Connie Berger named new school support officer for Northwest Area

Connie Berger, Principal at Reagan High School (Houston Independent School District)Connie Berger has been appointed as the new school support officer for the Northwest Area Schools Office. Berger grew up in Houston and attended schools in HISD, graduating from Reagan High School, now Heights High School. She has been an educator for more than 34 years, serving as a teacher, assistant principal, elementary principal, and high school principal. Berger has been an HISD principal since 1999 and was named Secondary Principal of the Year in 2012. As the principal of Heights High School for 11 years, she was responsible for dramatic growth and improvement, as the school evolved from an improvement-required campus to being named a Best of the Best High School by U.S News & World Report. Berger has a bachelor’s degree in history and psychology from the University of Houston and a master’s degree in education from Stephen F. Austin University.

Magnet school applications for 2018-2019 available

Applications for magnet program for the 2018-2019 school year will be available starting on Friday, Sept. 22. HISD offers a robust portfolio of magnet programs at more than 100 schools to best meet your child’s academic needs and interests. The magnet programs within the district include:

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No classes Friday for fall holiday, professional development

Students will not have classes on Fri., Sept. 22, for the district’s fall holiday. Classes will resume at the normal time on Monday, Sept. 25.

Schools will be holding professional development, and administrative offices will be open during normal business hours on Friday. School-based staff who have their principal’s permission to use previously uncompensated professional development time in lieu of Friday’s work day may do so.

Thursday is a full work day.

View the full academic calendar to review other holidays during the 2017-2018 school year.

Fondren MS opens Fondren Pantry for students, community after Harvey 

Students at Fondren Middle School are launching a pantry for families in need, a year-long service that will serve as a community pantry for both students and families who were directly impacted by Hurricane Harvey.

The Fondren Pantry will be located on campus and will open to the community once a week to help ensure that all students have access to adequate food, toiletries, uniforms, and school supplies to help them be successful this year.

For those who wish to donate, these are the most-needed items:

  • Non-perishable food items
  • Uniforms: (khaki pants and solid white, gray, and black polo shirts)
  • Backpacks: (clear or mesh)
  • School supplies
  • Toiletries
  • Detergent and other essential household products.

For questions, please call Fondren MS at 713-778-3360.

Barbara Bush Foundation, partners donate 500 books to students affected by Harvey 

When Robinson Elementary School flooded, their neighborhood schools (Holland Middle and Pleasantville Elementary) stepped up to take in displaced students and their teachers. In order to support students, leaders from the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy FoundationAmerican Federation of TeachersHouston Federation of Teachers, and First Book visited Holland Middle School as part of a joint “Hurricane Harvey Relief: Essentials for Kids Fund” effort.  The groups surprised students with more than 500 books on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017.

HISD Superintendent Richard Carranza, AFT President Randi Weingarten, Barbara Bush Foundation Chairmen and Founders Neil and Maria Bush, First Book CEO and President Kyle Zimmer, and HFT president Zeph Capo observed two Holland MS classrooms filled with Robinson students learning.

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HISD names new Chief Governmental Relations and Strategy Officer, Chief Development Officer

Ashlea Turner

The Houston Independent School District announced two leadership promotions, naming Ashlea Turner as Chief Governmental Relations and Strategy Officer and Ann Best Scott as Chief Development Officer.

Turner, who previously served as the district’s Government Relations Director, will lead HISD’s local, state, and federal policy efforts and implement strategies that advance the district’s legislative goals and funding needs. She has strong relationships with elected officials and school leaders statewide. Turner will continue to work with a collection of statewide partners and school districts to fight harmful legislation and push for school finance reform.

“I am encouraged to have Ashlea’s expertise in governmental relations as it pertains to public education,” Superintendent Richard Carranza said. “She has an indispensable knowledge of HISD’s legislative pursuits in school finance reform, and she always ensures that education is at the top of elected officials’ lists.”

Before joining HISD, Turner advocated for Houston’s business community at the Greater Houston Partnership (GHP) and worked for several elected officials. She is a native Houstonian and a product of HISD schools. She is also an alumna of Stanford University and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and she is a recipient of Houston Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” Award.

Ann Best Scott

“I am grateful to the Superintendent for this amazing opportunity to serve our students in a greater way,” Turner said. “HISD’s legislative goals remain a top priority. I look forward to advising the leadership on the best strategy to achieve our goals at all levels of government.”

Scott, who currently leads the HISD Foundation and will continue in that role, has been an advocate of educational opportunity and equity for all students for nearly 21 years. Scott will broaden efforts to raise funds for the district to support strategic district initiatives and ensure that all children can have access to a quality education.

“I am excited to work with Ann to raise the district’s profile with community and business stakeholders and to develop supports for our students and schools,” Carranza said. “Ann has a passion for education and our children, and she will be an unrelenting force in providing opportunities for our students.”

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Nutrition Services facility named after district’s first African-American food services director  

HISD’s Nutrition Services Support Facility located off Bennington Road in northeast Houston will now bear the name of the district’s first black food services director.

After a vote Sept. 14 by the HISD Board of Education, trustees unanimously agreed the facility will be called the Hexser T. Holliday Food Services Support Center

Holliday served the Houston Independent School District from 1958 until his departure in 1996. He began his career at HISD as a culinary arts teacher at Yates and Booker T. Washington high schools. Over the course of his tenure, Holliday advanced to become the district’s Assistant Superintendent of Food Services, the first black food services director in the district and one of the first in the nation.  Continue reading

HISD Foundation to offer grants for teachers impacted by Hurricane Harvey 

$100 gift cards distributed to teachers with delayed start dates

The HISD Foundation’s Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund has raised more than $1.3 million and the nonprofit group is wasting no time distributing the funds to support schools and staff that were most severely impacted by the storm.

On Friday, Sept 15, Foundation Director Ann Scott surprised those teachers still awaiting the start of school on their campus with a $100 gift card to either Office Depot, Crystal Children and Teacher Supply, or Lakeshore Learning. The amount of donated gift cards totaled nearly $37,000 and will be used by the teachers to redecorate their damaged classrooms or supply a new classroom in a different facility.

In addition, Scott announced that starting next week, the Foundation will begin offering grants of up to $1,000 to all HISD teachers who were impacted by Harvey.    Continue reading

Workshops available for assistance with DACA application renewals

Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston will host a series of free workshops for DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipients to assist them in completing renewal applications.

To receive help with the application process, sign up for one of the workshops below by calling 713-874-6570 or 713-595-4100. All workshops will take place at 2707 North Loop West, Houston, Texas 77008.  Please contact Catholic Charities to determine whether you qualify to file a renewal application. Continue reading

Trustees approve extended school day for 12 campuses, eliminate early dismissal days for all schools

At its first regular Board meeting since Hurricane Harvey forced a delayed start to the school year, the Houston Independent School District Board of Education approved extended school days for 12 campuses to make up instructional time.

The Board also eliminated five early dismissal days scheduled throughout the school year for all campuses.

Download the revised 2017-2018 Academic Calendar

The Texas Education Agency approved waivers that exempt students from making up the first nine days of missed classes. However, students at 12 schools starting after Sept. 11 will have to make up lost time beyond those days.

“There is no perfect solution,” Superintendent Richard Carranza said. “And as we talked about over the course of this weather event, flexibility will be key. But we are also making sure the extra time is not just seat time.” Continue reading