HISD hosts first virtual Parent University of the 2020-21 school year

The Houston Independent School District kicked off its third year of Parent University on Tuesday with the first of six virtual workshops.

The theme of the first session was “2020-2021 School Year 101” and focused on the district’s “Reconnect Safely, Return Strong” reopening plan. The workshop’s general session walked attendees through important parts of the district’s Instructional Continuity Plan.  

“Team HISD has been hard at work to adapt to this new reality of social distancing due to COVID-19,” August Hamilton, HISD General Manager of Strategy and Innovation, said during the evening’s introduction. “This evening offers us the ability to share with some of you this work and the ability to better inform our parents how they can support their students during this time of online learning.”

After the general session concluded, attendees were directed to join one of eight breakout sessions dedicated to district-specific supports including school choice programs, special education resources, and Social and Emotional Learning Resources, which was led by Benevidez Elementary School’s Counselor Joanna Subias, who taught parents how to do a feelings check-in with their children.

“It is important that we set aside some time to ask our children the emotions they felt throughout the day,” she said. “This is a new routine, so if children have a hard time naming emotion at first, you can focus on the big six feelings – happiness, sadness, fear, anger, disgust and surprise.”

Another breakout session, titled “Mental Health during COVID-19”, focused on different techniques that parents and children can do to keep their minds healthy during virtual learning, while an HISD @ H.O.M.E. breakout session helped introduce the district’s virtual learning platform to families who are new to the district.

Throughout the 2020-21 school year, Parent University virtual workshops will take place on a monthly basis: 

  • Tuesday, Oct. 20 – Family Engagement  
  • Tuesday, Nov. 17 – Digital Citizenship  
  • Tuesday, Jan. 19 – School Level(s) Transition  
  • Tuesday, Feb. 16 – Non-Academic Supports Offered in HISD
  • Tuesday, April 20 – Supporting Your Child’s Social and Emotional Needs

All HISD families are encouraged to attend. A variety of community resources will be available for parents. Registration and more information for each event can be found at HoustonISD.org/ParentUniversity.