HISD mourns loss of former Board of Education Trustee Arthur Gaines

The HISD family is mourning the loss of former Board of Education District IV Trustee Arthur Gaines, a pioneering servant and leader in the state’s largest school district.

Gaines was elected to the HISD Board of Education in 1991, served as board president in 1995, and retired in 2007 at the age of 81. He passed away on Friday. A lifelong educator, Gaines joined HISD in 1948 as a classroom teacher. He was among the district’s first wave of high-ranking African-American administrators, and he held several top-level positions in central administration.

“Mr. Gaines was a pillar of the HISD community and a selfless public servant,” said HISD Board President Manuel Rodriguez, who served on the board with Gaines. “He was a true gentleman, a wise friend, and generous mentor to me and many others who served on the board over the years. HISD is a great school district because of the foundation put in place by people like Mr. Gaines.”

Current District IV Trustee Jolanda Jones said Gaines was an effective advocate for all children, and particularly those in his community, which includes the Third Ward and Sunnyside areas on Houston’s south side.

“Mr. Gaines is a legend in our community, and I am proud to serve the neighborhoods he once represented,” Jones said.

Santa is part of the family at Fonwood ECC

Students and staff at Fonwood Early Childhood Center didn’t just get a new building this year, they also got a new friend.

The new early childhood center opened to students in August, but crews have remained on site finishing punch list items. Though most work is done after school hours, HISD Construction Project Manager Dwight Wilson is at the school most days to oversee the project and ensure students are safe and work is being finished correctly.

It’s safe to say he has made quite an impression.

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New HISD Chief Operating Officer pledges outreach, assistance to small business owners

Houston Independent School District Chief Operating Officer Brian Busby pledged more outreach and assistance to small business owners seeking to do business with the district in his first public appearance since being named to lead the district’s business operations division and its 7,000 employees.

“This is not a job for me, but a lifeblood,” Busby told the Greater Houston Black Chamber on Thursday. “I didn’t take this job to get to the next job. I took this job to make a difference in the lives of our students.”

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Student Spotlight: Girls Art Squad creates amazing art project

“The Breakout” is an enchanted fairy-tale art project, complete with animal sculptures created by a group of J.P. Henderson fifth-graders who call themselves the “Girls Art Squad.” They initiated the project on their own and completed it in their Culture Core class this past semester.

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Construction on new DeBakey High School for Health Professions nearing completion

Construction on the new DeBakey High School for Health Professions is wrapping up as contractor Tellepsen prepares to turn the building over to HISD next month.

The new 198,000-square-foot, five-story facility located on the western edge of Houston’s world-renowned Texas Medical Center is slated to have furniture delivered and additional technology upgrades installed in the first quarter of 2017.

Named for legendary heart surgeon Michael E. DeBakey, the new school then could be available for use before the end of the spring semester. Continue reading

HISD Board of Education approves construction contract to renovate Codwell ES, re-open it to students

The Houston Independent School District Board of Education last week approved a $12 million construction contract to renovate Codwell Elementary School on the district’s south side so that it could re-open for students.

The building at 5225 Tavenor Lane has been closed and vacant since the summer of 2014 when renovation work being done as part of the 2007 bond program uncovered significant moisture problems that required the students to relocate.

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Sterling Aviation HS to open doors to students on Jan. 4

When Sterling Aviation High School students return to class after winter break, they’ll report to a modern, new building with contemporary furniture, broad windows, and spacious classrooms and hallways adorned in bright, bold colors.

The grand building — specifically designed to enhance their aviation sciences program and support 21st century learning — has been long-awaited by the Sterling community, and it is well deserved.

“I think it’s going to mean that they’re not forgotten,” Fuentes said, describing the importance of the new building to his students and community. The feeling of being forgotten seemed reinforced as the school was labeled by the state as “Improvement Required” and lost academic programs. “Now, we have a new school, we’re no longer IR, we’re adding programs. They’re starting to see that they have value. They are valued.”

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Condit ES celebrates grand opening of new school during Leadership Day

The Condit Elementary School community gathered Thursday to celebrate the formal grand opening of their first new facility in almost a century.

Constructed as part of the voter-approved 2012 Bond Program, the 83,000-square-foot school features a centralized learning commons surrounded by a two-story cluster of classrooms, an open-concept design with bright colors, curved walls with seating nooks, and plenty of natural light throughout. Continue reading

Winter break begins Monday, with classes resuming on Jan. 4 

Central, administrative offices to reopen on Jan. 3 

The Houston Independent School District’s 2016 Winter Holiday schedule is as follows:

Students will be on winter break from school starting on Monday, Dec. 19, 2016, through Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017. Students will return to school on Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2017.

HISD central and administrative offices will be closed beginning Monday, Dec. 19, 2016, and will reopen on Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017.

Employees with questions should consult the duty schedules posted here.

The HISD Police Department will be patrolling district facilities during the holiday break. Emergencies should be reported by calling 713-892-7777.

Donors make holiday merry for 178 underprivileged students at Northside HS

Excitement and anticipation filled the air at Northside High School on Wednesday, as 178 students and their families waited in the school gymnasium, perched in the bleachers above row upon row of Christmas presents.

The students were selected to take part in the third annual Christmas Gifts of Love event at the school, which pairs up students with donors throughout the district and community to provide the underprivileged students with holiday gifts. The event is an example of how the holiday spirit is spreading across district thanks to a multitude of HISD business and community partners.

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