Author Archives: HISD Communications

HISD hosts first virtual Parent University of the 2020-21 school year

The Houston Independent School District kicked off its third year of Parent University on Tuesday with the first of six virtual workshops.

The theme of the first session was “2020-2021 School Year 101” and focused on the district’s “Reconnect Safely, Return Strong” reopening plan. The workshop’s general session walked attendees through important parts of the district’s Instructional Continuity Plan.  

“Team HISD has been hard at work to adapt to this new reality of social distancing due to COVID-19,” August Hamilton, HISD General Manager of Strategy and Innovation, said during the evening’s introduction. “This evening offers us the ability to share with some of you this work and the ability to better inform our parents how they can support their students during this time of online learning.”

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HISD recognizing Hispanic Heritage Month 

The Houston Independent School District Board of Education on Thursday issued a proclamation designating Sept. 15 through Oct. 15 as Hispanic Heritage Month in the district.  

Hispanic Heritage Month kicks off with the anniversary of the 1821 Independence Day of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. The month also encompasses the independence days for Mexico (Sept. 16) and Chile (Sept. 18).  

Throughout the month, a variety of virtual events showcasing performances, art, and many other displays of the rich Hispanic culture can be observed across the city of Houston.  

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Selection period for in-person or virtual instruction begins Sept. 21

Starting with the second six weeks of the 2020-2021 school year, Houston Independent School District families will be required to select either in-person or virtual instruction for students. The first day of the second six weeks is October 19.

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HISD chef selected to lead Texas AgriLife food videos

Nutrition Services Chef Trainer Brittany Jones is used to teaching others how to prepare tasty, nutritious meals. Now she’ll get to share her expertise with others around the state thanks to a virtual learning seminar.

Jones recently visited Texas A&M University where she filmed culinary demonstrations to be included in virtual lessons for the Learn, Grow, Eat, and Go program offered by Texas AgriLife Extension’s Junior Master Gardener program.

Learn, Grow, Eat, and Go curriculum is used in select HISD elementary science classes to teach students about gardening, nutrition, and physical activity to promote long-term health. Nutrition Services hopes to share the new virtual lessons, which complement the in-person curriculum, all HISD elementary teachers via science curriculum coordinators.

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HISD grad receives scholarship for work in MFAH’s #StrongerThanCovid photo series

An alum of the Houston Independent School District was recently presented with a college scholarship from Houston’s prestigious Orange Show Center for Visionary Art.

Mary Onwumere, a 2020 graduate from Lamar High School, received the $500 scholarship for her work in the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston’s #StrongerThanCovid photography series. Mary’s work, along with 18 other HISD students, make up a virtual exhibition curated by the MFAH and can be viewed here.

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HISD seeking families and home instructors for HIPPY program

HISD’s Elementary Curriculum department is still recruiting families and part-time home instructors to work with the Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) program for the 2020-2021 school year.

HIPPY is a school readiness program for 3-, 4-, and 5-year-old children that helps parents prepare their preschoolers for academic success. Instructors virtually instruct parents for an hour a week over a 30-week period during the school year, and model research-based learning activities designed to help Pre-K children develop skills in reading, math, and science.

Parents then practice the activities with their children over the week until they learn a new activity during the next lesson. Children whose parents participate in the program consistently outperform their peers in reading and math in kindergarten and first grade.

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HISD students win Microsoft Innovation Challenge

The winning team, Heights High School’s Bulldog Apparel

Six Heights High School students took home top honors in a virtual entrepreneurship challenge last Saturday during Junior Achievement of Southeast Texas’ official JA Company Program kick-off.

The Microsoft Innovation Challenge empowered teams of students from across the district to come up with innovative additions to Microsoft’s communication and collaboration platform Teams that would increase productivity, and the human connection, at work, as well as in remote learning.

The winning team, “Bulldog Apparel,” was comprised of Heights students Bora Colkesen, Faustino Martinez, Joe Maddux, Emma Rodriguez, Alan Hernandez Saavedra and Kevin Valerio. After a 30-minute brainstorming session, the six students pitched their winning idea for a Teams poll icon that would give the meeting host immediate and direct feedback from participants.

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HISD School Choice applications for 2021-2022 school year open Saturday

First of five school choice fairs slated for Sept. 19 via Microsoft Teams

Houston Independent School District parents can begin applying for their child to enter a choice program for the 2021-2022 school year on Saturday, Sept. 19. The district’s first of five school choice fairs will also take place on Saturday, Sept. 19 virtually through Microsoft Teams from 9 a.m. to noon.

HISD offers a comprehensive selection of magnet programs at 112 schools, as well as program choice transfer options to all 280 schools in HISD, to meet every students’ academic needs and interests. HISD magnet programs include College & Career Readiness, Fine Arts, Futures Academy, International Specialty Schools, International Baccalaureate, Language Immersion Schools, Language Programs, Montessori, STEM & STEAM, Single-Gender College Preparatory, and Vanguard.  HISD program choice transfer options include Boundary Option, Career/Technology Education, Dual Language, and International Baccalaureate.

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HISD Director of Athletics named to board of Touchdown Club of Houston

Houston Independent School District Director of Athletics and UIL Activities Andre’ Walker has been named to the board of the Touchdown Club of Houston, an organization established in 1966 that is dedicated to community service and sharing fellowship through football.

“We know that Andre’ will represent the district well,” HISD Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan said. “He is a tireless supporter of student-athletes and we are proud of this appointment and his many other accomplishments.”

Walker is an HISD graduate of Kashmere High School and an alumnus of Texas Southern University who holds a Master’s degree in Education from Prairie View A&M University. He served as a teacher and later an assistant principal at Key Middle School and Kashmere High School.

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HISD Board approves formation of District of Innovation Committee

The Houston Independent School District Board of Education on Thursday unanimously approved 9-0 a resolution concerning virtual instruction that provides flexibility for the district, if needed.

Currently, HISD is scheduled to begin in-person instruction on October 19, 2020, pending COVID-19 conditions. The board voted to provide flexibility to extend the virtual learning period for an additional two weeks if that becomes necessary based on recommendations from health authorities.  As announced on July 15, HISD’s plan to provide face-to-face instruction beginning on October 19 has not changed.

Trustees also approved a plan to carry out online learning on Election Day, November 3, 2020 to accommodate voters and maintain safe conditions for students and staff amid COVID-19 conditions. Per state law, the district is required to make campuses available as voting sites during elections.

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