Category Archives: Achievement/Recognition

HISD meets state accountability standard for 2017-2018

Under new accountability rating system, the number of schools with “Improvement Required” rating
declines to lowest number since 2012

Although the Houston Independent School District received a “Not Rated” label for meeting the state’s criteria to qualify for the Hurricane Harvey waiver, the district was calculated to have earned an overall B rating under Texas’ new school accountability system, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) announced Wednesday.

According to the ratings released today by TEA, 91 percent of HISD schools (251 out of 275 rated campuses) earned a “Met Standard” rating for the 2017-2018 school year.

“I’m elated about the progress we’ve made,” Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan said. “It shows that the allocation of additional resources for critical staffing, student supports, and wraparound services encompassed by Achieve 180 is working. Though we are excited about the news we’ve received today, we know we still have work to do.” Continue reading

Enter now to win a student World Youth Foundation award

The World Youth Foundation is hosting its annual back-to-school celebration! Students who exemplify scholarship, community service, and excellence outside of the classroom can apply to be considered for a World Youth Foundation award.

See below for details on the awards categories, which include Education, Engineering, Fine Arts, Law Enforcement, Urban Planning, and much more

HISD students grades 9-12 interested in being nominated are asked to complete this interest form no later than 5 p.m. on Thursday, August 16.

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Lamar HS football coach retiring after 33 years of service at HISD

Tom Nolen

Lamar High School Football Head Coach Tom Nolen has announced his retirement after 33 years of coaching football at HISD.

Nolen led the Lamar Texans to 308 University Interscholastic League (UIL) wins and 19 district championships. In his 33 years, the Texans made the playoffs 31 times.

“Lamar has become part of my identity,” Nolen said. “My students and coaches are my best friends. In some cases, I’ve coached them, their parents, and their grandparents. I am deeply honored to have had the privilege of working with some great athletes at a school as special and diverse as Lamar.” Continue reading

HISD thanks Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority for Harvey efforts

This week, HISD joined with more than 20,000 members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated to publicly thank them for donating thousands of dollars to district students and staff in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

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Brookline ES unveils new student-created mural 

Brookline Elementary School students have been working throughout the spring on an art mural that adjoins their campus. Artist Krista Birnbaum designed the mural for a 2,800-square-foot wall that borders the campus and is visible from the school. Young Brookline artists worked on the mural with Birnbaum during recess and on Saturday mornings.

The mural was dedicated on Monday, July 2, in a ceremony attended by HISD Trustee Sergio Lira, State Rep. Carol Alvarado, and Project Coordinator Theodore Wills, who is in charge of Brookline’s library, business partnerships, and community outreach and development.  Continue reading

HISD principal named Region 4 Principal of the Year

Geovanny J. Ponce, principal of Jones Futures Academy, has been named the 2018 Region 4 Principal of the Year by the Texas Association of Secondary School Principals (TASSP).

Ponce joins winners from the state’s 19 other Education Service Center regions in a pool of candidates for the honor of Texas Principal of the Year title. TASSP recognizes outstanding principals and assistant principals from each of the 20 regions every year.

“I believe in quality education for all children,” Ponce said. “We need to make sure our children will be successful in a global society by teaching them to be leaders.”

Ponce was selected to represent HISD in the Region 4 segment of the competition based on his outstanding performance with traditionally underserved children. Ponce instills collaborative leadership to ensure students from all social, economic and ethnic backgrounds have equal access high-quality learning opportunities. Continue reading

HISD receives national curriculum award for Achieve 180 program 

Research and Accountability Assistant Superintendent Carla Stevens also honored by CGCS for 25 years of service

HISD’s Department of Curriculum and Instruction has been awarded the “Making Strides Together Curriculum Award for Excellence in Urban Education” by the Council of the Great City Schools for the district’s work on its Achieve 180 program.

HISD Assistant Superintendent of Research and Accountability Carla Stevens displays her award for 25 years of service.

The award, which was presented this week in Minneapolis during the Annual Curriculum and Research Directors’ Joint Meeting, recognizes work across organizational silos to support a common goal to improve student achievement, as well as cross-functional teams’ planning, implementation, and progressmonitoring.

Achieve 180, which was implemented during the 2017-2018 school year, is a program to support, strengthen, and empower underserved and underperforming HISD schools. A key component of the research-based initiative is family and community empowerment. Achieve 180 also includes five other pillars: leadership excellence, teaching excellence, instructional excellence, school design, and social and emotional learning support. Continue reading

HISD wins national award for crisis communications during Hurricane Harvey  

District wins 5 NSPRA Golden Achievement Awards and multiple honors for print and digital communications 

The Houston Independent School District Communications team was honored for its crisis communications to families, staff, and the community during Hurricane Harvey – the worst disaster in Houston history – with a Golden Achievement Award from the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA).

HISD’s Communications team, under the direction of Chief Communications Officer Rebecca Suarez, worked day and night to keep families and the public informed before, during, and after Hurricane Harvey. In addition to local communications efforts, the team also facilitated the dissemination of information on a state and national level.

“Harvey did not stop us, but it made us stronger. Despite the difficulties from the hurricane, we found creative ways to communicate critical and timely information to our students, parents, employees, and the community during one of the worst disasters in local history,” Suarez said. “I’m very proud of my team for the hard work and commitment to putting students first in everything we do.”

Golden Achievement Awards recognize exemplary work in all aspects of school public relations, communication, marketing, and engagement. HISD won a total of five Golden Achievement Awards for the following work:  Continue reading

HISD ‘Get Growing Houston’ school garden program awarded grant from USDA 

The Houston Independent School District has been awarded a $67,395 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the district’s “Get Growing Houston” program.

Part of the USDA’s Farm to School Program, the grant will enable HISD’s Nutrition Services department to expand the program to 15 additional schools, which will be selected in the fall.

The program was piloted during the 2017-2018 school year in four elementary schools: Hobby, Shearn, Gallegos, and Cook.

“Get Growing Houston” uses an interdisciplinary approach to teach elementary school students about the importance of healthy foods and good nutrition through the creation and cultivation of school gardens.

“Once students feel the ownership of the garden, their preferences and willingness to try the produce they grew increases,” HISD Food Literacy Dietitian Julia Jarrell said. “It also opens the discussion to the benefits of a healthy diet, agriculture and cultural preferences, and exposure to other people’s relationship with foods.”   Continue reading

Preliminary HISD STAAR scores show strong gains across multiple grades, subjects, and student groups

Houston Independent School District students showed strong gains that exceeded those made by the state in third- through eighth-grade reading and math, and on end-of-course (EOC) assessments in English I and Algebra I, according to preliminary 2018 State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) scores.

“This year, our students made significant progress on the state-mandated STAAR tests,” Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan said. “We are excited about what these preliminary results mean for our schools labeled by the state as Improvement Required and our district’s accountability ratings. HISD is shifting course and turning schools around. We know that it is critical that we continue our commitment to strengthening the supports in place to further advance our progress in student achievement.”

Overall, the spring administration of the 2018 STAAR grades 3-8 assessment results indicate the district held steady or showed increases in the percentage of students meeting the Approaches Grade Level standard in reading, math, science, and social studies. Continue reading