Superintendent outlines district’s direction for 2017-18 school year

Social and emotional learning, restorative discipline, and expanding wraparound services to be top priorities

The start of the 2017-2018 school year is over two months away, but HISD Superintendent Richard Carranza is outlining some of the district’s top priorities for the coming year.

Carranza recently addressed over 1,500 school and district leaders at the HISD 2017 Professional Learning Series, a two-day training series that traditionally has launched the direction of the district for the coming academic year.

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Carranza told the crowd of district leaders, principals, assistant principals, and teachers to rethink the mission of public education and to view HISD schools as a sanctuary for Houston students, many of whom come with unique social and emotional needs that go beyond academics.

“Public schools are the last refuge for many of our students,” Carranza said. “All of you in this room are the last refuge for ending the school-to-prison pipeline.”

As part of his 20-minute address, Carranza outlined the critical importance of educating the whole child. He also noted the importance of creating a school culture and climate that supports all students, and maximizes wraparound services to address student, parent, and community needs.

Carranza also emphasized the district’s commitment to rethink special education at HISD, shifting it from a programmatic approach to a model of inclusive services and Universal Design for Learning strategies.

The superintendent also promised a continued push for restorative justice practices, which focus on relationship management and meeting the social and emotional needs of students rather than behavior management and discipline.

Following Carranza’s speech, HISD leaders engaged in hands-on learning and collaboration to reshape their thinking, examine their own implicit biases, and develop new approaches and strategies to meet all students’ needs.

Participants were encouraged to share their thoughts about the training on social media. Click here to take a look at what they posted.