Category Archives: Business Operations

HISD awarded more than $342,000 for energy-saving efforts

The Houston Independent School District’s efforts to save energy and reduce utility costs are paying off in a major way.

The district received more than $342,000 through the CenterPoint Energy SCORE program, which rewards school districts with cash incentives for implementing energy saving projects and strategies.

The incentives were due in large part of the work of two departments — Facilities, Maintenance, and Operations and Construction Services. Together, they helped the district more than triple the amount received during the previous 2017-2018 earning period.

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Crews keep students, staff warm during coldest days of the year

On the rare occasion that Houston temperatures drop to freezing, it’s not just people who may struggle to get going in the morning. HISD schools and buses need extra time to warm up, too.

But for every cozy classroom or bus ride, there is a team that has braved the weather in the dark and early morning hours to make learning environments comfy and safe for students’ arrival.

They are the cold-start crews – the ones who are called in when temperatures drop to 32 degrees and below.

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Austin HS students start new year in new school

Austin High School seniors Daniel Miranda and Jesus Cantu greeted each other as they made their way through their school’s dining commons, stopping to soak in their new surroundings before the first bell rang.

“It looks futuristic,” Miranda said, first looking up at the contemporary lighting and then down below at the dining tabletops featuring the school’s mustang mascot.

“Futuristic?” Cantu asked with a laugh. “I think you mean modern.”

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HISD Customer Care team meets the demand as calls increase

Anticipating a surge of calls as students began returning to classrooms in September, Customer Care and Operations Senior Manager Delorian Moore began preparing her team of customer service representatives over the summer.

To prepare for the potential increase, she first guided the team through COVID-19 online safety trainings. Next, she advocated for a department goal of accountability and growth.

As students returned for in-person instruction in September, campus maintenance and custodial calls increased, putting the Business Operations Customer Care team at the center of the effort to keep students and staff safe.

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New Austin HS set to open after winter break

There are many features that Principal Orlando Reyna finds impressive about the newly constructed Austin High School, but the contemporary courtyard is by far one of his favorites.

“It just looks amazing,” Reyna said, smiling at the thought of it. “I anticipate it’s going to be a popular space for us to utilize and for students to congregate.”

After a semester-long delay due to pandemic-related manpower and delivery issues, Austin High School is finally set to open its doors to students on Wednesday, Jan. 6, following their return from winter break.

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Eight years later: A look back at designing schools for learning

These certainly aren’t your grandmothers’ schools.

At least that’s how Dan Bankhead, General Manager for Facilities Design, describes the newly redesigned schools built under the 2012 Bond Program.

A sharp contrast from the original buildings, classrooms are now bright, spacious, and flooded with natural light. Bold colors adorn the floors and walls. Shared spaces are reminiscent of trendy hotel lobbies and cafés.

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T.H. Rogers alum and plant operator focuses on encouraging others

When students at T.H. Rogers School are dismissed for the day, Thomas Winston’s shift is just getting started. 

As a plant operator, Winston works nights, but looks forward to the time when he gets to cross paths with the elementary and middle school students as they make their way home.

Sometimes he simply greets them with a warm hello, other times he likes to give advice and prepare them for the outside world.

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Bellaire Cardinals inch closer to new athletic fields, school

Bellaire High School took a significant step toward the next phase of construction last month when the city approved a specific use permit allowing for the build of the high school’s new baseball and softball fields at 6300 Avenue B.

Abatement and demolition of the former Gordon Elementary School will begin soon to make way for the new fields.

The athletic fields are part of the 2012 Bond Program, which called for a rebuild of Bellaire’s existing school, which has been in use since 1955. Design plans for the $141.5 million, multi-phased project included the relocation of the baseball and softball fields to a site about two miles away to maximize space on the existing 18-acre campus.

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Interim Superintendent gets sneak peek of new Austin HS

Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan walked into a sun-drenched classroom situated on the third floor of Austin High School and let out a small gasp.

Drawn in by the view, she made her way towards the floor-to-ceiling windows and took a moment to observe the outdoor courtyard seen below.

“This is beautiful,” Lathan said, as Austin Principal Orlando Reyna stood beside her and shared his vision for the space. 

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HISD, No Kid Hungry join forces to distribute food and spread holiday cheer

Hundreds of cars idled under a grey sky with trunks ajar on Saturday as Nutrition Services worked to load them full of bags, heavy with holiday turkeys, groceries, and other household supplies.

Jessie Eagle was among those in line. She spent hours snaking through the parking lot, using the time to knit a scarf — a handmade holiday present — out of forest green yarn.

The mom of three said she was laid off earlier this year due to the pandemic, so she came to HISD’s Neighborhood Supersite at the Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center on Saturday for help.

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