HOUSTON, Texas (FOX 26) - Third Ward is one of the most historic neighborhoods in Houston. It’s one where Houston Independent School District board trustee Jolanda Jones has lived in most of her life, a reason why she has spearheaded an initiative to make change happen.
In 2013 when the Baylor College of Medicine Academy at Ryan opened up, community members were told their children were allowed to attend. However, when Jones got elected onto the board, she learned that was not the case and that students had to apply to get into the magnet school.
“There are a bunch of children around me, a bunch that are not allowed to go to Ryan,” says trustee Jolanda Jones. During a Houston ISD on Thursday night, that all changed.
“This is my neighborhood and I’m going to fight for it and the kids that live in this neighborhood should have the benefit of having this great education,” adds Jones.
The board voted unanimously to make changes that allows fifth grade students who currently attend Lockhart, MacGregor or Blackshear schools to be allowed to automatically enroll at Ryan.
Some people in the Third Ward spoke with FOX 26 News about the development.
“That’s a great thing to happen to them then," says N.E. Smith. "Bussing from here to go to, I called Sunnyside or to Cullen, that’s a long ways for a child to go.”
“It’s closer for those that don’t have transportation or can’t afford transportation for their kids to go to another school,” says Waldean William.
FOX 26 spoke with parents who also have students that currently attend Ryan. Some voiced their concerns about the current magnet curriculum changing.
“As far as I know, the school closed because it was not working well,” says Graciela Manzanares.
Many saw the opportunity it brought by allowing students that live nearby to once again be allowed to attend the school in their neighborhood.
“I think it’s a good thing because the kids need an opportunity for them to attend a school that has the resources that this school has, so I think it’s amazing,” says Melanie Meleekah-Villegas.