Author Archives: HISD Communications

HISD launches #FixSchoolFinance toolkit to push school finance reform  

The Houston Independent School District has created a #FixSchoolFinance toolkit to equip public education supporters with the necessary information to effectively advocate for school finance reform.

This educational tool provides an overview of the challenges with the current system, outlines proposed solutions, and serves as a platform for direct communication with key lawmakers during the 2019 Texas Legislative Session.

For the past year, HISD has been part of a statewide coalition of school districts, nonprofit organizations, and business leaders educating the public and emphasizing the need for meaningful changes to the state’s school finance system. Reforming school finance and reducing recapture are top priorities for HISD during the 86th Texas Legislature.  Continue reading

New Parent University session scheduled for Feb. 21  

HISD will host its fourth Parent University workshop from 5:30 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 21 at five locations throughout the district: Revere Middle School, and Chavez, Kashmere, Worthing and Challenge Early College high schools.

The theme for the session will be “Supporting Your Child’s Safety, Social and Emotional Growth.” The workshop will begin with a dinner and resource fair and will include information on district programs, parent engagement, community resources, and how parents can become active partners in the successful education of their children.  Continue reading

Math teacher at Navarro MS named Teacher of the Month for February  

What started off as an ordinary day for Navarro Middle School teacher Ana Maria Steen on Tuesday morning turned into a surprise of a lifetime when Area Superintendent Geovanny Ponce interrupted class to announce Steen as the Sterling McCall VIP Services Teacher of the Month for February.

“Why Mrs. Steen? Because she is the best,” Ponce said. “She not only puts her students’ educational needs first, but those of the entire campus, which shows in their academic achievements.” Continue reading

Governor calls on lawmakers to make education a top priority this legislative session 

On the first day of the 86th Texas Legislative Session, Gov. Greg Abbott had a strong message for both the House and Senate: Put education on the top of their to-do lists.

Abbott articulated the need to increase school safety, fix school finance, and reform property taxes. He also emphatically stated that lawmakers must solve these issues this session – a statement that received strong applause in both chambers.

“The state must invest more in public education, improve third-grade reading scores, pay teachers more, reduce recapture, make our schools safer, and prepare students for college or career,” Abbott later said during his inauguration speech. “We will do all of this without a court order telling us to do it. We will finally fix school finance in Texas.”

On Feb. 5, Abbott delivered his State of the State to the 86th Texas Legislature. Key themes of his remarks included the growing Texas economy, school finance reform, teacher pay, property tax relief, school safety, mental health, disaster response, border security, cracking down on crime and human trafficking, and support for Texas military personnel and veterans.  Continue reading

Northside HS senior wins student emcee contest 

Flanked by balloons and holding an oversized check, Northside High School Senior Tren’kell Reeves could not hide her excitement after discovering she had been named the winner of the student emcee contest for the HISD Foundation’s 2019 Public Education Matters Benefit Dinner.

“I am so happy that I am shaking,” Reeves, who goes by the nickname “TK,” said. “I have four younger sisters, and I just can’t wait to tell them!”

Along with hosting the event, Reeves earned a $2,500 college scholarship. Over 100 prospective emcees sent in audition videos, but according to HISD Chief Development Officer Ann Best Scott, Reeves’ video stood out.    Continue reading

Chavez HS FFA student prepares for livestock show season 

As livestock show season picks up steam, Chavez High School Junior Jewels Hernandez is ready for her first time in the major show ring.

“I am really excited,” she said. “I hope to one day win grand champion at a major show.”

In just her first year with Chavez’s Future Farmers of America (FFA) program, Hernandez has already had considerable success showing her Simbrah heifer, which is something she has long wanted to try.

“Going to the rodeo and seeing other kids raising animals really got me interested,” she said. “Once I found out I had the opportunity to raise cattle through the FFA program, I knew I had to try it out for myself.”   Continue reading

Two top HISD student athletes commit to Kentucky State, University of Texas on National Signing Day

Nearly 150 students sign letters of intent for collegiate athletic programs across the country

With their parents, coaches, and friends looking on, two of the Houston Independent School District’s top athletes announced they will attend Kentucky State University and the University of Texas to pursue their athletic and academic careers.

Mesi Wilson is a standout in volleyball at Bellaire High School who has been offered a scholarship to play at Kentucky State.

North Forest High School’s Javonne Shepherd, one of the top offensive tackles in the state, has accepted a scholarship to play at the University of Texas. Continue reading

Wiggins featured in NBC News digital series for Black History Month 

HISD Nutrition Services Officer Betti Wiggins has been selected as one of 10 women featured in the NBC News series, She Thrives: Black Women Making History Today.

The series is sponsored by NBCBLK, NBC News Digital’s online platform focusing on the African-American community. The series highlights the contributions of black women “who are altering the way of life for everyone in 21st century America,” according to the She Thrives website.

Wiggins was selected for the honor based on her extensive work in child nutrition.   Continue reading

HISD Foundation to host Public Education Matters Benefit Dinner on March 5 

The Houston Independent School District Foundation, a nonprofit organization that raises funds to support HISD’s strategic initiatives, will hold its Public Education Matters Benefit Dinner on Tuesday, March 5.

The event will highlight the importance of community investment in public education and focus on the social and economic impact that results when public school students receive a quality education.

The evening program includes a one-on-one conversation with HISD Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan and John Quiñones, host of ABC’s “What Would You Do?” That conversation will be followed by a “Fireside Chat” moderated by Quiñones with distinguished panelists, featuring Lathan, Teach for America CEO Elisa Villanueva Beard, and education advocate and founder of Harlem Children’s Zone Geoffrey Canada. 

Continue reading

Student goes from Harvard ES to Harvard University

Bridgett Ramirez was born and raised in Houston, the oldest of three children. She began her formal education at Harvard Elementary School and is now attending Harvard University in Boston. She is the first in her family to go to college after graduating from Lanier Middle School and Heights High School.

Ramirez credits the HISD EMERGE program with helping her get into Harvard U. “EMERGE gave me the mentorship that my parents were not able to provide. The one-on-one relationship that I built with (EMERGE Program Manager) Esau Molina was so valuable. He made sure I was prepared for the college-application process, and he helped me get SAT prep.”  Continue reading