HISD Board of Education adopts recommendations from Special Education Committee

The Houston Independent School District Board of Education on Thursday unanimously voted to adopt recommendations from the district’s Special Education Ad Hoc Committee, which was tasked with assessing HISD’s current special education program.

Approval to accept the report and its seven recommendations grants the interim superintendent the authorization to carry out the recommendations.

In a separate vote, the board also voted to sunset the ad hoc committee.

The Special Education Ad Hoc Committee, which was created in February 2017, served as an advisory committee to the board and was established to identify strengths and areas of improvement regarding HISD’s special education services.

The ad hoc committee’s goal was to improve two-way communication between the district and its stakeholders – especially parents – regarding special education, especially as it related to the findings of the special education program review conducted by the American Institutes for Research (AIR) and the Houston Chronicle’s investigation of the district’s special education program.

Moving forward, the district’s Special Education Advisory Committee will provide parents and educators the opportunity to partner directly with administration and provide input on management decisions. The next Special Education Advisory Committee meeting will be held on Oct. 2. In addition, two parent forums will be held during the 2018-2019 school year.

Trustees also approved Texas Title I Priority Schools (TTIPS) grant funds from the U.S. Department of Education, authorizing district administration to negotiate and execute contracts required under the grant.

The purpose of these grants is to provide funding to school districts for use in eligible schools to substantially raise the achievement of their students and enable the schools to meet annual goals and measurable objectives.

Now in its third year of a four-year grant from the Department of Education, Worthing High School has pursued and recently received a provisional designation as an Early College High School. Under its new designation, Worthing will be redesigned into career-focused learning communities for veterinary animal science, hospitality and tourism, and information technology. Grant funds will pay for additional personnel, afterschool tutoring, and education-related clubs and activities.

Likewise, Sterling High School has also pursued and received a provisional designation as an ECHS. At this campus, the program will pay for more staff, including additional teachers for the ECHS classes, supplies, travel for training activities, and aviation-related technology.

Also during the meeting, trustees and Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan proclaimed Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, 2018, as Hispanic Heritage Month in HISD.