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Houston ISD superintendent fires back after mayor criticizes new plan to close, repurpose libraries at NES schools

The superintendent responded to the mayor in a letter Wednesday evening, inviting the mayor to see firsthand what he intends to do at NES schools.

HOUSTON — Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner on Wednesday spoke out against newly appointed Houston ISD Superintendent Mike Miles' plan to close or repurpose libraries at 28 campuses.

The change is happening at 28 schools designated as part of Miles' New Education System (NES) program which targets underperforming schools. The district said the 57 schools that opted into the NES program will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Some libraries at those schools will be used as discipline centers.

"You cannot have a situation where you are closing libraries for some schools in certain neighborhoods and there are other libraries in other neighborhoods that are fully equipped," the mayor said. "What the hell are you doing?"

The superintendent responded to the mayor in a letter Wednesday evening, inviting the mayor to see firsthand what he intends to do at these NES schools.

The district previously said that librarians that work at impacted campuses will have the opportunity to apply for other positions within the district.

Read Miles' full letter:

"Dear Mayor Turner:

"Thank you as always for your service to our city and for your continued interest in the educational success of Houston children.

"In an effort to make sure the Houston ISD community has access to accurate information and to provide you a clearer understanding of how New Education System (NES) and New Education System-Aligned (NESA) schools will serve children, I would like you to join me at some of these campuses during the first week of school. You will see first-hand the unique attributes of this model and its ability to support student achievement.

"The foundation of NES is equity – where the most disadvantaged students in Houston receive the most support. One of the unique components of the NES model is the Team Center – which is really the hub of differentiated instruction in an NES campus. This is where students who need extra support to catch up have access to more time with a teacher or learning coach, and those students who are ready to work ahead can take on more challenging lessons and assignments. The large central spaces provide students with several learning experiences which expand on their classroom instruction, including:

  • Work in pairs or small groups.
  • Work on differentiated assignments that align with their level of proficiency.
  • Access to technology to re-enforce classroom lessons.
  • Reading and working independently with the support of a learning coach.
  • Continuous instruction when a child must leave the classroom environment.

"In most campuses, we position Team Centers in libraries because they provide the physical space to support differentiated learning experiences and are centrally located within the campus itself. It also ensures children have access to technology alongside access to books and other reading resources.

"We are excited to show all of this to you first-hand once the school year begins. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to call me with any questions."

After getting the letter, Turner said he's been clear in his statements and added that he's extended an invitation to Miles to visit city hall.

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HISD's original list of 28 NES schools

  • Atherton ES – Alynthia Curtis
  • Berry ES – Alvaro Montelongo
  • Bruce ES – Lauren Hooks
  • Cook ES – Shundra Harris-Mosley
  • Dogan ES – Rim Mohamed
  • Eliot ES – Cortney Richa-Herbert
  • Elmore ES – Tanya Webb
  • Henderson ES – Kristi Taylor
  • Highland Heights ES – Bettina McKinney
  • Hilliard ES – Erika Kimble
  • Isaacs ES – Carmen Colunga-Spencer
  • Kashmere Gardens ES – Marques Collins
  • Marshall ES – Lauren K. Price
  • Martinez R. ES – April Coleman Hernandez
  • McGowan ES – Stephanie Lugo Velez
  • Pugh ES – Keith Garcia
  • Roderick Paige ES – Marilou Alcaraz
  • Scroggins ES – Dianna Balderas
  • Shadydale ES – Pandora Agnew
  • Fleming MS – Devin Adams
  • Forest Brook MS – Alicia Lewis
  • Henry MS – Erika Vigil
  • Key MS – Jennifer Murchison
  • McReynolds MS – Chastity Caesar
  • Sugar Grove MS – Noe Ortega
  • Kashmere HS – Brandon Dickerson
  • North Forest HS – Marie Adams
  • Wheatley HS – Sabrina Cuby-King

57 HISD schools that opted into NES

  • Cage Elementary
  • Franklin Elementary
  • Gallegos Elementary
  • Harris RP Elementary
  • Looscan Elementary
  • Oates Elementary
  • Port Houston Elementary
  • Robinson Elementary
  • Whittier Elementary
  • Burrus Elementary
  • Coop Elementary
  • Durkee Elementary
  • Kennedy Elementary
  • Northline Elementary
  • Osborne Elementary
  • Smith Elementary
  • Wainwright Elementary
  • Alcott Elementary
  • Blackshear Elementary
  • Bonner Elementary
  • Brookline Elementary
  • DeZavala Elementary
  • Gregg Elementary
  • Harris JR Elementary
  • Hartsfield Elementary
  • Hobby Elementary
  • Lewis Elementary
  • Lockhart Elementary
  • Rucker Elementary
  • Seguin Elementary
  • Thompson Elementary
  • Whidby Elementary
  • Young Elementary
  • Ashford Elementary
  • Benavidez Elementary
  • Bonham Elementary
  • Edison Middle
  • Holland Middle
  • Project Chrysalis Middle
  • M.C. Williams Middle
  • Cullen Middle
  • Hartman Middle
  • Lawson Middle
  • Fondren Middle
  • Revere Middle
  • Furr High
  • Houston MSTC High
  • Scarborough High
  • Washington High
  • Madison High
  • Sterling High
  • Worthing High
  • Yates High
  • Wisdom High
  • Reagan K-8 Ed Center
  • Long Academy
  • Las Americas Newcomer

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