By Dr. Terry B. Grier
HISD Superintendent of Schools
HOUSTON– As we begin the new year, I want to take a moment to share with you our plan for “Becoming Great All Over” in the Houston Independent School District.
Schools throughout our city are moving in the right direction. Our student achievement reached record levels in 2012 and the district was recognized by being named a finalist for the Broad Prize for Urban Education for the first time in a decade.
I’m proud to say we had the highest graduation rate and lowest dropout rate ever for HISD under the modern accountability system. In fact, HISD’s African-American graduation rate improved faster than other urban districts nationally.
Furthermore, HISD increased its percentage of African-American students taking college readiness exams more quickly than other urban districts nationally.
However, the only way we can continue to build on this success is by opening as many doors as possible for our students and by giving them options and opportunities. Whether students choose a path to college or an immediate career, we’re making sure they are properly prepared. In 2012, HISD expanded its portfolio of school choice options with programs tailored to meeting students’ 21st Century needs. HISD students in the career academies at six neighborhood schools –including Booker T. Washington and Kashmere – will graduate school with an associate’s degree from Houston Community College, relevant job training, and professional certifications. We plan on building on the success of these career and technical education programs by implementing the same practices at high schools across the district.
In fact, when we rebuild the Barbara Jordan High School for Careers, it will set a national standard for modern career and technical education, serving as a city-wide hub for this initiative. Additionally, we’re putting together a plan to eventually provide lap top computers that students in grades 3 through 12 will take home.
You see no longer can we think about education in the manner in which we expected it. It’s a whole new world and we are part of leading it. HISD is moving in the direction of becoming great all over, and we’re moving fast.
I am confident that with the continued strong support of our school board, parents, and community we will transform education and make Houston an international example of what is possible.