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Home Field Advantage isn’t just for sports

2014 September 18
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by HISD Communications

I’m not sure there’s any scientific evidence to support whether a home field advantage improves the overall performance of a sports team — but we know the concept works with youngsters and their education.

If a child is moved more than three times before the eighth grade, research shows that they are four times more likely to drop out of school.

Creating stability is why we’ve enacted the Home Field Advantage program in HISD this year, at 13 of our elementary schools with the most mobile populations. About a third of these children are moved each school year, most of them for the most understandable of reasons: money. Parents take advantage of tantalizing deals that offer free apartment rent, and they don’t always make sure that their new address is zoned to their current school. read more…

HISD’s firm stand: bullying won’t be tolerated anywhere, including the workplace

2014 September 11
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by HISD Communications

Bullying is something we work tirelessly to prevent among our children, in our classrooms, playgrounds and playing fields, and now even in cyberspace. We know the effects: fear, distraction, loss of confidence, depression, and even suicide in the saddest cases.

But the reality is that bullying and its impact is an issue at all ages and places — and we’re proud to have taken a strong stand in HISD last month to eliminate workplace bullying. In fact, as the first school district in the U.S. to adopt an anti-bullying policy for all our employees, we’re receiving national attention this week.

read more…

Share your time to change a child’s life through reading

2014 September 4
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by HISD Communications

Every day in HISD, there’s evidence of the generosity of the city we live in — community partners who help spruce up our facilities, honor our educators, and provide greatly needed donations of basic items that many of our youngsters simply can’t afford, such as school supplies.

We’re grateful for every kindness, but there’s something truly special about the gift of time — those people who are willing to invest personal attention to make a difference in the lives of our children.

Today, we launched an effort that is calling on the community to change the lives of 4,000 of our first-graders who simply need someone each week to read with them, read to them, and instill in them the love for reading. read more…

You’re never too old to find joy in the first day of school

2014 August 28
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by HISD Communications

The first day of school never ceases to thrill me. There can be a bit of that “Groundhog Day” feel to it, with the same scenes playing over and over again (cue the crying child, clinging to his mother). But there’s always plenty that’s fresh and new.

Monday’s return to school throughout HISD combined both aspects. I was lucky enough to visit five schools on three campuses. No, I haven’t forgotten my math — you read that right.

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Blasting off to 2014-2015 with new initiatives

2014 August 21
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by HISD Communications

For the past couple weeks, our web team has been running a “countdown” of the top 10 new programs and initiatives in HISD. The truth is they had to whittle down their list to just 10. There’s a lot happening in the district in 2014-2015 in our classrooms and in cyberspace to personalize learning, emphasize both college and career preparation, and engage families.

Everyone – families, older students, and staff — will be able to take advantage of one of our new communications initiatives. On Sept. 9, if you sign up, you’ll be able to get emergency notifications from HISD on your cell phone. This enables us to tell you immediately about everything from weather warnings and school cancellations to burst pipes and stranger dangers. read more…

Living in a digital world requires technical skill, cybercitizenship

2014 August 13
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by HISD Communications

“Digital transformation” is one of the keys to HISD’s vision of changing the way we teach and how our children learn in a more personalized way. Last year, as part of our PowerUp one-to-one initiative, we put 18,000 laptop computers in the hands of high school students on 11 campuses, and we’re adding another 21 campuses this year, with the remainder following next year.

But we’re not just teaching youngsters about machines and coding: they’re learning just as much about the responsibility that comes with the freedom that the digital age allows. And we’ve taken a major step in our efforts this week with the launch of a vast cybersafety website, aimed equally at students, parents, and educators. read more…

This is HISD’s Future(s): Blending learning and careers

2014 August 7
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by HISD Communications

This is a big week for HISD’s five Futures Academies. After only two years in existence, they are graduating 84 students who wisely used their high school years to earn associate’s degrees or workforce certifications from Houston Community College in addition to their diplomas.

This is impressive: Futures graduates from Booker T. Washington High School are skilled in manufacturing engineering. Those from Furr have been schooled in engineering technology, and those from Kashmere, in process technology. Scarborough grads can pursue network and computer administration, and Sterling’s grads have a great foundation in logistics and global supply.

By committing to attending school during summers these past two years, Futures grads have gotten a remarkable jump on higher education or careers, with up to 30 college credits or important job skills and certificates, beyond their diplomas. read more…

Teachers ready to make magic in the classroom

2014 July 30
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by HISD Communications

HISD’s pledge to put an “Effective Teacher in Every Classroom” becomes vivid at this time of year as we sponsor our New Teacher Academy. We put faces on our vigorous efforts to recruit the most committed and energetic educators to shape the futures of our youngsters, and get our first up-close exposure to the spirit they bring to our campuses.

Probably no single function in this district is as important as hiring, training, and nurturing our teachers. Teaching ceased being simply about mastery of subject matter a long time ago. But will our new teachers embrace our 21st century technology and use it wisely and creatively with their students? Are they prepared to personalize each youngster’s learning experience to make sure they reach their potential? Are they willing to share their own experiences and life stories to connect to students? read more…

In summer, the real world becomes our classroom

2014 July 23
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by HISD Communications

We’ve been stepping up our programs in HISD to connect what students learn in the classroom to the real world, and this summer is providing rich opportunities for both teachers and students to stretch their imaginations and build new skill sets off-campus.

Our Linked Learning approach, which is about to go into effect at eight high schools and their feeder campuses, placed a number of teachers in “externships” in recent weeks. Teachers from Reagan High School, which will offer a Health Science pathway, explored departments at Memorial Hermann Hospital, while other instructors visited relevant workplaces in construction and environmental sustainability. read more…

Shaping our grads into learners, thinkers, doers

2014 July 16
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by HISD Communications

In our complex world, it’s not enough for educators merely to lead students through a set of graduation requirements. Our students’ lives don’t end with a diploma, and neither does our obligation to prepare them for life beyond high school.

And so, as part of the launch of our new Linked Learning approach blending academics with preparation for life, we’re going through a fascinating exercise to create a profile of an ideal graduate — one who is ready to move on to higher education, career, family, and community life with knowledge, depth, and integrity. read more…