Meeting to Change School's Course

A group of concerned parents has long been investigating ways to revitalize Hogg Middle School in the Heights. It serves the community bounded by I-45 to the east, Memorial Drive to the south, the 610 Loop to the west and various
streets to the north.

Over the last several years though, the school's enrollment has dropped by nearly 25-percent due to the decline in academic standards. Parents whose kids are zoned to Hogg MS have lost confidence and are choosing not to attend their neighborhood school. Andrea Nelson's child will soon be old enough to attend Hogg, but is having serious doubts.

"What concerns me about HISD and Hogg is that Hogg has had problems for a long time with educating the kids there. All the kids that go there deserve a quality education, whether they live in the Heights, or not. If they're at Hogg, they deserve a great education."

Like Andrea Nelson, Cynthia Mullins has children about to enter middle school. She says the standards at Hogg are not challenging students.

"We don't want to go and be the top kids at a low performing school. I would much rather be the low performing kid at a top school, and Hogg is just not gonna be an option for us the year after next."

Mullins is a Realtor in the area, who tries to emphasize the amenities of living in the Heights, like the schools.

"There's been a huge wave, a huge influx of kids into the Heights in the last ten years and it's filled the elementary schools and changed the equation, and that's gonna happen on the middle school level too. But at Hogg, I haven't spoken to anyone who's willing to put their kids there right now."

While many parents have met with HISD Superintendent Dr. Terry Grier and discussed the need for significant change and improvement at Hogg, Grier has left that responsibility to Dallas Dance, the district's Chief Middle School Officer. He agrees that Hogg's reputation over the last decade has been unacceptable.

"If we are gonna accomplish our district goals — and this is really the goals are what the parents are wanting for Hogg too — is that you want an effective teacher in every classroom and an effective principal in every building. We truly feel that we have proven experience in Doctor Mina Schnitta, who's the new principal now at Hogg."

Dance says the efforts to improve Hogg will be discussed at tonight's meeting. Andrea Nelson will be attending hoping to hear the beginning of a turnaround for the school.

"To get the changes that are needed with the discipline program, with the academics, with the teachers, in order to make it happen. Because those kids over there deserve it."

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