Furr HS dedicates new building

A sea of red flooded the main entrance of Furr High School on Friday morning as the cheerleaders, Sparkle Dancers — dressed in red and white uniforms — and band pepped up the crowd in celebration of the school’s building dedication ceremony.

Music and chants echoed through the air, and lush trees and landscaping lined the length of the brightly colored 182,000-square-foot-building, offering an ornate backdrop to a long red ribbon stretched across the building’s main walkway.

“Close your eyes for a moment and imagine a high school that empowers students to tackle environmental injustice and becomes the central green hub of their community,” said Furr Interim Principal Rosa Hernandez to attendees. “Imagine spaces filled with student voices, trust, school spirit, and a flexible learning environment.” She pointed to the new building, saying “That’s what we have here.”

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HISD statement on Santa Fe High School shooting

HISD has released the following statement on the Santa Fe High School shooting:

The Houston Independent School District sends condolences to the entire Santa Fe ISD community. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of the students, staff, and families affected by this senseless tragedy. We offer our full support to Santa Fe ISD during this difficult time. The HISD Police Department has more than 200 officers assigned to schools and facilities across the district, and they work diligently every day to keep HISD students and staff safe. Today, the department is operating on high alert, and all available officers are on patrol. Additionally crisis counselors are available to students upon request.

Read more:
Letter to parents and community members
Letter to staff

HISD names chief of staff, chief human resources officer

Silvia Saenz Trinh

The Houston Independent School District is announcing two leadership promotions, naming Silvia Saenz Trinh as chief of staff and Julia Dimmitt as chief human resources officer.

Trinh, who previously served as director of Academic Services, has more than 20 years of experience in public schools. A native of El Salvador, she came to the U.S. at 10 years old, was enrolled at HISD’s Rusk Elementary School and later attended Jackson Middle School.

Trinh served as a bilingual teacher, ESL specialist, and assistant principal in surrounding districts before joining Team HISD, where she moved into principal positions at Gordon and Park Place elementary schools. She also served as director of Elementary Transformation Schools before moving into her current role.

“I am so honored to work alongside Ms. Trinh and to have her serving in this new role,” Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan said. “With her leadership, we were able to get 22 schools out of IR in one year. I know she will continue to support and promote efforts to improve student achievement.”

Julia Dimmitt

Trinh has a deep understanding of the needs of HISD students and the role education plays in breaking the cycle of poverty. She was inspired to serve as an educator after experiencing firsthand the challenges of learning a new language in a new country – and later witnessing students who were facing that same adversity.

“I knew from a very early age that education was the key to success,” Trinh said. “The road out of poverty goes right through our public schools.”

Trinh earned her bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Houston and has received multiple awards for her work, including Fort Bend ISD’s Bilingual Teacher of the Year Award and the National Excellence in Urban Education Award from the National Center for Urban School Transformation. She was featured in the U.S. Department of Education publication “K-8 Charter Schools: Closing the Achievement Gap.” Trinh was also selected by the TEA to take part in a best practices case study for her work at Park Place Elementary School. Continue reading

HISD parent in viral law school graduation photo to speak at inaugural Cornelius ES Career Day

Ieshia Champs, a single mother of five whose law school graduation picture went viral on social media, will be a featured speaker at Cornelius Elementary School’s inaugural Career Day.  Three of Champs’ children attend Cornelius Elementary.

The event will take place Friday, May 18, 2018 on the Cornelius campus (7475 Westover, Houston, 77087) from 8:30 to 10 a.m.

The recent Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law graduate gained notoriety after a photo of her dressed in her cap and gown surrounded by all five of her children was shared hundreds of thousands of times on social media.

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HISD planning for possible May 2019 bond referendum to strengthen security across district

The Houston Independent School District is beginning to plan for a possible May 2019 bond referendum as part of a strategic capital plan designed to rebuild schools and strengthen security at campuses throughout the district.

Board of Education trustees were briefed at their May 17 workshop about the recommendation currently under consideration for the possible referendum. It places a strong emphasis on safety and security.

“The safety and security of our students and staff is absolutely paramount, which is why we believe it should play a major role in any potential bond program going forward,” HISD Chief Operating Officer Brian Busby said. “Our students and teachers need and deserve safe, secure learning environments that allow them to thrive. Our goal is to provide that to them.” Continue reading

Sharpstown HS officer puts focus on community outreach

Each school day at the heart of Sharpstown High School is a bubbly campus officer whose contagious smile and positive attitude reflects on the students she waves to.

“Hey Michelle. How did you do on your test?” Community Outreach Officer Vanessa Losey says as she greets students walking between classes. “Hi ’mijo,’” — Spanish for son — “How are you doing?”

Though small in stature, Losey is known for her rapid walking pace, which, according to Sharpstown students, no one can keep up with. Every day, Losey can be found rushing between corridors and classrooms with four noisy radios in tow as she heads to her next post or assignment. Continue reading

HISD to celebrate teachers, principals in royal fashion at annual Educators of the Year banquet  

The Houston Independent School District will honor its teachers and principals at a royal-themed Educators of the Year banquet at 6 p.m. on Friday, May 17 at the Hilton Americas Hotel (1600 Lamar St., Houston, 77010).

During the banquet, the district will announce its 2017-2018 Elementary and Secondary Teachers of the Year, as well as the recipients of the Beginning Teacher of the Year honors for elementary, middle, and high school. The Fan Favorite Teacher, who was selected by survey, also will be announced. Additionally, the district will recognize the teachers of the year from all HISD campuses.

Both winners of Elementary and Secondary Teacher of the Year each will be surprised with a fully loaded 2018 Hyundai Genesis at the end of the program. The teachers will be able to drive the cars for the entire summer, courtesy of Sterling McCall VIP Services.

Employee bidding farewell after 45 years with Nutrition Services

Nutrition Services’ longest serving employee, go-to historian, and source of knowledge for all things food services is retiring in a few short weeks, after 45 years of service.

Charlotte Blocker serves as the executive administrative assistant to Nutrition Services Officer Betti Wiggins and is known for her positive attitude, witty humor, and friendly demeanor.

“It doesn’t seem like I’ve been here that long,” Blocker said. Continue reading

HSPVA recognizes teacher for Outstanding Teacher of the Humanities Award 

Three HISD teachers are recognized by Humanities Texas

The High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (HSPVA) recognized world geography teacher Jennifer Chase for being a winner of the Outstanding Teaching of the Humanities Award by Humanities Texas—the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The Outstanding Teaching of the Humanities Award recognizes eleven teachers annually for their exemplary K-12 humanities curriculum.

“Whether working with her world geography classes, collaborating with the National Honor Society members, or spending extra time tutoring a struggling student, Jennifer is always doing what is best for the students,” HSPVA Principal R. Scott Allen said. “She is one of the most talented and engaging teachers I have had the opportunity to work with in my 26 years of education.”  Continue reading

Driving HISD school bus is a calling for 30-year veteran

Before Houston Independent School District students can grab school breakfast to fuel their learning or pull out books and laptops to begin class, one crucial thing must happen to start the day.

They must arrive at school safely. That’s where Norma Garcia comes in.

A veteran bus driver with more than 30 years of experience, Garcia first started in HISD 23 years ago. She currently drives routes that service High School for the Performing and Visual Arts and DeBakey High School for Health Professions.   Continue reading