2nd that appeal was denied.

Scott states that “This order will annex the North Forest ISD to the Houston ISD effective July 1, 2012.

Although a “Final” decision, he notes “The procedures available to the district to request a review of the accreditation status assignment and order of annexation are discussed below.”

Scott also notes that the annexation must be precleared by the US Department of Justice, under the National Voting Rights Act of 1965.

District Statement

In a statement issued by North Forest’s Forté, she said that “the North Forest ISD has retained legal counsel and will continue to fight the closure of the district.”

And in a slap at the TEA, she continues “The Texas Education Agency is seeking to close the district for issues that occurred while under partial or complete conservatorship.”

Jackson-Lee Statement

Based on a meeting that she and NAACP officials had with TEA Commissioner Scott on Thursday, she stated in a press release Friday that “It is not accurate to assume North Forest ISD is going to close especially if they were to receive a fair and unbiased review by the TEA.”

Jackson-Lee said that the TEA Commissioner based his assessment largely on the two years when NFISD was under the control of TEA and their conservator.

“The NFISD now is moving towards the improvements that the TEA failed to accomplish. She concluded “Stop condemning… and give them a chance!!”

Houston North Forest Chamber of Commerce hosts a “ Visions Gala Day”

By Julieta Paita

Members, sponsors and supporters of the Houston North Forest Chamber of Commerce gathered at Eden Event Center,7450 North Wayside, on Nov. 8 for a “Visions Gala Day”.

Vision for North Forest Chamber of Commerce is about “growing and growing with small business like Union Pacific,”said James Leonard, Chamber president. “We are investors in trying making our community to grow and grow.”

Judge Zinetta Birney, guest speaker, said education in North Forest is a priority.

“North Forest is one of our largestschool districts in the city of Texas, education in my opinion is a subject that must happen and distribute the top issue on my list of issues,” said Birney. “North Forest must find a way of providing service to this community, closure or merging to HISD is not the answer.”

North Forest Superintendent, EdnaForté, as well as some elected officials and Houston Community College-North Forest were among the list of recognized guests.

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee reviewed some of the President’s Obama plans; the American Jobs Act and tax cuts to help American’s small business hire and grow. To know more about this act, you can go to

Houston North Forest Chamber of Commerce has its monthly meeting every 2nd Tuesday of each month. 713-670-7500. More pictures on page 8.

Edna Forté named Superintendent at North Forest ISD

NORTH FOREST, October 18, 2011–The Board of Trustees of the North Forest Independent School District Monday named Edna Forté as Superintendent of Schools.

The Board’s vote was unanimous. Forté has been Acting Superintendent since March 2011.

“The Board of Trustees has absolute trust that Ms. Forté will keep our school district moving forward this year and beyond,” said Chair Albert Coleman. “She has the skills and judgment to have a big impact on our district and its students, community, staff and Board.”

A visionary and progressive leader, Edna Forté has worked aggressively to implement academic reforms that increase student achievement in urban public schools. Her leadership philosophy recognizes the need to establish meaningful relationships, maintain open collaborative lines of communication, and focus the collective efforts of the entire organization on outcomes that serve the best interest of all children.

“This year, there are three critical priorities the North Forest Independent School District will address,” said Forté. “First, improve achievement; second, systemize financial policy; and third, gain the public’s trust.”

During her tenure in the North Forest Independent School District, Forté has facilitated a number of innovative initiatives aimed largely at advancing pathways to graduation. Specifically, she worked to obtain a multi-million dollar transformation grant intended to unite high school stakeholders around a common vision and common goals. In addition, she collaborated with external partners to acquire a grant to assist the district in lifting the YES Prep North Forest Charter School purposed to create innovative new secondary school choices within the district.

Forté possesses over 20 years of experience and has an extraordinary breadth of knowledge and expertise. Her educational career began in the Alief Independent School District. She later transitioned to the Houston Independent School District where she held several impactful positions including Literacy Specialist, Principal, and Regional External Funding Supervisor. In 2006, she joined the North Forest Independent School District as the Director of Federal Programs. She was subsequently promoted to Executive Director of Federal & State Programs in 2008 and became Acting Superintendent in March.

Edna Forté is affiliated with several professional organizations including the Texas Association of School Business Administrators, The American Leadership Forum, Houston A+ Challenge Executive Leadership Council, and The National Leadership Institute. In 2011, she was recognized by the Texas Black Caucus as an Outstanding Community Leader Honoree in recognition of her contributions to building equitable and diverse communities.