As he walked through the first and second grade classrooms at Mading Elementary School, Superintendent Millard House was greeted with the smell of freshly made tamales.
Students attending summer school at Mading were taking a break for lunch just as the new superintendent of HISD stopped by for a visit. It was a well-earned break after a morning full of learning for the students.
“You guys continue working hard,” House said as he exited one of the classrooms. “We are proud of you. We are glad you are back.”
That school was just one of many as House toured several schools on his second official day on the job.
“I saw hundreds of students today who are in summer school. They are receiving support from incredible teachers, and that’s one of the things that has become extremely clear,” House said. “I’m excited to continue to work with incredible leaders from the district level all the way down to the building level to ensure that we continue to push that our students get what they need to succeed.”
Other stops included a tour of the new building at Austin High School, a glimpse at the performing arts programs at Ortiz Middle School, a look inside the hangar at Sterling Aviation High School, and a meet-and-greet with students at Oates Elementary School.
“Today has been a pleasure to actually see many of our students back in the classroom. And not just that, but learning,” House said. “The in-person instruction with a highly qualified teacher is extremely important and needed right now. I’m happy to see it.”
Another stop along the way was Fondren Middle School, which is an International Baccalaureate Magnet. House toured the building—including a newly redesigned library which includes spaces for individual learning and maker spaces—along with Principal Meagan Edwards.
One question that House asked the principal was what her major needs were for a successful school year.
“District wide, parents are tired. Teachers are tired. The kids are tired,” Edwards said. “But the expectation has to be excellence in everything every day. I’m fully confident in our school.”
Those conversations—about needs and struggles that individual schools are having—are the foundation of House’s early days with HISD.
“These tours will help to continue to determine what some of the major needs are in our school system,” House said. “They will ensure that I’m listening, learning, and focusing on what the next major steps are in HISD.”