Walnut Bend ES teacher named November Teacher of the Month

Fifth-grade language arts and social studies teacher Molly Lashway thought she was finishing up a conference with her principal when she saw a parade of decorated vehicles coming around the corner outside.

As cars covered in colorful balloons and streamers rolled past to the sound of happy music, Walnut Bend Elementary School Principal Michele Dahlquist revealed to Lashway that she had been named the district’s November Teacher of the Month.

“I had no idea that this was happening this morning,” Lashway said. “I’m just glad I didn’t come to school dressed like a pilgrim today, because that was something that I considered for the day before Thanksgiving Break. But I’m really grateful for all of this.”

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Celebrate 12 Days of Code with a variety of coding exercises for every grade level

HISD is inviting all students to celebrate the 12 Days of Code in December with interactive calendars that allow them to engage in a new coding experience every day.  

Coding helps students solve problems, use logic, and think creatively, and it gives them a foundation for success in 21st-century careers. The activities in these three calendars for elementary, middle, and high school include Block-based coding, Python, and JavaScript, developing skills in computational thinking, sequences, loops, and debugging programs. 

Activities are made fun and engaging incorporating characters from StarWars, Frozen, and the Grinch with music from some of the industry’s top artists.  To access the 12 Days of Code calendar of activities, go to HoustonISD.org/12DaysofCode

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First virtual Dream Summit series event puts students on path to college

HISD kicked off the district’s Dream Summit Series on Thursday with the “Launch the Dream” virtual event, which was filled with information to help students take the necessary actions and steps to make their college aspirations a reality.

The HISD Office of College and Career Readiness and Multilingual Programs DREAM Summit annual event, which is held each year to aid HISD DREAMers, DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipients, visa holders, permanent residents, refugees, and asylum grantees, along with their families, was adapted into a series of virtual events giving more students a chance to make their college dreams come true.

Chief Strategy & Innovation Officer Rick Cruz welcomed students and their families to the virtual event applauding them for their commitment to the future.

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Student winners of 2020 holiday greeting card competition announced

In a virtual ceremony with participants, HISD Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan on Wednesday unveiled the winners of its annual holiday greeting card student art competition from nearly 100 entries across the district.

“This event presents a special opportunity for the district to share our students’ artwork with the greater community,” Lathan said. “It is my pleasure to help showcase the work of our student artists and the fantastic work our fine arts teachers are doing to cultivate these talents across the district.”

The winners for 2020 – fifth-grader Ediel Chávez of Crespo Elementary School, seventh-grader Michell García of Wharton Dual Language Academy, and senior Viviana Pérez of Sam Houston MSTC – were among 18 finalists from elementary, middle, and high schools. All finalists received a boxed set of their holiday cards. The winners received gifts from sponsors Raising Canes, Jerry’s Artarama and the Glassel School of Art. All finalist holiday card designs will be available online for purchase.

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Madison HS teacher honored for work in health, physical education

Madison High School teacher Paula Ceaser has been awarded the 2020 K-12 Health Education Teacher of the Year by the Texas Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (TAHPERD).

The award is in recognition of “excellence and leadership in the HPERD profession for demonstrating leadership, achieving excellence, and being an outstanding representative of the teaching profession.”

Ceaser has taught physical education at Madison for 12 years and serves as a department chair and a lead teacher for HISD, helping to shape curriculum for health and physical education across the district. Ceaser said her role has allowed her to bring new opportunities and ideas to her students, from archery and fishing to participation in a grant with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to promote adolescent health initiatives.

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HISD Gifted and Talented director named 2020 GT Administrator of the Year

HISD Director of Gifted and Talented Education Tia Locke-Simmons has been named the 2020 GT Administrator of the year by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented.

The honor will be presented at the virtual INSPIRE: TAGT Awards Celebration during giftED20, the TAGT Annual Conference, in December.

The award recognizes service, contribution, and commitment to gifted education, and administrators who are working to advance the world of gifted education.

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HISD now recruiting associate teachers

The Houston Independent School District is actively recruiting associate (substitute) teachers.

Associate teachers play a vital role in student learning by helping continue campus efficiency when a teacher is absent.

Because HISD is the largest and the most diverse district in Texas, associate teachers will have the opportunity to work with students from many different cultural backgrounds and network with exceptional principals and teachers.

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Special Education Fall Virtual Parent Summit set for Dec. 12

The Houston Independent School District will hold its 2020 Special Education Fall Virtual Parent Summit on Saturday, Dec. 12, providing parents with the opportunity to meet with Special Education professionals and attend online learning sessions.

This event serves as an opportunity for HISD to better support families and empowers them to be a partner in their child’s education. The theme of the event is “Supporting Educational Success During a Pandemic” and will address topics such as transition, instruction, compliance, and evaluation.

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Police Department’s CORE team to promote relational policing

To shed the negative image that often comes with wearing a badge, HISD Police Chief Pedro Lopez Jr. is following the lead of police chiefs nationwide to bring relational policing into HISD classrooms and neighborhoods.

That idea, along with a recent significant boost in department funding, paved the way for the district’s new police community outreach team CORE (Community Outreach Responsive Engagement).

“We are determined to go out into the communities, build back those relationships and bridge that gap that has increasingly widened with what has been happening throughout the country,” said HISD Police Officer Steven Bennett, who is one of the six officers serving on the CORE team. “We just want to get out there and do everything we can to repair this relationship between the community and law enforcement.”

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