Distinguished African-American alumni empower themselves, others through education

Editor’s Note: Black History Month runs from Monday, Feb. 1, through Monday, Feb. 29, this year, and HISD is celebrating with a series of weekly stories recognizing distinguished African Americans who graduated from HISD high schools. This final article focuses on alumni who went on to have successful careers in education. Previous articles highlighted athletesartistspoliticians, and media professionals.

Despite laws forbidding the education of slaves and generations of African Americans being denied the right to schooling, African-American leaders have always stressed that the key to success is a high-quality education.

In the HISD family, many distinguished African-American alumni strived to help others overcome generations of poverty and illiteracy by gaining an education.

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‘Eye on Houston’ exhibit showcases student photography

Detail of “Young Souls,” by Bellaire High School student Blanca Barrios. Image courtesy MFAH.

Detail of “Young Souls,” by Bellaire High School student Blanca Barrios. Image courtesy MFAH.

Art-loving Houstonians can see the world through the eyes of more than three dozen HISD students this spring, thanks to an exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH) that is returning for its 21st year.

Formerly known as “Eye on Third Ward” and limited to photographs taken by Yates HS students, “Eye on Houston” formally opened on Jan. 12 this year in MFAH’s Audrey Jones Beck Building (5601 Main Street, 77005), and features photographs taken by 37 students from five different HISD campuses. Those students are all juniors or seniors at Bellaire, Chávez, Westside, and Yates high schools, or the Sam Houston Math, Science & Technology Center.

The exhibition will be on display through Sunday, May 1, 2016.

Share your thoughts on a new superintendent: Take a survey and attend an upcoming meeting

The HISD Board of Education is searching for a new superintendent, and trustees want input from community members about the qualities and traits they would like to see in the next district leader.

The board has hired Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates to assist in the superintendent search process. The Illinois-based firm is conducting a survey (which you can find here) and helping trustees host a series of community meetings in March to gather input from various district stakeholders. Feedback obtained from those meetings will be used by trustees to finalize their superintendent profile and begin searching for candidates.

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HISD Police Department kicks off 2nd annual art contest for Police Appreciation Week

The HISD Police Department is looking for kindergarten through second-grade students to show off their artistic skills for the department’s second annual art contest, which kicks off today.

The department is asking for students to showcase their artistic skills on the “Theme of Law Enforcement” to be displayed during Police Appreciation Week (May 15-21).

“Last year’s contest produced over 200 entries,” said HISD Police Lt. Guadalupe Jimenez. “Our focus on Police Appreciation Week allows our students an opportunity to visualize the work that officers perform each day and to consider becoming a police officer as a career choice.”

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School Meal Challenge improving student health through competition

Kennedy ES students enjoy a pizza party after achieving 100-percent participation in HISD's breakfast program.

Kennedy ES students enjoy a pizza party after achieving 100-percent participation in HISD’s school breakfast program.

HISD’s Nutrition Services Department is supporting students in achieving high scores on the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) by working with schools to adapt, promote, and reinvigorate their meal programs for the upcoming testing season.

The department launched a friendly competition on Feb. 10 to see which schools could increase their on-campus meal consumption by students by at least three percent. The School Meal Challenge, which runs through April 4, is designed to improve students’ academic performance and health by encouraging children to eat district-provided breakfast and lunch.

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‘Girls in Engineering’ event broadens horizons for students at six schools

Students from six HISD middle schools—Cullen, Gregory-Lincoln, Hogg, Holland, Stevenson, and Williams—spent the morning exploring engineering, thanks to an ExxonMobil event for national “Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day.”

ExxonMobil provided engineers and supplies for a day of events, which included testing the girls’ problem-solving skills by challenging them to create marshmallow-launching catapults. While the marshmallows flew, other groups of girls got to speak with current University of Texas engineering students about their field, and with college admissions officers about getting into college.

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New addition at Wilson Montessori K-8 to complement historic building

Nearly three dozen parents and neighbors turned out to Wilson Montessori K-8 on Thursday to hear the latest updates on the proposed addition and renovations to the school under the district’s bond program.

The Montrose-area school is slated to receive $18.9 million, and will feature a new three-story addition, as well as renovations to the existing facility, built in 1924.

Terry Smith of Smith & Co. Architects walked the audience through the latest design concept, in which the three-story building addition will feature a two-story library space designed with large exterior windows so that students can “experience the outside from the inside.”
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Two HISD educators jointly recognized as ‘Houston’s Hometown Champion’

Catherine Smith

Catherine Smith

Two HISD educators, Catherine Smith and Madelyn Traylor, were recently honored as “Houston’s Hometown Champion” after winning the most votes in a national social-media contest sponsored by Radio One/News One.

The contest is held annually in each of the company’s major markets, and Smith and Traylor were recognized as the joint Houston winner this year for their “extreme work in the community” and for their efforts to improve the lives of others.

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Controller Sherrie Robinson named HISD’s new interim chief financial officer

Sherrie Robinson

Sherrie Robinson

HISD Controller Sherrie Robinson has been named the interim chief financial officer (CFO) of the Houston Independent School District.

Robinson will assume her new role on March 1, when previous CFO and Deputy Superintendent Ken Huewitt becomes the district’s interim superintendent.

“Sherrie has been a tremendous asset to HISD over the past three years,” said Dr. Grier in an email to all employees, “and I am confident that the district’s finances will be in expert hands moving forward.”

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