Schools across the Houston area are heading back to class Monday, including students from the former North Forest Independent School District, who will now attend school in the Houston Independent School District.
On the eve of the new school year, some community leaders and North Forest alumni took a moment to pay tribute to the now defunct school district.
A group of activists and community members gathered at the former NFISD headquarters Sunday evening. Deric Muhammad, a North Forest ISD alumnus, called it the end of an era.
“We don't want the history books to be written and only reflect the dark chapters of this great school district," said Muhammad.
NFISD closed its doors on July 1 under orders from the Texas Education Agency and now HISD is absorbing its 7,000 students.
Earlier this summer, HISD invested millions of dollars upgrading seven former North Forest campuses to prepare for the new year. On Sunday's Newsmakers with Khambrel Marshall, HISD superintendent Dr. Terry Grier spoke about the transition.
“Quality of teachers is going to make a difference. Quality of principals is going to make a difference. We have found the parents love what we've done. I'm not worried about parent engagement over there. Parents in North Forest are like parents everywhere. They want their children to have a great education,” said Grier.
Organizers of Sunday's event told Local 2 they don't wish failure on HISD, but concerns remain about the future of the students. They challenged HISD to live up to its promises.
“We appreciate the new paint on the walls, but we are less concerned with the way things look and more concerned with what happens when students hit the books," said Muhammad.
Meanwhile, a parent of an A.G. Hilliard Elementary School Student told Local 2 she is optimistic about HISD taking over the former North Forest campus.
Phaedra Houston said her son attended Pre-K in NFISD, but she pulled him out the following year because she wasn't satisfied with the district. Monday, he'll start first grade in HISD.
"The kids can get more education and the kids can get more opportunities. It's been a long time since I've known kids from North Forest to go on to be big. Now, they can get the chance," said Houston.