Interim assistant chief tapped to serve as second in command of HISD PD

Interim Assistant Police Chief Lucretia Rogers

Lucretia L. Rogers selected as HISD Police Department Assistant Chief

Interim Assistant Police Chief Lucretia Rogers has been selected to serve as the second in command of the Houston Independent School District Police Department.

A former detective, Rogers has been serving as interim assistant chief since February 2018. She permanently assumes the role on May 22.

Rogers was selected by HISD Police Chief Paul Cordova, who also was recently named to his position. Both Cordova and Rogers have been tasked with building a new culture within the police department while also improving the agency’s reputation and strengthening its relationships with the community. Continue reading

Northside HS senior receives first HISD Superintendent and Board of Education Scholar Award 

Northside senior Sofia Flores got a big surprise in class Tuesday morning when she was named the first-ever recipient of the HISD Superintendent and Board of Education Scholar Awards.

The scholarships, which will be distributed to one senior at every high school through next week, recognizes students who have exemplified great character and resilience.

HISD Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan, with District I Trustee Elizabeth Santos, had the honor of presenting Sofia with an oversized $5,000 check. Lathan highlighted the importance of the scholarships and helping students who had overcome significant obstacles to pursue their dream of going to college.

“We want to help them in their endeavors as they embark on the next leg of their journey,” she said.

Sofia has flourished in her studies despite losing her younger brother, Josue Flores, who was killed as he was walking home from his school. Just days ago marked the two-year anniversary of his murder, which remains unsolved.

Sofia was her younger brother’s personal tutor, guiding him to academic success and nurturing his love of math and science. It was in her interactions with him that inspired her to go to the University of Texas and study education. She hopes to one day return to HISD as a teacher.

“I am actually honored to get this scholarship,” Sofia said. “Helping him inspired me to be a teacher, and everything I do, I do for him.”




Five HISD elementary schools affected by Harvey get new gym equipment 

Thanks to Adopt-a-Gym, students at five HISD elementary schools have new soccer balls and helmets, hula hoops, and more new gym equipment. Founder Kevin McGrath was in Houston on Friday, May 18, presenting athletics supplies to five elementary schools: Hilliard, Pugh, MacGregor, Mitchell, and Anderson.

McGrath selected these five schools to receive a total of $15,000 worth of equipment because of all they lost during Hurricane Harvey. Adopt-a-Gym is a “by kids, for kids” fundraiser, where schools raise funds to purchase physical education equipment for other schools that are short on resources. Funds are raised through fitness events such as fun runs, dance-a-thons, and other active events.

The program is several years old and operates out of Charles Barrett Elementary School in Alexandria, Va., where McGrath teaches. To see other schools Adopt-a-Gym has donated to, visit their website here.

A special message from Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan

Our district is in mourning for the tragic loss of lives in our neighboring community of Santa Fe. I am asking staff and students to join a statewide moment of silence on Monday, May 21, at 10 a.m. for the teachers and students who lost their lives on Friday in this tragic event. Please stand silently for a moment of reflection and respect. Words cannot express the tremendous grief we are experiencing. We extend our deepest sympathy and support to the victims, their families, and friends.

HISD celebrates 2018 Educators of the Year

The Houston Independent School District on Friday paid tribute to the district’s top elementary and secondary teachers of the year during the seventh annual Educators of the Year banquet, which honors exceptional teachers and principals.

Darron Smith, a fifth-grade ESL teacher at Bonner Elementary School, was named HISD Elementary Teacher of the Year, while Alejandra Ortega, an eighth-grade math teacher at McReynolds Middle School, was named HISD Secondary Teacher of the Year. Continue reading

Furr HS dedicates new building

A sea of red flooded the main entrance of Furr High School on Friday morning as the cheerleaders, Sparkle Dancers — dressed in red and white uniforms — and band pepped up the crowd in celebration of the school’s building dedication ceremony.

Music and chants echoed through the air, and lush trees and landscaping lined the length of the brightly colored 182,000-square-foot-building, offering an ornate backdrop to a long red ribbon stretched across the building’s main walkway.

“Close your eyes for a moment and imagine a high school that empowers students to tackle environmental injustice and becomes the central green hub of their community,” said Furr Interim Principal Rosa Hernandez to attendees. “Imagine spaces filled with student voices, trust, school spirit, and a flexible learning environment.” She pointed to the new building, saying “That’s what we have here.”

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HISD statement on Santa Fe High School shooting

HISD has released the following statement on the Santa Fe High School shooting:

The Houston Independent School District sends condolences to the entire Santa Fe ISD community. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of the students, staff, and families affected by this senseless tragedy. We offer our full support to Santa Fe ISD during this difficult time. The HISD Police Department has more than 200 officers assigned to schools and facilities across the district, and they work diligently every day to keep HISD students and staff safe. Today, the department is operating on high alert, and all available officers are on patrol. Additionally crisis counselors are available to students upon request.

Read more:
Letter to parents and community members
Letter to staff

HISD names chief of staff, chief human resources officer

Silvia Saenz Trinh

The Houston Independent School District is announcing two leadership promotions, naming Silvia Saenz Trinh as chief of staff and Julia Dimmitt as chief human resources officer.

Trinh, who previously served as director of Academic Services, has more than 20 years of experience in public schools. A native of El Salvador, she came to the U.S. at 10 years old, was enrolled at HISD’s Rusk Elementary School and later attended Jackson Middle School.

Trinh served as a bilingual teacher, ESL specialist, and assistant principal in surrounding districts before joining Team HISD, where she moved into principal positions at Gordon and Park Place elementary schools. She also served as director of Elementary Transformation Schools before moving into her current role.

“I am so honored to work alongside Ms. Trinh and to have her serving in this new role,” Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan said. “With her leadership, we were able to get 22 schools out of IR in one year. I know she will continue to support and promote efforts to improve student achievement.”

Julia Dimmitt

Trinh has a deep understanding of the needs of HISD students and the role education plays in breaking the cycle of poverty. She was inspired to serve as an educator after experiencing firsthand the challenges of learning a new language in a new country – and later witnessing students who were facing that same adversity.

“I knew from a very early age that education was the key to success,” Trinh said. “The road out of poverty goes right through our public schools.”

Trinh earned her bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Houston and has received multiple awards for her work, including Fort Bend ISD’s Bilingual Teacher of the Year Award and the National Excellence in Urban Education Award from the National Center for Urban School Transformation. She was featured in the U.S. Department of Education publication “K-8 Charter Schools: Closing the Achievement Gap.” Trinh was also selected by the TEA to take part in a best practices case study for her work at Park Place Elementary School. Continue reading

HISD parent in viral law school graduation photo to speak at inaugural Cornelius ES Career Day

Ieshia Champs, a single mother of five whose law school graduation picture went viral on social media, will be a featured speaker at Cornelius Elementary School’s inaugural Career Day.  Three of Champs’ children attend Cornelius Elementary.

The event will take place Friday, May 18, 2018 on the Cornelius campus (7475 Westover, Houston, 77087) from 8:30 to 10 a.m.

The recent Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law graduate gained notoriety after a photo of her dressed in her cap and gown surrounded by all five of her children was shared hundreds of thousands of times on social media.

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HISD planning for possible May 2019 bond referendum to strengthen security across district

The Houston Independent School District is beginning to plan for a possible May 2019 bond referendum as part of a strategic capital plan designed to rebuild schools and strengthen security at campuses throughout the district.

Board of Education trustees were briefed at their May 17 workshop about the recommendation currently under consideration for the possible referendum. It places a strong emphasis on safety and security.

“The safety and security of our students and staff is absolutely paramount, which is why we believe it should play a major role in any potential bond program going forward,” HISD Chief Operating Officer Brian Busby said. “Our students and teachers need and deserve safe, secure learning environments that allow them to thrive. Our goal is to provide that to them.” Continue reading