Compiled by Joe Southern
The students and staff of Willowridge High School will report to class Tuesday, Aug. 22, at Marshall High School.
The two schools will begin the school year under one roof as clean-up and remediation efforts continue to clear Willowridge of mold that coated much of the school over the summer.
The Fort Bend Independent School District is planning a community forum and celebration on Wednesday, Aug. 16, so that the community can learn more about the district’s efforts to support students and staff members in both communities. The meeting will take place at 7 p.m. at Marshall High School (1220 Buffalo Run, Missouri City).
Fort Bend ISD district leaders, working closely with the WHS administrative team, weighed several options as they considered an alternate location for the start of the year, working to ensure the best possible learning environment for students and staff members.
The safety and security of students is paramount, as well as identifying a facility that could absorb all Willowridge students and staff. Both campus leaders are dedicated to creating a learning environment based on unity, partnership and respect.
“Our top priority is to provide a safe, supportive, and positive learning environment for each student from the very first day of school,” said FBISD Superintendent of Schools Dr. Charles Dupre. “The WHS administrative team worked with us to weigh several options and selected Marshall High School based on its proximity, capacity and the positive relationships that already exist among students and staff. I am especially pleased by the way both the Marshall and Willowridge communities have joined together to provide a solution that is in the best interest of ALL students in both communities.”
The principals of both schools appeared together in a video update on the district’s website. The principal at Willowridge is Thomas Graham and the principal at Marshal High School is Alfred Holland.
“Mr. Graham and I have worked in the past together as middle school principals and we’re excited to be able to have opportunity to work together again on the same campus,” Holland said.
“Especially during this time of adversity, it’s great to be at work at a campus with someone I worked with in the past,” Grahman said. “Alfred Holland, under his leadership, Marshall High School has done a tremendous job welcoming us into the campus and helping us in our time of need.”
Graham said education remains the focus for both schools.
“We still realize that the primary objective of our campus and of our staff is make sure that we instill our students with a quality education by having all of our students on one campus under one roof we can assure all those educational needs are met during this very difficult time,” he said.
Holland said blending the students should be an easy transition.
“The good thing about this unique situation is that our students from Marshall High School and Willowridge High School already interact in the community together. They hang out on the weekends together they go to church together so I think this opportunity will help to bring students even closer together being they will be under the same roof to interact even more so,” he said.
“Although we’ll have two different high schools at two different locations now at one central location for this transitional time we will not have Willowridge students and we will not have Marshall students; we will have students that we all service,” Graham said.
“And as Willowridge and Marshall come together and stand together we will continue to ensure the safety and security is the top priority in our campuses,” added Holland.
“I can say that I am beyond humbled to see the outpouring of support from individuals all the way from Mr. Holland opening up his campus and be extremely welcoming with him and his staff to different members in the community who have reached out to see what we need, how they can help. It is tremendously humbling to see those individuals come together in our time of need to make sure that our students are still receiving the quality education that they receive and that they need,” Graham said.
Dupre said there will be a meeting to help bring the schools together and to answer questions.
“Together we are all committed to high student achievement for students in both schools in the district will continue to support both schools as we move forward,” he said. “I want to take this opportunity to invite you to join us for a townhall and celebration at Marshall High School on Wednesday, Aug. 16, at 7 p.m. At that time we’ll share much more information and we will celebrate this partnership as we begin a new school year of success for students at both Willowridge and Marshall.
For more information about the WHS mold remediation efforts and daily updates, visit www.fortbendisd.com/WHSmoldremediation.