Education Week - September 6, 2017 - 12
Texas Schools Assess Damages
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* accounting for students and employees;
* helping students and staff cope
* assessing damages to facilities;
* acting as a community resource
for anyone unsure where to go or
what to do.
The tornado in Joplin killed 161
people, including two students
from Sachetta's campus, and another 1,000 were injured. Joplin's
school district had a team at each
school trained in search and rescue,
known as Community Emergency
Response Team, or CERT, as well
as for security, medical operations,
psychological first aid, and family
Although school was not in session when the tornado hit, Sachetta
said, the training helped school employees take on leadership in each of
the damaged schools. Staff members
reviewed class rosters and made
calls, communicated with students
on Facebook, and visited homes
until all students were accounted
for. They also kept a log of students
who had lost homes and had loved
ones who were injured or lost so
they could make plans to get them
Robert Romines had just been
hired as the incoming schools chief
in Moore, Okla., in 2013, a week before a tornado killed 25 people there.
"It is hard for me to watch [the
Harvey coverage] simply because we
have been there before, although on
a different level and circumstance,
as the scope of Harvey spanned a
much larger space and lingered for
days," said Romines.
Seven of the victims in Romines'
district died inside one elementary
school, which was demolished, and
three other school sites were destroyed or significantly damaged, a
total of $51 million in losses for the
community south of Oklahoma City
tormented for decades by tornadoes.
ton, which has the state's largest
school district, after first hitting the
Southeast shore of Texas in Rockport with 130-mile-per-hour winds.
The Houston Independent School
District, which serves about 216,000
students with 31,000 employees, is
in the heart of a metro area that's
home to about 17 school districts.
But Houston Superintendent
Richard Carranza said those borders didn't mean much as Harvey
loomed above, as each district has
been working across boundaries to
help families in need. Superintendents have checked in with each
other on daily conference calls to
compare notes and discuss what to
He said the consortium's main
concerns have been the impact on
the students and employees and
their families. Carranza said his
district is planning on bringing in
crisis counselors to help students
traumatized by the storm and the
aftermath once the water dries up,
and will extend those services to
employees as well.
"They have lost everything and
[are] coming to work and expected to
provide support and encouragement
to students," Carranza said. "Even
with the best emergency preparedness plans, the true impact of a situation of this magnitude is something
that no one can really plan for."
As of last week, the district planned
to begin classes Sept. 11.
Paul Vallas, who arrived in New
Orleans in May 2007, nearly two
years after Hurricane Katrina destroyed close to 80 percent of the
school system's buildings, understands the longer-term impact. But
there are major differences between
Harvey's destruction in Texas, particularly in the Greater Houston
area, and the damages wrought by
Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans
in 2005, he said.
New Orleans' school buildings
were much older and more neglected than Houston's, and some
two-thirds of the schools were academically failing, Vallas said. The
city's economy was not as diverse as
Houston's. And, geographically, Harvey's devastation in Texas covers a
much larger area.
All of those things will likely give
Houston a relatively stronger starting point than New Orleans, he said.
But given that so many counties
and school districts were affected
by Harvey, the overall recovery in
Texas could take a lot longer and
lead to uneven results if those efforts are not centralized.
"With Katrina, it virtually wiped
out an entire system in a very dense
geographic area," he said.
Throughout the process, superintendents said that communication
is key to getting the district back on
And getting students back in a
classroom, even if in a makeshift
space, will help jump-start the recovery.
"The faster you can get it back to
normal-and normal to me was kids
going to school at the prescribed time
and coming home at the prescribed
time-the easier it is for people to get
through it," said Frank Scarafile, the
superintendent of the Little Ferry
school district in New Jersey.
In late October 2012, most of the
surrounding town was underwater
after a storm surge from the Hackensack River flooded low-lying areas.
The floodwaters caused nearly $6
million in damages to the district's
two buildings, making one entire
building unusable. The district shut
down for two weeks.
One of the first things Scarafile
did after assessing the damage was
to scout neighboring towns in search
of districts that had empty or underused buildings to use as classroom
By December, the buildings were
In Joplin, officials worked with a
local construction company to retrofit
an abandoned big-box store in time
for the start of the next school year,
Sailors from Helicopter Sea Combat
Squadron 28 rescue 14 people and
four dogs at Pine Forest Elementary
School, in Vidor, Texas. The shelter
required evacuation after flood
waters from Hurricane Harvey
reached its grounds.
adjusted schedules to make best use
of the space, and worked with local
leaders to find space for athletics
and extracurricular activities. It took
about $225 million to rebuild.
Once you get the students back in
school, teachers should be encouraged to look for signs of trauma,
"When you had a really bad rainstorm afterwards, their fear was that
they were going to get flooded again,"
Scarafile said. "They were afraid.
That was part of getting displaced,
that was part of losing everything.
There was a lot of anxiety."
Indeed, educators such as Angela
Stallings, an associate superintendent for the Pasadena Independent
School District near Houston, were
already hearing of that from students
after opening the doors of one of their
high schools as an emergency shelter.
The district will be offering counsel-
ors for the foreseeable future, she
said. The district had earlier in the
week confirmed that four Pasadena
ISD students and two of their greatgrand parents died after being swept
away by the floodwaters while trying
Carol Salva, who teaches newcomer English-language development
in the Spring Branch district, spent a
few tense days at home with two of
her children, 10 and 13, before finally
deciding to evacuate.
Her neighborhood did not have an
evacuation order, but her home would
have been in the "path of destruction"
if one of the nearby dams breached.
Neighbors were evacuating, and helicopter rescues were taking place
"It's just very scary to live so close
to those reservoirs that you're seeing
on the news," she said.
Salva finally self-evacuated three
days after the storm after her twostory home lost electricity.
And not a moment too soon: The
next day neighbors texted Salva photos of a kayaker paddling through the
streets of her neighborhood, surveying water levels and flood damage.
Salva quickly turned her thoughts
to how she would address the di-
Rallying After Trauma
"In our case, the tornado came and
went so we were able to get back
in there quickly and see the damage, whereas it's taking longer for
many in Texas because of the rain
and flooding," Romines said. "What
school leaders, teachers, and students need to immediately remember is that they are not alone and
it's OK to accept help. It's time for
the rest of the community near and
far to rally around them, and they
will, as we have seen time and again
in these disasters."
Harvey's impact stretched some
300 miles along the Gulf Coast, from
Corpus Christi, close to where Harvey made landfall, to as far north as
Beaumont. Many districts are still
working on assessing their properties to see if people can even come
on campus, and many in the urban
core are landlocked, so may have a
harder time finding space elsewhere
to resume classes quickly.
Hurricane Harvey dumped more
than 50 inches of water over Hous-
Law on Homeless Protects Displaced Students
By Daarel Burnette II
The vast majority of students who may end
up temporarily or permanently displaced by
Hurricane Harvey are entitled to full protections under the federal McKinney-Vento Act
that covers homeless students.
That could also end up placing extra financial and logistical weight on school districts
serving students in and outside the area affected by the disaster.
The law, which was renewed in 2015 along
with the Every Student Succeeds Act, categorizes as homeless any student who "lives in
temporary shelters and those who use places
not designed for sleeping as their regular
nighttime residence, such as a car, park, abandoned building, bus, train station, airport or
12 | EDUCATION WEEK | September 6, 2017 | www.edweek.org
It also qualifies as homeless students who
"double up" during financial hardships or natural disasters, meaning those living with relatives or family friends.
Homeless students under the act, no matter
what their economic background, have a number of rights, including access to free lunch and
transportation to either their new school or to
their school of origin. It falls on the homeless
coordinator in each district to ensure students
get what's required under the law.
After Hurricane Katrina, tens of thousands
of students were displaced and it took months,
if not longer, for them to get back to their
schools of origin.
The weekend Hurricane Harvey made landfall, advocates for the homeless dispatched liaisons to the areas affected by Harvey to field
calls from parents and to provide district officials with technical assistance, said George
Hancock, the director of the SERVE Center
at the National Center for Homeless Education. The Texas Education Agency, meanwhile,
posted on its website guidance for school officials regarding the homeless law.
"The disaster is traumatic, and homelessness is traumatic," Hancock said. "As they're
displaced, we wouldn't want to then further
exacerbate the situation. We want them to get
back into their schools as quickly as they can
so they can be in a stable and nurturing environment. The hope is to get at least one part of
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - September 6, 2017
Education Week - September 6, 2017
Teachers Carve Out a Place in the Curriculum For LGBT History
Learning to Teach Via Virtual Reality
Rule Targets District Bias In Spec. Ed.
Hurricane Takes Heavy Toll on Schools
News in Brief
State Educational-Leadership Initiatives In Budget ‘Pickle’
New Tool Alerts Teachers When Students Give Up on Test
DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: Mobile Devices Put Education In Hands of Syrian Refugees
LGBT Curricula Spreads Slowly
Tweaking School Turnarounds
After Fierce Fight, Illinois Enacts Tax-Credit Scholarship Program
President’s Youngest Son Joins Back-to-School Crowd
Sarah M. Stitzlein: How to Define Public Schooling in the Age of Choice?
Q&A With Jack Schneider: What Makes a School Good? It’s More Than Test Scores
READERS REACT: Have SAT Accommodations Really Gone Too Far?
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
Chris Elmendorf & Darien Shanske: We Need Better Education Data
Education Week - September 6, 2017 - Hurricane Takes Heavy Toll on Schools
Education Week - September 6, 2017 - 2
Education Week - September 6, 2017 - 3
Education Week - September 6, 2017 - News in Brief
Education Week - September 6, 2017 - 5
Education Week - September 6, 2017 - State Educational-Leadership Initiatives In Budget ‘Pickle’
Education Week - September 6, 2017 - New Tool Alerts Teachers When Students Give Up on Test
Education Week - September 6, 2017 - DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: Mobile Devices Put Education In Hands of Syrian Refugees
Education Week - September 6, 2017 - 9
Education Week - September 6, 2017 - 10
Education Week - September 6, 2017 - 11
Education Week - September 6, 2017 - 12
Education Week - September 6, 2017 - 13
Education Week - September 6, 2017 - LGBT Curricula Spreads Slowly
Education Week - September 6, 2017 - 15
Education Week - September 6, 2017 - After Fierce Fight, Illinois Enacts Tax-Credit Scholarship Program
Education Week - September 6, 2017 - President’s Youngest Son Joins Back-to-School Crowd
Education Week - September 6, 2017 - Sarah M. Stitzlein: How to Define Public Schooling in the Age of Choice?
Education Week - September 6, 2017 - Q&A With Jack Schneider: What Makes a School Good? It’s More Than Test Scores
Education Week - September 6, 2017 - Letters
Education Week - September 6, 2017 - 21
Education Week - September 6, 2017 - TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
Education Week - September 6, 2017 - 23
Education Week - September 6, 2017 - Chris Elmendorf & Darien Shanske: We Need Better Education Data
Education Week - September 6, 2017 - CW1
Education Week - September 6, 2017 - CW2
Education Week - September 6, 2017 - CW3
Education Week - September 6, 2017 - CW4