Sam Houston High ordered closed

June 5, 2008 5:17:18 PM PDT
A Houston high school is being shut down and there are big changes coming for students and teachers. It's a decision the school district says had to be made. They've threatened to do it before, but now, HISD leaders say it's time for Sam Houston high school to close for good.

For six years in a row, the school has been rated by the state as academically unacceptable. Simply put, test scores just aren't good enough.

"This school is not a failure, has not failed, but has not made the standards, based on the accountability system," said HISD Superintendent Abe Saavedra.

Surrounded by what HISD calls the Sam Houston high transition team, the superintendent outlined state guidelines HISD must follow, including:

  • 75 percent of teachers must be replaced
  • A new principal has been appointed
  • The school will change names
"I'm very excited that we have the opportunity to keep the school going under a new direction maybe, but there are so many opportunities and experiences now that are going to be offered to our children that were not there last year," said new Principal Jane Crump.

Some of those opportunities include the possible establishment of an academy with an emphasis on math, science and technology. Despite the academically unacceptable rating, Sam Houston's test scores have improved over the past four years, with passing rates going up in both math and science.

Yet for all the improvements both made and expected, can the new changes really make a difference.

"This school is performing very well, but based on the standards established by what I describe as antiquated accountability system, it's not made the mark based on that standard," said Dr. Saaveddra.

The teachers who are replaced will be offered new positions within the district. Teachers coming in will quality for special bonuses. The school is scheduled to open in August.

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