Author Archives: HISD Communications

Construction of new Austin HS to reach milestone on Monday

An immense construction crane will lift the first wall of the new Austin High School into place on Monday, marking a significant development for the 2012 Bond project.

The news was announced to the school’s Project Advisory Team on Wednesday during its regular meeting, which also included general construction and budget updates.

The $80.9 million project, which is scheduled to be completed in 2020, will feature modern classrooms and flexible learning spaces while also preserving the historic front facade of the original main building, which opened in 1937.

“Tours of the construction site for small groups of students would really build excitement about the progress we’re making,” HISD Construction Services Senior Manager Meredith Smith said. Continue reading

New transportation software helping phase out manual bus inspections

Roughly 90 percent of HISD bus drivers are now completing their required twice-daily bus inspections electronically with Zonar, a fleet management and tracking system implemented by Transportation Services earlier this school year.

The success rate was determined as a result of one-on-one inspections conducted this week by the transportation leadership team at all four bus terminals. The spot checks were completed on-site each morning prior to the start of morning bus routes. Additional random checks will continue.

“We now have the ability to electronically collect fleet data, which is automatically accessible to our fleet maintenance department,” Transportation Services Interim General Manager John Wilcots IV said. “It’s made our manual inspection process obsolete.” Continue reading

Transportation Services continuing focus on streamlining operations, reducing late arrivals

HISD Transportation Services kicked off the new year with 41 fewer bus routes — an intentional reduction designed to streamline operations and increase efficiency.

Transportation officials report that operations are running smoothly following the reduction and note they have seen an average of 20 or fewer buses — less than 3 percent of the district’s 860 routes — arriving late to school each morning during the first week of the spring semester. The numbers are tracked manually.

“We’re continuing to look for ways in which we can do better. I believe that we can always improve,” Interim General Manager John Wilcots IV said. “But we’re off to a good start.” Continue reading

Chavez HS cafeteria hero uses good food and the Golden Rule to make a difference

Marylyn Williams wants students who visit the cafeteria at Chavez High School to experience more than just food. She wants them to feel welcomed and at home.

As the campus cafe manager, Williams believes she is responsible not only for serving appetizing meals but also for creating an environment that influences students for the better. Each day, she said, she makes it a point to greet every student with a smile, show them respect, and offer a listening ear.

“Treat others as you would like them to treat you,” Williams said. “If you say good morning and thank you to the students, they will eventually say those same things back to you.” Continue reading

Local vendors get tips for accessing capital during February’s Workshop Wednesday

In Texas, small businesses serve as economic engines, making up more than 90 percent of all business activity statewide.

And yet, these small business still struggle with accessing the capital needed to help them grow.

“Many people are not aware that there are a lot of resources in the Houston area for business owners,” PeopleFund Houston Senior Loan Officer Nini Gutierrez said, leading a recent presentation for local minority- and women-owned businesses. “Going out into the community and educating people on these resources and how they can get help is very important so that businesses can continue to grow and be successful.” Continue reading

Renovations wrap up at Scarborough HS

Scarborough High School senior Melanie Esquivel remembers all too well how often the school band has been shuffled around over the last few years.

They practiced first in the dance hall and then in the gym, but the acoustics amped up their sound so much teachers in nearby classrooms often complained. So they moved into the cramped black box theater, where they made do.

“I almost cried when I saw it. It’s just so emotional. I’ve been waiting so long for it,” the 17-year-old flutist said, hardly able to contain her excitement as she pointed out features of the school’s new band hall. “We’re finally like a big part of the school.”

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North Forest celebrates transition into new school with ceremonial walk

Hundreds of North Forest High School students followed Principal Darryl Henson across Mesa Road on Monday, coming together to formally mark their transition into their new school.

The $59.5 million campus is the first new high school built in the North Forest community in almost 50 years.

“It’s important to show our students that we are coming over into a new environment that was built just for them,” Henson said, talking about the importance of the ceremonial walk from the old building to the new one. “I want the kids to feel a sense of pride and ownership.”

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Northside HS classroom renovations lead campus into 21st century

When Northside High School alumnus Machell Blackwell walked through the doorway on the third floor of her alma matter, she said she felt like she was walking through time.

On one side of the well-worn building, it seemed dark and confined — even a bit dated. But on the other, hallways were lighter, classrooms were brighter, and there was a colorful, collaborative space where students could gather to work in small groups.

“To me, I feel like I was walking through a time machine,” said a smiling Blackwell, who also serves as a Northside PTO recruiter and member of both the Northside Project Advisory Team and Shared Decision-Making Committee. “I just walked into the 21st century.”

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Construction on new Yates HS surpasses halfway mark

Construction of the new Yates High School is more than halfway complete, with crews already in the process of installing floors, painting walls, laying pavers, pouring sidewalks, and erecting permanent fencing.

A CenterPoint transformer and meter also has been set, meaning power soon will be connected to the building, allowing crews to begin testing mechanical systems inside the building.

The main entry facing north is nearly complete, with the main entry facing south and building signage soon to follow. The elevator also will soon be installed, and project officials plan to begin ordering new furniture in January.

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Austin HS moving to temporary campus in January

Austin High School students and staff will relocate in January to a temporary campus in preparation for the start of construction on their new building.

Construction of the Temporary Learning Center — dubbed by school officials as the “TLC” and made up of temporary buildings — is nearing completion, with plans for students and staff to report to that location on Jan. 8, which is the first day of the spring semester.

The temporary campus was built to ensure student and staff safety during construction. It is located along South Lockwood Drive, directly behind the existing school building.

“It’s becoming a reality. The move is starting to set in,” Austin High School Principal Steve Guerrero said during a recent Project Advisory Team meeting. “It’s still a move, but we’re working to make sure the transition will be as smooth as possible.”

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