Houston ISD Superintendent Terry Grier says he loves working with "prickly parents" because they care about their children and want what's best for them.
Perhaps that's why he and the HISD administrative team are finally on the brink of landing a new home for Carnagie Vanguard High School -- the school that started out at part of the extremely troubled Jones High School, was moved to a dilapidated former elementary school building in 2002, and most recently, narrowly missed being paired with nearby Worthing High (with no love lost there between either school, its students, parents or teachers) one of the less stellar schools in the district in terms of both academics and crime stats.
Carnegie's parents have a reputation for being, by and large: well-educated, intelligent and extremely non-passive individuals who haven't always given the top administrators in HISD an easy ride. But with weeks of behind-the-scenes work accomplished already, HISD Chief Business Officer Dick Lindsey was able to report to the trustees that everyone seems to like the plan.
If the school board votes approval today, then Carnegie will move to some land the district already already owns, by the Gregory-Lincoln Education Center, 1101 Taft.
The land was originally set aside for the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts,
that much-acclaimed specialty school that has been looking for a new, larger home for about, well, forever. But the feeling was that HSPVA might be better suited if it was situated closer to the city's theater district, maybe near the Wortham, and although nothing is settled, discussions are under way, according to HISD spokesman Norm Uhl.
The other feeling was -- and this is a heads-up on the approach we'll be seeing in the next year as the district begins an assessment of what should be where in the magnet and choice schools -- that if you have a truly unique program, better centralize it and cut down the commute times for as many people as possible.
The funds have been available for more than a year so it was more than time to go ahead with the move plans, Grier says.
In what is a different approach for the district, Grier says discussions were first held with Carnegie parents and representatives of Gregory Lincoln to see if it was worth proceeding with the idea. Everyone said a-ok -- a first in the history of Carnegie perhaps -- and it looks like it's a go. The only board member to voice objections to it so far was Carol Galloway at a Tuesday agenda meeting, saying she wants to see something special for the district's south side, and how important it used to be to Jones students to say they had a Vanguard program at their school.
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