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More than 1,000 principals, deans, assistant principals and district leaders packed Delmar Fieldhouse on Aug. 11 for the district’s annual Welcome Back event.
Each year, campus and district leadership gather at the beginning of the school year to celebrate the successes of the previous year and outline the goals, initiatives and challenges for the 2018-2019 school year.
Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan outlined her strategic vision for the 2018-2019 school year, which spreads the message of putting all children first, regardless of their background, and ensuring they receive a high-quality education.
“When I began outlining my strategic vision for this school year, I wanted to focus on how we could continue to build equity across the district that supports our students socially, emotionally, and academically,” Lathan said.
Here are the areas of priority for the upcoming 2018-2019 school year:
- Ensure student health, safety and well-being—the district will focus on expanding the Every Community, Every School initiative to serve more students, connecting them with resources and wraparound services, such as food, mental health, stable housing, and physical health needs.
- Expand educational opportunities—HISD will begin a coordinated effort to significantly increase prekindergarten student enrollment across the district, access to innovative instruction, and an aggressive expansion of fine arts programs.
- Transform academic outcomes—by fostering lifelong literacy and improving how we serve our special education leaders, the district will continue to focus on the data that continues to close the gaps within the state-mandated STAAR tests.
- Cultivate Team HISD talent—there will be a comprehensive strategy implemented to develop future leaders and become the district of choice in the Houston-area
- Increase organizational efficiency—the district will create several initiatives that improves financial and business transparency, which includes the creation of the Houston Education Advocacy Representatives (HEAR), a small group of leaders who serve as an advocacy group. HISD has also established a new legislative hub, the district’s first online hub that educates the community on how to become involved in the lawmaking process.
“As educators, it is our primary duty to support the 214,000 students across our district and help prepare them for a world beyond HISD,” Dr. Lathan added.
Dr. Lathan also recognized and congratulated the district’s first-year principals and welcomed those who are new to the district.
This year, the event hosted Keynote Speaker Dr. Victor Rios of University of California – Santa Barbara. Rios is well-known for his research on educational equity, and how factors like racism, inequality, and class play a role in determining the success one can have in education.