Facilities Services thanks its “lucky stars” during welcome back ceremony

Houston Independent School District’s Facility Services rolled out the red carpet for employees on Wednesday during a Hollywood-themed Welcome Back event designed to recognize workers for their outstanding performance.

Several hundred Facilities Services employees packed the bleachers of Barnett Fieldhouse to learn about new changes for the coming school year, including the development of new departmental values. Employees received surveys during the event to provide input on the values that are most important to them, as well as feedback on ways to improve the workplace culture and environment.

“Each of you is important,” Facility Services Officer Alisha Jolivette said as she addressed the crowd. “You have an impact on student education.”

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Grand opening celebration for new Milby HS set for Thursday

Construction at Milby High School, June 21, 2017. (Dave Einsel/Houston ISD)

Milby High School will host a grand opening on Thursday at 5 p.m. to celebrate the completion of its new facility, which was rebuilt as part of the Houston Independent School District’s 2012 Bond Program.

The three-story, $79 million project is a combination of new construction and renovation that preserves the historical front facade while creating a modern learning environment for 2,000 students.

The historic, front-facing main building has been transformed into a bright, open student-union-style space with a dining commons, learning commons, and floor-to-ceiling windows looking out onto a large courtyard. Continue reading

HISD Board President Wanda Adams to host 4th annual back-to-school haircut event

Adams partners with community to help students with free haircuts, supplies for new school year

HISD Board of Education President Trustee Wanda Adams of District IX, along with Kut N Zone Barber Shop and Diamonds and Pearls Mothers, will host a special back-to-school event on Sunday with free haircuts, school uniforms, backpacks, food, fun and other giveaways.

The fourth annual event will be held at Kut N Zone Barber Shop (2919 Westridge 77054) from 3 to 7 p.m. The event is sponsored by HISD, Houston Health Department, Kut N Zone Barber Shop, and a long list of other sponsors. For more information, call 713-412-0707.

Achieve 180 kicks off with back-to-school events 

Back-to-school events aimed at strengthening partnerships with parents and community   

Schools included in HISD’s Achieve 180 initiative are kicking off the 2017-2018 school year for their parents, students, and communities surrounding their campuses with everything from dance parties and parades to free school supplies, immunizations, and dental care.

Thirty-two schools are included in Achieve 180, a new district initiative launching during the 2017-2018 school year to support, strengthen, and empower underserved and underperforming HISD schools. A key component of the research-based initiative is family and community empowerment.   Continue reading

Enrique Cruz named new principal of Cunningham Elementary

Enrique Cruz (Houston Independent School District)Enrique Cruz has been appointed principal of Cunningham Elementary School. Cruz has been an educator for 22 years, serving HISD as a first-grade bilingual teacher, literacy coach, and assistant principal. He also served as a reading technical assistant specialist with the University of Texas. Cruz began his career at Brookline Elementary School and served as assistant principal at Southmayd Elementary, Marshal Middle, and most recently R.P. Harris Elementary. He is a graduate of the district’s High School for Law Enforcement. Cruz has a bachelor’s degree from Texas Southern University and a master’s degree from University of St. Thomas.

Rita Sotelo named new principal of Clemente Martinez Elementary

Rita Sotelo (Houston Independent School District)Rita Sotelo has been named the principal of C. Martinez Elementary School. Sotelo began her career with HISD as an English Language Arts and reading teacher at Ninth Grade College Preparatory Academy (now closed) and later Eastwood Academy. She was an instructional leader at Westbury High School before becoming principal of Bluebonnet Elementary School in Lockhart ISD and East Montana Middle School in Clint ISD. Most recently, Sotelo served as an assistant principal at Chavez High School. She attended Rogers Elementary, Hogg Middle, and Reagan (now Heights) High schools. She has a bachelor of arts in mass communication and Spanish from Texas State University and a master of education in administration from Concordia University Texas.

Register today for HISD’s Special Education Parent Summit

HISD Board of Education President Wanda Adams and the Special Education Board Ad Hoc Committee invite parents to a Special Education Parent Summit at Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center, where experts from HISD and across the nation will be on hand for informational sessions and to help parents support their child’s learning.

Parents are asked to register for the summit, which is Saturday, Sept. 16 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The theme of the summit is “Your Voice, Our Commitment,” and parents can attend sessions on health, study skills, inclusion, job training, the special education process, and more, as well as speak with administration staff, participate in health screenings, and enjoy food and child care. Continue reading

More HISD schools meet tougher state standards for 2016-2017

The number of Houston ISD schools meeting state standards is now the highest it has ever been under Texas’ tougher new accountability system that was introduced in 2012.

According to ratings released today by the Texas Education Agency, 90 percent of HISD schools rated (251 out of 278) earned a “met standard” rating for the 2016-2017 school year.  At the same time, 11 fewer schools received an “improvement required” rating.  HISD earned a “met standard” district rating.

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HISD trustees appoint José Leal to fill District III seat until special election in November

The Houston ISD Board of Education voted to appoint José Leal to fill the seat left vacant after the death of longtime District III Trustee Manuel Rodríguez Jr last month. Board members chose Leal unanimously during a special meeting Monday afternoon.

Leal has more than 20 years of classroom experience. His career with HISD started in 1981, when he worked in operations and maintenance. He has worked as a bilingual teacher at Pugh Elementary School, a counselor and dean of students at Hamilton Middle School, and an assistant principal at Wheatley High School. He has also been a dean of students at Meyerland Middle School, assistant principal at North Forest High School, and a counselor at YES Prep Northbrook. He is currently a special education teacher at Houston Can Academies.

“Jose Leal was the only candidate who met the caretaker qualifications the board was looking for in this temporary appointment,” Board President Wanda Adams said. “The board would like to thank the other candidates who wanted to volunteer their time.”

Leal will be sworn in on Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017, and will serve at the Board of Education’s next monthly meeting on Sept. 14, 2017. He will serve until a special election is called by the board at its monthly meeting on Aug. 10. That special election will be held Nov. 7.

Get an up close and personal look at district construction progress

High School for Law and Justice

Want an up close and personal look at the construction underway at 2012 Bond schools throughout the district? It’s now just a couple of clicks away. Follow the progress from the comfort of your own home thanks to cameras that have been installed at several bond schools.

The cameras, which are mounted on a pole or roof of a taller adjacent building, capture an image once every 15 minutes — 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Go online and view individual images or check out a time-lapse video and watch as the building comes together. The views also can be zoomed into and panned for more detail. Continue reading