Say Salaam to the Shady Acres Home of Houston’s First Arabic Immersion School

SAY SALAAM TO THE SHADY ACRES HOME OF HOUSTON’S FIRST ARABIC IMMERSION SCHOOL HISD-Arabic-use-thisHere’s where some of Houston’s future bilingual Arabic-English speakers will learn their two alphabets: HISD’s former Holden Elementary and the current home of more recently the Energy Institute High School at 812 W. 28th. St., just across N. Durham St. from a ramshackle flower shop just inside the North Loop. An energy school giving way to Arabic-language instruction? Synergy? Arabic trails only Spanish (and English) among languages HISD students speak at home, according to statistics from the district. Interested parents of rising pre-kindergartners and kindergartners were able to start applying last Friday for the magnet program slated to begin next Fall. Two each of pre-K and kindergarten classes will comprise the school’s first classes next year. If the district’s first Arabic immersion school is to operate the same way the existing Spanish- and Mandarin-English HISD schools do, students will be taught half in English and half in Modern Standard Arabic. [HISD] Photo: Swamplot Inbox

21 Comment

  • Why are we teaching languages other than American!? This is America!

  • Good for them! If only that would start a Hebrew imersion school in the Myerland area, I bet that would be popular as well but I would not bet on it.

    My only question is what is Energy Institute the going to do? I heard they were building a new campus but I doubt it will be ready by the start of next year.

  • @NotCommonSense: LOL. It was almost funny to read the comments in the Houston Chronicle when they announced the Arabic Magnet. People who had no problem with a Mandarin Chinese Magnet, or Bellaire High School’s Foreign Language Magnet (one of e languages is Arabic) are now all of a sudden opposing ANY foreign language immersion program within HISD. They aren’t fooling anyone. We know it’s because it’s Arabic.

  • If English was good enough for Jesus, it’s good enough for me!

  • The Energy High School is actually at the old Dodson Elementary location on Sampson and the Gulf Freeway now. Has there been any updates on the future location?

  • The Energy Institute moved from this location to the former Dodson Elementary site over the summer.

  • Before I clicked on the story I saw it had one comment. “Lemme guess,” I thought, “I bet it’s the spoof Commonsense character.” Sure enough. Very predictable. It’s probably time to give it a rest.

  • Arabic immersion is a great idea and an excellent opportunity to serve the very large and growing population coming to Houston from the Middle East for the energy industry. If you were a businessman in Dubai looking to find a place in the US for your North American offices, would you pick the city where your kids can learn Arabic and English in public school or a city where you would have to pay for private tutors or start a private school?

    Also, HISD needs to crank out as many of these magnet-only programs as possible. There are throngs of people who want to get out of their zoned schools and into a quality magnet. Those who fail to get a spot usually sell and move to the burbs. The existing magnets are bursting at the seems and more space could be realized by creating new magnet only schools.

  • HISD should put the Energy Institute High School downtown like the are the new HSPVA. That would make sense with all the energy companies downtown (keep in mind most of the “Energy Corridor” is SBISD and KISD).

    What is HISD doing with the old HSPVA building at 4001 Stanford St?

  • Thanks Ross, I corrected it.

  • @Old School, I agree with your premise that the Magnet schools keep middle class people enrolling their children in some HISD schools. But wouldn’t it be better for HISD to take all the money associated with the administrative costs of having a magnet for every niche interest out there and instead plow it into making neighborhood schools that much better? Sometimes it seems to me that HISD is willing to ignore neighborhood schools in heavily minority areas so that they can run press releases about having a magnet for every desire in order to make white people happy.

  • There HISD schools within 3 miles of this proposed Arabic immersion that have Go fund me drives for basic class room supplies, or the school has the kids sell stuff, or a business will adopt a school to donate playground equipment, or art, you name it. Fundraising is a full time activity in all schools, especially in the Heights area schools. Some schools are lucky to have parents that write for grants, or spend all their time on PTA to raise money to get supplies for the students, or sends teachers to training, or donate money for Arts/ Music/ extra learning projects. These are things HISD should pay for all students. Instead HISD funnels millions of $ to programs that have been a flop. Field Elem says they need books for a library, they shouldn’t have to ask the public to donate books. It makes no sense to spend money this boutique magnet program when there are schools that don’t have the staff or supplies they need to teach students a strong foundation in English language, writing skills, and Math.

  • I agree, with HISD schools old and falling down and libraries begging for books, it seems assine to spend millions for an Arabic language magnet school. I guess now, if you’re a teacher who speaks Arabic you get extra money, like the bilingual teachers, I guess if you just speak English you’re screwed. My ancestors had to drop the French and learn English, they were immersed in English and were forged in the Melting Pot as Americans with a common culture, now the trend is that you live in an area with street signs, architecture and cuisine and just never really assimilate…not exactly a “Melting Pot”, is it.

  • It’s sad that supporting the teaching of English is viewed as some radical position to have. “You want to teach English? You must be racist/xenophone/bigot/homophobe/etc”
    Isn’t teaching English the best thing we could do for immigrants to help them succeed in America? How/when did that become a bad thing?

  • Shannon is right on

  • It’s also worth noting that the NSA was kind enough to donate and install updated computer equipment in every classroom, as well as provide every student with an I-pad to take home and use for homework.

  • So, HISD tries to create a school to give students skills that are useable in the real world, and the usual suspects completely misread the intent of the program. It’s not a school to allow Arabic speaking students to get by without learning English, it’s a school to teach kids how to speak Arabic.

    All schools try to raise extra money. Even the ones full of well off kids.

  • Arabic fluency is basically a guarantee of having access to great jobs – in the oil industry, in other kinds of business, in the defense and intelligence sectors, etc. The debate over use of resources is reasonable but you’ve got to be an idiot not to see the benefits of this. Speaking only one language fluently is a handicap and the real question is how we get to a place where the majority of American kids graduate high school fluent in at least one non-English language.

  • What we should be doing is somehow teaching all of our kids blue collar jobs just like Mike Rowe the opera singer tell us too not teaching them some fancy shmancy languages like arabic or spanish or the queens english…

  • What??? Arabs teach ENGLISH in their schools because it’s the language of the business world. Oh yeah, learning Arabic is so much better than learning Spanish, Chinese or Russian..It’s assine to assert that you need to learn Arabic to get a great job. The oil industry is not the only industry AND the Arab world is not the only producers of oil. Ever heard of Iran (Persian) Russia (Russian) Nigeria–(Nigerian).. Canada..(ENGLISH). America (ENGLISH) Norway (Norwegian). ..geez, really??? None of us misunderstand anything, dude…we get it.

  • Shannon, you are a loon. Thanks for giving me and my colleagues a great laugh with your statement that they speak Nigerian in Nigeria. There is no “Nigerian” language. The main languages are English, Hausa, Yoruba, and Igbo.

    I’ve lived and worked in the Middle East and in Egypt. Knowing Arabic is a big plus, and earns you points when doing business with them. It also makes it a lot harder for someone to take advantage of you.