Author Archives: HISD Communications

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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HISD board to receive overview of financial impact of recapture and detachment of commercial property on district

The Houston Independent School District Office of Budgeting and Financial Planning will make a presentation on the financial impact of recapture and detachment of commercial property on the district to the HISD Board of Education during the board’s monthly meeting on Thursday.

Last month, the board voted to call a May 6 election to ask voters if the district should pay its recapture obligation to the State of Texas by sending lower recapture payments to the state or through detachment of commercial property in July.

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Houston ISD opposes school vouchers

Voucher programs such as education savings accounts or tax credit scholarships threaten the district’s school choice efforts

The 2017 Texas Legislative Session is underway, and state lawmakers are discussing school choice.

As a district of choice, Houston ISD is among many districts throughout the state to offer a multitude of academic options to parents and students. However, a voucher system – in the form of education savings accounts or tax credit scholarships – would disrupt what school districts like Houston ISD are already doing to provide choice. In addition, vouchers would have a damaging impact on the state’s public school system which educates more than 5 million children in Texas.

Recently, House Public Education Committee Chairman Rep. Dan Huberty said his committee will not allow vouchers to move through the Texas House. HISD applauds Chairman Huberty, Speaker Joe Straus and members of the Texas House for their courage and for standing in the gap for Texas’ children.

“On behalf of the 215,000 students and 287 campuses at HISD, the district strongly opposes harmful school choice legislation,” said HISD Board of Education President Wanda Adams. “We are grateful for the work being done in the Texas House. The state’s constitution says, ‘It shall be the duty of the Legislature to establish and make suitable provision for the support and maintenance of an efficient system of public free schools.’”

Nearly 80 percent of HISD’s students are economically disadvantaged and one-third are learning English.

HISD operates 119 magnet programs at 110 schools districtwide. Like many districts, Houston ISD offers choice from Pre-K through 12th grade to all children. HISD has high-performing magnet schools, charter schools, early college high schools, early childhood centers and a virtual school.

In 2016, 37 of HISD’s high schools were recognized among the most academically rigorous schools in the U.S. by the Washington Post. The district also is a two-time winner of the National Broad Prize, an honor awarded to urban school districts for closing the achievement gap.

“The Legislature’s main focus is to make sure the public school system works well,” said HISD Superintendent Richard Carranza. “HISD is ready to do our part to boost student achievement and sustain high-quality choice programs for Houston’s children.”

HISD names new chief of staff

Cynthia Wilson

The Houston Independent School District has selected Cynthia Wilson as the district’s new chief of staff.

Dr. Wilson currently serves as chief of staff of the Dallas Independent School District, with more than 20 years of experience in public schools. Prior to joining Dallas ISD, she served as a superintendent of the Orangeburg Consolidated School District 5 in South Carolina.

She also is a former HISD staff member, having served in various roles, including a regional and area superintendent, school principal, assistant principal, and teacher.

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HISD communications team wins 23 Star Awards from Texas School Public Relations Association

Largest school district in the state honored for school communications, including Platinum Award for Global Graduate project

Feb. 22, 2017—The Houston Independent School District’s communications team will be awarded 23 Star Awards from the Texas School Public Relations Association for its excellence in school communications for the 2015-2016 school year, including the Platinum Award for its work on HISD’s Global Graduate profile. The awards will be presented on Wednesday, Feb. 22, during the 2017 TSPRA Annual Conference Star Awards Banquet in Galveston.

Every year, the Texas School Public Relations Association (TSPRA) honors school districts for their exceptional work in print, electronic, and visual media. HISD was awarded 12 Gold Stars, six Silver Stars, a Bronze Star, three Crystal Commendations and the Platinum Award for an all-encompassing year-long communications project. Continue reading

HISD superintendent urges business community, state lawmakers to invest in every child

HISD Board President Wanda Adams says investment in our students is the board’s top priority

Speaking before a sold-out crowd, HISD Superintendent Richard Carranza and HISD Board of Education President Wanda Adams urged business professionals and state lawmakers to see public education as an investment to ensure the future success of every student that walks through a school’s doors.

“I am here to tell you that we must invest in every child,” Carranza said. “Regardless of where they live, where they were born, the color of their skin, their religion, or the language they speak. Every child at every school deserves a high-quality education that prepares them for a successful future … They are our future leaders, engineers, entrepreneurs, computer programmers. They are the fulfillment of Houston’s enormous potential.” Continue reading

HISD Board of Education approves resolution that supports undocumented students

Resolution also opposes any travel ban proposed by the federal government  

The Houston Independent School District Board of Education on Thursday approves a resolution in support of the district’s immigrant community affected by the recent actions of the state and federal government related to immigrants and undocumented individuals in the United States. Continue reading

HISD Board of Education to consider construction contract for new Austin HS

If approved, HISD will have executed contracts on all 2012 Bond projects

The Houston Independent School District Board of Education on Thursday will consider the construction contract for Austin High School, which is being rebuilt as part of the 2012 Bond Program.

If the contract is approved, it will mark a major milestone in the 2012 Bond Program with all projects moving forward with executed construction contracts. Another major milestone is expected in the coming months, with the district preparing to have almost half of all 2012 Bond schools and projects completed and open by summer 2017.

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HISD moves away from high-stakes testing in student grade-level promotion decisions

Board also approves 2017-2018 calendar that gives students and staff a full week off for Thanksgiving

The Houston ISD Board of Education voted Thursday to join with other school districts that only use students’ scores on high-stakes standardized tests for grade-level promotion decisions when doing so is required by Texas law. The decision is effective immediately for the 2016-2017 school year and beyond.

Texas law requires students to pass the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) in math and reading in grades five and eight. The state also mandates that high school students pass STAAR end-of-course exams. Because this is state law, HISD students will still be required to pass these STAAR exams.

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HISD Board of Education elects new officers

District IX Trustee Wanda Adams named 2017 president

The HISD Board of Education voted unanimously Thursday to name District IX Trustee Wanda Adams president for 2017.

A Kashmere High School graduate, Adams was first elected to the school board in 2013. She previously served six years on the Houston City Council.

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