Category Archives: Achievement/Recognition

Walnut Bend ES teacher named November Teacher of the Month

Fifth-grade language arts and social studies teacher Molly Lashway thought she was finishing up a conference with her principal when she saw a parade of decorated vehicles coming around the corner outside.

As cars covered in colorful balloons and streamers rolled past to the sound of happy music, Walnut Bend Elementary School Principal Michele Dahlquist revealed to Lashway that she had been named the district’s November Teacher of the Month.

“I had no idea that this was happening this morning,” Lashway said. “I’m just glad I didn’t come to school dressed like a pilgrim today, because that was something that I considered for the day before Thanksgiving Break. But I’m really grateful for all of this.”

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Student winners of 2020 holiday greeting card competition announced

In a virtual ceremony with participants, HISD Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan on Wednesday unveiled the winners of its annual holiday greeting card student art competition from nearly 100 entries across the district.

“This event presents a special opportunity for the district to share our students’ artwork with the greater community,” Lathan said. “It is my pleasure to help showcase the work of our student artists and the fantastic work our fine arts teachers are doing to cultivate these talents across the district.”

The winners for 2020 – fifth-grader Ediel Chávez of Crespo Elementary School, seventh-grader Michell García of Wharton Dual Language Academy, and senior Viviana Pérez of Sam Houston MSTC – were among 18 finalists from elementary, middle, and high schools. All finalists received a boxed set of their holiday cards. The winners received gifts from sponsors Raising Canes, Jerry’s Artarama and the Glassel School of Art. All finalist holiday card designs will be available online for purchase.

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Madison HS teacher honored for work in health, physical education

Madison High School teacher Paula Ceaser has been awarded the 2020 K-12 Health Education Teacher of the Year by the Texas Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (TAHPERD).

The award is in recognition of “excellence and leadership in the HPERD profession for demonstrating leadership, achieving excellence, and being an outstanding representative of the teaching profession.”

Ceaser has taught physical education at Madison for 12 years and serves as a department chair and a lead teacher for HISD, helping to shape curriculum for health and physical education across the district. Ceaser said her role has allowed her to bring new opportunities and ideas to her students, from archery and fishing to participation in a grant with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to promote adolescent health initiatives.

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HISD Gifted and Talented director named 2020 GT Administrator of the Year

HISD Director of Gifted and Talented Education Tia Locke-Simmons has been named the 2020 GT Administrator of the year by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented.

The honor will be presented at the virtual INSPIRE: TAGT Awards Celebration during giftED20, the TAGT Annual Conference, in December.

The award recognizes service, contribution, and commitment to gifted education, and administrators who are working to advance the world of gifted education.

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Texans star QB Watson surprises C. Martinez ES students with grant, prizes

As volunteers decked out with Houston Texans swag walked into Wendy Martinez-Morales’ third-grade class at C. Martinez Elementary School on Tuesday, students suspected they were in for a big surprise.

But, when Texans starting quarterback Deshaun Watson popped into their virtual classroom, the students – and Martinez-Morales – could hardly contain their excitement.

“We are huge Texans fans! I never thought anything like this would happen,” she said. “It is really amazing that Mr. Watson took some time out of his busy schedule to meet with us.”

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HISD to name student winners of 2020 holiday greeting card competition

The Houston Independent School District on Monday, Nov. 16, will unveil the winners of the district’s 2020 holiday greeting card student art competition.

This year, 18 students from HISD elementary, middle, and high schools were named finalists from a total of 99 entries. The 18 finalists were chosen by the district’s area superintendents. Those 18 entries then went to HISD Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan for judging. She then chose one elementary, one middle school and one high school to represent the district as winners.

During a virtual ceremony beginning at 12:30 p.m. at Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center, the winning cards will be announced by HISD Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan.

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DeAnda ES named one of the best urban campuses in the nation

The Houston Independent School District’s James DeAnda Elementary School has been named one of the best urban schools in the nation by the National Center for Urban School Transformation.

“I want to congratulate the entire team at DeAnda Elementary School for their continued hard work and dedication to the children they are entrusted to educate,” Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan said. “Our outstanding educators there exemplify HISD’s mission to empower our students to become global leaders, to strive for excellence, and to become responsible citizens.”

A critical thinking initiative has been in place at DeAnda for more than five years. It provides a rigorous curriculum designed to transform instruction into real-life experiences.

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Bellaire HS debate tournament goes virtual on global stage

More than 100 high schools from 23 states and China took part in Bellaire High School’s 65th Annual Forensics Debate Tournament earlier this month.

Despite the pandemic, participation was high, because, for the first time, the tournament was held virtually. The event was organized by Bellaire High School Debate coach Jay Stubbs.

The Bellaire tournament has a stellar reputation in the world of high school debating. The Boston Globe said it is “practically the Rose Bowl of the high-octane world of high school debate.”

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Three HISD schools honored for exceptional design

Collaborative learning spaces and abundant natural light are the hallmarks of a trio of Houston Independent School District high schools now being recognized for their innovative designs.

The new buildings for Madison High School and Sam Houston Math, Science, and Technology Center, as well as the addition and renovations to Northside High School, are three of just 48 projects across the state being recognized by the Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA) and Texas Association of School Boards (TASB).

“These awards are a testament to our focus on our students,” HISD Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan said. “We are proud to provide them with beautiful, functional spaces that foster learning and excitement. At the end of the day, it’s always about the kids.”

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Bellaire HS student named national ’Young Hero’

A Bellaire High School senior was recently named a winner of the Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes for her work connecting those who may go hungry with those who can supply free, nutritious food.

Annie Zhu is one of only 15 winners of the prestigious award that recognizes inspiring, public-spirited young people from diverse backgrounds who live in North America.  

Zhu is the co-founder of Fresh Hub, which collects food from Houston-area grocery stores and bakeries and then distributes it to Houston neighborhoods that have been deemed food deserts. To date, Fresh Hub has collected 10,000 pounds of food and distributed it to more than 1,400 people.

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