Board of Education approves key component of literacy plan

The Houston Independent School District Board of Education unanimously approved $8.5M to be spent with Scholastic, Inc. to provide HISD’s students access to high-quality, leveled text.

As a part of the HISD Literacy By 3 plan, this purchase supports the district’s goal that every HISD student reads proficiently by the end of third-grade. HISD is seeking to transform reading instruction through a systematic approach to teaching reading in grades K-3.  This includes three key components:

  • Guided reading:  Students will engage in daily small group reading instruction with text at their instructional level, with the goal of rapidly moving students to their next independent reading level.  Guided reading benefits both struggling, on level, and advanced students.
  • Independent reading:  Students will engage in daily independent reading at their level to practice skills and build stamina.
  • Read-alouds:  Students will engage in teacher-facilitated read-alouds to think critically about literature, articulate and support ideas about books, and build comprehension of fiction and non-fiction text.

“Our literacy initiative is not just about offering new training for our teachers and specialists, but it is about uniform standards and accountability,” said HISD Chief Academic Officer Dan Gohl. “It also includes giving students more opportunities to practice reading at home and in the classroom. These leveled-libraries will allow teachers to have books readily available at variety of reading levels, allowing them to meet the needs of each of their students.”

Implementation of Literacy By 3 will begin this summer with the designation and training of a “literacy leader” for each campus – a designated teacher, counselor, or assistant principal who will support and monitor classroom and volunteer literacy programs.

Board votes to increase 2014-2015 classroom spending levels

The Board of Education also voted Thursday to increase funding per-student level by $61 for the upcoming school year. The vote passed 5-4 with Wanda Adams, Rhonda Skillern-Jones, Manuel Rodriguez, Paula Harris and Greg Meyers in support. Next year, HISD classrooms will be funded at $3,439 per elementary student, $3,464 per middle school student, and $3,428 per high school student. Much of the increase – $26 – is one-time and trustees indicated it should not be used to fund personnel costs. The Board of Education will continue to discuss the 2014-2015 budget in several upcoming public meetings and hearings before adopting a budget in June.

The board’s regular monthly meeting was held at 5 p.m. on Thursday, May 8, in the board auditorium of the Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center, 4400 W. 18th St. For the full copy of the board meeting agenda, click here, and watch the meeting at