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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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Becoming A BIG Volunteer

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The Black Advisory Council of Big Brothers and Big Sisters of South Texas is looking to recruit men and women who don’t mind sharing their time, professions, and experience to mentor and empower youth to maximize their efforts and make a positive impact in their communities, schools, current lives, and the future.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Texas is a non-profit that create and support one-to-one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth. If you’re 18 years or older, willing to give back to our youth growing up without the support or guidance to be successful and ready to have the power to change a child’s future for the better, go to https://www.bigmentor.org/become-a-big/  to sign up as a “BIG” volunteer or contact Gable Crowder at 1-210-225-6322 ext.115 growder@bigmentor.org

If you can’t be a BIG volunteer at this time you still have an opportunity to make an impact. HELP RAISE SOME GREEN AND GET YOUR CAR SQUEAKY CLEAN! This summer, come get your car washed while supporting a great cause! Car Wash for Kid’s Sake is a SAFE and fun way to support youth in San Antonio from the comfort of your own car! There will also be entertainment and food for sale. All proceeds benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters. For more information visit https://bbbssouthtexas.rallybound.org/2021-car-wash-for-kids-sake/.

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Drive-up Option Now Open

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Alamodome Vaccine Clinic drive-up option now open from 2-5 p.m. without appointments 

SAN ANTONIO (April 19, 2021) – People 16 years and up, can now get a COVID-19 vaccination without an appointment from 2:00 – 5:00 p.m., Tuesdays – Saturdays at the drive-through vaccination site at the Alamodome. 

“Now that the supply has caught up with the demand, we want to make getting your COVID-19 vaccination as easy as possible,” said Dr. Colleen Bridger. “We recognize that for some people it is easier to just pop in rather than make an appointment and we wanted to accommodate that preference.”  

Over 779,687 people in Bexar county have received at least one dose (that includes the DOD and VA) and we have surpassed 1 million doses administered. “San Antonio continues to exceed both state and national averages in the number of people vaccinated,” said Mayor Ron Nirenberg. “I’m proud of the way San Antonians have come together during this pandemic and stayed the course. Practicing social distancing, good hygiene, wearing masks and getting vaccinated is making a difference. I encourage all eligible persons to get vaccinated.”

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
  5. Text Vaccine or Vacuna to 55000 to receive text notifications

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

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City of San Antonio Launches COVID-19 Vaccine Waitlist

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SAN ANTONIO (April 14, 2021) – Today, the City of San Antonio launched a COVID-19 vaccine waitlist to assist residents who would like to obtain an appointment. The San Antonio COVID-19 vaccine waitlist is a partnership between the City of San Antonio and Healthcare Access San Antonio (HASA), a non-profit, community health information exchange that provides value-based, patient-centered information services intended to improve the health status of individuals and the communities it serves.

This pilot waitlist program is open to all adults who reside in Texas. To better serve vulnerable populations, priority will be given to individuals who are 65 years and older. The waitlist is available for people to sign-up starting today, Wednesday, April 14th.

Residents who would like to sign-up for this waitlist can register online in English at sanantonio.gov/waitlist and in Spanish at sanantonio.gov/listadeespera. Residents may also call 311 and select option 8 or 210-207-6000 to speak with an operator to assist them. The hotline hours are 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. seven days a week. The information provided by residents will then be entered into a secure data base which is only accessed by vaccine providers. At this time University Health, UT Health San Antonio, Metro Health, and WellMed are some of the current providers participating in this pilot waitlist program.  

After registering, residents will receive a confirmation reply if they included their email that confirms their placement on the waitlist. A participating local provider will contact the resident by email or phone to schedule their appointment. 

Until vaccines become more readily available, it is possible for it to take several weeks to get an appointment. Many other providers: including pharmacies, medical practices and others are also still operating their own online appointment systems and will continue to do so. Residents who want to be vaccinated should continue to look for available vaccine at those providers. 

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
  5. Text Vaccine or Vacuna to 55000 to receive text notifications

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

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