Parents and students interested in attending The Energy Institute High School are invited to attend an open house on Thursday, May 2, from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center (4400 West 18th Street). The new HISD magnet school is currently recruiting ninth grade students for the 2013-2014 school year. Subsequent grades will be added each year so that the campus will eventually serve students in grades 9-12.
Representatives from more than 70 HISD schools will be on-site
April 25, 2013 – When it comes to selecting a school, parents and students at the Houston Independent School District have a multitude of options from magnet programs to preschool programs to career and technical education academies and early college high schools. Houston families will have the opportunity to meet with representatives from more than 70 HISD schools at the upcoming HISD School Choice Fair on Saturday, April 27 from 9 a.m. to noon at the Hattie Mae White Education Support Center (4400 West 18th Street).
“In HISD, we are committed to providing equity in access to quality educational programs for all students,” said Assistant Superintendent of School Choice Dave Wheat. “We want to help families choose an ideal school for their children based on the students’ interests, talents, and needs.”
The schools at the fair are those that still have space for the upcoming 2013-2014 school year. The representatives from these schools will be available to answer questions, provide detailed information about their campuses and help parents fill out the application on site.
Information will be provided about HISD’s magnet schools, early colleges, vanguard programs for gifted and talented students, preschool programs, multilingual programs and other specialty programs, including the district’s newest additions to its portfolio, the Baylor College of Medicine Academy at Ryan and The Energy Institute High School. Parents and students have until May 16 to apply for these two new magnet schools that will feature a highly rigorous curriculum emphasizing science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
For more information about the School Choice Fair, please contact the Office of School Choice at 713-556-6947.
New campuses will expand options for students seeking specialty schools with academically challenging courses
The HISD Board of Education on Thursday approved creating two new magnet schools that will offer a highly rigorous curriculum emphasizing science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
The newly created Energy Institute High School and the Baylor College of Medicine Academy at Ryan will now begin enrolling students for the upcoming 2013-2014 school year. The Energy Institute High School will begin with ninth-grade students and add a grade level each year to eventually serve students in grades 9-12. The Baylor College of Medicine Academy at Ryan will open with a sixth-grade class and eventually serve students in grades 6-8. Earlier this year, the Houston Independent School District Board of Education authorized the district to apply for $12 million in federal magnet school funds for these two new magnets and six others (click here for more information).
Ryan students will move to nearby Cullen; Vote postponed on plan to merge Sterling and Jones high schools
The HISD Board of Education on Thursday approved a transition plan that will allow historic Ryan Middle School to be repurposed as a magnet school designed to attract students from throughout the city.
District seeking bids for 14 categories related to school construction
HISD is looking for firms that specialize in everything from construction materials testing and traffic engineering to surveying to take part in the 2012 bond that will build or renovate 40 schools across the district.
HISD Superintendent Terry Grier and Former HISD Superintendent Dr. Billy Reagan to Deliver Remarks
Community leaders, students, administrators, and staff will join HISD Superintendent Terry Grier, Board of Education Trustee Larry Marshall and former HISD superintendent Dr. Billy Reagan at the official dedication ceremony for the new Billy Reagan K-8 Educational Center on Wednesday, January 16 at 10 a.m. at 4842 Anderson Road.
HISD is now recruiting highly-qualified teachers for the 2013-14 school year to help us fulfill our mission of providing each and every one of our students with an excellent education. Candidates are strongly encouraged to apply online here by the Early Bird application date of January 14, 2013, to have the best chance of securing an early contract for the 2013-14 school year. Continue reading
“I can’t ever recall a time in my career when I have been more proud,” HISD Superintendent Terry Grier told principals after the Houston Schools Bond was approved by a more than 2-1 margin. Continue reading
Most of the 44 presidents in the history of the United States appeared Thursday morning for the official dedication of John F. Kennedy Elementary School, even if they were only student portrayals of the chief executives.
Students performed skits and gave even shorter speeches about the importance of education, public service and the historical biographies of a few of the former presidents, including a longer production involving students portraying the school’s namesake and his family.
Throughout the speeches by various HISD staff and community members, nearly all of them spoke of the dedication of Kennedy’s staff and administrators in educating children.
The stage performances were done with accompaniment by the Waltrip High School band.
Students from Kennedy Elementary’s fledgling band program sat and performed with their elders, a point that wasn’t lost on Sam Sarabia, HISD’s chief elementary schools’ officer.
Sarabia said that as he sat earlier watching the band perform, he could see Kennedy’s students absorbing the moment, watching how they played with passion. He implored the older students to recognize and accept their role as models for those who come after them, as parents and community members had done before for them.
The school, which officially opened after winter break earlier this year, serves about 750 students. And the school serves them well, as evidenced by the multiple years of exemplary and recognized status marked on the first wall to greet visitors driving to the school.
The two-story building is a combination of the former Kennedy and Allen elementaries built with approximately $17.2 million approved by voters in the 2007 bond program.
“Where we came from, the building was 48 years old, we had rain falling on us, we had possums in the building some mornings, and now we walk on terrazzo floors… the (air conditioning) works,” said Kennedy Elementary principal Daryl Sherman. “And everyone has technology to use for instruction. I think every child in HISD deserves that.”
The library and media center serve as the hub of the school, drawing students and visitors to its circular center and serving as a catalyst for children to read early and often.
“I’ve not had one tour where people weren’t wowed,” Sherman said. “When we were planning the building, we wanted to do something special. We have the library as the focus of the school. Reading is in everything we do. We know that when students are successful readers, then they’re successful throughout their life.”
The new Kennedy Elementary was built in such a way that it’s expected to require about 20 percent less energy to operate. Nearly every classroom, including special rooms for art, music and computer instruction, has clear views into the rooms for observation as well as windows for natural light and views to the outside.
Judd M. Lewis Elementary was the scene of a small gathering Monday morning to officially cut the ribbon on a new school that has been serving more than 900 students daily for nearly a year.
A handful of teachers, students, Houston ISD staff and dignitaries heard about the history of the school and its namesake, and a few of the more important features of the school built with funds from the 2007 bond program.
Those who were in the school’s new library could only see a few of the major additions to the new two-story Lewis Elementary.
Technology and its assistance in classroom instruction were one of the key features of the new school, said principal Tonya Woods.
“This library!” said Woods. “The reading, the opportunities; we have thousands of resources just in the library alone. We have three mobile labs where (the students) can check out the computers in the classroom.
“We’re technology rich,” she said. “Everything is identical, giving the students the understanding that ‘you’re important,’… your learning is important to us and we value you.”
In addition to the upgraded technology, the school features multiple science and computer labs, as well as both a music and art lab. The school also includes a stage with a training room for drama students.
“The previous school looked nothing like this one, and as one of the young students here today said, it was the nicest building he’s ever been in,” said HISD Board of Education member Manuel Rodriguez Jr.
Rodriguez Jr. used the occasion to mention how the new school was built after voters approved a bond program in 2007. He also talked about how others, including nearby Austin and Milby high schools, would benefit should the electorate choose to support a $1.89 billion bond program on the November ballot.
“We need to have the type of schools that bring and attract new people and new firms to our area to be able to have a quality education for those children coming in, and for our own, because we will have leaders coming out of these schools,” he said. “I never expected to be on the school board when I was in high school, and here I am.”
As you approach the new school on Houston’s southeast side, you expect to see the features of a new school, but it’s some of the subtle touches that stand out first.
Pillars of baby blue hold up wavy, red colored walkways in front of a brick facade. There are multiple bike racks across the campus perimeter to encourage its student population — many of whom live less than a mile from campus — to walk or bike to school, and there’s a large covered play area off to the side.
Even still, you expect touches like that in a new school. It’s the inside of the year-old school that stands out. As you walk in, you’re greeted with a giant mural of a lion resting among a floral garden. The mural, produced by Houston artist Dixie Friend Gay, covers a 14’ by 14’ wall above the second set of double-doors to the school.
The new campus replaced one built in 1958 and named for the first poet laureate of Texas.
In the coming days, four Houston neighborhoods will dedicate new campuses that were built using voter-approved funds from the 2007 HISD bond program.
“These students now have a new campus to call home, and it’s all thanks to the bond program approved by voters in 2007,” said HISD Superintendent Terry Grier. “These schools represent the promises we made to the public then, and HISD continues to follow through with each one.”
So far, HISD has opened 20 new schools and renovated 135 others using funds provided through the 2007 bond program. The final three new school buildings included in that program are under construction. The entire program is on track to be completed under budget.
More information about the 2007 bond program is available here. As the 2007 bond program comes to an end, HISD is asking voters this November to consider a proposal to rebuild and renovate 38 campuses, primarily high schools. More information about the 2012 bond proposal is available here.
Dedication ceremonies will be held soon for the following four campuses, which opened during the 2011-2012 school year: Lewis, Roosevelt and Kennedy elementary schools. A dedication ceremony will also be held for the new addition at Grady Middle School. A full Grady rebuild would be completed under the 2012 bond proposal. Each school will be hosting their own dedication ceremony during the upcoming weeks.
These new elementary campuses are “green” schools, built to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards. Key features in LEED schools include the installation of water-conserving plumbing, energy efficient systems and controls, improved air quality, and use of natural light.
These new campuses also include features such as new libraries, computer labs and Smart Board technology in the classrooms.
Upcoming dedication ceremonies:
- Sept. 24 at 9 a.m., Lewis Elementary School, 7649 Rockhill
- Sept. 26 at 10 a.m., Roosevelt Elementary School, 6700 Fulton
- Sept. 27 at 9 a.m., Kennedy Elementary School, 400 Victoria
- Oct. 1 at 10a.m., Grady Middle School, 5215 San Felipe
Teachers and staff across Houston ISD are decorating rooms, preparing supplies and finalizing their plans for the upcoming school year. There’s a little more than one week until school starts for most HISD students (Apollo 20 secondary students begin on Monday, Aug. 20), and while students are enjoying the last few days of summer vacation, our teachers and staff are working hard to be ready for the 2012-13 school year.
Many of us have been working over the summer to prepare for this year, too. Learn about some of our new schools and programs beginning in a few weeks.
About 200,000 Houston Independent School District students are expected to return to school for the first day of classes on Monday, Aug. 27. Students from five middle schools and four high schools in the district’s Apollo 20 school turnaround program will get a one-week head start on Aug. 20 when their school year begins.
The 2012-2013 school year brings many exciting improvements to Houston schools as HISD continues its work to offer a consistently rigorous education in a safe learning environment at all 279 campuses.
Four new school buildings funded by the 2007 voter-approved bond program will open on the first day of school.
- Carnegie Vanguard High School– (1101 Taft) – The Carnegie Vanguard Magnet program serves students who have been identified as gifted and talented in intellectual ability. In 2002, the Vanguard school moved to the former Carnegie Elementary campus which was originally built in 1963. The new building is located adjacent to the Gregory-Lincoln Education Center.
- Billy Reagan K-8 Education Center-(4842 Anderson Road) – The school will offer a two-way dual English and Spanish language program to its kindergarten class in an effort to develop full bilingualism and bi-literacy for all students. The center will implement this program in one of the kindergarten classes during the 2012-2013 academic year and will add one grade per year until there is a complete two-way dual language program in grades K-8.
- Lockhart Elementary School – (3501 Southmore) – The replacement school will now serve pre-kindergarten through fifth grade. Students from the former Lockhart and Turner Elementary schools will attend the new campus.
- Neff Elementary School – (8301 Neff Street) – The replacement campus will serve students in grades 2-5. The former Neff campus is being converted into an early childhood campus for students in pre-kindergarten through first grade.
Mandarin Chinese Language Immersion Magnet School – (6300 Avenue B, Bellaire) This is HISD’s first Mandarin Chinese language immersion school. The school will initially serve students in kindergarten through second grade, with additional grades to be added in subsequent years. Core subjects including language arts, math, science, and social studies will be taught primarily in Mandarin Chinese with a certain amount of English language development instruction incorporated each day.
Houston Innovative Learning Zone program- Students at six HISD campuses (Furr, Kashmere, Scarborough, Sterling, and Booker T. Washington high schools and Long middle school) will have the chance to earn associate’s degrees and career training in high-demand technical fields. The HILZ program was created in partnership with Houston Community College. In addition to taking the standard core credits required of all high school students, HILZ students will take courses taught by college professors using a blend of face-to-face and online instruction. In addition, credits earned by HILZ graduates will transfer to any public Texas university.
More Tools for Principals and Teachers
Curriculum Changes- HISD has a new and improved curriculum designed with the input of thousands of teachers. The new curriculum is aligned with state and national standards and will prepare students for the rigor of STAAR and other standardized tests. The new curriculum also places an emphasis on every child reading at or above grade level.
- New literacy plan- The new literacy plan serves as a guide for teachers and leaders as they prepare students to be proficient readers, independent thinkers, and effective communicators. The plan is called CLASS (Curriculum and instruction, Leadership, Assessment, Support for families and communities, and Sustainability).
- Revamped K-5 English Language Arts curriculum: The curriculum was designed in partnership with teachers and training provided by the Neuhaus Education Center. Teachers at all grade levels have received Neuhaus training on literacy intervention strategies. In the 2012-2013 school year, sixth and ninth- grade students who are reading below grade level will receive an extra daily class period of reading instruction using a specially designed curriculum from Neuhaus.
- Continuing Leadership Training for Principals: HISD has formed new partnerships with Rice University, the University of Texas, and St. Thomas University to help develop skills of current principals and to help train new talent. New and aspiring principals can attend an intensive four-week Emerging Leaders Institute. Ongoing monthly training is available for first-and second-year principals and assistant principals. There are also six new courses for principals related to decision-making in the area of staffing.
Bond Election Proposal in November
Houston voters will decide in November whether to approve a proposition to build modern high schools in neighborhoods across Houston, and improve safety and technology district-wide. The $1.89 billion plan would address facility needs in 38 schools. For a complete overview of the proposal and the schools that would be rebuilt or renovated, click here.
The HISD Board of Education will meet on Tuesday to discuss details of a possible bond referendum that aims to address facility needs at schools in neighborhoods across the district.
Forty-two schools across Houston, including 28 high schools, would be rebuilt, renovated, or renewed under a recommended bond package presented for the HISD Board of Education’s consideration last month.
The board must decide by August whether to seek approval of the $1.89 billion proposal from Houston Independent School District voters during the Nov. 6 general election.
The board will meet to discuss the plan at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, July 10, and at 4 p.m. on Thursday, July 12. Both public workshop meetings will take place at the Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center, 4400 W. 18th Street.
While including nearly $224 million in recommended projects that would benefit students at all 279 schools in the district, the proposed bond package focuses heavily on the city’s high schools. HISD’s most recent bond programs approved by voters in 1998, 2002 and 2007 have primarily addressed needs at the elementary school level. The average age of HISD secondary schools now stands at 50 years, compared to 39 years for the district’s primary schools.
The proposed bond package would completely rebuild some of Houston’s most historic neighborhood high schools across the city, while others would undergo renovations and renewals. The proposal also includes new campuses for some of HISD’s prestigious specialty magnet schools, including the nationally renowned High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. The new HSPVA would be built downtown near Houston’s vaunted Theater District on land that HISD already owns at 1300 Capitol.
The proposal calls for $1.66 billion to be spent on improvements at 42 schools. This would cover:
• $577 million to completely replace 8 high schools
o High School for the Performing and Visual Arts
o Booker T. Washington
• $354 million to replace the inadequate facilities at 4 high schools
o Sam Houston
• $259 million to replace inadequate facilities and renovate 5 high schools
o Eastwood Academy
• $27 million to build 2 new early college high schools
o North Early College
o South Early College
• $61 million to renovate or renew 9 high schools
o Sharpstown International High School
o Young Men’s College Preparatory Academy
o Young Women’s College Preparatory Academy
• $121 million to convert 4 elementary schools into K-8 campuses
o Garden Oaks
o Pilgrim Academy
o Wharton Dual Language
o Mandarin Chinese Language Immersion Magnet School at Gordon
• $73 million to replace Dowling Middle School and expand Grady Middle School
• $126 million to replace 5 elementary schools
• $67 million to renovate and make building additions at K. Smith Elementary, replace inadequate facilities and renovate Tijerina Elementary, and build a new elementary school on the district’s west end to reduce overcrowding
The proposed $224 million in district wide projects would cover:
• Technology upgrades at all HISD schools ($100 million)
• District athletic facility improvements ($42 million)
• Middle school restroom renovations ($35 million)
• Safety and security improvements ($27 million)
• Land acquisition ($20 million)
The proposal was developed after a review of HISD’s facilities by Parsons, an independent firm that specializes in the assessment, design, and project management of education facilities. Click here to review documents that were used to develop the proposal.
Because of the district’s strong fiscal management practices, HISD has been able to maintain the lowest property tax rate of the 20-plus school districts in Harris County.
If an election is called, and voters approve the bond package, HISD would likely adopt a property tax rate increase in the future. This tax rate increase would have no impact on the homesteads of HISD residents age 65 and older, because their tax rates are frozen.
HISD estimates that the tax rate increase would be phased in over a 4-year period, beginning with an estimated 2-cent increase in 2014. This would result in an additional $29 in yearly taxes for the owner of a home valued at $200,000. By 2017, the total tax rate increase resulting from the bond’s passage would reach 6.85 cents, raising the average tax bill by $99 a year, or $8.25 per month.
School construction and renovation work approved by HISD voters in 2007 is nearing completion under budget. So far, HISD has opened 16 new or replacement schools under that bond program, 7 more new schools are under construction, and 2 more are in the planning stage. More than 100 HISD campuses have undergone renovations so far. Click here for more detailed information about the work completed under the 2007 bond program.
HISD’s new Billy Reagan K-8 Education Center, scheduled to open this Fall, will offer a two-way dual language program to its kindergarten class in an effort to develop full bilingualism and bi-literacy for all students.
The two-way dual language program is both an additive bilingual program for Spanish-speaking students and a foreign language immersion program for English-speaking students in which a combination of native Spanish speakers and native English speakers are taught together in the two-way classrooms.
The Billy Reagan K-8 Education Center has been designed to be a learning, innovative environment that will address the global marketplace and the need for a multilingual workforce in the 21st century.
The center will implement this program in one of the kindergarten classes during the 2012-2013 academic year and add one grade per year until there is a complete two-way dual language program in grades K-8.
HISD currently offers the two-way dual language program at seven elementary schools, two middle schools, one high school and one K-8 academy. During the next academic year, HISD will be adding it to four more elementary schools and the new Billy Reagan K-8 Education Center (4842 Anderson Road).
Many of the schools offering the two-way dual language program are still accepting applications for the 2012-2013 academic year. For more information, contact the Multilingual Department at 713-556-6961.
HISD Board of Education Trustee Anna Eastman and Deputy Chief Academic Officer Alicia Thomas will be joining administrators, staff and students for a ceremony to dedicate the new DeChaumes Elementary School (155 Cooper) on Tuesday, April 3 at 10 a.m.
“I know this campus was highly anticipated and means so much to the community! DeChaumes has soared academically in recent years,” said Eastman. “Having an energy-efficient facility with state of the art technology will only further enhance learning for our current students, as well those to come.”
DeChaumes Elementary is one of 16 new schools designed with eco-friendly features and leading technology that HISD has opened since 2011. The district will soon be opening eight more.
“Our commitment to quality education goes beyond the classroom to the overall campus environment,” HISD Superintendent Terry Grier said. “Providing a safe building and the latest technology are key factors in enhancing our students’ educational experience.”
The new DeChaumes facility is built to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards and is projected to have an 18 percent reduction in energy consumption and designed to use 50 percent less water for landscape irrigation. The district has committed to build all new construction projects to LEED standards.
“Our school community is so proud of the way the school looks now, and all our students are using the latest technology,” said DeChaumes Principal Sandy Gaw. “I am also delighted that we now have space to offer special activities and clubs, like soccer and robotics.”
The $805 million bond referendum approved by voters in 2007 made this project possible. The new school includes:
• New library;
• New science labs;
• New computer lab; and
• Smart Board technology in all classrooms.
For more information about other school construction projects district wide, visit www.hisdprojects.org.
Principal Amy Simson welcomed HISD Board of Education President Michael Lunceford, Chief School Officer Sam Sarabia, and the grandson of E. O. Lovett at the elementary school’s official dedication held March 8, 2012.
“We are delighted to welcome you to this lovely new space,” she said. “There is so much we have been able to do, we now have special practice rooms for our band, choir and orchestra programs, and through the window wall in our new band room, we can give outdoor performances.”
Lovett’s all-student WHO TV crew worked with HISD TV to cover the event, including holding the cameras, and shooting footage.
Chief Elementary School Officer Sam Sarabia congratulated Principal Simson for Lovett’s continued achievements, and recognized longtime band director Ginny Croft, whose 30-year tenure has earned numerous performing arts accolades, at both the district and state level.
Administrators, staff and students will be joined by HISD Board of Education President Michael Lunceford and Superintendent Terry Grier during the official dedication ceremony for the new Paul W. Horn Elementary today at 9 a.m. at the new campus, 4530 Holly Street.
“Being a former Horn parent myself, I can’t tell you how delighted I am to see this new building,” said Lunceford. “This is the kind of facility that every student in HISD deserves. It saves energy, fits perfectly with the surrounding community, and will prove to be a hub of achievement that parents, students and teachers can be proud of.”
The new Horn facility is built to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards and all building materials were made using 41 percent recycled content. All building systems on the new campus were designed to yield a projected increase of 24.6 percent in energy efficiency. The district has committed to build all new construction projects to LEED standards.
The $805 million bond referendum approved by voters in 2007 made this project possible. The new school includes:
- New library;
- Bioswale to reduce potable water use;
- New science labs;
- New computer lab; and
- Smart Board technology in all classrooms.
“Our new facility truly supports our focus on a holistic curriculum that speaks to the needs of the whole child,” said Horn Principal Sarah Harrington referring to the academy’s mission as a magnet school. “With Smart Board technology, our new library and computer lab, we are well poised to meet the needs of all our students.”
For more information about other school construction projects district wide, visit www.hisdprojects.org.
In 2007, Houston voters passed a $805 million bond referendum to build new schools, renovate and repair others, and upgrade and improve campus safety and security districtwide. Since then, HISD crews have been hard at work building over 15 new campuses and renovating over 100 others. Every week, a different campus based construction project will be featured here to showcase some of the amazing facility upgrades happening across HISD and to demonstrate the district’s commitment to taxpayers.
Bellfort Early Childhood Center received major renovations as part part of the 2007 bond referendum. The former medical building was remodeled to be kid friendly in order to accommodate nearly 400 pre-k and kindergarten students. Major updates were also made to the building’s mechanical, lighting, and security systems.
Click here for more information on the Bellfort Early Childhood Center bond project.
Horn Elementary moved into a brand new campus at the beginning of the 2011-12 school year as a result of the HISD Bond Program. The new building was designed with input from the school’s staff and includes larger classrooms, a brand new computer lab, and two science labs. Since the new building opened, enrollment is now up at the school.
Hundreds of students, parents, staff and community members gathered at an official dedication ceremony for Almeda Elementary School’s new building. Among those in attendance were HISD Board of Education Trustee Larry Marshall, HISD School Improvement Officer Karla Loria and Texas State Representative Alma Allen, who recognized Principal Beverly Cage for her commitment to students and education.
“It’s very challenging to move an entire school community, and it’s our principals who are on the front lines,” said Allen, who also donated several books to the school library, including the children’s classic Curious George. “When you have a building with this much new and advanced technology in it, the children will be curious.”