CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) - Big changes ahead for Howard High School. Thursday we told you the state will likely take over and many parents agree.
Howard High School is one of 13 schools that will be put into the "Achievement School District." It's a program to bring some of Tennessee's poorest performing schools up to par.
Some believe the changes are necessary. Friday, a group of people calling themselves "Friends of Howard" said nothing is wrong at the school and they're ready to fight a state takeover.
The group members are parents and graduates of Howard who say they volunteer their time to help students.
The supporters claim the media has given Howard unfair negative coverage. "These students have overcome many obstacles," said parent, Kevin Robinson. "This is just another obstacle they will overcome."
A passionate leader and Howard graduate, Judge Walter Williams said, "In the last 3 years this school has made significant progress."
The group told the stories they say the media won't. "It goes back to what they said earlier about the media," said a pastor who attended. "You guys are gonna have to come out when positive things happen."
"We had a library drive over a year and half ago," said another supporter. "This community came together we raised over $100,000 dollars."
They cited statistics that show a decrease in truancy from 83%in 2008 to 17% in 2009. They also noted how school fights have decrease by 45%.
"We had two students last year that received full scholarships to the University of Knoxville," said mom and supporter, Cheryl Bryant.
There is a University of Tennessee-Knoxville and a Knoxville College. It is unclear which school Bryant was referring to.
Despite the improvements Howard's continuing downfall is its graduation rate. In 2008 Hamilton County sent a letter to parents. The document shows Howard's improvements in math and English, but still only 47% graduated. In 2009 the rate did increase to 56%, but by 'No Child Left Behind Standards' that's still not enough.
"We'll fight vigilantly against any state take over or change of administration," said Judge Williams.
Editor's Note: Channel 3 Eyewitness News has never declined an invitation by the administration at Howard to cover a story. Channel 3 Eyewitness News TODAY Show featured dozens of local high schools last year in the station's Cool Schools program. We requested the opportunity to showcase the positive things happening at Howard but school leaders never welcomed us on campus. News ideas can always be emailed to our newsroom at email@example.com.