During his first State of the Schools at the helm of Houston ISD, Superintendent Millard House II delivered a keynote address focused on his five-year strategic plan and the road ahead for the largest school district in Texas.
Public education supporters from the business, academic, advocacy, and faith communities attended the annual HISD Foundation’s fundraising luncheon on Friday.
“I see our promise – our potential, but it’s very clear to me that we must choose where we want to go as a district,” said House. “We cannot improve if we do not acknowledge the need for improvement. To see the true state of our schools we must face some hard truths, and we must make some important choices.”
House acknowledged the difficulties HISD has faced in recent years, including decrease in student enrollment, schools persistently underperforming, teacher recruitment and retainment, inequities across campuses, and proper budgeting.
House outlined how the six fundamental priorities in his strategic plan will set HISD on a road to improve student success and rebuild a district that meets the needs of all students, in every school, every day.
“As we listened to our parents, families, students, teachers, and campus leaders we began to shape the path forward for our schools and our district,” said House. “Our plan, created not just for our community but by our community, is built on a set of core values and aspirations that put students first, restore trust, and demand more excellent and innovative educational opportunities for all.”
The six commitments are:
- Building trust and reliability of our families and community
- Providing equitable opportunities and resources at every school
- Ensuring great schools and programs in every community
- Cultivating world-class talent at all levels
- Promoting high-quality teaching and learning
- Delivering effective services and supports to students with exceptional needs
“I believe our five-year plan builds a framework for investing in world-class talent, getting every student at or above grade level, ensuring all families have access to foundational experiences, and will make HISD a destination for students and families,” said House. “The hard work and the important choices to transform this district begin now. It will not be easy, and we cannot do it alone. We need you to stand with us, work with us, and most importantly, hold us accountable.”
During the address, House also highlighted the EMERGE program that helps students with scarce resources receive full scholarships to universities and colleges. In 2021, all EMERGE students were accepted into four-year institutions and collectively received more than $117 million in financial aid offers.
Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson was also in attendance, and House thanked him for choosing HISD as the pilot district for his G-Unity Business Lab that provides students at Worthing, Wheatley, and Kashmere high schools business training and prepare them on the road ahead to success.