In the sunny courtyard of Blackshear Elementary, Tanya Fontaine Clark stood speechless for a few moments before elaborating on her passion for her job—and the school she calls home.
“My mother was a teacher. I guess I’m a chip off the old block,” Clark said. “I wanted to give back. I wanted to enrich the lives of the children at Blackshear.”
The third-generation educator had just received the award for January’s Achieve 180 Dedicated Associate Teacher of the Month. It was just one of the stops of the day for the Human Resources Prize Patrol as they also surprised the December and January Associate Teachers of the Month and Achieve 180 Dedicated Associate Teachers of the Month.
The Human Resources Prize Patrol had a busy Friday morning, surprising the Associate and Achieve 180 Dedicated Associate Teacher of the Month winners for November with gift baskets and festive balloons.
Associate Teacher Maria Gonzalez-Hatton at Burnet Elementary School was named the Associate Teacher of the Month for going above and beyond her duties as an intervention teacher.
Burnet Principal Ana Cantu said Gonzalez-Hatton takes the time to truly know her students and is dedicated to them.
HISD campuses may have been closed for months, but the team at Highland Heights Elementary School has been working around the clock to make sure their school community is safe, clothed, fed, and supported.
The Highland Heights Resource Center officially opened its doors on Monday, welcoming new and old Honeybees to the first-of-its-kind center, which offers families much-needed items such as food, clothes, shoes, and toiletries.
Heights Wraparound Resource Specialist Brendella Chavis has worked diligently to
make sure students were supported.
For Booker T. Washington High School sophomore Rebecca
Stansell, the first day of face-to-face instruction for the 2020-21 school year
had some added emotion – and even a few nerves.
HISD Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan was scheduled to
visit the historic Independence Heights neighborhood campus on the first day of
face-to-face instruction, where she would be greeted by Stansell and fellow
engineering students with a customized face shield designed to protect against
the spread of COVID-19.
“It was thrilling, but a little nerve-racking because I had
never met the superintendent. There was a lot of moving around, and a lot of
people.” Stansell said. “We assembled her face shield last week, and I think she
was happy – and even a little surprised – to see that we customized it by
putting her name on the shield.”
As Jack Yates High School senior Ernest Russell sat on the
school’s football field for the citywide senior celebration recently, it was far
more than an event honoring his graduation from the historic school.
The celebration — marked by colorful Yates High School
masks and chairs spaced at a proper social distance — represented the
culmination of a trying journey that was marked by the loss of his father and homelessness.
“I don’t really have a word to describe it. But, if I had to
come up with one, I’d say it was challenging,” Russell said.
For Principal Kasey Bailey at Lawson Middle School, transformational leadership has been at the core of her education career for the last 10 years. Since joining HISD in 2015, the Achieve 180 principal has had a front-row seat in leading some of the district’s most underserved campuses.
“When it comes to supporting the district’s historically low-performing campuses, I have found that it’s crucial to place a microscope on the culture and instructional programs so that we can work together to truly diagnose and treat systemic student achievement issues that ultimately impact student achievement,” Bailey said.
Defined as the act, process or instance of change in character or condition, transformation can be the keyword used to describe the comprehensive leadership work Achieve 180 principals take on to shift the academic, emotional and social culture of campuses.
Yates High School, an Achieve 180 campus, has raised the bar even higher for the district’s turnaround program, becoming the district’s newest International Baccalaureate (IB) World School.
“Becoming an IB campus is a huge accomplishment for an Achieve 180 campus,” Achieve 180 Director Brandi Gosnay said. “Yates has shown us that an underperforming and underserved campus has the potential to shift and provide opportunities for students that they deserve.”
As the district’s fifth high school campus to receive official authorization to offer the Diploma Programme, Yates will now offer courses in a broad base of disciplines such as languages, mathematics, sciences, humanities, arts, physical education, and technology.
Independent School District leaders on Thursday announced Yates High School’s
new status as an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School, becoming the
district’s fifth high school campus to receive official authorization to offer
the Diploma Programme.
will begin offering the IB Diploma Programme to juniors and seniors at the
start of the 2020-2021 school year. The IB Diploma Programme is for students
ages 16 to 19 and is currently offered at Bellaire, Chávez, Heights, and Lamar
is one of nine HISD schools supported by the district as part of Interim
Superintendent Grenita Lathan’s initiative to expand the number of IB campuses
in geographically diverse areas across the city.
Achieve 180 teachers didn’t let Wednesday’s cold front stop the festivities as they prepared for their biggest challenge outside of the classroom — determining which campus had the best chili.
The district invited nearly 1,400 teachers from the turnaround program to a first-ever, pep-rally-style Achieve 180 Tailgate as a celebration of the teachers’ efforts to transform some of the district’s most undeserved campuses and critical student populations.
“This is our way of saying thank you for always making our students a priority,” Achieve 180 Area Superintendent Felicia Adams said. “Whether it’s arriving early, staying late, (or) constantly attending professional development opportunities, none of our achievements would have been possible with you.”