HISD tells 162 teachers to relocate

June 13, 2010 5:50:03 AM PDT
We're learning more about a plan that's moving more than 100 HISD teachers from some of the district's lowest performing schools. A total of nine schools will be participating in an academic turnaround program. It is a big change not only for students, but for a lot of teachers. Until Friday, 600 teachers were assigned to those schools in question, but now that number is down to some 350.

When 162 teachers at the district's lowest performing schools left work Friday, they were told they wouldn't be back on those campuses for the new semester. They didn't pass the interview.

"The fact they asked them if this works with how their life schedule works and then said, fine if you don't want to be here, you don't have to, is a good thing," said Gayle Fallon, president of the Houston Federation of Teachers. "But I guarantee you there are 162 upset teachers out there."

The teachers were at what are now being called Apollo 20 schools. They will operate in the fall with extended school days, an extended school year and bi-monthly Saturday tutoring.

The schools involved are low performing and include: Jones, Kashmere Lee and Sharpstown high schools; Attucks, Dowling, Fondren, Key and Ryan middle schools, and 11 elementary schools.

It's described as an academic turnaround project but just over half of the teachers will be retained. There are 358 in all and 80 others decided to retire, transfer or resign, according to the district; however162 still have jobs but will have to apply to teach at other HISD schools.

"Let's say they don't find a position and come back next year without one; they're a permanent sub, they're still being paid as a teacher; not good business for the district and not something teachers enjoy," Fallon said.

The district expects all teachers will find new teaching assignments in the district. As for the Apollo program, its expectation for students is as high as that for faculty.

"We're talking about every single kid reading on grade level, every kid doing mathematical concepts on grade level, every kid with a 100 percent graduation rate," said Dallas Dance, an HISD middle school officer.

Some of those teachers affected by the new schedule have said no thanks, and have taken jobs at other school districts. A job fair is being scheduled for the remaining teachers in coming weeks.

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