Category Archives: Achievement/Recognition

Power of Public: Teaching every child to crack the code of computer science

Jose Guevara recruited players from his girls soccer team to join his AP computer science principles class at Northside High. HISD will double the number of computer science-certified teachers over the next two academic years and expand advanced computer science courses to all 38 high schools by the end of this year.

Editor’s Note: February 27 through March 3 is Texas Public Schools Week, and we are celebrating by sharing personal stories throughout HISD on how public education is helping students succeed. Tweet at us @HoustonISD and share how public education is positive force in you or your student’s life, using the hashtag #PowerofPublic.

Here’s a tip for schools hoping to get more female representation in computer programming classes: Make sure your computer science teacher is also the girls soccer coach.

“I started talking to my students on the team about computer programming — and really I talk to everyone — so that definitely helped in recruiting girls to the class,” said Jose Guevara, who teaches AP computer science principles at Northside High.

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Power of Public: People who make a difference in every child’s life

Mother Rhonda Mayes, right, feels at ease putting her special-needs fifth-grader, LaDainian, on the bus with HISD driver Cynthia “C.C.” Cormier, left. HISD bus drivers safely transport more than 36,000 students to and from school every day, traveling more than 15,000,000 miles annually.

Editor’s Note: February 27 through March 3 is Texas Public Schools Week, and we are celebrating by sharing personal stories throughout HISD on how public education is helping students succeed. Tweet at us @HoustonISD and share how public education is positive force in you or your student’s life, using the hashtag #PowerofPublic.

Rhonda Mayes worries about her son LaDainian and the daily challenges facing the special-needs fifth-grader, who suffers from a disorder that often requires him to use a wheelchair and other medical, social, and emotional supports.

But when she puts LaDainian on the bus for the hourlong trip to Reynolds Elementary, Mayes can relax, knowing her son is under the watchful eye of HISD bus driver Cynthia  “C.C.” Cormier and her team.

“She’s been there since Day One,” said Mayes. “She’s got the mothering instinct, and she is just so protective of him.”

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Power of Public: Building a home library for every child

Last May, Amanda Cruz’s children, including kindergartner Jazlyn, were among 36,000 students at 59 HISD elementary schools and early childhood centers who went home with six books from Books Between Kids. The group hopes to reach even more children and families in 2017.

Editor’s Note: February 27 through March 3 is Texas Public Schools Week, and we are celebrating by sharing personal stories throughout HISD on how public education is helping students succeed. Tweet at us @HoustonISD and share how public education is positive force in you or your student’s life, using the hashtag #PowerofPublic.

Amanda Cruz wants what’s best for her kids, but often that comes with a price tag she can’t afford. Providing books for her three children had been a challenge, until one day in the third grade, her son, Alexander, brought home a packet of six books from Scroggins Elementary and proclaimed that they were his to keep.

“I didn’t believe him. I thought he took them from the school library,” said Cruz. “But they came with a note telling me that they were a gift so we could start a library for him in our home and keep him reading over the summer.”

Having books in the home and being read to as a child are two of the most important indicators of academic and lifetime success. Yet nearly two-thirds of low-income families do not own a single children’s book. Continue reading

Power of Public: Letting every child know the options are limitless

Nataly Degollado was able to envision herself at a four-year college with the help of the college success team at Austin High. HISD has 32 college success advisers, who were put in place with matching funds from the Houston Endowment. The program has propelled the district’s college application rate from 59 percent to 79 percent, and the FAFSA application rate has grown by 10 percentage points.

Editor’s Note: February 27 through March 3 is Texas Public Schools Week, and we are celebrating by sharing personal stories throughout HISD on how public education is helping students succeed. Tweet at us @HoustonISD and share how public education is positive force in you or your student’s life, using the hashtag #PowerofPublic.

College Success Adviser Victoria Salinas holds court in the middle of a brightly painted classroom at Austin High, fielding inquiries about tax forms and deadlines as students with laptops occupy nearby couches. Others wander in with questions that could propel them to a very different future than the one they imagined for themselves.

One of those students was Nataly Degollado. Two years ago, the 18-year-old had a baby. She struggled to balance school and her daughter, but even on her hardest days, she never gave up.

“My mom would tell me, ‘You’re doing it for her,’ ” Nataly said.

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Power of Public: Making every child’s sky-high dreams come true

Ronald Canales is pursuing his flying dreams at Sterling Aviation High, which in 2017 debuted a new $72 million campus, rebuilt as part of the voter-approved 2012 bond program. It includes a 7,100-square-foot airplane hangar surrounded by career and technology education classrooms.

Editor’s Note: February 27 through March 3 is Texas Public Schools Week, and we are celebrating by sharing personal stories throughout HISD on how public education is helping students succeed. Tweet at us @HoustonISD and share how public education is positive force in you or your student’s life, using the hashtag #PowerofPublic.

Ronald Canales was 5 when he first spotted the large commercial airliner gliding through the sky. He was mesmerized and full of questions: How does that work? How does it fly?

He dreamed of becoming a pilot, but the idea seemed elusive. Though he lived just minutes from Sterling Aviation High, he didn’t give much thought to its aviation magnet and the doors it could open.

At least not until his sophomore year, when he met aviation history teacher Marvin Smith. Continue reading

Power of Public: Making every child feel at home in school

After his family immigrated to the U.S., Hla Aye found his home at Fondren Middle, where many of his peers are the children of immigrants. There are more than 100 languages spoken in HISD, which offers services such as counseling, tutoring, and health services to help newcomers settle in their new country.

Editor’s Note: February 27 through March 3 is Texas Public Schools Week, and we are celebrating by sharing personal stories throughout HISD on how public education is helping students succeed. Tweet at us @HoustonISD and share how public education is positive force in you or your student’s life, using the hashtag #PowerofPublic.

Hla Aye was 2 when his home in Myanmar, formerly Burma, was destroyed in the country’s decades-long civil war and his family was sent to a refugee camp with little food and no running water. His father applied for a visa to the U.S., and the family was greeted at the airport by a translator and a sponsor who gave them enough money to last one month.

“My parents found jobs,” Hla said. “My mom encouraged me. She said study as much as you can.”

When Hla enrolled in first grade, he didn’t know anyone, and he didn’t know the language. A practice website helped Hla teach himself English, but it was at Fondren Middle that he really found his voice — and a new home.

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Take a virtual tour of HISD’s African American namesake schools

As Black History Month draws to a close, take a virtual tour of the district to visit the many schools named after renowned African American leaders, and learn a little about the historical contributions of those educators, legislators and community leaders. Even the district’s administration building, the Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center, has an important namesake you can learn more about.

Click image for an interactive tour.

HISD elementary students’ poetry, artwork featured in Houston Symphony production

Poetry and artwork created by second grade students from Patterson Elementary School will be featured in the Houston Symphony’s Carnival of the Animals jazz production Saturday at Jones Hall for the Performing Arts.

With guidance from the Houston Symphony, the students wrote poetry based on the movement of each animal featured in the show and their personal interpretation of the music. To complement their poetry, the students also created visual art, which will be on display in the Jones Hall lobby on Saturday and Sunday.

Patterson, a dual language literature magnet school, was selected for the Houston Symphony’s School Residency program, designed to provide music education experiences for second-graders while exploring connections between music and literacy. As part of the program, the school receives two pre-concert classroom visits and one post-concert visit led by the Houston Symphony community-embedded musicians.

The program also is part of the district’s fine arts initiative to ensure students in the Chavez High School feeder pattern have the opportunity to continue learning about art, drama, and music from elementary through high school.

The Carnival of the Animals production is scheduled for 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., Saturday, Feb. 18 at Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana St.

 

Honor African Americans during Black History Month by learning about HISD’s namesake schools

Click image for an interactive tour.

HISD is celebrating Black History Month by exploring the many schools named for distinguished African Americans in the community. The district has more than 30 schools that recognize the contributions of African American leaders ranging from renowned educators to legislators to community leaders. The first week’s story focused on early childhood centers and elementary schools. Last week, the series continued with middle and combination schools, and this third week is high schools, alternative schools, and the Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center.

Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center – When former teacher Hattie Mae White (1916-1993) was elected to the HISD Board of Education in 1958, she was the first African American elected to public office in Texas in the 20th century. She led the effort to desegregate Houston’s schools, undeterred despite racist attacks. White also was elected to the YWCA Metropolitan Board of Directors, where she served for six years. After being defeated for a third term with HISD, she returned to teaching and retired at age 70. She attended Booker T. Washington High School and the former Texas Southern University before graduating from what is now Prairie View A&M University. The HISD district headquarters building on Richmond was named in her honor, as is the new building on W. 18th Street that replaced it.

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HISD names Lyons ES, West Briar MS administrators as 2017 Principals of the Year

Houston Independent School District Superintendent Richard Carranza, along with school board members, made surprise visits to Lyons Elementary School and West Briar Middle School on Thursday to name the district’s top campus leaders of the school year.

Lyons Elementary School Principal Cecilia Gonzales was named HISD’s Elementary Principal of the Year, while West Briar Middle School Principal Keeley Simpson was selected as HISD’s Secondary Principal of the Year. Both winners will advance to the state’s regional principal of the year competition.

“I am so proud of our principals and the incredible work they do each and every day to ensure the success of their campus, students and teachers,” Carranza said. “The level of student achievement at these schools did not happen by accident.” Continue reading