Category Archives: Achievement/Recognition

22 campuses ranked at top of Children at Risk list of best public schools

DeBakey HS for Health Professions, DeAnda ES earn top spots   

The Houston Independent School District has 22 campuses that placed in the top 10 on the annual Children at Risk list of best public schools in the eight-county region, with DeBakey High School for Health Professions continuing its streak as the number one high school. 

DeAnda Elementary School is ranked number one on the regional list of Children at Risk Gold Ribbon campuses, which are schools that have high achievement rates despite high poverty rates. Sanchez Elementary School is ranked second on the list.  

During a news conference today at the Children’s Museum of Houston, HISD Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan joined other local educational leaders for the announcement of the school standings. 

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Language competition, love of Mandarin Chinese unlocks a world of opportunity for MIMS student

Dressed in a red floral brocade dress and her blonde hair illuminated in lights, Cambry Gerardi, an eighth-grader from the Mandarin Immersion Magnet School (MIMS), stood alone on a stage in Zhengzhou, China and shared her story of learning Chinese. 

In near perfect Mandarin, the non-native speaker described to the judges of the Chinese Bridge World Language Competition how a simple, albeit significant, chain of events solidified her love of the Chinese language and led her to that moment.   

“My trip to the Chinese Bridge (competition) has helped me improve my Chinese and connect with friends from all over the world,” she told the audience. 

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Lewis ES lead teacher named Teacher of the Month

Fourth-grade math and science teacher Christine Velasquez didn’t stop her lesson on double-digit multiplication when Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan made a classroom visit to surprise her as the Sterling McCall VIP Services Teacher of the Month for November.   

“Mrs. Velasquez has been crucial in the turnaround at Lewis,” Principal Jorge Rodriguez said. “Her work ethic can be described as an undeniable dedication in providing the best educational experiences and opportunities for all students at the campus.” 

What was thought to be a classroom observation on Tuesday quickly evolved into a celebration as district and campus administrators, followed by the campus’ very own mariachi band filled the space to honor the lead teacher with the district’s monthly award. 

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Two HISD campuses make Newsweek list of best STEM high schools in the nation

The Houston Independent School District’s DeBakey High School for Health Professions and Carnegie Vanguard High School have been named to Newsweek magazine’s list of best science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) high schools in the nation.  

DeBakey ranked 23rd on the list of the top 500 schools, and Carnegie Vanguard ranked 308th. Newsweek’s list was compiled in partnership with STEM.org, a national education research and credentialing organization. 

“I am extremely proud of these two exemplary HISD campuses, which have an impressive history of high achievements,” HISD Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan said. “The students, staff, and parents at DeBakey and Carnegie continually make us proud, and I congratulate them for once again receiving well-deserved accolades on a national level.” 

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Madison, Westbury high schools featured in Learning by Design magazine

Two schools built under the 2012 Bond Program have been recognized as outstanding projects by Learning by Design magazine. 

Madison and Westbury high schools were included in the Fall 2019 edition of the magazine, which is a premier source for education design innovation and excellence. The magazine assembled a panel of six architects and education administrators to review projects from across the nation.  

“It’s an honor to have Madison and Westbury high schools selected as outstanding projects by Learning by Design,” General Manager of Facilities Design Dan Bankhead said. “The two projects have provided students with modern learning spaces to support their academic efforts and we’re pleased that the work that went into these schools has been recognized by such a distinguished panel and notable publication.” 

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Students at Cornelius ES celebrate becoming published authors

While most people dream of becoming published authors in their adulthood, students at Cornelius Elementary School celebrated the unveiling of their first published books with an exclusive signing and reading on Tuesday.  

Surrounded by family, friends and classmates, it was hard to miss one student—fourth-grader and MLK Oratory Winner David Ozuzu, who wore a smile that filled the room as he officially signed one of his three books that would reside in the campus library.   

“I’ve been writing since kindergarten, and it’s really exciting to see all of my ideas come to life in my very own book,” David said. 

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HISD to name student winners of 2019 holiday greeting card competition

17 finalists selected from nearly 100 entries this year 

The Houston Independent School District on Friday, Nov. 8, will unveil the winners of the district’s 2019 holiday greeting card student art competition. 

This year, 17 students from HISD elementary, middle, and high schools have been named finalists from a total of 95 entries. The 17 finalists were chosen by the district’s area superintendents.  

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Lamar HS coach’s influence spans from HISD to the World Series

The Houston Astros are the colossal favorites to win the 2019 World Series, but one HISD coach’s loyalties are torn between the hometown team and his former student, Washington Nationals third baseman and Lamar High School alum Anthony Rendon. 

“There’s not a jersey around that can have both the Nationals and the Astros on the same side,” Lamar head baseball coach David Munoz said. “I’m not going to lie. Having a kid play in the World Series is special. I am rooting for him.” 

Rendon, who has been instrumental to the Cinderella Washington Nationals team that advanced to its first-ever World Series, is just one in a long line of students that Munoz has motivated during his 22-year tenure at the HISD campus.  

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Food service attendant receives October Customer Service Impact Award

Each morning, food service attendant Pamela Cole makes her way down the special education hallway at Milby High School to serve a nutritious breakfast to her favorite students, each of whom she knows by name. 

One day, Nutrition Services Team Lead Mari Thibodeaux assigned someone else to that hallway. 

“The teacher called and said her students were waiting for Ms. Pam,” Thibodeaux said. “Can you believe they didn’t want anyone but her? It’s because she exudes excellence in all that she does.” 

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Achieve 180 math teacher named October Teacher of the Month

There was a level excitement that could not be contained when math teacher Breana Chatman of Holland Middle School was surprised by Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan as the Teacher of the Month for October. 

“Mrs. Chatman goes above and beyond the call of duty every time she steps into the classroom,” Principal Pablo Resendiz said. “She is very intentional in planning and ensures standards have been unpacked thoroughly before she designs her lessons.” 

Not accepting anything less than excellence from her students, Chatman pushes students understanding and knowledge of the mathematical process by using mathematical sentence stems, and utilizes interactive word walls and anchor charts to ensure the class environment supports all students. 

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