The Texas Association of School Boards reports to BoardBuzz:
In what may be the first trace of normalcy, students displaced by Hurricane Katrina are enrolling in schools across Texas. The generosity of Houston has garnered national attention, however, districts everywhere in the state are reaching out to help with fund-raisers, donations of clothes and school supplies, and volunteer work at area shelters.
Officials have estimated 50,000 to 60,000 displaced students will enroll in Texas schools in the aftermath of the disaster. Almost 19,000 displaced children have already started school. District officials are visiting evacuation centers to help with enrollments, setting up school tours for parents and students, and providing school clothes and supplies. Individual campuses are collecting food, money, and care packages. School administrators are scrambling to figure out where to accommodate hundreds of new students, who will teach them, and how they will get to school.
In Houston, the district has registered more than 1,000 children and more are being processed at the Astrodome. The district has reopened two closed elementary schools that can hold up to 1,350 children, and many more students will be attending schools throughout the district.
The Texas Education Agency (state department of education) has set up a toll-free hotline (800-957-5109) number and posted information on the Agency’s web site (www.tea.state.tx.us) to orchestrate offers of help and districts in need. TEA has promised to release money immediately to help affected districts cope. The federal government is sending $250,000 apiece to six Texas regional education service centers in various parts of the state.
“Texans have extended their hearts and hands to people impacted by Katrina and school districts across Texas are welcoming displaced students and their families. It is heartening to watch Texas educators rise to the challenges with such professional grace and personal generosity,” said Karen Strong, TASB associate executive director.