Category Archives: News

Superintendent updates collaborative on HISD wraparound services efforts

The trauma of Hurricane Harvey continues to affect students in HISD and across the Houston area, HISD Superintendent Richard Carranza told a behavioral health collaborative on Friday.

Representatives from more than 20 school districts gathered at the Center for School Behavioral Health collaborative luncheon at the United Way for an update on what HISD is doing to meet the mental health needs of students and teachers in the wake of the hurricane.

HISD Superintendent Carranza spoke about how critically important social and emotional services are to ensure that students are ready to learn. Continue reading

Project aDOORe artwork exhibit to visit Hermann Park 

A traveling fine arts exhibit of doors known as Project aDOORe will stop at Hermann Park’s Lake Plaza on Saturday, March 3 at noon as part of Hermann Park’s 8th annual Student Performance Series.

Project aDOORe Houston aims to strengthen school communities that were most impacted by Hurricane Harvey by providing students with a means to heal through the creation of art. Students from 26 HISD campuses turned doors from storm-damaged homes into works of art that have been showcased throughout the city.   Continue reading

Westbury HS moving into new building addition


Construction on Westbury High School’s two-story building addition is wrapping up, with the school beginning to move into the space this weekend and use the new classrooms as early as March 5.

Classroom furniture setup is complete. Furniture installation for the dining commons and other flexible spaces is underway, as are final interior touches and wood floor installation in the main gym.

The school will be fully moved into the new addition by the time students return from spring break. Continue reading

Chavez Chess Academy recognized by governor, mayor  

The Chavez Chess Academy, under the direction of instructor and coach Robert L. Myers, has been busy. In a couple of weeks, the team will travel to compete in Tokyo, and in June, they are headed for Greece and Italy.

The team has won five state chess championships in a row, and team member Anateresa Hipolito is now rated one of the top 100 girls in America. Consequently, the students were recognized by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Governor Gregg Abbott.

Last summer they competed and won in London, Paris, and Rome and were featured twice on the cover of “Texas Knights,” the official publication of the Texas Chess Association.


HISD surveys students and parents on magnet programs

HISD is seeking parent and student input on the district’s magnet programs in an effort to better understand our families’ needs. The survey is open to students or parents of students who:

  • Attend a magnet program
  • Do not attend a magnet program
  • Live within HISD but do not currently attend an HISD school

The survey can be found at It will be open until March 30.

HISD pioneered the development of magnet programs in the 1970s and is known nationally for its innovative offerings at more than 100 schools.

“We remain committed to magnet programs and school choice,” said HISD Superintendent Richard Carranza. “We want to be sure that our programs are in line with the district’s vision that every child, no matter where they live, has equitable opportunities and access to an effective, personalized education.”

The community will have opportunities to comment on the magnet program in public meetings that will be scheduled for the coming weeks.

3 HISD teachers, 1 principal named finalists for 2018 HEB Excellence in Education Awards 

Three HISD teachers and one principal have been recognized as finalists for the 2018 HEB Excellence in Education Awards, one of the largest monetary programs for educators in Texas and the nation.

Kellie Karavias of Gregory-Lincoln, Amber Neal of Almeda Elementary School, Jennifer Chase of the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, and Principal Diego Calderon of Burbank Elementary School, are among eight educators from across Houston who were surprised in their classrooms and presented the awards.

Each teacher finalist received a $1,000 check for themselves and a $1,000 check for their schools. The principal was presented a $1,000 personal prize and a $2,500 prize for the school at a surprise pep-rally-style student assembly.

HEB will be surprising 40 finalists over the next two months. Finalists across the state will be invited to Houston on May 5-6 to compete for the chance to win additional cash prizes totaling $430,000.

Community meetings scheduled on budget deficit

HISD Board of Education Trustees are scheduling meetings in their respective districts to discuss the district’s 2018-2019 budget deficit.

Meetings may also address the difficult choices the district faces regarding improvement required campuses, HB 1842, and SB 1882. Questions from the audience are welcome.

The following meetings have been scheduled. Each meeting will begin at 6 p.m.: Continue reading

HISD budget deficit projection reduced to $115 million

Click here for details

As HISD continues to prepare a budget for the 2018-19 school year, the district anticipates a projected deficit reduction from $208 million to $115 million. This revised deficit includes several budget assumptions related to Hurricane Harvey relief and pending litigation.

When HISD first began budgeting for the 2018-2019 school year, it was in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Using a worst-case scenario, the district’s financial team projected a $208 million deficit based on four dynamic factors: the Local Optional Homestead Exemption (LOHE) lawsuit, a recapture payment to the state, a potential property tax value decreaseand an anticipated student enrollment decline. District administrators crafted a revised budget outlook for the 2018-19 school year.

Community meetings scheduled on budget deficit

The district’s legal team feels confident that the state will prevail in the LOHE lawsuit. For HISD, this means a reduction in its recapture payment because the TEA will recognize half of the 20 percent local homestead exemption given to homeowners. A decision in the lawsuit could come after a hearing this spring. A win would reduce HISD’s recapture payment by $51 million.

Under the Texas Education Code, TEA Commissioner Mike Morath has the authority to adjust property values. Based on the damage sustained from Hurricane Harvey and the lasting impact of the storm on our students and staff, we anticipate the commissioner will adjust property values, which in turn, would reduce our recapture payment. Governor Greg Abbott, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, and other state leaders have publicly stated their support for this action. Click here to review a September 2017 press release from Lt. Governor Dan Patrick that confirms his support for schools districts in Region IV impacted by Hurricane Harvey, which includes HISD. In addition, Commissioner Morath surveyed school districts after the hurricane to gather projections on their property tax collections post-Harvey. HISD estimates a $42 million adjustment for property value loss associated with Hurricane Harvey.

In addition, the HISD Board of Education favors a district budget performance review to be conducted by a firm that has previously worked with large school district budgets. An agenda item is anticipated for the April 2018 board meeting. If approved, an immediate audit would begin with a completion date set for the end of the year.

Jordan HS construction nearly one-third complete

The new Barbara Jordan High School for Careers is beginning to take shape with the building’s footprint almost finished and exterior and interior wall framing underway.

Roof installation — a major project milestone — is nearly complete, and installation of mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems is underway. In addition, the building will be fully enclosed by the end of May.

Jordan’s $42.4 million construction project is a part of HISD’s voter-approved 2012 Bond Program, which calls for the renovation or rebuilding of 40 schools, including 29 high schools. The 120,000-square-foot career center will accommodate 600 to 800 students who will spend part of the day at their home school and part of the day at Jordan participating in specialized, hands-on career training.

Continue reading

Parents can sign up to participate in Special Education focus group meetings

The Texas Education Agency will be conducting focus group meetings on Monday, Feb. 26 for parents of students with disabilities across age and grade levels receiving special education services.

During the 2016-2017 school year, the United States Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, performed a series of onsite monitoring visits to review Texas’ compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. The final report was provided to TEA on Jan. 10, 2018.

The findings from that report require TEA to develop a plan to address four corrective actions. An integral part of the plan development process will be the gathering of input from stakeholders and other interested Texans. Continue reading