Wanda Paul, a veteran business operations officer and Houston native, has been named chief operating officer of the Houston Independent School District. Paul begins her new role on September 20.
With a career spanning more than three decades, Ms. Paul brings a wealth of experience to HISD, including serving as chief operating officer for schools in Texas and Florida.
Most recently, she spent four years as chief operating officer for The School District of Palm Beach County in Florida. In this role, she oversaw more than 1,700 employees, 187 schools, and a $63 million capital budget. She also implemented a program to better track energy use and reduce utility costs. Before going to Florida, Ms. Paul served four years as chief operating officer for the Dallas Independent School District.
With the return to in-person instruction for all HISD classes on Monday, Aug. 23, the district’s COVID-19 dashboard will be reset to reflect confirmed cases for the new school year to better inform the community.
The online dashboard will continue to track the number of confirmed COVID-19 student and staff cases by campus as originally designed to ensure transparency. The reset version will go live as the first day of school begins.
“We are in the midst of a pandemic, so we want to assure our parents and the community that all information is provided and updated in a timely fashion,” HISD Superintendent Millard House said. “The dashboard is an effective way to share information to staff members and families.”
The dashboard will continue to be updated daily, allowing users to review student and staff data by location and districtwide. The map showing where cases are throughout the district will also be updated. As new data for the school year is added, current cases will be displayed for the most recent 14 days.
The dashboard will strictly follow all applicable privacy laws as it relates to the release of personal health information.
The following letter from Superintendent House was distributed on the night of August 5 to HISD parents, staff, and community members:
Dear HISD Community,
The health and safety of our students and staff continues to be our guiding compass in all of our decisions. As a result, during tonight’s agenda review meeting, I announced that I will propose a mask mandate for students, staff, and visitors at all schools, buses, and facilities to be voted on next week by the Board of Education. The mask mandate will become effective upon Board approval during next Thursday’s board meeting, August 12. In light of the announcement by Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner to raise the COVID-19 threat level to “red,” additional safety measures are needed to protect our students, staff, and families.
The mask mandate applies to everyone regardless of whether or not they are vaccinated. In partnership with health officials, three HISD schools are offering vaccinations this Saturday. If your child is 12 or older, I encourage parents to stop by and get a shot. No appointments are necessary.
Dogan Elementary School, 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Deady Middle School, 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Kashmere High School, 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
The 2021-2022 school year begins on August 23, and we will continue to monitor the situation and work with health officials for frequent updates, which we will share with you. The safety of all HISD staff and students continues to be our top priority.
The HISD Gifted and Talented (G/T) Department is proud to announce its inaugural family symposium, “Opening the GATES to Gifted Learning.” The free virtual symposium is scheduled for August 3-6, 2021 via Microsoft Teams.
Register for the G/T Family Symposium by July 30, 2021. Parents will have access to 40 virtual sessions presented by HISD, nationally recognized experts and featured speakers, including:
The Houston Independent School District is launching its 2021 summer meals program this week, in conjunction with the start of summer school.
As part of the summer meals program, Nutrition Services will host weekly curbside student meal pickup at 10 of the district’s highest-need campuses. The distributions will be held at the end of each week and provide students with meals for the weekend, as well as hand sanitizer and reusable masks.
Weekend meals also will be provided to students enrolled in summer school. They will receive no-cost breakfast and lunch at school each day as well as meals to take home for the weekend at the end of each week.
“As we have learned from this past year, we have an overabundance of students from food-insecure households in HISD,” Nutrition Services Officer Betti Wiggins said. “I’m grateful that we’re able to provide this program to help ensure our students continue to have access to good food through the summer.”
Campus curbside pickup locations include:
Sam Houston Math, Science, and Technical Center, 9400 Irvington Blvd.
Northside High School, 1101 Quitman St.
Furr High School, 500 Mercury Drive
Chavez High School, 8501 Howard Drive
Milby High School, 1601 Broadway St.
Washington High School, 4204 Yale
Braeburn Elementary School, 5550 Pine St.
Bonham Elementary School, 8302 Braes River Drive
Almeda Elementary School, 14226 Almeda Road
Jane Long Academy, 6501 Bellaire Blvd.
The first curbside pickup will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. on Friday, June 18. Students will receive two days’ worth of breakfast and lunch to eat over the weekend.
Beginning Thursday, June 24, all remaining pickups will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. on Thursdays to better align with the district’s summer work schedule. On Thursdays, students will receive three days’ worth of breakfast and lunch to eat over the weekend.
The program is slated to run through the end of summer school.
Sitting in English class at the High School for Law and Justice, listening to a lesson on Macbeth, Roy Urbina knew his life would soon be completely different.
In just a few short months—just over 150 days, he’ll tell you—Urbina will leave his home near Hobby Airport and fly to Vermont, where he’ll be attending Middlebury College. From the largest city in Texas to a town of about 9,000 people a two-hour drive from French Canada, the first-generation college student is ready for the adventure.
“I can’t wait for the independence of college,” he said, laughing. “But I’m looking forward to the environment. You can go hiking, you can go outside, having that openness right there. Living in Houston, it’s pretty urban, and Vermont is so different.”