The HISD supplier diversity team is evaluating strategies to increase the participation of Asian-owned companies doing business with the district.
“We’re doing everything in our power to attract diverse minority- and women-owned business enterprises (M/WBEs),” said HISD Team Lead for Supplier Diversity Bernard Willingham, while speaking at the district’s Asian Advisory Committee meeting on Oct. 14.
At the gathering, he gave an update on the bond program to the committee, which is made up of parents and business leaders from Houston’s Asian community.
Seventy-five Milby High School teachers and administrators hit the streets in search of more than 80 students with excessive absences or failing grades during a recent “Milby in Action” outreach program.
High school teachers from throughout the district are spending their Saturdays and early-release training days learning how to integrate web tools and digital content into their daily classroom instruction. The training is part of PowerUp, a districtwide program that is giving students their own laptops to use at school and at home. HISD’s Professional Development and Instructional Technology Departments are co-hosting the training sessions, which are designed to give teachers hands-on instruction and guidance on how to use technology to make their lessons more engaging and student centered.
Editor’s note: This profile is part of an occasional series on minority or women-owned companies that do business with HISD. The district’s minimum M/WBE goal levels are 20 percent for all levels of purchasing and construction, and 25 percent for professional services. In the 2007 bond program, that commitment reached nearly 34 percent. In the 2012 program, the contracts awarded to date reflect a nearly 51 percent M/WBE commitment.
The HISD Board of Education on Thursday adopted a 3-cent property tax rate increase. This represents the first such rate increase since 2001. The new property tax rate of $1.1867 per $100 taxable value is nearly 24 cents less than the average Harris County school district – maintaining HISD’s position as having the lowest rate of any district in the region.
Additional HISD police officers will be joining METRO and Houston police to continue to serve as mentors to students at nine elementary schools this school year as part of the district’s law-enforcement mentorship program. The program, which was launched in 2012, focuses on students at the middle-school level. The year, officers will mentor fifth-graders who are identified as “at-risk” because of an incarcerated parent, involvement in gang activity, or chronic attendance issues.
A student at Booker T. Washington High School explains a design schematic for the new school.
More than 150 people turned out for HISD’s first two community meetings on Tuesday to hear about the progress to rebuild Booker T. Washington High School and DeBakey High School for Health Professions under the district’s $1.89 billion bond program.
“The community was impressed with the work our project advisory team has done and the ideas they presented,” said DeBakey Principal Agnes E. Perry about the meeting at DeBakey, which drew about 75 people. “They liked being able to walk around to different stations to see the design drafts and to meet with the designers.”
The answers are as varied as the people who donate to this annual district fundraiser, but for Carolyn Travis, who serves as a secretary at Yates High School, the answer lies in a diagnosis she received almost two decades ago.
Administrators are recommending that the HISD Board of Education authorize the district to negotiate contracts with seven firms to provide construction manager at risk (CMAR) services on selected 2012 bond projects.
Architects go over design ideas for the new DeBakey High School for Health Professions during a design charrette.
Houston ISD will be rebuilding two of its specialty high schools into 21st century campuses that cultivate creativity and collaboration when construction gets underway on the new DeBakey High School for Health Professions and the new High School for the Performing and Visual Arts.
That consensus came as each school held a two-day design charrette with their Project Advisory Teams and architects to discuss specific goals and aspirations for the new campuses.
“Students are more open and receptive to learning if they can access it visually,” said architect Greg Papay, who is part of the architect team designing the new DeBakey. “We’re designing a 21st century school where learning will happen in a variety of spaces.”
Hundreds of HISD parents came out to the Young Women’s College Preparatory Academy on October 3 to learn more about digital citizenship and the district’s one-to-one laptop initiative. YWCPA is one of 11 HISD schools where students will be given laptops to use at home and at school as part of the PowerUp initiative.
“I really think is a great idea,” said YWCPA parent Charlotte Goins, who attended the meeting with her teenage daughter. “Students today need certain skills to succeed in the work force, and by using computers they can develop and sharpen these skills.”
The Houston Independent School District is hosting several school choice fairs across the district to inform parents of the different educational choices available to their children as they transition into middle and high school.
“HISD offers excellent opportunities to meet your child’s needs, challenge their thinking, and develop their skills,” said Dave Wheat, HISD assistant superintendent for school choice. “But most importantly, we prepare them for success in college and their careers.”
Students at HISD’s Mistral Early Childhood Center participated in the second annual Green Apple Day of Service on Sept. 28 by planting 10 trees on campus, weeding the vegetable and butterfly gardens, and placing several logs and stumps throughout the area to provide seating for an outdoor classroom.
HISD hosted its annual celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month at Moreno Elementary School on Oct. 4 with featured performances by students from Moreno, Burbank MS, and Sam Houston Math, Science, and Technology Center. Visitors learned about and sample traditional dishes from more than a dozen countries, including paella from Spain, arroz con leche from Chile, empanadas from Colombia, and posole from Mexico.
Fourth-grade teacher Robert “Bobby” Bonn suffered a major heart attack just three short months ago — but you’d never know it just by looking at him.
The Twain ES educator still hasn’t missed a single day of class due to his health challenges, despite a fairly grim diagnosis initially.
“The outlook was pretty bleak three months ago,” said Twain Principal Melissa Patin. “The damage was so significant that he had to wear one of those LifeVests [a portable defibrillator for patients at risk of sudden cardiac arrest]. And he was told that there wasn’t much they could do.”
HISD is producing some of the brightest students in the nation—and now those students are attracting attention from some of the most prestigious universities in the country.
Two deans and a professor from Yale visited two HISD campuses recently to spread the news that an Ivy League education is well within even the most financially challenged student’s reach—and that they want HISD students in particular.
Attendees will have the chance to weigh in on proposed drawings and concepts
Editor’s note: This article has been updated to reflect new meetings dates.
The Houston Independent School District is hosting a series of community meetings for the first 17 schools slated for construction in the 2012 bond program to give participants a chance to review draft designs and concepts.
Almost 63 percent of HISD students are Hispanic, and that number is likely to increase as the Houston community continues to diversify. As part of the district’s continuing efforts to engage and empower the local Hispanic community, HISD has created a special advisory committee. The HISD Hispanic Advisory Committee is made up of community leaders from local educational institutions, businesses, government, and faith-based organizations.