Superintendent to welcome students back to school

Of the nearly 211,000 HISD students gearing up for the start of school on Aug. 25, several thousand will start their journey to become fully bilingual and biliterate, enrolling in a dual-language program at 32 schools across Houston Independent School District.

“The first day of school is one of my favorite times of the year,” HISD Superintendent Terry Grier said. “Take a quick walk around a campus and you will see everyone happy, smiling and excited to get back to school — back to learning.”

Grier and members of the HISD Board of Education will visit with students, teachers, and principals at Shearn Elementary School to welcome them to back to school.

“This year we have expanded our dual-language programs to offer more students the chance to learn a second language very early in their education,” Grier said. “We’ve seen the benefits of this program and are excited to be able to see schools add the model to their academic offerings.”

This fall, HISD is expanding its dual-language offerings to an additional 14 elementary campuses. The district also has a plan in place to make a language program available to all elementary campuses. Shearn Elementary School, where Grier will visit Monday, will follow a 50/50 model: Students will spend half of their day learning in English and the other half of the day learning in Spanish.

Seventeen HISD campuses currently offer the dual-language program in Spanish and English: Briscoe, Daily, DeAnda, Emerson, Helms, Herod, Herrera, Kashmere Gardens, Law, Northline, Sherman, and Twain elementary schools; Billy Reagan and Wharton K-8s; Burbank and Johnston middle schools; and Reagan High School. HISD also has a Mandarin Chinese Language Immersion Magnet School.

The 14 additional schools that will offer Spanish-English dual language in 2014–2015 are: Anderson, Ashford, Burnet, Coop, Dogan, Garden Villas, Gregg, R. P. Harris, McNamara, Memorial, Osborne, Shearn, Whidby, and White. Currently under planning is an Arabic immersion program next year. Grier will also participate in a press conference at HISD’s Sylvan Rodriguez Elementary School to discuss the importance of high-quality early education and its connection to the future of Houston’s workforce. Rodriguez has established a reputation for delivering a rigorous International Baccalaureate academic program, a comprehensive fine arts program, and a convenient after-school enrichment program. Located in Houston’s Gulfton area, Rodriguez has more than 1,000 pre-kindergarten through fifth-grade students. Rodriguez received the 2014 National Excellence in Urban Education Award.

First day visits by Dr. Grier and HISD trustees:

Stop 1:

8:30 a.m. – Shearn Elementary School (9802 Stella Link Road, 77025)

Stop 2:

10 a.m. – Sylvan Rodriguez Elementary (5858 Chimney Rock Road, 77081)