HISD Board of Education names new chief audit executive

Garland Blackwell

The Houston Independent School District Board of Education has selected Garland W. Blackwell as the district’s new chief audit executive.

Mr. Blackwell most recently served as an internal audit director for Parsons, a global engineering services firm, where he established and directed the internal audit process for its regional offices in the Middle East and Africa. He has more than 25 years of internal audit and financial experience.

“The HISD Board of Education is pleased to welcome Mr. Blackwell to our district,” said HISD Board President Wanda Adams. “He is an accomplished internal auditor who will provide critical oversight of the district and recommendations for improvement that will safeguard district resources and support our core values. It has been a priority of our board and audit committee to fill this position to ensure that integrity and transparency are maintained across the district.”

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Rain or shine: Parker ES makes headway despite weather delays  

Construction on the new Parker Elementary School — Houston’s original music magnet — is almost 25 percent complete with the steel structure already in place and build-out of the interior walls underway.

“Things were very slow in the beginning due to rainy weather, but since the walls have gone up, things have been moving along quite quickly, said Parker Principal Lori Frodine. “We prefer a quality job rather than a rushed job, so we are very happy to see that.”

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National Public Health Week event for families scheduled for April 1

The Houston Health Department will observe National Public Health Week (April 3-9) with a family health event on Saturday, April 1 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Judson Robinson Community Center (2020 Hermann Drive, Houston, 77004).

The goal for this event is to create an interactive, fun and engaging experience for HISD families. The Houston Health Department is a longtime partner with HISD and hopes to connect as many families as possible on to on-the-spot services such as:    Continue reading

Real Men Read volunteers passionate about reading to students 

Real Men Read is a mentoring program in which men volunteer at least one hour a month to read to students in third grade.

“Real Men Read is not just a program, it’s a passion,” said Read Men Read volunteer Bill Turney, who reads to Askew Elementary School students once a month. “My objective is to transfer to the children my love of reading.” He said that reading to young children not only keeps him young but allows him to experience the joy of being a child again.   Continue reading

I am HISD: Bellaire teacher’s book will likely become a movie 

Bellaire High School English teacher Jennifer Blessington.

Bellaire High School English teacher Jennifer Blessington’s fourth young adult novel, “Moxie,” caught the attention of Amy Poehler, and her production company, Paper Kite, has acquired the film rights. Poehler, 45, is an actress, comedian, director, producer, and writer. She was a cast member of Saturday Night Live from 2001-2008 and the star of Parks and Recreation from 2009-2015. Roaring Brook Press will publish “Moxie” on Sept. 19. Jennifer publishes her novels under the name Jennifer Mathieu.

What grade do you teach?

I have taught sixth, seventh, eighth, and 11th grades. Currently, I teach English II at Bellaire High School.

How long have you been teaching?

I am currently in my 12th year in the classroom.

When did you publish your first book?

My first book, “The Truth About Alice,” was published in the summer of 2014.    Continue reading

City of Houston to host summer job fairs

Mayor Sylvester Turner and the City of Houston, in partnership with the McDonald’s Owner/Operators Association of Greater Houston, are hosting a series of “on the spot” hiring events to help connect youth and young adults, ages 16-24, with potential employers looking to fill summer jobs.

Bring your resume, Texas ID, and Social Security card, and get hired on the spot!

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Magnet application statuses to become available March 23  

This week, parents who submitted magnet applications for the 2017-2018 school year will find out what programs their children are eligible to attend.

Parents who participated in Phase 1 of the application process (Sept. 30 – Dec. 9, 2016) will be notified of the status of their submissions on Thursday, March 23. Parents will have until April 6 to accept any offered seat. Phase I includes in-district applications only.

Parents who created online accounts will be able to find the results posted on their dashboards by 4 p.m. on March 23, and letters also will be sent out by U.S. mail to all parents who submitted an application.

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Two HISD meetings offer opportunities to learn more about Recapture before May 6 vote 

HISD voters will be asked on May 6 to decide how the district will pay its Recapture obligation to the state of Texas.

Voters will choose between two options—purchase attendance credits from the state or have commercial property detached. A vote against purchasing attendance credits means that the district permanently will lose tax collections for certain commercial properties. A vote for purchasing attendance credits means that HISD will write a check to the state for local property taxes and continue to make annual recapture payments as long as property wealth grows.

HISD Board President Wanda Adams and the Brays Oaks Management District are hosting a District IX Community Town Hall Meeting on Recapture and the state of HISD schools at 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 29, at Tinsley Elementary School, 11035 Bob White, Houston, TX, 77096. HISD Superintendent Richard Carranza will attend, along with a representative from State Rep. Alma Allen’s office. Also present from HISD will be Deputy Superintendent Samuel Sarabia and Budgeting and Financial General Manager Glenn Reed.

HISD Board Trustees Anne Sung and Holly Maria Flynn Vilaseca will host a joint community meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, April 17, at Mark White Elementary School, 2515 Old Farm Road, Houston, TX, 77063. Reed will present at this meeting as well.

For more information on Recapture, please see www.houstonisd.org/recapture.

Foster ES holds fourth annual Career Day 

Multiple careers were represented by attendees at the fourth annual Career Day held at Foster Elementary on Friday, March 10.

Attending the event were police officers, a therapist, a realtor, an insurance agent, a doctor, dental representatives, an account manager from Centerpoint Energy – and even a snake-handler from Texas Snakes.

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Madison HS senior graduates despite health challenges 

Surrounded by his family and doctors, as well as HISD Board President Wanda Adams, Madison Principal Orlando Reyna, and staff members, senior Erick Reyes donned a graduation cap and gown for a moving bedside ceremony at Texas Children’s Hospital on Friday.

Fox News was there and posted this story on their website.

Erick has been suffering with bone cancer for the past two years and was recently moved to hospice care. He enrolled at Madison in 2012 and was well on his way to graduation when he was diagnosed with bone cancer.  Erick struggled to continue his studies while receiving treatment but had to stop due to the severity of his illness. He went into remission and returned to campus to finish his final classes, but unfortunately, the cancer returned. Although Erick was unable to complete his dream of walking across the stage with his classmates, he was pleased to be honored with his diploma.

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