By: Rebecca S. Jones
HOUSTON- Oprah Winfrey once declared that, “Books were my pass to personal freedom. I learned to read at age three, and soon discovered there was a whole world to conquer that went beyond our farm in Mississippi.” This thought was one of the central messages that Houston Independent School District Dr. Terry B. Grier alluded to as he spoke at the Acres Homes Chamber for Business and Economic Development. The Acres Home Business Networking Luncheon was held on Thursday, February 7th. Chairman of the AHCBED, Roy Douglas Malonson began the event by calling upon Rev. Charles Ingram, President of the Acres Home Civic Club to deliver a word of prayer and supplication. After which, Malonson engaged the crowd as he conducted a raffle drawing.
The event proved to be an informative function whereas Dr. Grier was the featured Speaker. While addressing the group of more than 50 community members, civic leaders and educators Dr. Grier discussed several topics including an update on the 2012 Bond program. The Bond program will benefit the HISD with emphasis on a new state of the art facility for Booker T. Washington High School, renovation and revamping of Kashmere and Barbara Jordan High Schools.
Dr. Grier revealed the importance of involving parents into his or her child’s education. “If you can’t read, you can’t succeed in America”, he stated. Therefore, he has devoted himself and the staff that accompanies him to the mission of, ensuring that every child within HISD will be equipped with the necessary skills to read and read well by the first grade.
Dr. Grier also talked about his commitment to lowering HISD’s dropout rate, which has decreased from 22.7 percent in 2007 to 11 percent in 2012. He also addressed the teacher turn over rate within HISD which is relatively 20 percent lower than other school districts nationwide.
Additionally he informed of how measures taken by the district has proven to benefit students of the Black community. In HISD, the number of African-Americans taking the SAT has increased five-fold. Likewise, has the amount of scholarships awarded to African-Americans increased from $52 million to $180 million. Though the statistics reflect details significant to the African-American community; Dr. Grier indicated that, “We’re committed to all children but we need your help.”
His dedication and ongoing efforts to make sure each classroom has great teachers was met with an approval from those in attendance. He also said, although he is pleased with the direction HISD is headed, he wants the district to become great all over. “We’re not where we need to be, but we’re on the right track, “said Dr. Grier. Following his remarks Dr. Grier answered a variety of questions ranging from: the completion of the new campus for Booker T. Washington High School, teachers and administrators addressing disciplinarian problems and indecent conduct of educators with students.
Additionally, Mr. Roy Douglas Malonson who sponsored the event said it’s important that Dr. Grier speak at events like this one in our community. “Our kids need a quality education, “said Malonson. “They need the support from the community and their families.”
The Acres Home Business Networking Luncheon is held the first Thursday in each month and features community leaders and business owners as guest speakers. For more information or to register for the March Business Networking Luncheon, call (713) 692-7161.