Category Archives: Special Education

Report shows HISD has taken steps to improve special education program

 The American Institutes for Research (AIR) released a comprehensive new report that finds HISD has already taken specific action that will enable the district to improve outcomes for students with disabilities and implement the report’s recommendations more effectively.

The report, Special Education Program Review, was commissioned by the Houston Independent School District. The HISD Board of Education contracted AIR to assess the district’s strengths and areas in need of improvement with respect to its special education program. The results of the review were presented at the March HISD Board of Education meeting by experts from AIR. 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

HISD celebrating Inclusive Schools Week 

HISD is celebrating Inclusive Schools Week through Dec. 8 in partnership with the Inclusive Schools Network.

This year’s theme focuses on standing up for inclusion, and the district is encouraging all schools to share photos of their inclusive schools week activities on Twitter using the hashtag #HISD2017ISW.

In particular, HISD is recognizing seven schools for their inclusivity efforts: Dogan, Lyons, Peck, and Patterson elementary schools; Tanglewood Middle School; and Lamar and Washington high schools. They will be honored at the Board of Education Meeting at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 14.

This year, the Inclusive Schools Week’s theme is “Stand Up, Sit Tall for Inclusion.” Schools, parents, and community members can take part in the celebration by downloading lesson plans, activities, and resources here.   Continue reading

Special Olympics Field Days kick off; volunteers still needed 

HISD kicked off its fifth annual Special Olympics Field Days on Tuesday at Joe Kelly Butler Fieldhouse, held in partnership with Special Olympics Texas.

The three-day event gives students with intellectual and developmental disabilities a chance to showcase their athletic skills by taking part in fun athletic contests. The friendly competition includes basketball, tennis, soccer, and track and field for all ages, as well as flag football for high-schoolers.

Elementary students got their Special Olympics Field Day on Tuesday. Middle-school students will have their events on Wednesday, while high school students will participate on Thursday. Opening ceremonies begin daily at 9 a.m. with the Parade of Athletes, Torch Pass, and the Declaration of Games Open.

Volunteers are still needed over the next two days to help with setup and breakdown, athletic events, escorting students around the facility, serving lunches, and other tasks. Volunteers will be provided with on-site instruction and modeling for their specific assignment so they are prepared to work with the students, who range from elementary to high school age.

To register to volunteer for the one or more of the events, click here.

Special needs students return for second year of transitional work program 

With the beginning of a new school year, there are new classes underway in HISD’s transitional programs for students with cognitive disabilities that train them to find meaningful work and sustainable life situations after graduation.

HISD students participate in classes within the community at the Houston Food Bank (HISD/H.E.A.R.T.), Houston Community College, and Texas Children’s Health Plan (Project SEARCH).

In honor of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, we revisited the Houston Food Bank to see how students are doing (see last year’s story here). The second-year pilot program is underway, with four students returning from last year to experience real-world employment, working 40 hours a week from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. They are responsible for finding their own rides to work, and they use METROlift or get rides from family members.  Continue reading

Volunteers needed for Special Olympics Field Days 

Annual event scheduled for Nov. 14 through 16

Volunteers are needed for the fifth annual HISD Special Olympics Field Days scheduled for Nov. 14, 15, and 16 at the Joe Kelly Butler Fieldhouse (13755 Main St., 77085).

About 1,700 volunteers are needed throughout the three days to help with setup and breakdown, athletic events, escorting students around the facility, serving lunches, and other tasks. Volunteers will be provided with on-site instruction and modeling for their specific assignment so they are prepared to work with the students, who range from elementary to high school age. Continue reading

Notice of Destruction of Special Education Records 

Special Education records, which have been collected by the Houston Independent School District (HISD) related to the identification, evaluation, educational placement, or the provision of Special Education in the district, must be maintained under state and federal laws for a period of five years after Special Education services have ended for the student. Special Education services end when the student is no longer eligible for services, graduates, completes his or her educational program at age 22, or moves from the district.

This notification is to inform parents/guardians and former students of HISD’s intent to destroy the Special Education records of students who are no longer receiving Special Education services as of the end of the 2011-2012 school year. These records will be destroyed in accordance with state law unless the parent/guardian or eligible (adult) student notifies the school district otherwise. Continue reading

Superintendent outlines priorities at ‘Welcome Back’ event 

Achieve 180, wraparound services, and restorative justice practices are priorities for 2017-2018 school year 

Superintendent Richard Carranza outlined HISD’s top priorities for the 2017-2018 school year to school and district leaders at the annual “Welcome Back” back event on August 11.

Nearly 1,200 principals, deans, assistant principals, and district leaders packed Delmar Fieldhouse to hear Carranza’s message, which celebrated the successes of the previous year and outlined goals, initiatives, and challenges for the coming year.

Continue reading

Special Education conference focuses on meeting unique needs of every student 

HISD Superintendent Richard Carranza addressed more than 300 teachers and support staff members at the district’s fourth-annual Special Ed Conference on Tuesday at Pin Oak Middle School, encouraging them to create an environment where all children can succeed.

“We are at a critical juncture,” Carranza said later, when asked what he hoped the conference would achieve. “Too often, students with disabilities have been marginalized. We say NO, that is not what we are going to do here in HISD. I want all these educators to leave here on fire, to go back to their schools with great strategies and support so they can create incredible learning environments.”  Continue reading

Attend a May 17 special education parent forum

There is one more opportunity to attend a special education forum, where parents can ask questions and provide feedback as part of a broader effort to reform special education services in the district:

Wednesday, May 17, 2017
6 to 7:30 p.m.
HISD South Field Office
4040 W. Fuqua St., Houston 77045

*(Spanish interpretations available)

Parents will be able to ask questions during the meeting, talk one-on-one with district leadership, submit questions electronically at computer stations on site, email questions in advance to, or submit questions through an online form at Parents can also ask their child’s school for a special education comment card, fill it out, and return it to the school’s front office.

Hundreds of parents attended the first two meetings, hosted by the HISD Office of Special Education Services, which supports students with disabilities in gaining college and career readiness and independent-living skills through active engagement in grade-level curriculum.

“We are going to make sure we provide the services that children in our district need, and we are not going to be just about compliance,” HISD Chief Academic Officer Grenita Lathan told attendees. Continue reading