Author Archives: HISD Communications

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

HISD announces new college and career readiness initiatives

The Houston Independent School District on Thursday announced the creation of new programs to expand college and career readiness opportunities for students across the district:  Launch HISD and Project Explore.

The new programs are under the newly established Office of Strategy and Innovation led by EMERGE founder Rick Cruz.

Launch HISD is a comprehensive college and career readiness and advising program. The program will serve students at every middle and high school campus in the district, expanding advising and college and career exploration for larger groups of students. The Launch HISD curriculum will incorporate college visits and career exploration, and will include a capstone college or career readiness project that every middle school participant will have to complete to develop their personalized graduation plan.

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HISD fifth- and eighth-graders make strides in math and reading on STAAR exams

Fifth- and eighth-grade students in the Houston Independent School District achieved significant gains in both reading and mathematics on the first administration of the STAAR test.

Passing rates in math showed improvement from last year, as both fifth- and eighth-graders posted an increase at every performance level. Of note, HISD fifth-grade students saw their strongest growth in math at the Meets Grade Level Standard with a gain of 6 percentage points. Eighth-grade students showed the most growth in math at the Approaches Grade Level Standard with a gain of 5 percentage points from the previous year.

From 2015 to 2018, HISD students have achieved double-digit gains at the Meets Grade Level Standard in mathematics. HISD fifth-graders reaching that level increased 13 percentage points, while eighth-graders improved by 15 percentage points.

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HISD Board of Education to consider recommendation for external audit

Trustees to be briefed on preliminary STAAR results and plans for possible November bond referendum

The Houston Independent School District Board of Education on Thursday will consider a recommendation from the Audit Committee calling for an external performance audit.

The board’s regular monthly meeting begins at 5 p.m. on Thursday, May 10, 2018, in the Manuel Rodríguez Jr. Board Auditorium of the Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center, 4400 W. 18th St. Click here to view the full agenda.

The Audit Committee is recommending an external performance audit be conducted in order to ensure HISD is utilizing scarce resources as efficiently and effectively as possible to inform decision-making and budgeting by the board and administration for the 2019-2020 school year and beyond, and to build public trust by exhibiting good stewardship of public dollars.

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Worthing HS students lead Bastian ES scholars on School to College Pipeline

Students from both campuses participate in five college tours

College-bound students from Worthing High School are reaching back to the elementary students coming behind them to cultivate a college-bound culture throughout the entire Worthing feeder pattern.

“We want the older kids to mentor the young students so they understand credits, extracurriculars, volunteer work, and that you need to perform well on SATs,” said Worthing High School Principal Khalilah Campbell. “We also want our program to grow and for relationships to keep growing so students who will eventually attend Worthing will be focused on college before they even walk through our doors.” Continue reading

Interim police chief appointed to lead department

Paul Cordova has been appointed to Chief of the HISD Police Department.

Cordova has served as interim police chief since February, working to develop a new culture within the department while improving the agency’s perception. He and his officers were specifically tasked with finding better ways to serve our students and communities.

“In just a short period of time, he has been able to lead the police department through several major initiatives, including establishing a substation in the northwest area of the district to better serve schools located in that area, reorganizing the department to make better use of budgetary resources, and reviewing and revising existing policies to ensure consistency with industry best practices,” Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan said. Continue reading

HISD to offer new districtwide scholarship to one senior from each high school

In recognition of high school seniors who have exemplified great character and resilience, the Houston Independent School District is launching the HISD Superintendent and Board of Education Scholar Award – a scholarship of $5,000 or $2,000 awarded to one senior from every HISD high school.

This scholarship is designed for students who face hardships or challenges that may make higher education or career/vocational training difficult or even impossible to attain without assistance. The goal of the award – HISD’s first districtwide scholarship initiative for all high school students – is to remove as many obstacles as possible so that students can pursue higher education opportunities. Continue reading

HISD names EMERGE founder Rick Cruz chief of strategy and innovation

Rick Cruz, the founder of the successful EMERGE program and HISD’s officer of college and career readiness, has been named as HISD’s new chief of strategy and innovation.

“In his 10 years at HISD, Dr. Cruz has proven his commitment to helping students from underserved communities succeed through his work with the EMERGE program and college and career readiness,” said HISD Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan. “He is the right person to lead our strategic and innovative thinking about supporting our underserved communities.”

Cruz left a career at Baker Botts in 2008 to join HISD as a bilingual fifth-grade teacher at Moreno Elementary School, where he was twice named Teacher of the Year. He joined HISD’s central leadership team in 2013 as an assistant superintendent over expansion of the EMERGE program, which he founded in 2010, and he also served as officer and chief officer of major projects before his current role as officer of college and career readiness. In all of these roles, Dr. Cruz has implemented districtwide initiatives focused on ensuring that all students graduate college and career ready. Continue reading