The Houston Independent School District Foundation held their annual State of the Schools luncheon Friday, March 3, at the Hilton Americas-Houston Hotel where Superintendent Millard House II delivered a keynote address focused on the progress of his strategic plan’s six core commitments and the next 100 years of HISD.
In honor of the district’s centennial celebration, this year’s address honored distinguished alumni who helped shape HISD into what it is today and recognized educators for their dedication and commitment to providing exceptional instruction to HISD students and fostering opportunities for generations to come.
Teachers, staff, the HISD Board of Trustees, elected officials, and business, faith, and community leaders were all in attendance to help celebrate.
“All of us in the room today stand on the shoulders of those who came before us,” said House. “Giants of our past like Dr. Ruth Simmons, Gordon Quan, Ed Emmett, and the Fraga family who have paved the way not just for HISD as an organization but all 190,000 of our students, as well. They embody the promise of HISD and its communities and serve as a guiding light for what this district can accomplish over the next 100 years.”
Centennial Alumni Impact Honorees included:
- Edward M. Emmett, Bellaire High School, Class of 1967
- Felix Fraga, Davis High School, Class of 1947
- Carlos Fraga, Sterling High School, Class of 1989
- Bolivar M. “Bo” Fraga, Bellaire High School, Class of 1992
- Gordo J. Quan, Milby High School, Class of 1966
- Dr. Ruth J. Simmons, Wheatley High School, Class of 1963
After recognizing campus-based honorees and Centennial Alumni Impact Honorees for their outstanding contributions made in HISD and the community, House acknowledged all the progress his team has made since executing his strategic plan.
“These six commitments—aligned to the district’s goals—have served as our guiding light over the past 19 months, and not only have they guided our work, these six commitments have delivered for our students, families, and community,” said House. “Because of the tireless commitment of our students, staff, administrators, support personnel, and so many others, I am excited to say that as of today—the state of our schools is strong.”
During his address, House explained how the district’s core commitments have delivered for students, families, and the Houston community by highlighting improvements made over the last year and a half:
- HISD made significant gains in student achievement outcomes, lifting 40 of 50 campuses out of D or F status.
- HISD teachers are now among the most-well compensated in the region. The district also saw 95% of its vacancies filled at the beginning of the 2022-2023 school year and one of the highest year-over-year retention rates in recent history.
- Every HISD student now has access to a librarian, nurse, and counselor on their campus.
- HISD has taken $60 million out of a $200 million deficit and is proposing a similar reduction for the upcoming fiscal year.
- In the upcoming school year, all HISD students will have access to challenging, high-quality curriculum.
“Nineteen short months ago, many thought that this district could not overcome some of the trials and tribulations of the past,” said House. “But, today, I stand here as your superintendent to say we are not just overcoming those challenges but, together, are building a school district that is delivering on its promises again.”
To close, House thanked everyone for their continuous support and reminded everyone that it’s going to take a united effort to deliver on the promises that have been made to our students, families, and community.
“Being Superintendent of Houston’s Independent School District has been the highest professional honor of my career and I can’t wait to see what the next 100 years hold for this organization,” said House.
The celebration also served as an opportunity for attendees to donate and support HISD students and their schools. Funds raised are used to support special projects and programs that fall outside the district’s operating budget in the areas of college and career readiness, comprehensive supports for students and families, innovation, and equity.
The HISD Foundation is dedicated to supporting HISD and its students and will continue their work with Superintendent House, the HISD Board of Trustees, and community leaders to support teachers, students, and parents as well bring awareness to the district’s commitment to providing every student with a quality educational experience.
To learn more about the HISD Foundation, visit their website.