Some schools in jeopardy over low grades

HOUSTON Trustees met for several hours to discuss the schools' futures. The bottom line is -- if the grades don't go up, the schools could be in jeopardy.

Student Tania Jasso is skeptical. The plan to put more academic resources into Lee High School may not have the desired effect.

She said, "There is already resources and some people don't attend to them. It's just really the students that want to overcome and be prepared, go to college, get a better education. It depends on the student."

Tania says she already attends Saturday tutorials at Lee High School. Lee is on the verge of being closed by the state for being continually rated academically unacceptable.

Getting out of the academic dumper was the focus of Thursday's school board workshop. The schools facing state closure are Jones, Kashmere, Lee and Sharpstown high schools as well as HP Carter and the Contemporary Learning Center. Charter schools on the list are CEP-SW and New Aspirations.

The money would come from state. Each of the poor performing schools could qualify for grants ranging from $50,000 to $2 million per school based on enrollment.

Schools like Lee could see more tutorials, longer school days or even year-round classes. Nothing's been decided yet. Even teachers are on the chopping block.

"We've got to have teachers in the schools who believe that those students can master that curriculum," said HISD Superintendent Dr. Terry Grier. "We may have to have tutoring to help them. We may have to have more time to help them, but it just cannot be business as usual."

Parents agree and at least one says the responsibility should be shared.

"It's parenting as well as the school itself,"said parent Beverly Arcarola. "You have to be part of your children's lives in order to get the school to run the way you want it to be."

Dr. Grier made it very clear that no decisions have been made in regards to replacing teachers. The board of trustees says they plan to apply for the grant money. The deadline is June 3. They hope to have that money back into the schools by August.

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