Category Archives: Business Operations

Scarborough ES welcomes Huskies to new home

A group of enthusiastic teachers clad in blue Huskies t-shirts cheered as students arrived at the new Scarborough Elementary School for the first time on Monday.

After undergoing temperature checks, the students marveled at their new surroundings and the colorful bilingual welcome signs awaiting them.

Fourth-grader Elizabeth Garza wore a black mask imprinted with the smile of a Cheshire cat, but the sparkle in her eyes made it clear she was smiling just as wide underneath it.

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Mitchell Elementary celebrates a ‘powerful’ return

As Mitchell Elementary School students arrived for the first day of in-person instruction, there were plenty of bright eyes and broad smiles, evident even underneath their masks.

The students entered the new school and looked on in amazement at their new surroundings. Teachers stood nearby reminding them to walk while observing physical distancing.

With their backpacks filled, the students made their way to their classrooms, greeted teachers, and quickly found their seats, ready to begin the school day.

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For one HISD family, a new school building to call home

A day before Hurricane Harvey hit Houston in 2017, Tiffany Irving and her son Grant eagerly delivered school supplies to his kindergarten classroom at Mitchell Elementary, just south of Hobby Airport.

Little did they know then that Grant’s supplies — along with the rest of his building and three other elementary schools across the district — would be destroyed in the coming days as the storm dumped unprecedented amounts of rain on the city.

Unfortunately, the damage wasn’t limited to the school. The Irving’s home just around the corner from the school also flooded.

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Kolter ES welcomes students to new campus for in-person instruction

Kolter Elementary School Principal Julianne Dickinson began to feel the weight of Monday morning before the sun went down the day before.

For Dickinson, Monday was different for a few reasons — the start of in-person instruction, the return of students to classrooms after eight months, and the required use of masks due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

But the most special reason was that it was her students’ first day in their newly constructed school.

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Plant operators play an essential role in students’ return

If you follow Eliot Elementary School Plant Operator Irma Martinez along on her new cleaning route, you’ll see her clean and disinfect the school from wall-to-wall — figuratively and literally.

As part of her new duties, Martinez is required to clean and sanitize restrooms and high touch surfaces every hour. It includes walls, door handles, light switches, faucets, cafeteria tables, and anything else young students may touch that could harbor viruses.

“I try to help the students as fast as I can,” Martinez said. “That’s why I don’t work by myself. I work with my team.”

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Nutrition Services launches Neighborhood Supersites to feed community

Facing hundreds of cars in a line that stretched down the street and around the block, it would have been easy for Nutrition Services staff to feel overwhelmed at their first neighborhood supersite in southeast Houston.

But for a department known for its dedication to keeping families fed and well-nourished, it was all in a day’s work on Wednesday — the launch of weekly community food distributions.

Hosted through a partnership with the Houston Food Bank, the supersites provide a place where Houstonians can go each week to pick up 32-pound family food packages and a week’s worth of student meals.

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With 6 weeks left in hurricane season, facilities crews stand ready

From the moment a severe storm is predicted to make landfall along the Texas Gulf Coast, Facilities, Maintenance, and Operations staff are among the first to spring into action.

Crews place sandbags around flood-prone campuses. Generators are checked and filled with fuel. Pump systems are inspected to make sure they are operational.

“As long as we don’t have a power outage in the area, the pumps should carry all the water that could cause more damage down the road,” said North Maintenance Plumbing Team Lead Kenneth Wesley, who oversees the dispatch of plumbers to campuses when faced with a severe weather threat.

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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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Custodial services emphasize sanitization as students return

As an HISD plant operator at Field Elementary, Maria Santana has always worked hard to keep her school clean and safe. When students return to campus on Oct. 19, she’ll work even harder to do so.

As part of enhanced cleaning procedures, HISD custodians are required to target high touch surfaces every hour. This includes continuous sanitization of sink faucets, handrails, and desks using a host of cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting methods on an hourly, daily, weekly, and even emergency basis.

“We know how to clean,” Santana said. “But now it’s going to be about the details. Hitting those high touch areas like doorknobs.”

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Transportation finalizing new routes for returning students; parents to be notified next week

Transportation Services is finalizing bus routes for eligible riders who have indicated to the district they plan to return for in-person learning and preparing to notify parents of assigned routes next week.

School bus service will be limited when in-person instruction resumes on Oct. 19 due to physical distancing and its impact on bus capacity. Under the HISD Communicable Disease Plan, buses will run at half capacity with just 26 students.

To accommodate the reduced capacity, bus service will be limited to special education, homeless, elementary, and specialty school students. Service also may be provided for some students in middle school as well as those who live along high-risk routes if resources are available.

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