Hogg Middle School May Transform into an IB School After Parents Fuss

Categories: Education

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Can Hogg make the jump to an IB school?
It was the politest group of revolutionaries Hair Balls can ever remember meeting. Gathered in the church parlor at St. Mark's United Methodist Church in the Heights, a small group of mothers gathered last night to discuss their petition drive to revitalize Hogg Middle School.

Disturbed by what they say is abysmal academic progress at the school, they collected a petition with 870 signatures on it in a week and a half -- and more than 400 of those in just two days. They either want Houston ISD to fix the school located at 1100 Merrill Street or allow them to collaborate with a good charter school in town. Asked what they'll do if they don't hear back from the Houston ISD administration -- they met with Superintendent Terry Grier two weeks ago -- one responded: "We're starting to politely fuss."

Today, Chief Middle School Officer Dallas Dance said he not only agrees with the group that Hogg is far from what it should be, but that HISD has been developing plans he hopes to be released within two weeks announcing that the school will be transformed into a schoolwide International Baccalaureate program.

That academically rigorous program is a pretty far jump from the picture of the school painted at Tuesday night's meeting. Parent Yvonne Cosgrove, a mother with two children at Travis, said she was told by Hogg school officials that 60 percent of the kids at the school are arriving below grade level and 77 percent leave below grade level.

Gretchen Himsle, a parent with two children at Travis, said Hogg is bookended by a great high school in Reagan and with wonderful elementaries such as Travis and Harvard, but that "there's a void in the middle." Feeder elementaries to Hogg are Browning, Crockett, Harvard, Memorial, Stevenson and Travis.

And mother of two Jennifer McClure said that before she'd let her two children now at Travis Elementary move on to Hogg, "I would homeschool."

Sylvia Hollingsworth, who has a sixth grader at Pershing Middle School, and Adela Prieto, with children at Hamilton and the Rice School, both said they would love to be able to send their children to Hogg if it were an academically viable school.

Parents said there had been constant turnover at Hogg -- three different principals in the last four years. Raquel Gaytan, with a third grader at Travis, said: "The neighborhood really lost faith in the school." She pointed to declining population at the school which she said was a little more than 700 in a school designed for 1,200 students. "Since the 2003-4 school year, the school's enrollment has dropped by nearly 25 percent," the petition said.

"In 2009, only 64 percent of Hogg eighth graders passed the TAKS math test and less than half passed the TAKS science test," the petition said.

And several agreed that parents outside the Hogg zone send their kids to the school, thinking that because it's in the Heights it has to be good, whereas parents living nearby know differently.

"We have recognized that over the years there have been some issues at Hogg; there were some leadership issues there last year," Dance said. "What the community has really called for and I completely agree with them is that it needs to be a quality neighborhood school where folks are coming from Harvard and Travis."

He said HISD hopes to improve the school not only for the incoming students of the future, but for the present-day Hogg students. If the IB program is adopted, he said, there would be extensive teacher training.

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Denisemorales23
Denisemorales23

I am a hogg student (8th grader). its painfull to see that people want to close down our school it was worse when i was a 6 grader its not longer like that.the neighbors never asked us how we felt how this effect us. most of us are mexican lower middle class.i have gave all hogg principles interviews since i been there because i am in yearbook. since the begging the teachers always helped us try to understand our work and help us try to get some where in life. Some of our goals are to an I.B school and try to prove to the people in the neighbor hood that we aren`t bad we are educated children , but sometimes its when u already have a hard time at home or dont have a stable home or someone to lean on.  please save our school we are the future.

Kyle Palmer
Kyle Palmer

While I applaud the Heights mothers’ efforts in calling for change at Hogg Middle School, I wonder why no Hogg staff members, Hogg students, or parents of Hogg students were quoted in the piece. After all, their lives are the ones that would be most directly affected by the reforms the petitioners purport to enact.

Another problem I have with this report is that it does not fully convey the history of proposed reforms at Hogg. I am a former Hogg teacher who sat in on meetings conducted by a former principal, who first proposed the idea of making Hogg an IB school nearly two years ago. That same principal also tried to begin a partnership with Houston’s YES Prep North Central campus. The idea was to collaborate on curricular and behavior management issues and share successful strategies for the betterment of both campuses. That principal was fired before the 2009-2010 academic year. The IB plan survived barely with the hard work of some committed staff members at Hogg. The YES partnership unfortunately was lost completely. The report mentions none of this, and the readers are left to believe that a group of crusading parents is the only force for change at Hogg. While these parents are competent and dedicated, please do not garnish their plans with the omission of facts.

The single biggest factor in Hogg’s fading fortunes over the past two school years is HISD’s poor decisions in picking administrators for the school. The one who succeeded the principal I mentioned earlier was fired after one year. The one who replaced that principal resigned in the middle of this year. Nothing throws a public school into more turmoil than uncertain school leadership. Hogg has lost any momentum it may have been building two years ago and is now thoroughly adrift.

For those of us who did work there or still do, Hogg and its problems have been front-page news for years. HISD now bears down on the issue, but only after a group of well-intentioned and well-connected parents raises their voice. That is sad, and this report only reinforces that fact.

RG
RG

Turning Hogg into an IB campus would be the equivalent of adding icing to a mud pie. And for Dance to state that "there were some leadership issues last year" is a gross understatement. Hogg lost many of its teachers (and many were veterans with solid track records as teachers and leaders), because HISD selected a very inexperienced "principal" who had a poor track record as an administrator to begin with. While I don't believe Hogg was not without its problems prior to her arrival, having her at the helm was truly the straw that broke this camel's back. Many detrimental errors were made on her watch, and her superiors swept these under the rug where they were allowed to fester for far too long. She was eventually dismissed from Hogg and placed as a principal on another campus WITHIN HISD (yeah, that's a smart move)... so apparently HISD prefers recycling bad administrators over holding on to good, solid teachers. With this in mind, it's no wonder Hogg has spiralled into its current state. What a shame this is for kids who need much consistency and structure. Lastly, the parents who are currently complaining, (for the most part) are NOT the parents of kids who attend Hogg. These are simply the rants of local residential property owners who wish to exterminate Hogg students because they likely view them as a nuisance.

AParker
AParker

Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed. -Herman Melville

A Parker-- Art teacher at Hogg Middle School

Stevemartin10050
Stevemartin10050

World school concept has been started with a vision to put emphasis on providing happly learning environment, where child's talent can be nurtured to fulfillment.

Crystalcraft
Crystalcraft

yha there are going to be fussy mommies out there you no why beacuse look what there child going threw so yha there are

Crystalcraft
Crystalcraft

i realy think that they should chage hogg into a i/b school beacuse the school is not getting any better so i realy think they should shut it down beacuse they are running the teachers it looks like almost every body and mr. woods at hogg middle school was a very nice man and then some students chreet him like trash and this i coming from a 6 grader i no beacuse i wach

Marie Wise
Marie Wise

Props to everyone for wanting to improve Hogg. A good school benefits *everyone* in the community, not just families with kids.

A few points, the "fussy revolutionary mommies" are not the ones asking for IB. The IB solution was presented fait accompli by HISD. Hogg has a loooong way to go before getting to IB standards, and just saying "oh, yeah, we know it's bad, but we are going to make it IB" doesn't fix a darn thing. C'mon HISD, you know these moms are smarter than that!

Get good, proven, professional administrators in who take it seriously. Set up some high expectations from the teachers and the students. Communicate with the school, with the community, with the district.

Some of the charter schools in Houston have amazing track records in putting together a middle school program that exceeds standards. Let's use them as a model. Better yet, let's have them run the program! Get those kids into college!

Concerned Parent
Concerned Parent

I am disturbed by the disingenuous tone of the comments by Dallas Dance. Hogg has been "preparing" to become an IB school for the past 2 years. This is nothing new, and it has had no quantifiable positive impact upon the campus. In fact, the school's scores continue to decline.

ObserverNY
ObserverNY

Fussy, revolutionary mommies - great. Do you folks even know what the IB MYP is? Do you know what you are advocating for? There is absolutely NO PROOF whatsoever that the IB MYP improves academic achievement in a school. None, nada, zip. In fact, there is scholarly evidence to the contrary:

http://scholar.lib.vt.edu/thes...

The IB MYP is nothing more than a VERY expensive "framework" of globalist themes which are to be woven into your standard Texas curriculum. IBO is an NGO of UNESCO. Take a look at some of UNESCO's "values" and see if they jive with those by which you raised your children.

Learn the facts about IB at: http://truthaboutib.com/home.h...

Guest
Guest

The article says that the IB proposal is coming from HISD, not the parents. It says the moms "either want Houston ISD to fix the school located at 1100 Merrill Street or allow them to collaborate with a good charter school in town."

ObserverNY
ObserverNY

Ahh, I suppose the opening sentence led me to believe that there were 870 signatures IN FAVOR of IB at Hogg. Is the opposite the case? If the district has been in the application process for two years already, then it has probably spent at least $100,000 on training and application fees and is expecting approval in April.

Is this another case of the local press trying to whitewash a district's underhanded waste of taxpayer money and casting those who oppose IB as "the enemy"?

Heights Resident
Heights Resident

Some of those feeder elementary schools have much better scores than Harvard and Travis.

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