Houston MSTC celebrates grand opening at homecoming pep rally

The school spirit was palpable as the Sam Houston Math, Science, and Technology Center Mighty Tiger Marching Band played crowd-pumping music and the Tigerettes danced in fringed gold leotards with big bows fastened to their ponytails. 

The performances were part of the school’s homecoming week festivities, which included a pep rally-style grand opening held to celebrate the new school and the impact it’s had on students, staff, and the community.  

“Transitioning to this building has been a new beginning for everyone,” Sam Houston MSTC Senior Deann Mendoza said, noting that the new school changed her classmates’ attitudes. “The atmosphere here is different in a good way.” 

Built as part of the 2012 Bond Program, the new Sam Houston opened to students in January 2019. The 360,000 square-foot facility can accommodate up to 2,750 students. 

Designed to have a collegiate feel, the school features meeting areas to facilitate project-based learning, a large outdoor courtyard, and a fine arts wing with an 800-seat auditorium and black box theater.  

The building also includes a grand learning stairway, which functions as a flexible space for students to gather informally and for class lectures and presentations. 

“We are deeply grateful for those who voted for the 2012 Bond,” Sam Houston Principal Alan Summers said. “Thank you very much for investing in our future.” 

HISD Interim Superintendent Dr. Grenita Lathan noted that Sam Houston is one of the oldest high schools in the state and steeped in history — former president Lyndon B. Johnson taught public speaking at the school in the 1930s.  

“This new school should fill everyone with pride,” Lathan said. “It will serve as the start of Sam Houston’s next chapter.” 

HISD Board of Education Trustee Elizabeth Santos, a former Sam Houston student and teacher, encouraged seniors to remain active participants after graduation. 

“Stay involved and give back to your community,” Santos said.  

Also during the event, U.S. Rep. Sylvia Garcia presented the school with a U.S. flag flown over the Capitol on Independence Day. 

Follow @Build_HISD on Twitter for the latest updates on the 2012 Bond Program and school construction across the district.

Students weigh career options at HISD’s Ready to Work Career Fair

Students interested in learning about career training programs and other career opportunities packed the HISD Educational Learning Center on Tuesday for the district’s second annual Ready to Work Career Fair hosted by HISD’s College and Career Readiness Department.  

The Ready to Work Career Fair gave more than 700 HISD seniors from 30 high schools the opportunity to explore different career options through hands-on experiences and information sessions.  

“What is so cool about today’s event is that it gives our students a chance to learn about career training programs,” Assistant Superintendent for College Readiness David Johnston said. “This is a special opportunity for those students who want to go and obtain a certificate or enter a workforce program.” 

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Lewis ES lead teacher named Teacher of the Month

Fourth-grade math and science teacher Christine Velasquez didn’t stop her lesson on double-digit multiplication when Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan made a classroom visit to surprise her as the Sterling McCall VIP Services Teacher of the Month for November.   

“Mrs. Velasquez has been crucial in the turnaround at Lewis,” Principal Jorge Rodriguez said. “Her work ethic can be described as an undeniable dedication in providing the best educational experiences and opportunities for all students at the campus.” 

What was thought to be a classroom observation on Tuesday quickly evolved into a celebration as district and campus administrators, followed by the campus’ very own mariachi band filled the space to honor the lead teacher with the district’s monthly award. 

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Two HISD campuses make Newsweek list of best STEM high schools in the nation

The Houston Independent School District’s DeBakey High School for Health Professions and Carnegie Vanguard High School have been named to Newsweek magazine’s list of best science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) high schools in the nation.  

DeBakey ranked 23rd on the list of the top 500 schools, and Carnegie Vanguard ranked 308th. Newsweek’s list was compiled in partnership with STEM.org, a national education research and credentialing organization. 

“I am extremely proud of these two exemplary HISD campuses, which have an impressive history of high achievements,” HISD Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan said. “The students, staff, and parents at DeBakey and Carnegie continually make us proud, and I congratulate them for once again receiving well-deserved accolades on a national level.” 

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HISD Direct Digital Control team keeps HVAC systems going

When the air conditioning at Atherton Elementary School was running after hours, Direct Digital Control Field Technician Dustin Agnew headed to the campus to find out why.   

Agnew first checked the master control panel and the variable-frequency drives, making sure everything was set to “auto.” He then went outside to inspect the chillers and quickly found the problem — both were running, but only one was supposed to be on.  

“I enjoy figuring out what’s wrong, because it could be so many different elements,” he said. 

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HISD unveils student winners of 2019 holiday greeting card competition

The Houston Independent School District announced the winners of the district’s 2019 holiday greeting card competition on Friday, featuring creative student artwork highlighting family holiday traditions, seasonal decorations, and classic holiday songs.

“I want to thank all the students who participated for sharing and opening up your world to us,” HISD Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan said during the annual unveiling ceremony. “I hope you’ve enjoyed this experience, and I hope we will be able to provide you additional experiences throughout your school career.”

The winners – fifth-grader Edward Lopez of Neff Elementary School, eighth-grader Josiah Rajesh of Baylor College of Medicine Academy at Ryan, and senior Mariangela Rodriguez of Lamar High School – were among 17 finalists from elementary, middle, and high schools. All finalists received a boxed set of their holiday cards. Their holiday cards also will be available for purchase and on display at the HISD administration building.

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HISD students participate in National School Lunch Week jingle contest

Elementary and middle school students have been busy creating lively videos for Nutrition Services’ National School Lunch Week jingle contest. 

Students were asked to compose a short jingle or rap about the importance of making healthy food choices. The contest was developed in honor of National School Lunch Week, which was held Oct. 14-18.  

This year, the theme — What’s on Your Playlist? — highlighted the variety of flavors and dishes offered in today’s school lunch.  

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TEA to host meetings on Board of Managers process

The Texas Education Agency will host a series of community meetings to provide information regarding the board of managers process. Community members are invited to come and learn more and ask questions about the process.

Additionally, for an application to serve on the Board of Managers, click here.

The scheduled meetings are as follows:

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Applications for EMERGE open on Nov. 12

Sophomore students who want to explore in-state and out-of-state college options and would like to work with a mentor to create a competitive college application, should apply to be an EMERGE fellow. 

Applications open Tuesday, Nov. 12 and are due on Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019. 

The application is available at HoustonISD.org/EMERGE

EMERGE empowers and prepares high-performing students from underserved communities to attend and graduate from top colleges and universities across the nation. These institutions offer substantial financial-aid packages to students. 

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Ascending to Men Project to host roundtable discussion with students, community leaders

The Houston Independent School District’s Ascending to Men (ATM) Project will host simultaneous roundtable discussions next week with students and community leaders to foster dialogue centered around issues impacting today’s male students. 

The discussions will take place from 6 – 8 p.m., on Wednesday, Nov. 13, at both Furr and Sharpstown high schools. Participants will discuss challenges for male students in the district, while sharing sustainable solutions to those challenges.  

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