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Sherman ES principal partners with local businesses to combat ‘summer slide’

2015 September 2
by HISD Communications

Sherman Elementary Principal Ben Hernandez knows all about the “summer slide” students face once the school year ends, and he decided to do something about it.

Principal PLS

Chief Financial Officer Ken Hewitt, left, presents Sherman Elementary Principal Ben Hernandez with the Excellence in Leadership Award during the Principals’ Meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2015.

Hernandez enlisted the help of local businesses to donate goods or money to help create a series of summer programs designed to keep his students in a learning mode. His efforts earned him the inaugural Excellence in Leadership Award, presented at the Sept. 2 principals’ meeting.

“My message has always been the same,” Hernandez said, noting that the average household income of the area surrounding Sherman Elementary is about $22,000 per year. “Particularly in neighborhoods like mine, our students face challenges bigger than the classroom. As educators, we need to reach out to partners in our community to find solutions that are bigger than the classroom.”

Hernandez secured about $100,000 worth of funding to provide summer-camp-style activities for Sherman students, which included trips to the Children’s Museum of Houston and the Houston Center for Photography. All the programs were designed to keep young minds active and engaged. He also found willing partners in his students’ parents.

“Parents saw this not as free child care, but as an opportunity to learn,” Hernandez said.

During the principals’ meeting, Chief Financial Officer Ken Huewitt praised Hernandez for going above and beyond the call of duty to ensure his students had access to resources that will help them remain on track.

“The things you’re doing at your school are definitely innovative, and we thank you,” Huewitt said.

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