I am HISD: Brookline ES teacher secures outside support for Title I school

Ted Wills from Brookline ES (left) with Philip Ugalde, Regents Bank; Andrew Arizpe, Mutual of Omaha; and Doug Reinarz, Regents Bank, at an East End Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

Brookline Elementary School teacher Theodore Wills wears many hats. Just four years ago, he was working as a fourth-grade transitional reading teacher when Principal Marco Morales asked him to take charge of the library and become the school’s community-engagement and corporate-outreach point person. Wills has a background in fundraising, public relations, and volunteer management, and he went to work raising $100,000 for the school’s library. It took a while, but he reached his goal recently. 

What did you do first after you got the new job? 

Immediately, I began inviting speakers and organizations for school and after-school programming, including Literacy Advance of Houston, Volunteer Houston, Houston Ballet, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, University of Houston’s Graduate School of Education, FotoFest, iWrite, Houston Skyline Rotary Club, and Hahn Gallery. I wrote to groups and foundations like Houston CPAs Helping Schools for grants to enhance our ebook collection. I started networking at local professional events and cultivating new contacts on LinkedIn.  Continue reading

Business representatives get tips on tweaking sales styles to fit different personalities

Representatives from local businesses came together last week to get tips from Houston-area business builder and coach Ted Hair on how to increase their sales by tapping into a buyer’s personality.

Since the early 1900s, Hair said, a personality-based sales model has been used to teach salespeople how to identify and speak to different buyers by classifying them into one of four different categories —dominance, influence, steadiness, and compliance (DiSC).

“You’re not a salesperson,” Hair said, stressing the importance of identifying your buyer. “You’re a problem-solver.”

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Plan to rebuild Bellaire HS moving forward

The Houston Independent School District is moving forward with a plan to rebuild Bellaire High School at its current location on South Rice Boulevard and has formally submitted applications to the City of Bellaire for required permits and variances.

The first stop for the project proposal will be the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission on June 13, when the request for a Specific Use permit will be considered. In addition, the district is seeking variances from the Board of Adjustments that would allow construction of a building of approximately 434,000 square feet with up to four stories on some portions toward the interior of the site.

The Board of Adjustments meeting is June 15. If the Specific Use permit and variances are approved, the project then could head to the Bellaire City Council in August for a public hearing and final vote.

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School culture and climate focus of districtwide learning series

Leaders gather to learn about restorative justice, inclusive practices, and supporting all students

More than 1,500 school and district leaders are gathering this week at Kingdom Builders Center for HISD’s 2017 Professional Learning Series (PLS), which includes two days of development, collaboration, and learning that will set the priorities and vision for the upcoming 2017-2018 school year. The theme for this year’s PLS, “Support Every Child: Create a Culture and Climate for all Students,” emphasizes connections between a positive school culture and adult behaviors in schools. At PLS, school leaders will focus on how improving school culture and climate can reduce dropout rates, discipline issues, bullying, and other high-risk behaviors while supporting students to increase academic and behavioral performance.

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HISD Board of Education approves changes to 2017-2018 Code of Student Conduct

The Houston Independent School District Board of Education approved a proposal to update the 2017-2018 Code of Student Conduct.

Among the changes is a plan to offer alternatives in some cases to students who have been referred to the district’s Disciplinary Alternative Education Program (DAEP). Other changes include reclassifying the level of some non-statutory offenses and aligning the code with the district’s recently adopted policy banning suspensions in second grade and below. Continue reading

Thayer Hutcheson named new principal of Briargrove Elementary School

Thayer Hutcheson poses for a photograph, November 7, 2016. (Dave Einsel)Thayer Hutcheson has been selected as the new principal of Briargrove Elementary School. Hutcheson previously was a biology and AP psychology teacher at Westside High School and a Dean of Instruction at Worthing High School. Most recently, she served as the magnet academy principal at Heights High School, an International Baccalaureate World School. Thayer earned her bachelor’s degree in biology and psychology from Rhodes College and a master’s in Business Administration from Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business, with an emphasis in the Rice University Education Entrepreneurship Program (REEP). 

HISD names new Officer of Business Logistics & Transportation

Alexis Licata

Houston ISD Chief Operating Officer Brian Busby has selected Alexis Licata to be the district’s new Officer of Business Logistics & Transportation.

Licata has served as general manager of the Office of Business Assistance for nine years, where she was responsible for the district’s risk management, supplier diversity, and warehouse services. She began her career with HISD in 1998 as a member of the HISD Nutrition Services Department.

In her new role, Licata is responsible for about 1,600 employees and a $45 million budget across the areas of transportation, fleet operations, logistics (previously warehouse services), textbooks, risk management, furniture services and supplier diversity. Continue reading

U.N. visit highlights HISD newcomer school Las Americas

United Nations Deputy High Commissioner Kelly Clements was in Houston recently to discuss the global refugee crisis and explore how refugees are resettled in Houston with the support of agencies across the city, carving time out of her schedule to visit HISD’s Las Americas Newcomer School in southwest Houston.

Clements observed a few classrooms, spoke with refugee students, and met HISD Superintendent Richard Carranza. Clements works for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, a global organization dedicated to saving lives, protecting rights, and building a better future for refugees and stateless people. Also attending was former HISD Trustee Juliet Stipeche, now director of education for the city of Houston.  Continue reading

HISD Board of Education to consider changes to 2017-2018 Code of Student Conduct

The Houston Independent School District Board of Education will vote Thursday on a proposal to update the 2017-2018 Code of Student Conduct.

Among the proposed changes is a plan to offer alternatives in some cases to students who have been referred to the district’s Disciplinary Alternative Education Program (DAEP). Other proposed changes include reclassifying the level of some non-statutory offenses and aligning the code with the district’s recently adopted policy banning suspensions in second grade and below. Continue reading