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Guest Blog: Hurricane Harvey's Impact on the Rhodes School

October 26, 2017

The Rhodes School opened its doors in 2007 to educate pre-K through eighth grade students in Houston, Texas. Throughout our decade of serving the northeast part of Houston, we have never experienced anything near the devastation that Hurricane Harvey brought to our community’s doorstep.

I encourage you to donate to the TCSA Harvey Relief Fund to help public charter school communities like mine that were impacted by Hurricane Harvey.

Out of our four school facilities, one was severely damaged and a second is a total loss. The damage is so extensive it is difficult to list it all but primarily includes:

• The loss of nine classrooms, two cafeterias, 90 percent of administrative space for one location, 100 percent loss of all offices and space for central office staff in a second location, and also the loss of four school buses and one delivery van;
• 318 brand new Chrome Books that were purchased for student use as digital textbooks were totaled;
• Brand new library books, teacher supplies, special education testing materials, speech language testing materials were damaged; and
• Four copiers, three commercial refrigerators, furniture for all nine classrooms and several administrative offices were lost.

Painfully, a large portion of our musical instruments, costumes, set designs, and theater program props were also damaged beyond repair. I want to point out that Rhodes is a fine arts public charter school and it is the primary reason that our parents choose to come to our school. Therefore, the loss of the fine arts equipment is particularly devastating for our program.

Many of you may be familiar with the stories surrounding Hurricane Harvey and know that several road closures meant people could not get to their buildings to begin the recovery process. This meant we could not begin cleanup efforts at Rhodes until nearly a week after the storm, leading to significant mold issues that we are now working to remediate.

What I have described to you is merely the physical impact of Harvey. The gravity facing our community is much more severe. Our largest school campus is located in one of the hardest hit communities in Houston with more than 70 percent of families displaced in the weeks immediately following the storm and about 40 percent who remain displaced today. We have a double-digit increase in the number of students now legally classified as homeless as a result of the storm.

At Rhodes we are working to meet the very real basic needs of several of our families and staff. I wish I could say that our story is unique, but I know that many of my public charter school colleagues are also on the front lines working to rebuild and provide a much needed sense of normalcy for their families. To all of you that have reached out in support, thank you. Our community has suffered much loss, but it is with everyone standing together in support of each other that we will come out stronger on the other end.

Your donation to the TCSA Harvey Relief Fund will help public charter school communities that were impacted by Hurricane Harvey. 

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