Houston Forward Times

04 June 2014 Written by  TaShon D. Thomas

Dr. Grier Lets Talk

On July 1, 2013, Houston Independent School District (HISD) officially welcomed in thousands of new students from the former North Forest Independent School District (NFISD). Though many, including myself, adamantly fought against the state’s proposal, I do believe HISD is doing a good job of improving the outcome of the students of the former NFISD. (I do believe that this is the first time in years I have ever used good and HISD in the same sentence.) But now is the time for the former NFISD community and HISD to meet together to ensure that the successes of the past year were not in vain.

My proposal calls for a one-day community summit (July 17, 2014) for the purpose of creating a five-year strategy plan that guarantees that both HISD and the community have a clear voice into the outcomes of the area’s students. This community summit would not be a ["gripe session"]. We have had enough of those over the past few years. This would a community "come to Jesus meeting" to secure the future of Northeast Houston residents by creating a productive educational system.

The participants would be: HISD Superintendent Terry Grier and respective staff members (no more than 10), area faith leaders (no more than 10), HISD Board Members Rhonda Skillern Jones and Juliet Stipeche, the principal and PTA President of each former NFISD schools, Congress Member Sheila Jackson Lee or designee, State Representative Senfornia Thompson or designee, "community activists" (no more than 5), and education non profits (no more than 5).

There would be several break-out sessions to establish community based programs such as an out of school, tutoring, and college readiness. HISD would be allocated time to discuss improvements completed and in progress over the past year. There would also be a serious discussion about how the non-profits could apply for federal and state funding to help in the development of the programs established through this summit. At the end, there would be a small work group established to ensure that the plan is continued throughout the next few years.

I must admit that I have never been a huge fan of HISD’s takeover of NFISD. But now that we are entering into the first anniversary of the consolidation, it is beyond time to come together and make sure our students are taken to their greatest potential. Dr. Grier I am offering you an opportunity to work together towards those goals that you set forward for NFISD. So Dr. Grier we are ready, lets talk. #ijs

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