Mostly of interest to folks in my neck of the woods, but worth noting that after receiving a lot of feedback from parents in the community, HISD has announced that it will keep Hamilton Middle School as a Vanguard program for gifted and talented students instead of changing it to a Spanish language magnet program.
Allison Hartzell, whose daughter is a seventh grader in Hamilton’s Vanguard program, said Monday afternoon she was awaiting further clarification from the school’s principal, Roger Bunnell, but she said her understanding was that Hamilton would continue as a magnet school for gifted and talented students.
Hartzell, a former Hamilton PTO president and now a member of its board, sent an e-mail on Saturday, March 5, to Dallas Dance, the district’s chief middle schools officer, who was hired a year ago.
“The parents, students and Heights community DO NOT SUPPORT this proposal,” Hartzell e-mailed Dance. “I was flooded with e-mails and phone calls yesterday as I’m sure you were ….”
Dance’s reply to Hartzell Sunday afternoon said, in part: “After careful thought and feedback from Mr. Bunnell, teachers, and parents, we have recommended that Hamilton MS become a Vanguard Center in 2011-2012, rather than a dual language magnet.”
If Hamilton were to become a Vanguard Center, the school would receive more district funding than it does now, as well as more funding than it would have received as a dual-language magnet school.
Those changes would still have to be approved by the Board, so the story isn’t over yet. But the fact that feedback from the affected community helped engineer this change in direction is encouraging. There are many more things on HISD’s agenda that will require our input, so we should all keep this example in mind.