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Kashmere High Looks for Positive Change in Turnaround Plan

Those include increased enrollment and attendance and a new surge of school spirit at Kashmere High.

Kashmere High School's new principal, Reginald Bush, introduced members of his team at a community meeting Thursday.
Kashmere High School’s new principal, Reginald Bush, introduced members of his team at a community meeting Thursday, October 25, 2018.

In Northeast Houston, Kashmere High School is one of four struggling Houston public schools that must improve — or they could be closed or outside managers appointed by the state could take over the school board next year.

It’s a scenario that the Houston school district managed to avoid last school year, because enough schools improved or received waivers on accountability ratings. However, the state law, known as HB 1842, could still trigger those sanctions.

Those scenarios didn’t come up at a turnaround meeting at Kashmere High School Thursday night.

Instead, the principal from Kashmere and leaders from its feeder schools talked about positive change on their campuses. Those include increased enrollment and attendance and a new surge of school spirit at Kashmere High.

“One thing I can assure you, the results will be different than they’ve been in the past,” said Reginald Bush, who’s in his first year leading the school.

Bush previously was the principal at Kashmere Gardens Elementary, which, under his leadership, went from several years of “improvement required” to meeting state standards.

Kashmere High wasn’t rated last year because of Hurricane Harvey, but it has the longest streak of low performance in Texas.

The Houston school board could also decide to hand over the most struggling schools temporarily to an outside partner, such as a charter school operator. The deadline for that is in early February. At Thursday’s meeting, however, school leaders and their trustee, Rhonda Skillern-Jones, were confident that positive change will continue at Kashmere.

“If we bring an outside agency in, many of them will be from outside the community in which they want to serve,” said Keith Downey, who’s the chairman of a community council for the Kashmere feeder pattern. “I’m not saying they’re not able to serve, but will they take the time to get to know the needs of the students that they’re looking to help?”

Downey said that students in Kashmere Gardens need help with challenges outside of school, including hunger, homelessness and ongoing recovery from Hurricane Harvey.

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Laura Isensee

Laura Isensee

Education Reporter

Laura Isensee covers education for Houston Public Media, including K-12 and higher education. Previously, she was a staff reporter at The Miami Herald and contributed to South Florida’s NPR affiliate. Her work has also appeared in The Dallas Morning News, Reuters and Clarín in Argentina. Laura has won awards for...

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