State Greenlights Sam Houston High Reorganization

The Texas Education Commissioner has approved the Houston School District's plan for two new schools at the now-closed Sam Houston High School on the north side. Now comes the job of actually creating those two new schools, as Jim Bell reports.
The State Education Commissioner closed Sam Houston because it was unable to make enough progress to get off the list of academically unacceptable schools. HISD has proposed reopening it with a completely new approach, as a ninth grade academy, and a college preparatory academy for grades 10 through 12. That plan has been approved, and now the district has to create it and have it in place before school starts August 25th. Spokesman Terry Abbott says they're going to have a busy summer.

"We've got to hire seventy-five percent brand new teachers, so there's a lot of work to do. We've obviously already started that, but we need every second we can get and so the Commissioner's quick approval of this is very welcome. It really does clear the way for us to get this done."

Abbott says the new Sam Houston will be very different from the old Sam Houston. For starters both academies will have a longer school day.

"And the kids who're there are gonna be focused on very intensive learning, especially in math, science, and technology. They're going to be able to take advanced courses with a lot of focus on college preparation that they have not had before. That's the biggest change."

Abbott says the parents' approval of these changes has been the most gratifying development in this story. He says all parents want the best for their children, and it's clear to Sam Houston parents that the district is trying to do its best for them, with a new approach that will give their children a better chance of succeeding.

Jim Bell, KUHF, Houston Public Radio News.