Houston ISD: 'Laser-focused' on turning around failing schools

Principal Reggie Bush spoke with KHOU 11 News inside Kashmere Gardens Elementary, the school he helped turn around.

HOUSTON - Houston ISD leaders say they're "laser-focused" on turning around failing schools.

A list of 10 schools facing possible takeover was released Tuesday morning. There are 27 schools needing improvement, 10 of those in the worst way.

But it's not all bad news. HISD says a number of schools have come off that list.

Superintendent Richard Carranza, trustees and school administrators talked about new TEA rankings during Tuesday morning's news conference.

Bottom line: Ten schools are now subject to sanctions under tougher state standards. Some of the schools have been on the so-called "improvement required" list for years.

The 10 schools are:

  1. Henry Middle School (4)
  2. Mading Elementary School (4)
  3. Wesley Elementary School (4)
  4. Dogan Elementary (5)
  5. Highland Heights Elementary School (5)
  6. Woodson K-8 (5)
  7. Blackshear Elementary School (6)
  8. Wheatley High School (6)
  9. Worthing High School (6)
  10. Kashmere High School (8)

On the other hand, 90 percent of HISD schools currently meet standards. That doesn't mean there's not a lot of work that needs to be done.

"I want to reiterate to our community that the board of education and this administration is laser focused on providing the support, the resources, the capacity building, through and equity lens to ensure that those 10 campuses will not have to face the sanctions,” Carranza said.

Reggie Bush, the principal of Kashmere Gardens Elementary School, said a few words about turning around that school, which was perpetually on the under-performing list.

“We’ve been able to accomplish some of the goals we set two years ago,” Bush said.

WATCH: HISD focused on turning schools around

Kashmere Gardens Elementary was on the state’s list of the most seriously under-performing schools for the last four years. But like the football player who shares his name, Bush took the ball and ran with it.

The school just came off the list. Not that there isn’t work left to do.

“Number one, believing in children,” Bush said. “Number two, eliminating excuses. And last but not least, staying focused to make sure we can give our kids what they need on a daily basis.”

That includes working with the city, churches, and any others to provide social services to children who may face homelessness, poverty, crime, and other challenges.

“It goes beyond school,“ Bush said. “It goes beyond home.” 

Much of the nearly 70-year-old building recently got a fresh coat of colorful paint to match the lockers. College pennants hang in the hallways to serve as inspiration and no longer the impossible.

“Nothing else drives me more than to see the seeds grow here from our elementary school,” Bush said.

Kashmere Gardens Elementary eventually feeds into Kashmere High School. It is still on the list of the most troubled schools.

Bush believes the same kind of attention will help turn it around, too.

District leaders say engaging parents and others is a major priority in trying to keep more schools from slipping.

© 2017 KHOU-TV


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