HOUSTON, TX - While moms and dads in HISD happily got up to take their kiddoes back to class this week, many parents in the Woodland Heights avoided their zoned middle school, Hogg, and sent their kids elsewhere. Why? Well, Hogg has a bad rep, well-earned with campus fights and less-than-stellar standardized test scores over the last 30 years. But since 2011, principal Dr. Mina Schnitta has been working hard to change that. Backing her up since last year has been a group of neighborhood parents called Learn Local.
"Our mission is to create a bridge for our children between our successful Heights elementary schools and Hogg Middle School," explains group founder Emily Guyre. It's important to Guyre for her children to be able to attend neighborhood schools, as she grew up spending far too much time on buses going back and forth to a magnet school across town. And so you will find Guyre on campus at Hogg several times a week, despite her son not being old enough to attend for two more years.
While Schnitta has been working hard to improve student morale, getting STAAR test results up to standards and turning Hogg into an I.B. World school, Learn Local has been hosting mixers to introduce Dr. Schnitta to neighborhood parents, giving tours and even bringing Travis and Harvard elementary kids to Hogg for special events. And it's starting to pay off. Last school year, just 36 students came to Hogg from Travis and Harvard. This year, 51 students made that transition.
"In order for it to be better than what it is today," Guyre says, explaining her committment, "it's going to take a community putting their hands around it, and rolling up their sleeves and taking a chance to make it better."
For more on Learn Local, check out this month's issue of Houstonia.