Hood Jr. High to Serve 7th and 8th Grade Students Only for 2012-2013

By Geena Martinez
NewsWest 9

ODESSA - Some major changes are on the way for some Odessa students. Superintendent Hector Mendez announced a plan to re-vamp Hood Jr. High and it's going to effect a lot of people.

They say change is a good thing and that's exactly what ECISD Superintendent Mendez is looking for.

"The indicators are that we're regressing and I have an obligation to take action," Mendez said.

Mendez announced big plans to bring Hood Jr. High back up to a higher standard. That's something the school has struggled with in the past and here's why. Since 2005, Hood has been rated academically unacceptable three times by the Texas Education Agency.

"You get a fourth year, the state intervenes," Mendez said. "I think that's serious."

The school isn't being fully utilized like other junior high schools.

"The remaining campuses have over 1,000 while Hood has just over 500," Mendez said.

Plus, there have been five principals at Hood in the last 10 years. Three of those were just in the last five years.

"I changed the entire administrative staff last year," Mendez said. "Look at what we've been doing. It hasn't worked."

Now the district is taking a new approach for the 2012-2013 school year.

Hood will only serve seventh and eighth grade students versus the usual grades of seven, eight and nine.

Next year's ninth graders will be split up among Nimitz and Bonham Jr. High.

Mendez said this will allow for more creative and flexible scheduling to help students improve.

"We want to help students become successful," Mendez said.

And teachers are affected too.

All faculty at Hood junior high can choose to re-apply to the school or they can apply for a spot anywhere else in the district.

"Everybody will have a job, they have a contract," Mendez said "It will be up to them if they choose to participate in this effort."

A committee including the current principal, some admin's and a TEA monitor will conduct teacher interviews.

Mendez broke the news to Hood faculty in a meeting on Friday afternoon, followed by parents.

He hopes the result of this new plan will make Hood Jr. High a great school any parent and student would want to be a part of.

"We know it now and we're being proactive," Mendez said. "I believe that a great number of Hood faculty members are up to the challenge."