Friday, April 22, 2011

Keeping Love Alive

Not everyone may be aware that HISD planned to close Love Elementary as a cost saving measure. Love Elementary is one of the oldest schools in Houston and it's been on the radar of the booming population of young families in the Heights. If you're not aware of the threat of closure, you may also not be aware of the struggle to save this historic school in our neighborhood.

Parents started getting involved with the active PTO at Love before their children were even school age, hoping to have somewhere wonderful to send their kids when schools like Harvard and Travis are at capacity. Many just wanted to be able to help shore up the school they were zoned to. Love's Principal, Robert Chavarria, is an open and enthusiastic administrator, liked and respected by parents, teachers and students. He welcomed parental involvement and everyone saw great things coming for Love's future. Current and future school parents were completely blindsided when it was announced that Love was on the chopping block. They mobilized and called out to the entire neighborhood for help. Like every struggle against City bureaucracy, there were times when it seemed a little hopeless. The neighborhood fought on, though, and received a positive outcome this week as the school closure announcements were finalized, preparing for the May 12th vote.

Without coming right out and saying it, evidence in the HISD Press Release points that Love has been saved, listed as a school that will receive new students from the (unfortunate) closing of Stevenson Elementary in Cottage Grove.

"Stevenson Elementary (current enrollment of 357 students) would close. Students would be redistributed to Memorial and Love elementary schools."

Love Elementary
1120 W 13th

It really is amazing what we can do when we pull together! The thing about the effort to save Love Elementary that makes me most proud is what a community effort it was. It was not just parents of kids going to Love; it was parents from all over the Heights, many who already have school age kids in other schools or residents who don't even have kids yet! Everyone came together to show that our neighbors' struggles are our struggles. It was evidence of the understanding of a common future. Educating our kids is tantamount to our success as a society and having neighborhood schools for our children is of great benefit to everyone in the Heights. Schools are huge community builders. Through the efforts to save Love Elementary, we have once again woven the fabric of neighborhood tighter.

Congratulations to all the hard working teachers, administrators, PTO parents and community members who made this happen!

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