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The Scholastic Kids Press Corps is a team of about 50 Kid Reporters around the nation.  The interactive site brings daily news to life with reporting for kids, by kids.

A Great Place to Learn in Houston

But there's still room for improvement

By Kenny Figueroa | September 23 , 2010
Kid Reporter Kenny Figueroa with the principal of his school, Vinson Lewis. (Photo courtesy Kenny Figueroa)
Kid Reporter Kenny Figueroa with the principal of his school, Vinson Lewis. (Photo courtesy Kenny Figueroa)

A lot of outstanding teachers with years of knowledge and experience in teaching make my school, Alief Middle School in Houston, Texas, a great place to learn. We have computers in every classroom and an overwhelming selection of books in the library. Our school district, Alief ISD, received Recognized status from the Texas Education Agency this year for the increasing Texas Assessment Knowledge Skills test scores in the 2009 school year.

But there is room for improvement.

Principal Vinson Lewis would like to see kids take advantage of the learning opportunities schools have to offer. I asked him if our school has felt the effects of the education crisis currently affecting the nation. He said our district or campus has not been affected as much as some of the other school districts in the area.

"We are fortunate to have a superintendent who is thinking in terms of looking down the road and planning for these types of situations," Lewis said. "When the district decides how many teachers each campus is going to have, they base that upon how many kids are going to that school. We don't lose any teachers for budget reasons, so I would like to give credit to our superintendent for making that the case. We are in good shape, financially."

I asked Sue Hirschmann, Pre-AP and GT 7th grade reading teacher, what she expected out of students this year.

"I would like to see students understand that there is a tough world ahead of them," she said. "They need to prepare themselves." She also mentioned she would like to have a multi-ethnic class where different beliefs and cultures can be learned.

I asked Robert Cleghorn, Assistant Principal for 7th grade, what he would like to see change in education.

"I've been a teacher, administrator, principal for almost 30 years," he said, "and I've seen changes—some very exciting and some things that stay consistent. I think a middle school student needs a lot of motivation. The students aren't motivated and they don't take it seriously, so I would love for that to change."

Aside from the teachers, the students really make a school. I asked 8th grade student E. Chiang what would be the one thing he would like to see changed at school and what is the best thing about school.

"I would like to see the school updated, especially the restrooms," he said. "And the best thing about this school is the staff will always help you through anything you need help on."

I asked the same questions to R. Dadiri, an 8th grade student.

"The best thing about my school is the independence we have, because the teachers let you be creative with projects and assignments," he said.

As a fellow student at the school, I agree.

OUR SCHOOLS, OUR FUTURE

In conjunction with NBC News' Education Nation, Kid Reporters around the country have interviewed their teachers, principals, and classmates about the state of education in their communities and what the classroom of the future might look like in the special report Our Schools, Our Future.


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