by Cierra Duncan
Concerned parents, students and community members recently gathered at Jones High School to discuss the school’s future. Supporters want Jones to stay open, and asked HISD to consider other options.
Jones is one of five under-enrolled HISD schools being considered for closure or repurposing at the end of the school year. According to the district, the proposed plan will allow enrollment and resources to be better distributed across campuses.
“Roughly 2,000 children are zoned to Jones High School but only an estimated 440 students are currently enrolled,” explained Michael Cardona, HISD’s interim chief high schools officer.
“When you want to offer services such as electives and [advanced placement] courses, it becomes more difficult the smaller the school gets.”
If Jones is closed, students would be re-zoned to Sterling or Worthing High Schools. Some supporters believe HISD has not considered students and parents in the proposed closure.
“HISD wants to know how to bring children back to the school but they haven’t asked the community,” said Assata Richards, vice chair of the Houston Housing Authority. “If you don’t ask your consumers that question, how do you create a product that your consumers want?”
Another Jones supporter, a concerned parent, said HISD should invest in the community.
“In the movie ‘Field of Dreams’ there is a quote that says ‘If you build it they will come.’ There is no building in our community, and because there is no building they are not coming,” the parent said. “You all are going to have to step out on faith and money and invest in our community.”
Other supporters said HISD should bring work training and college preparatory programs back to the campus.
The community’s feedback and the proposed closures will be presented to the HISD Board of Education on Feb. 20.
The above article was published in Volume 83, Number 15 (February 13, 2014) of the Defender newspaper in Houston, TX.