Recently, I received word that some concerns exist about my intentions related to Sam Houston High School. These are ways for you to get my intentions directly from me. My phone number is 210-730-2206. I also have a Zoom account. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. This correspondence is another way for me to share my intentions related to Sam Houston with you.
My Intentions for the Third Decade of the 21st Century
I intend to remain a “Force for Good” as an engaged University of Notre Dame alumnus on San Antonio’s Eastside. I will continue to share my Kindness gifts with three outcomes in mind.
1. Increase the presence of Hurricane Top Ten (and others) at out-of-state Tier One Universities and other amazing colleges.
2. Increase Eastside support for Cybersecurity training taking place at Sam Houston.
3. Help unveil what an Eastside community effort to improve Hurricane college completion rates might look like.
These are the priorities I choose to pursue. Other opportunities to serve also exist. What if the Eastside chooses, for example, to seize local control of the education of students at Sam Houston?
I think this is what prompts the rumors about what I intend to do.
Local control can extend to a community-based nonprofit located on the Eastside. Texas Legislature (Senate Bill 1882—SB 1882) authorizes nonprofits to assume responsibility for the management and operations of public school(s). These schools become in-district charter schools. They receive increased per student funding from Texas taxpayers. The schools have greater freedom (autonomy) in several other areas as well.
The MIMS Institute Fellows Inc. became a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit in August 2014. As a public charity, it receives donations from generous local and national donors and caring adults. We redirect our resources to Hurricanes and other Emerging Leaders who demonstrate Academic Excellence—and Kindness.
We would like to see Sam Houston become an SB 1882 in-district charter that produces Kindness and Academic Excellence as the outcomes for neighborhood students and students from across Bexar County.
The odds are against that vision becoming a reality. Some residents express valid concerns about the level of education support Eastside students receive. Taking direct action to change that could include having local nonprofits assume responsibility for the management and operations of local campus(es).
We do have a number of Eastside schools that are in-district charters. Gates, Cameron, and Martin Luther King Academy are in-district charters, for example. The Young Men’s Leadership Academy is another one. Sam Houston—well not yet!
The MIMS Institute Fellows Inc. intends to host Zoom meetings during the next month. We invite Eastside residents to share their interest in what happens at Sam Houston. Other caring adults, alumni, and students are welcome to share their views as well.
Key Item for Discussion: Sam Houston as an SB 1882 In-district charter school--Should it be on the list anytime during the third decade of the 21st Century? Should control of the school be on the Eastside, downtown, or elsewhere?
Zoom Meetings (respond by email to email@example.com or text with name to 210-730-2206 to receive link and password):
Saturday, July 25, August 1, August 8, August 15 (11:30 AM – 1 PM);
Monday, July 27, August 3, August 10 (7 – 8:30 PM)
Additional Background Information
Kindness Matters and Academic Excellence Matters
My spouse and I live in the same ZIP code as Sam Houston, 78220. We are both Cherokee alumni. My Class of 1971 will celebrate our 50th Anniversary in 2021.
I found my purpose at the beginning of the century. It is to promote Academic Excellence in urban ZIP codes. We lived in the suburbs of Tampa, Florida at the time. Our son, Jason II, graduated from high school in 2001. He moved into his New York University dorm on Fifth Ave. two weeks before 9-11.
His journey served as the spark for me to help others gain access to amazing colleges and universities. I began by sharing information about America’s Top 50 National Universities in January 2002. The audience was Black male freshmen in Tampa’s Hillsborough County Public Schools. The school district had over 15,000 freshmen. Of those, only 199 were Black males enrolled in Honors English. Those are the ones—the Tiniest Dot—with whom I shared information.
That spring, the Hillsborough Education Foundation recognized me as a Champion of Public Education. The label stuck. I continued to share gifts with urban students in Tampa Bay for the rest of the decade. Those gifts were Time, Talent, Training, Thoughts, and Treasure. I call them the Kindness Gifts.
April and I returned to San Antonio in late 2011—just in time for me to attend my Sam Houston Class of 1971 40th Anniversary Reunion. Mr. White, Sam’s principal, welcomed me. He allowed me to share my Kindness gifts with Hurricanes. Two members of Sam’s Class of 2012 showed me what is possible. Kirsten Redmon went to the US Military Academy at West Point. Bria Webb enrolled in New York University. Their journeys sparked my passion for sharing Kindness gifts with Hurricanes.
A Decade of Service on the Eastside
Sam’s Class of 2020 graduated on June 16. Their commencement signaled the end of a decade of my service to the high school located in my ZIP code. I have fingers left when I count the number of Top Ten graduates who enrolled in the amazing out of state colleges and universities that interest me.
Most of these institutions make a commitment to meet 100% of demonstrated financial need for the students they accept. Most of them also have high, four-year graduation rates. Some of them have extensive alumni networks that students can tap into along their journey. I have to celebrate the “eaches” who are willing to prepare for, apply to, and attend these colleges and universities.
There is a cloud of low expectations for Hurricanes. I was a candidate for the District 2 SAISD School Board seat in 2015. My tagline was (is) “Academic Excellence Matters.” I had hoped to influence the Eastside culture by sharing that message throughout District 2. The election outcome indicated that voters/other residents “are not ready, not at this time,” to embrace that message.
Nevertheless, I found a small number of caring adults willing to help spread the message. The Sam Houston PTSA, for example, hosts annual Celebrating Academic Excellence Dinners for the Top Ten in each Hurricane class cohort. The Friends of Sam Houston also honors graduating seniors with Bridge Builder and other scholarships.
There are some students and families who help spread the message as well. The Hurricane Academic Decathlon team has qualified for the annual State Finals every year since I first noticed them in 2014. I get to witness Academic Excellence as I watch them put in the hard work throughout the year. My reward is hearing “In first place is Sam Houston!” at the district and regional competitions. Few—if any—other community members from the Eastside are in the auditorium to witness these accomplishments.