Trustee Jean McClung let administrators know she was mad last night. She wants to focus on improving low performing schools, such as Eastern Hills High in her district, and not on creating additional programs at other campuses that will attract the students from across the district.
"We haven't moved these (low performing) schools up," she said. "It's not the students' fault. It's the adults' fault because we keep destroying these schools. ... We need to fix these schools, and we haven't done it yet."
Eastern Hills has been rated academically unacceptable by the state two years in a row. Administrators have said they are working to create strong special interest programs at all high schools that will attract students and improve high schools. Superintendent Melody Johnson, who was not at last night's meeting, has said she hopes to have such programs in place within two years.
At last night's board meeting, officials from theInternational Petroleum Association presented its high school academy plan that it currently has in three Houston high schools. The academy focuses on business and science courses aimed at getting students interested in the petroleum industry. They want to place such an academy at Fort Worth's Southwest High School saying they selected that school because of the teachers who have backgrounds in related fields, such as engineering. Southwest has been rated academically acceptable.
McClung and trustee Christene Moss were concerned that the academy would be open to students throughout the district. Association officials said students must have a high grade average to attend. They said the program could be fine if it was only open to Southwest students. Both have said as the best students leave struggling schools, it is harder for those campuses to meet academic standards and peers fall further behind because of it.
Moss said she wanted an update on specific results from the district's newly implemented PEAK program, which is aimed at attracting the best teachers to struggling schools, and other efforts to improve low performing schools. She represents Dunbar High, which has been rated academically unacceptable by the state two years in a row, and Polytechnic High, which has been rated such four times in a row and faces state closure if it is rated as such a fifth time. Dunbar, Poly and Eastern Hills are all part of the PEAK program.