Jones Futures Academy
According to police reports, on September 21, 1990, during a class at Jones, a 16-year-old girl fatally stabbed 18-year-old Anthony Johnson in the upper back with a hunting knife; no teacher was present in the room, and a student received a cut on his hand when he tried to stop the incident. Johnson died at Ben Taub Hospital. Dianna Hunt of the Houston Chronicle reported that the boy "apparently" said a "disparaging comment about her clothing." The suspect was placed in the Harris County Juvenile Probation Department. This gave Jones a reputation as being a violent school.
For the 2000-2001 school year, Jones did not have a high school yearbook or senior photographs since the school administration had not been paying the bills that would have allowed those functions to occur. For the 2001-2002 school year, only Vanguard program students would appear in the school yearbook.
A 2007 Johns Hopkins University study cited Jones as a "dropout factory" where at least 40 percent of the entering freshman class does not make it to their senior year. During that year, 55 percent of children zoned to Jones chose to attend a different Houston ISD school.
Repurposing of Jones
In a continuous five-year period until 2010, Jones failed to meet academic standards. That year, Terry Grier, the superintendent of HISD, proposed converting Jones into an all-magnet school. During that year around 900 pupils in the Jones attendance zone, about 2/3 of the high-school-age children in that area, choose to attend another HISD school.
In 2010, the school received a science, technology, engineering and mathematics program funded by a federal grant. $2 million was allocated to teacher training, computers, and science laboratories. However, the program did not attract many students who did not live in the Jones attendance boundary. In 2010 Grier added the school to the Apollo program. This meant the school day at Jones was extended and that the school received a new principal, a new set of teachers, and new mathematics tutors.
HISD originally stated that Jones would get a new campus as part of the 2012 bond. In March 2013, the HISD school board were scheduled to vote on school closures, but community members asked board member Paula Harris to stand with them against the consolidations. In 2014 HISD announced that the school board will vote on whether to close Jones and four other schools. Grier argued that Jones needs to be closed so the campus can be used to house another school as its new campus is being constructed. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, about 2,000 high-school-age children live in the Jones attendance zone, but fewer than 500 attend Jones. Paula Harris, an HISD board member, stated her opposition to closing Jones.
On March 13, 2014, the HISD board voted 6-3 to keep the Jones campus open and convert it into an alternative career-readiness school for students throughout HISD. In the new Jones, students may earn associates degrees. Jones will no longer be a zoned school, and its athletics programs will be discontinued. Students wishing to play for athletic teams would try out for teams at their zoned schools. Students in its attendance boundary will be rezoned to Sterling High School and Worthing High School.
The board meeting regarding the closure of Jones was held at 4 PM. The school district opened an overflow room due to the large number of people attending; people in the overflow room saw the meeting through a television. During this meeting, Manuel Rodriguez, a board member, introduced the modified motion to convert Jones. The audience had a positive reception when Rodriguez stated that Jones would remain open, but it had a negative reception when he revealed the terms. Board member Rhonda Skillern-Jones, formerly a member of the Houston City Council, stated that there were not enough board votes to keep Jones as a comprehensive high school, so the conversion was politically necessary. Members of the public criticized the loss of the athletic programs at Jones. Texas House of Representatives member Borris Miles also argued that the compromise was politically feasible while keeping Jones as a zoned school was not.
Throughout its history, the Vanguard program of Jones had a high of 300 students. As of 2002 the Vanguard program had 187 students. Of the students, 40% were White, 30% were African American, and over 20% were Hispanic. Margaret Downing of the Houston Press said that many people, including Jones principal Lawrence Allen, had portrayed the school as being majority White when it was majority minority. At the time, the overall school had 1,277 students. It had an African American and Hispanic majority student body. The program had class sizes of 7 to 19 students. The teachers did not use rote teaching styles. Students knew each other very well. Downing said that many students did not want to attend Bellaire High School and Lamar High School, even though they were very well renowned, because they perceived them "as too big, too impersonal, too preppy and too concentrated on rote learning." Many White students wanted to attend Jones Vanguard because they would be a racial minority at Jones and wanted to learn about another culture. The Vanguard students competed with the regular students for class rankings slots. The highest class rankings had guaranteed admission to universities in Texas, and Vanguard students had higher grade point averages than regular students.
Parents of children in the program clashed with the administration of the school over various matters. Members of the Vanguard community accused various administrators, receptionists, and teachers of expressing a disdain for the Vanguard program because of a belief that the Vanguard program expressed elitism. Parents also criticized the school for not properly marking attendance sheets, forcing parents to examine attendance records and question the Jones administration about attendance. In the fall of 2001, the Vanguard program got Dr. James Simpson as a principal of a separate school.
The move that prompted the program's separation from Jones High School altogether was the reinstatement of Allen, a fired Jones principal who was reinstated several days later after protests from neighborhood residents, African-American Vanguard parents and Jones alumni. Craig Beverly, a 1979 graduate of Jones Vanguard, restarted the Jones Alumni Association when his son informed him that Allen was being removed from his post. Beverly argued that Allen needed to be reinstated. Kaye Stripling, the interim superintendent, said that the reinstatement had nothing to do with Quanell X's protests for local Houston-area news stations, and that it had nothing to do with the fact that Allen's mother, Alma Allen, was a member of the Texas State Board of Education. When reinstated he only was in charge of the comprehensive program at Jones. Stripling decided to let Allen keep his job, but she allowed the Vanguard program to move to the former Carnegie Elementary School. Beverly said that he was going to sue the district to try to stop the Vanguard program from leaving Jones.
By fall 2002, the program was moved to a separate school, Carnegie Vanguard High School. As of 2008, Jones does not have a magnet program. Margaret Downing of the Houston Press said that some parents told her that school administration officials asked African-American students to stay at Jones and take Advanced Placement classes instead of moving to Carnegie Vanguard. School officials said that they did not ask students to stay at Jones.
Andy Dewey, an HISD teacher quoted in a Houston Chronicle article, stated that the loss of the magnet program resulted in a loss of students and prestige, and that it was the beginning of the decline of Jones. In later years Jones had a magnet for science technology engineering and mathematics, but Michael Cordona of HISD stated "The kids just aren’t coming" despite the resources HISD spent on the program.
In February 2014 Jones had 440 students, making it the smallest comprehensive high school in HISD. About 90% students are low income. Erica Mellon of the Houston Chronicle wrote that "few students are choosing Jones".
In 1993 there were 1,300 students at Jones. About 10% were from low income families. This was below the HISD average. As of 1993, 78% of the students were black, 14% were Hispanic, and several were Anglo Whites.
As of 2006, Jones High School had 1,077 students, and is majority African American (58%) with a large Hispanic American minority (40%). White Americans and Asian Americans each make up 1% of the student body. Approximately 83% of the students qualify for free and reduced lunch programs.
Academic performance and funding
In 2011 the nonprofit Children at Risk ranked Jones as the lowest performing high school in Greater Houston. About half of Jones's students drop out. Jones students get low scores on tests, and very few Jones students take advanced classes. Per student funding was $9,257, $450 more than the per-student funding at DeBakey High School. The Greater Houston per-pupil average was $7,355.
Jones is located in the middle of South Park, a neighborhood described by Margaret Downing of the Houston Press as "run down." Downing said in 2002 that Jones was an "eyesore with sewer backups, graffiti, nasty restrooms and moldy locker rooms." Around the year 2002, the school bathrooms did not have toilet paper. Raw sewage backed up to the school courtyard.
Neighborhoods zoned to Jones
The Long Drive Townhomes, a unit of public housing, is zoned to Jones.
According to HISD data, in the 2013-2014 school year, 915 HISD students zoned to Jones chose to attend other HISD schools. Over 75% of these students were Hispanic. Luis Calisto, a man quoted in a Houston Chronicle article who had dropped out of Jones, stated that circa 2004 there had been fights between black and Hispanic students, so several Hispanic students opted to attend the majority Hispanic Chavez High School and Milby High School. Ericka Mellon of the Houston Chronicle wrote that South Park, where the school is located, was "struggling".
- Ron Franklin - Former Houston ISD board member and founding member of Franklin, Cardwell & Jones, P.C.
- Daniel Gibson - NBA Basketball player for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
- Darrell Green - Former Professional American football player for the Washington Redskins and Pro Football Hall of Famer.
- Rosiland A. Jordan - White house correspondent for NBC News - Reporter for the NBC Nightly News and The Today Show
- Rachelle D. O'Neil - U.S. House of Representatives Congressional Staffer for Civil Rights Leader John R. Lewis
- Gene Phillips - Former professional basketball player for the Dallas Chaparrals
- Alfred Williams - Professional American football player, drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in 1991
- Jo Beth Williams - Actress
Jerry Patterson, Land Commissioner, Stare of Texas, 2003 - 2014 James Squier, 312th District Court Judge, 1995 - 2007 Lawrence Allen, member of Texas State Board of Education Elizabeth Watson, first female police chief, City of Houston
Notable staff members
- Lawrence Allen - Served as principal (member of the Texas Board of Education, son of Texas House of Representatives member Alma Allen)
Elementary schools that feed into Jones include:
- "2010–2011 Budget Maintains Per-Student Allocation and Current Tax Rate." Informed Source. Houston Independent School District. June 25, 2010. Retrieved on November 21, 2010.
- Mellon, Ericka. "Jones High, once thriving, now set for closure." (Print title: "How a good school fell out of Favor") Houston Chronicle. February 7, 2014. p. A1, A16. Retrieved on February 8, 2014.
- Markley, Melanie. "Studying our Schools: Challenges/Safety matters: Issue is No. 1 concern with parents." Houston Chronicle. Sunday October 13, 1996. Special 8. Retrieved on March 25, 2010.
- Hanson, Eric. "Teen fatally stabbed in classroom/Victim pays for insult to girl's shorts with life." Houston Chronicle. Saturday September 22, 1990. A1. Retrieved on March 25, 2010.
- Downing, Margaret. "The Great Divide." Houston Press. Thursday March 7, 2002. 1. Retrieved on March 26, 2010.
- Downing, Margaret. "A Fixer-Upper." Houston Press. May 30, 2002. 1. Retrieved on March 25, 2010.
- Radcliffe, Jennifer. "Tensions Overflow at Jones High School." Houston Chronicle. September 15, 2005. Retrieved on March 25, 2010.
- "Report points to 'dropout factories'," Houston Chronicle, October 31, 2007
- Radcliffe, Jennifer. "Critics: In HISD, too many don't go where zoned / Black leaders argue bond has no fix to get kids back to schools in their neighborhoods." Houston Chronicle. Sunday October 14, 2007. B1 MetFront. Retrieved on March 25, 2010.
- Mellon, Ericka. "Grier proposes new magnet schools in HISD." Houston Independent School District. March 25, 2010. Retrieved on March 25, 2010.
- Mellon, Ericka. "Closing schools going to be tough." Houston Chronicle. December 20, 2010. Retrieved on December 21, 2010.
- Isensee, Laura. "Houston Parents, Alumni Oppose Closing Jones High School." KUHF. February 12, 2014. Retrieved on February 28, 2014.
- Mellon, Ericka. "Plan to Close 2 HISD Schools Draws Protests." Houston Chronicle. March 6, 2013. Retrieved on February 22, 2014.
- "HISD considering closure of five campuses at end of school year" (Archive). KTRK-TV. Thursday February 6, 2014. Retrieved on February 9, 2014.
- " HISD Set to Close Jones High and Four Other Schools".
- Mellon, Ericka. "Grier says at least 2 schools need to close." Houston Chronicle. February 27, 2014. Retrieved on February 28, 2014.
- Mellon, Ericka. "HISD votes to close Dodson, repurpose Jones." Houston Chronicle. March 13, 2014. Updated March 14, 2014. Retrieved on March 15, 2014.
- Downing, Margaret. "Audience Erupts in "Fire Terry Grier" Chant, as HISD School Board Closes Dobson, Saves Jones (Sort Of)." Houston Press. March 15, 2014. p. 1. Retrieved on March 15, 2014.
- Downing, Margaret. "Audience Erupts in "Fire Terry Grier" Chant, as HISD School Board Closes Dobson, Saves Jones (Sort Of)." Houston Press. March 15, 2014. p. 2. Retrieved on March 15, 2014.
- Downing, Margaret. "Audience Erupts in "Fire Terry Grier" Chant, as HISD School Board Closes Dobson, Saves Jones (Sort Of)." Houston Press. March 15, 2014. p. 3. Retrieved on March 15, 2014.
- Downing, Margaret. "A Split Decision." Houston Press. April 18, 2002. 1. Retrieved on March 26, 2010.
- Downing, Margaret. "The Great Divide." Houston Press. Thursday March 7, 2002. 6. Retrieved on October 25, 2011.
- Downing, Margaret. "The Great Divide." Houston Press. Thursday March 7, 2002. 3. Retrieved on October 25, 2011.
- Downing, Margaret. "The Great Divide." Houston Press. Thursday March 7, 2002. 4. Retrieved on October 25, 2011.
- Downing, Margaret. "The Great Divide." Houston Press. Thursday March 7, 2002. 7. Retrieved on October 25, 2011.
- Downing, Margaret. "A Fixer-Upper." Houston Press. Thursday May 30, 2002. 2. Retrieved on March 26, 2010.
- Hunt, Dianna. "When youths go wrong/TENDER AGES, TOUGH CRIMES/Violent acts by juveniles up sharply in city, state." Houston Chronicle. Sunday September 23, 1990. Section A, Page 1. Retrieved on March 26, 2010.
- "Jones High School" Profile. Houston Independent School District.
- Mellon, Ericka. "Big spending may not spell school success in Houston." Houston Chronicle. Monday April 18, 2011. Retrieved on December 30, 2011.
- "Student Dress Code 2010-2011." Jones High School. Retrieved on November 17, 2010.
- Downing, Margaret. "A Fixer-Upper." Houston Press. May 30, 2002. 2. Retrieved on October 25, 2011.
- "Jones High School Attendance Zone," Houston Independent School District
- "Distinguished HISD Alumni," Houston Independent School District. Retrieved on January 13, 2011.
- Markley, Melanie. "CAMPAIGN 2007 / District D council candidates share similar philosophies / Though most agree on major issues, they differ on community ties." Houston Chronicle. Tuesday October 9, 2007. B2. Retrieved on October 26, 2011.
- "Golfcrest Elementary Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District.
- "Kelso Elementary Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District.
- "Alcott Elementary Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District.
- "Bastian Elementary Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District.
- "Brookline Elementary Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District.
- "Cornelius Elementary Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District.
- "Gregg Elementary Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District.
- "Seguín Elementary Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District.
- "Attucks Middle Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District.
- "Hartman Middle Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District.
- Jones Futures Academy
- The Great Divide - A Houston Press article about Jones Vanguard's issues with the Jones Administration prior to leaving Jones High School.
- Jones Vanguard Alumni Page