Report: Miles Ahead Scholars program shows overwhelming promise for student achievement

Less than a year ago, 60 ninth- and 10th-grade boys walked across Worthing High School’s cafeteria stage, signifying their acceptance into the inaugural class of HISD’s Miles Ahead Scholars (MAS) program.

Now, just 10 months after that moving induction ceremony, a new evaluation conducted by the district’s Research and Accountability Department showcases the positive academic and socioemotional impacts the program has had on its first cohort. The full report can be found here.

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Most Curbside Summer Meals sites temporarily close for two weeks beginning Friday, July 3

The Houston Independent School District is temporarily closing most Curbside Summer Meals sites beginning Friday, July 3, due to guidance from public health officials and rising numbers of COVID-19 cases throughout the city.

Five strategically located sites offering both Curbside Summer Meals and the Houston Food Bank’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program — which provides families with 30-pound boxes of produce — will remain open.

Those sites are Sam Houston Math, Science, and Technology Center, Revere Middle School, and Kashmere, Chavez, and Milby high schools.

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No access to HISD schools, facilities from July 3-19 due to increasing COVID-19 cases across Houston

The Houston Independent School District is restricting access to all district schools and facilities from Friday, July 3 through Sunday, July 19, in response to public health guidance and an increasing number of COVID-19 cases throughout the city.

All summer athletic practices and in-person summer school sessions are canceled. HISD students will be allowed to keep laptops until the fall rather than return them to campus, eliminating the need to bring additional staff and families on site.

The district continues to operate virtually and will continue to provide educational and related services during this disruption of normal district operations.  Employees reporting to a location as a part of their assigned duties will continue to practice social distancing and wear appropriate personal protective equipment in accordance with district policy and public health guidelines.  The Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center will remain open for limited purposes.

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Fresh Bus produce delivery program set to end this week

The Fresh Bus produce delivery program will come to an end this week as the grant provided by the Texas Department of Agriculture Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Program has concluded.

Final produce deliveries scheduled for Thursday are canceled due to inclement weather.

Families in need are encouraged to visit one of the district’s Curbside Summer Meals sites, where they  can pick up several days’ worth of student meals on Mondays and Thursdays.

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Delayed opening for four schools being rebuilt due to damage from Hurricane Harvey

The four elementary schools being rebuilt as a result of Hurricane Harvey are now scheduled to open in August 2020 — a three-month delay caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kolter, Braeburn, Mitchell, and Scarborough elementary schools were originally scheduled to open in June 2020.

HISD Construction Services Officer Derrick Sanders said the new timeline is a result of manpower shortages caused by mandated social distancing requirements due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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HISD students earn study abroad scholarships during inaugural Global Issues Summit

Two HISD students earned study abroad scholarships after delivering inspiring speeches during the district’s inaugural virtual HISD Global Issues Summit and speech competition.

Ritika Gupta, an eighth-grader at Lanier Middle School gave a passionate speech about gender equality, and Nusaibah Arif, a junior at Sharpstown International High School, showcased Houston’s diversity by delivering her speech in Bengali about the Bengali Language Movement. These two students will receive a full scholarship to study abroad – when global travel safely resumes – from HISD Abroad partners, The Puranik Foundation and Amigos de las Américas.

The two HISD students had their voices amplified by UNICEF USA, who announced the winners and included their speeches in an article published on the UNICEF USA website.

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HISD eligible for COVID-19 relief funds under the CARES Act

In March 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, also known as the CARES Act, was signed into law. The bill dedicated $13.2 billion for K-12 schools through the Elementary and Secondary School Education Relief Fund (ESSERF). HISD is eligible to apply for ESSERF grant funds under the CARES Act.

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) has released the entitlements for HISD under the CARES Act, ESSERF. These are not additional funds to HISD, they are being used to offset the loss of average daily attendance (ADA) through the Foundation School Program (FSP) under Texas school finance.

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Bellaire HS construction surpasses halfway mark

Construction at Bellaire High School is now more than 50 percent complete, with the new school expected to be ready for students this time next year.

Crews have installed the roof structure for the new building, which includes wings for academics, fine arts, and physical education. The academic wing is now closed in and air-conditioned, with construction crews currently working on the finishing touches, including tiling and flooring.

Crews also are working on overhead construction in the auditorium high ceilings, digging out the pool and diving well, and construction of the interior walls in the athletics area. Air conditioning is expected to be flowing through the entire building by the end of July.

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Construction continues on 2012 Bond realignment projects

Although the Houston Independent School District is closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, construction work has continued on several 2012 Bond realignment projects across the district.

Realignment projects are new, board-approved projects that were not part of the original scope of work but are funded by surplus bond funds. The projects include natatoriums at Milby, Washington, and Yates high schools, Westbury High School’s fine arts wing, and Sharpstown International School’s dining canopy.

Milby’s natatorium is 98 percent complete. Construction Services is coordinating with HISD Technology and HISD Security Maintenance for remaining minor work. The pool will be ready for the 2020-2021 school year.

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A special message from Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan

Following a statewide call on Tuesday between school district superintendents and Commissioner of Education Mike Morath, I wanted to provide an update on plans for the 2020-2021 school year – which remain to be finalized.

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, the situation remains fluid as we try to determine next steps on what the school year will look like. During his presentation, the commissioner emphasized that the Texas Education Agency (TEA) is working with Gov. Greg Abbott’s medical advisors to establish public health guidance for school districts. While preliminary information has been provided by TEA, final guidance will not be available until mid-July.

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