Author Archives: HISD Communications

HISD supports House Bill 21 to increase funding for all schools and lower Recapture payments statewide

Bill would reduce HISD’s 2018-19 biennium recapture payment

The Houston Independent School District supports House Bill 21, which passed the Texas House of Representatives today and would lower HISD’s Recapture obligation providing approximately $40 million in additional resources for the 2018-19 biennium.

Houston voters go to the polls on May 6 to decide how to pay this year’s Recapture obligation of $77.5 million. Proposition 1 asks voters whether they want to “purchase attendance credits.” A vote for means HISD will write a check to the state, while a vote against would result in the state’s detachment and reassignment of the district’s most valuable commercial property. Early voting begins April 24, 2017, and ends May 2, 2017. Continue reading

HISD Board of Education approves special education program review

The Houston Independent School District Board of Education on Thursday approved a proposal to select American Institutes for Research to implement a comprehensive Special Education Program Review.

In preparation for the 2017-18 school year, and in response to feedback from the community and HISD staff, HISD is re-evaluating how it delivers special education services to students and families. The Special Education Program Review will help the district’s efforts to improve special education services. Continue reading

HISD recognizes top volunteers as key to district success

Volunteers in Public Schools VIPS honorees are recognized by Trustee Anne Sung during a Board of Trustees meeting, April 13, 2017. (Dave Einsel/Houston ISD)

The Houston Independent School District honored its top volunteers today during the annual Volunteers in Public Schools Recognition Reception.

Each year, the Volunteers in Public Schools program — more commonly referred to as VIPS —enlists thousands of parents, community members, business professionals, and youth who are willing to dedicate their time to support HISD students. Volunteers help in classrooms, libraries, media centers, clinics and school offices, serving as tutors, mentors, teacher partners, speakers, security patrols, chaperones, interpreters, and even cafeteria monitors. Continue reading

HISD Scholars Banquet to recognize 100-plus high school seniors at top of their class

The Houston Independent School District will pay tribute to the top students from each high school’s graduating class during the annual Scholars Banquet.

The 101 valedictorians and salutatorians will be recognized for their dedication and hard work during the banquet, which will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 11, at The Westin Oaks Houston at the Galleria, 5011 Westheimer Road.

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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