Out-of-state teaching interns find home away from home at HISD

UNI interns Mitchel Dierickx and Kari Kahl pose in front of the Harvard ES marquee.

UNI interns Kari Kahl (left) and Mitchel Dierickx are interning at Harvard ES.

More than two dozen aspiring teachers from the Midwest are getting a taste of big-city education this week, and that experience may well lead them to careers in HISD.

Twenty-six seniors from the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) are working with teachers and students at nine different HISD schools during the day and staying with district administrators at night. The program is coordinated by HISD Officer of Human Capital Jeff McCanna.

“This is a win-win for everybody involved,” said McCanna, who launched the program 10 years ago while working for Aldine ISD. “The interns get to find out about HISD, our students get another set of hands to work with them, and the district gets exposure to potential new hires. It’s a huge commercial for us, and kind of like an avalanche. It starts somewhat slowly, but over time, gets bigger and bigger.”

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Construction at North Houston Early and South Early College high schools nears completion

Construction at both North Houston Early and South Early college high schools is nearing completion, with preparations underway to have both campuses ready for students at the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year.

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Get ready: Spring STAAR testing begins March 29

HISD students in grades 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, and 10 will be taking portions of the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) beginning Tuesday, March 29.

Students in grades 4 and 7 will be taking the writing portion, while students in grades 5 and 8 will be taking the math and reading portions. High-school students who are either currently enrolled in or have completed English I or II will also be taking the end-of-course (EOC) exams associated with those subjects.

The first spring test administration concludes on Friday, April 1. Additional testing  will take place in May and July.

Questions? Visit HISD’s updated STAAR website, which has a list of FAQ, a complete schedule of spring testing dates, and other resources.

Construction at Mickey Leland College Prep swiftly moving along

The site of the new campus for Mickey Leland Young Men’s College Preparatory Academy is teeming with activity these days as construction crews are hard at work and making great progress on the school’s new $42.4 million building.

The new 139,000 square-foot-building, located at 1701 Gregg St. on the site of the former Wheatley/E.O. Smith building in Houston’s historic Fifth Ward, is being built as part of HISD’s current bond program and will accommodate 900 to 1,000 students. Continue reading

Save the date! April 9 is the “When I Grow Up” career expo


More than 100 exhibitors from local companies will be on hand to help students explore their options in high-demand, high-growth industries at the “When I Grow Up Expo” on Saturday, April 9, 2016. The event will take place from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center (4400 W. 18th Street, 77092).

Students of all ages will enjoy hands-on career awareness and exploration activities, including the STEM Museum on Wheels, Home Depot workshops, the Career Ready Wagon, a gyroscope, and more. Students will have the opportunity to talk with local employers about future careers, experience the Mobile Oilfield Learning Unit, and compete in various student competitions in subjects such as cosmetology, movie making, construction and culinary skills. Food trucks will be on hand, and participants will be able to enjoy student performances by Waltrip HS Jazz Band, Lanier MS Orchestra, Davis HS Mariachi, and the MC Williams MS Orchestra.

Last year, more than 5,000 students, parents, and community members attended the annual expo, which featured a Houston Police Department SWAT tank, Houston Fire Department truck and, “BAT” (breath alcohol testing) van among other exhibits.

For more information, please see the Career Readiness webpage, or call 713-556-6981.

HISD teachers featured in new ad campaign

If you went to see a movie in the past week, chances are you might have seen several HISD teachers during the previews. HISD’s Human Resources Department recently launched an ad campaign aimed at enticing teachers who live in Houston and the surrounding suburbs to come “Teach in the City.” The recruitment campaign includes a 30-second segment currently playing at several movie theaters across Houston, four highway billboards, and a new website.

“Teach in the City” features a half dozen HISD teachers, including Morgan Greco, a first-year teacher at Herod Elementary School. “I am thrilled to be part of this effort to recruit both new and veteran teachers,” said Greco. “I love working for HISD. As a first-year teacher right out of college, I have more support than I could have ever imagined.”

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Status of all students’ magnet applications to become available March 24

If you’re one of the parents who submitted one of the more than 60,000 magnet applications HISD received for the 2016–2017 school year, your wait is almost over.

Thursday, March 24, 2016, is the date on which parents who participated in Phase 1 of the application process (Oct. 1–Dec. 18, 2015) will be notified of the status of their submissions. Parents who created online accounts will be able to find the results posted on their dashboards, but application-status letters will also be sent out by U.S. mail to all parents who submitted an application.

Magnet notifications are going out via our online system, so you can start checking now. FYI, they can take up to 8 hours to send.
Don’t see any notifications for your magnet application yet? Don’t panic! Your notifications will be posted to the parent dashboard.

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NASA astronaut celebrates National School Breakfast Week with HISD

AstronautatGrissomESNASA astronaut Mike Fincke visited with Grissom ES students on March 10 to help HISD’s Nutrition Services Department celebrate National School Breakfast Week.

First, he presented a video that showed him and his fellow astronauts enjoying their mission on the International Space Station and fueling their bodies for space travel.

“We have fun with our food because it floats. Do you know why it floats?” asked Fincke. “No gravity!” shouted the students.

Fincke explained how space food needs to be packaged to stay fresh and nutritious so astronauts can remain healthy while in space. “We especially enjoy the fresh fruits and vegetables we get when a care package is delivered with a supply cargo from earth.”

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Rocket’s support of #BestSchoolDay campaign to benefit HISD’s Literacy By 3 movement

HISD’s efforts to have students reading at or above grade level by the third grade got a huge boost on March 10, when DonorsChoose.org launched a surprise “flash-funding” campaign to support teachers’ classroom projects.

Hundreds of HISD educators stand to benefit from the #BestSchoolDay campaign, as Houston Rocket Dwight Howard announced his intent to fund every Houston-area, Pre-K-through-grade-2 teacher’s existing DonorsChoose.org request for books or reading materials during an appearance he made on the Stephen Colbert Show Thursday night.

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