HISD Trustees approve policy reinforcing commitment to wraparound services

The Houston Independent School District Board of Education on Thursday approved a policy designed to reinforce the district’s commitment to providing students with wraparound services to better support their social and emotional needs outside the classroom.

The new policy – titled Student Support Services – outlines the Board’s belief that wraparound services are rooted in strong communities and directs the Superintendent to develop the framework for implementing community-based services.

The services are designed to address critical issues such as mental health, physical needs, food insecurity, violence at home, parent incarceration, and legal and crisis support.

“Addressing the non-academic needs of our students creates an academic environment that is set up for them to succeed,” Superintendent Richard Carranza said.  “It is imperative that we work with our community partners to get those services to our students and their families because putting them in a position to achieve is a win for the entire district.”

Wraparound services are an integral part of the district’s Achieve 180 initiative, which calls for the district to support, strengthen, and empower under-served and under-performing HISD feeder pattern communities as a way to increase student achievement.

Achieve 180 takes best practices from successful school turnaround initiatives and implements them at the district’s most struggling schools. Those best practices include hiring effective teachers and strong principals as well as creating an environment of high expectations for students and staff.

The Board also received an update on Achieve 180.  School Achievement Officer Felicia Adams made a presentation on the progress that has been made at the 44 campuses included in the program.  Points of success presented for the month of September include the hiring of essential staffing positions at every campus (nurse, counselor, librarian, new teacher coach, associate teachers).

Trustees also approved improvement and turnaround plans for schools designated as “improvement required by the Texas Education Agency.

“The improvement has already started on these campuses,” Superintendent Carranza said.  “We believe we have the right people, strategies, and resources in place on each campus to maximize student achievement.”