Category Archives: Achievement/Recognition

HISD announces 2020-21 Teacher of the Year finalists, Beginning Teacher of the Year winners

Twelve educators have been named as HISD’s 2020-2021 Elementary and Secondary Teachers of the Year finalists, and two teachers have been named the Beginning Teachers of the Year.

The two Teacher of the Year winners will go on to represent the district in Region IV. The 12 finalists were selected from all 280 schools based on performance data and other criteria.

At the elementary level, the six Teacher of the Year finalists are:

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North Houston Early College HS nominated as 2021 national Blue Ribbon School

The Houston Independent School District’s North Houston Early College High School has been nominated by the Texas Education Agency as a 2021 National Blue Ribbon School.

North Houston Early College High School (NHECHS) is one of 26 public schools in Texas and the only one in HISD that received a nomination from the state’s education agency. NHECHS is housed on the Northline Houston Community College campus and follows a dual-credit model, offering students the opportunity to graduate with both a high school diploma and an associate degree.

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‘Prize Patrol’ surprises December and January Associate Teachers of the Month

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.

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Crespo ES student wins 25th annual MLK Jr. Oratory Competition

Fourth-grader wins $1,000 prize for original speech inspired by civil rights leader 

Crespo Elementary School fourth-grader Vivianna Serna used her own experience with discrimination amongst friends as a guide for her winning speech at the 25th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Oratory Competition. 

Serna was awarded first place for her original speech that tackled hate and bigotry between friends, stating that Dr. King’s teachings showed her that she must meet the forces of hate with the power of love.

The event was held Friday at HISD’s Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center. Serna was among 12 HISD students to participate in the final round of the Foley & Lardner LLP-sponsored competition, which marks its 25th anniversary this year.

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Eliot ES teacher named January Teacher of the Month

On a chilly Tuesday morning at Eliot Elementary School, fourth-grade ELA teacher Fernando Lopez was teaching his students how to analyze a story when he was suddenly summoned to the school parking lot for a special surprise.

Cars covered in painted messages and decorations drove by Lopez, cheering him on for being named HISD’s January Teacher of the Month – not only for effectively teaching his students English, but also for helping them develop a love of reading. As a thank-you for his hard work, he will be driving a 2021 Honda CR-V, courtesy Sterling McCall Honda.

An alumnus of Eliot Elementary School, Lopez has dedicated the last 22 years to helping ensure his students grow in their acquisition of a second language and their ability to effectively read and communicate through writing.

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January is School Board Recognition Month 

January is School Board Recognition Month, and the Houston Independent School District is proud to honor its Board of Education trustees for their dedication and willingness to serve as advocates for public schools.

The year 2020 brought historic, overwhelming challenges. However, HISD’s nine trustees navigated the unprecedented year with unwavering determination, charting a course to ensure that academic progress could continue for all students.

Our school board members are volunteers who shoulder critical responsibilities and often make difficult choices for our district, all without pay.

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Interim Superintendent surprised with Leukemia and Lymphoma Society HERO award

During a surprise virtual meeting on Wednesday, Houston Independent School District Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan was honored with a HERO award by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society – Gulf Coast.

The award, which was presented during a virtual Microsoft Teams meeting between district leaders, honors individuals and/0r teams/organizations who raise or donate $50,000 to help fund cutting-edge research and support for cancer patients and their families.

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CTE students commit to HCC construction program during drive-in ceremony

Partnership with Marek Construction offers dual credits, industry credentials

Houston Independent School District Career and Technical Education students signed commitments on Tuesday to complete a two-year Marek Construction Academy program at Houston Community College.

The commitment ceremony took place during a physically distanced drive-in event in the HCC Southeast Campus parking lot. Students received commendations from executive leadership and then made their way to the stage individually to sign their commitment forms.

“We are proud of all of you. Hone your skills, learn your trade and strive to be the best,” Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan said. “As you grow in this career, you will have the satisfaction of knowing you made a great choice to invest in yourself and an excellent program.”

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Robinson ES teacher named December Teacher of the Month

Fifth-grade math teacher Jennifer Harwell was teaching her students at Robinson Elementary School how to multiply decimals when she was pulled out of her classroom for a special surprise.

Harwell was named HISD’s December Teacher of the Month for making learning about numbers exciting for all students, even those who may not always enjoy math. As a thank you for her hard work, this holiday season, she will be driving a 2020 Chevrolet Bolt EV LT, courtesy Sterling McCall Chevrolet.

Harwell is also a team lead for fifth grade and ensures her team works cohesively and actively collaborates with other grade levels to align instruction and good practices. This year, she has taken on the role of Career Pathways Instructional Excellence Coach and is working to coach new teachers on effective practices and quality instruction for all students.

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HISD recognizes November 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.

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