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Principal Change At Sam Houston H.S.

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By LaNell Taylor

Some may call it déjà vu, but unfortunately the situation is not rumored but rather it is true. The leadership at Sam Houston High School is changing once again.  Last, week an article was published in a local newspaper and much chatter took place via social media that Dr. Mateen Diop, Principal at Sam Houston High School would no longer serve as the school’s principal at the start of the 2020 – 2021 school year. The announcement came as a surprise to some while others applauded the SAISD board’s decision.  It is believed that the decision was solidified following the class valedictorian’s graduation speech that vilified the school, Dr. Diop and his administrative team.

Not much has been shared from either party (SAISD nor Dr. Diop); however, SAISD Board of Trustee Alicia Perry did offer the following statement:

We will have a change in leadership at Sam Houston High School next school year. These changes are always made with students in mind and their best interests at heart. We value the community and will ensure that stakeholder input is considered as we search for a new leader. We will strive hard to ensure that the campus moves in a positive direction. We take the concerns of our students seriously and we want to ensure that they have a successful learning environment. District Administration will review the concerns in an effort to ensure that they are addressed appropriately.” 

As an alumna of Sam Houston High School in the San Antonio Independent School District, a former teacher of the school, a parent of a Sam Houston athlete, a tax payer in the District, I personally know that the stability of leadership at Sam Houston H.S. has been on shaky ground for at least almost two decades now.  When I taught there from 2001-2006 we had 5 principals (Donald McClure, Joanne Cockrell, John Simpson, Joanne Cockrell again, and Melanie Iglehart – Hammonds) in the five years that I was there and unfortunately that cycle of the forever changing leadership hasn’t changed much since then; therefore, making it a very systemic problem and not good for kids.

Again, not many details have been released as to why this current principal change has occurred, but for many outsiders looking in, we are in an awaken state of looking at the systematic failures of organizations and institutions that have failed Blacks (particularly Black men).  I just believe folks need to make sure history isn’t repeating itself.  In speaking to other individuals, a former principal, mentor, and friends of mine, it was expressed that if I were to dig deeper I would probably uncover evidence of suppression of Black men in SAISD. Immediately in my mind I reflected back to the likes of Mr. Donald McClure; Mr. Everett Fuller; Mr. Charles James; Mr. Lewis Barr; Mr. John Simpson; Mr. Derrick Cade; Mr. Darnell White; Mr. Stanton Lawrence; and Dr. Mateen Diop and wondered what adversities they may have faced within the system.

To all who have walked in the shoes of educators they know “Teaching Ain’t Easy” and sometimes it is not for everyone. Again, I am not defending nor agreeing with anyone on the matter; however, I know that “Great Leaders” are important, but no one leader should EVER stop a show. If ALL parties (parents, students, community, principals, administrators, board members, stakeholders, etc.) TAKE RESPONSIBILITY and are doing their part within an institution, despite the efforts of whomever the principal is, SUCCESS WILL PREVAIL! I’m part of that proof. As I mentioned earlier, I taught at Sam Houston H.S. when we had 5 principals in five years; however, as a campus we were still able to perform and on some occasions even outperform other schools in and out of the District to include areas of academics, athletics, graduating children., etc.

People should also consider that in most school systems today, most principals don’t run campuses like the days of old. Administrators, Vice Principals, Assistant Principals, Academic Deans, Counselors, etc. are the day to day faces we encounter because principals are like CEOs, they are often required to attend meetings and trainings at the District office, on and off campus, in the community, out of the city and state, perform classroom and campus walkthoughs, manage construction, manage budgets, and lets not forget those infamous “other duties as assigned.” I say all that to say that it should not be a surprise that at many campuses individuals are confused as to who is running the campus.

In closing, I’d like to note that when I worked at other schools in SAISD principal turnovers were just as frequent then as they are today, and I never understood how that was good for kids. Much can be said about schools that have or had consistency in leadership.  Shouts out to Mr. Charles Muñoz former Principal at Edison H.S. who served for two decades or more; Ms. Raquel Sosa, former Principal, Highland Hills Elementary in the 80s, and two of my current favorite principals Mrs. Natasha Pinnix of M.L. King Academy and Dr. Derrick Thomas of St. Philip’s Early College High School. Much can be said for their leadership and track records.

I challenge all to look at ALL the data in order to make best decisions.  And please let the good outweigh the bad.

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Free Fruit Tree Adoption Event

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Parks and Recreation Department Hosts Drive Thru Jammin’ Jams Fruit Tree Adoption Event & Debuts New Tree Mascot

SAN ANTONIO, TX (March 3, 2021) – San Antonio Parks and Recreation presents Jammin’ Jams (South), a free, drive thru fruit tree adoption event on Saturday, March 6 at Texas A&M University – San Antonio (One University Way) from 8 a.m. until Noon or while supplies last. Six hundred (600) fruit trees will be available including apple, fig, lemon, lime, nectarine, orange, and pear. Quantities are limited and are first come, first serve. One tree available per car. 

The Department’s new tree mascot, Parker, will make its debut at Jammin’ Jams. Parker is a Texas Red Oak, a native Texas tree, who will be on hand to greet and entertain visitors while helping adopt out fruit trees to San Antonio neighbors.

“While we’ve had to pivot on our service delivery throughout the year due to the pandemic, we’re excited to bring Jammin’ Jams to our neighbors in a new way. We’ve expanded locations and included additional dates to offer residents more opportunities to adopt a fruit tree this season,” said Homer Garcia III, Director of Parks and Recreation. All trees are provided by the Parks and Recreation Department through the Tree Canopy Preservation & Mitigation Fund. This is one of three drive thru fruit tree adoption events scheduled. 

Details:

Jammin’ Jams (South) – March 6
8 a.m. – Noon or while supplies last

Texas A&M University – San Antonio

Directions:

Jammin’ Jams (South) is at Texas A&M University – San Antonio located at One University Way, San Antonio 78224. Use the S. Zarzamora Street entrance to Jaguar Parkway. The tree adoption will be in Parking Lot 3.  

Save the Date
Jammin’ Jams (East) – March 20

8 a.m. – Noon or while supplies last

Wheatley Heights Sports Complex
(200 Noblewood Drive, Parking Lot)

Safety Protocols
For the safety of patrons and team members, this year’s events are drive thru only. Patrons will need to remain inside their cars and wear a mask when interacting with Parks and Recreation team members. No walk-ups will be allowed. Stay home if you are sick or have been near someone who has been exposed to COVID-19.

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Slipping Out of Darkness

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Now that we’ve thawed out a bit and temperatures have been warmer and closer to average, maybe we can return to some normalcy. However, around this time last week countless individuals and families had taken in the exquisite views of measurable snow in San Antonio, a rare scene for locals since 1985 and a very first for others. There were plenty of snowball fights, constructed snowmen and snowwomen that stood out in front of yards along with a great deal of makeshift snow-surfing festivities that took place; all were a nice little mental and physical break from the harsh realities of our “new norms” in the age of Covid-19. Unfortunately, little did San Antonians and Texans know that this excitement was just a little “calm before the storm,” and like the remnants of Covid-19, we’ll be paying the price for the pleasure.

Things quickly took a turn for the worse by the evening of February 14, 2021. With record breaking temperatures in the forecast and potential snowfall, many rushed out to local grocery stores in an effort to shop for essential food and water in the event roads and stores would be closed. Shoppers arrived at stores having to wait in long lines only to discover semi-bare shelves and slim pickings of items to purchase because many heeded protocols and prepared home-cooked meals and celebrated their first socially distanced Valentine’s Day at home with loved ones. Adding insult to injury, thousands of San Antonians began experiencing the bitterness of frigid nights and temperatures that led to incredible snowfall amounts. Then what started as rolling electricity blackouts (typical in summer months in Texas) to protect and conserve the entire Texas power grid abruptly became a little more permanent for millions of residents across the city and the state. And as if sitting in the dark for hours and then days was not enough, it immediately became clear that loss of electricity would cause a hurdling domino effect of catastrophic events. CPS Energy, San Antonio’s municipal electric utility company shutting off of electricity started to trouble the city’s water supply because pumps that assist with water pressure and flow were disabled causing businesses and residents to experience low water pressure, and in far too many cases residents experienced having no water at all.

The historic 2021 winter storm nicknamed “SnowVid” really made its presence known. Major roads and highways closed, school districts canceled classes for the week, Covid-19 vaccinations were brought to a halt, basic essentials like food and water were scarce, and people were basically trapped in their homes ingesting a great amount of uncertainty. And now that power and water have been restored, pocketbooks and bank accounts will take another hit as business owners and citizens repair busted pipes, service vehicles, replenish food pantries, and most likely bear the burden of higher utility bills, etc. in an already bleak future.

According to reports ERCOT (The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, Inc.) which operates Texas’s electrical grid and supplies power to more than 25 million Texas customers and represents 90% of the state’s electric load) says Texas was 4 minutes and 37 seconds from total blackout that could have lasted months. Undoubtedly, this storm will never be forgotten; the good, the bad and the ugly.  Kudos to all the essential workers who endured the storm to in an effort to keep us all safe, functional and informed.

Several resources are currently available to assist with recovery

The City of San Antonio, Bexar County and San Antonio Food Bank opened a total of 13 bottled water distribution sites that will remain open for two weeks. Residents will be able to pick up one case of bottled water per day per household. The sites will remain open through March 6.

Bottled Water Distribution Sites

  1. Wheatley Heights Sports Complex – 200 Noblewood Dr.
  2. Brooks – Challenger Dr. @ Research Place
  3. Texas A&M University – San Antonio – Main Campus – One University Way
  4. Port San Antonio – 907 Billy Mitchell Blvd
  5. SeaWorld San Antonio/Aquatica – 10500 Sea World Drive
  6. Six Flags Fiesta Texas – 17000 IH 10 West
  7. Food Bank – 5200 Enrique M. Barrera Pkwy  
  8. Our Lady of the Lake University — 411 SW 24th St
  9. Community Bible Church – 2477 N Loop 1604 E
  10. Heroes Stadium – 4799 Thousand Oaks Dr.
  11. Rolling Oaks Mall — 6909 N Loop 1604 E
  12. Bullis County Park – 27583 Old Blanco Rd
  13. Julius Matthey Middle School – 20350 Red Forest Ln

The locations were selected to be within the closest proximity to areas that are still facing water outages. 

The City will also provide bottled water delivery to homebound seniors, San Antonio Housing Authority properties without water, nursing homes, boarding homes, some dialysis facilities and residents with medical needs. These locations have been identified and coordinated with partner agencies. Delivery availability is limited but can be requested by calling 311.  

The sites will abide by COVID-19 safety protocols, including wearing masks and practicing physical distancing. 

For more information or to receive the latest weather information from the city of San Antonio and Bexar County.

  1. Download the Ready South Texas app, available in the iTunes and Google Play stores
  2. Text COSAGOV to 55000 to receive SMS text message updates
  3. Follow @COSAGOV on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
  4. Bookmark www.sanantonio.gov
  5. Follow other partner agencies on social media:
    1. SAPD: https://twitter.com/SATXPolice
    2. SAFD: https://twitter.com/SATXFire
    3. Bexar County:  https://www.facebook.com/BexarCountyTX
    4. TxDOT San Antonio: https://twitter.com/TxDOTSanAntonio
    5. CPS Energy: https://twitter.com/cpsenergy
    6. SAWS: https://twitter.com/MySAWS
    7. VIA Metropolitan Transit: https://twitter.com/VIA_Transit
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City of San Antonio creates text alert notification for COVID-19 vaccine availability

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Residents can text Vaccine to 55000 or Vacuna to 55000 to sign up for alerts

The City of San Antonio has partnered with some of the Bexar County vaccine distribution sites to create a vaccine availability text alert system to keep the community informed about the release of more COVID-19 vaccines. Residents who wish to receive updates about COVID-19 vaccination availability can now sign up to receive text notifications directly to their cell phone.  

As more providers and pharmacies are allocated vaccines from the Texas Department of State Health Services, the City wanted to create a tool that would alert the public when COVID-19 vaccine appointments are available. The City of San Antonio will collaborate with local vaccine sites that are open to the public and send a text notification to also reach those without internet access. Metro Health community health workers, partner agencies, and 311 will continue to sign up residents who do not have a cell phone or access to the internet.

Individuals who decide to opt-in, can text VACCINE to 55000 or in SpanishVACUNA to 55000 starting today. By signing up they will receive a text notifying them which locations have available appointments. Opting in to this text alert system will not sign you up for a vaccine or add you on to a wait list. This is an additional method to inform the community when new appointments are available.

In March 2020, the City of San Antonio had approximately 1,500 subscribers to its text message alert program. Throughout the pandemic, the service has been promoted through more avenues, including the Mayor’s nightly briefings. More than 40,000 subscribers now utilize the service to receive City news and information.

For more information please visit covid19.sanantonio.gov. 

FOUR WAYS TO SIGN UP FOR COVID-19 ALERTS

  1. Download the Ready South Texas app, available in the iTunes and Google Play stores
  2. Text COSAGOV to 55000 to receive SMS text message updates
  3. Follow @COSAGOV on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
  4. Bookmark covid19.sanantonio.gov

Public service announcements on social distancing, prevention and testing are available here.

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