Bonham ES students get free books from Books Between Kids

Every student at Bonham Elementary has books to read over the summer thanks to Books Between Kids. The organization stopped by the school on Monday to give each child six books.

“One of the things that’s great about distributing the books this time of year is that the kids get excited about reading,” said Sandra Alhorn, co-founder of Books Between Kids. “They’re done with testing, they’re pretty much done with school, they get their books to take home. All of a sudden they’re excited and can’t wait to go read.”
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Lessons learned after 177 Days: Celebrate triumphs and make plans to improve

Natalie Nelson, Michael Bennett, Brandi Latimer, Mariela Niland, Shelbi Craig

Last fall, we asked five first-year teachers to share their experiences with us through a blog called 177 Days, and over the past year, our bloggers have learned a number of valuable lessons, such as the importance of having a back-up plan (Natalie Nelson), the discovery that little things can make a big difference (Shelbi Craig), how meeting with parents can improve both their own and their students’ performance (Michael Bennett), why setting behavioral expectations early is so critical to success (Brandi Latimer), and even the importance of staying well-nourished during the day (Mariela Niland).

Now the regular academic year is coming to a close, so we asked our bloggers to share some parting words with us before they cleaned out their desks and closed up their classrooms for the summer.
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HISD workshop offers contract tips to potential subcontractors for district

The HISD supplier diversity team collaborated with the City of Houston, Port of Houston Authority, and the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County to talk contracts with small businesses during May’s Workshop Wednesday hosted by the district’s business assistance office.

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First Book helps Neff ES students start personal libraries

Students at Neff Elementary got a special surprise on Tuesday. First Book donated more than 5,000 books for students to take home and start their personal library.

“If they don’t become better readers during the summer, they will start back at a negative situation because they will have lost the ability, the concentration, the confidence that they are good readers,” said Sheila Long Armstrong, greater Houston chair of First Book, which teams up with the Disney/ABC Television Group and its owned-and-operated Houston TV station, ABC-13 (KTRK), for the program.
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End of the year is time for reflection

Chávez High School first-year teacher Natalie Nelson is looking forward to some free time this summer, but she is also mulling over the things she will do differently next year. Nelson is one of five first-year HISD teachers who were invited to blog about their experiences on the district’s website. The blog, called “177 Days” for the number of days a teacher works each school year, chronicled the ups and downs of new teachers working in a large urban school district.

Nelson teaches government and economics to seniors, so she is saying goodbye to most of her students as they prepare to enter the next phase of their lives. As a softball coach, however, she has returning students with whom she has bonded, and she is looking forward to seeing them next year. Being a coach made sense for Nelson, because she was a year-round athlete herself in high school, playing five sports during her four years there. “Coaching is a huge commitment on top of carrying a full load of teaching with two preps,” she wrote on her blog, “but it has given me a larger connection to the student body and school community.”
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HISD announces Nurses of the Year for 2014

A commitment to making every student feel valued and a refusal to limit care to an eight-hour work day have garnered two HISD nurses the district’s highest honors for medical professionals in a school setting.

Lashawnda Harris, who serves at Lyons Elementary School, and Karen Adams, who serves at Sharpstown International School (SIS), have been named HISD’s Elementary and Secondary Nurses of the Year (respectively) for 2014.

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Summer Meal Program kicking off at more than 200 schools

No paperwork, registration or proof of income needed to participate

The Houston Independent School District will kick off its Summer Meal Program on June 4 at more than 200 schools. Children ages 1 to 18 can enjoy a healthy breakfast and lunch at no cost through July 3. The beginning of the program will be celebrated with kick-off parties at two participating elementary schools.

The “Summer Food, Summer Fun” kick-off parties will include giveaways, music, HISD Food Services’ My Plate Relay game, and a visit from Ace the Healthy Fox, Food Services’ nutrition mascot.

Events are scheduled for next week:

Wednesday, June 4, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Herrera Elementary School
525 Bennington, Houston, TX 77022

Thursday, June 5, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Gallegos Elementary School
7415 Harrisburg, Houston, TX 77011

Children do not need to be enrolled in summer school to participate in the program, and no paperwork, registration or proof of income are required. Adults may participate by purchasing breakfast for $2 and lunch for $3.25.

All meals served are nutritionally balanced to ensure children receive the vitamins, minerals, and calories needed to maintain a balanced diet. Last summer, HISD Food Services served over one million free meals to Houston-area children.

To find a summer meal location near you, please visit:

Questions about the summer meal program may be directed to the HISD Food Services Department at 713-491-5944. For information on where to find free meals after July 3, contact the City of Houston Parks and Recreation Department at 713-676-6832 or dial 2-1-1.