Category Archives: Business Operations

HISD students save butterflies through Monarch Heroes program

As clouds of monarch butterflies migrate south for the winter, many of them pass through Houston, where a special program allows HISD students to provide nectar-rich flowers and milkweed to nourish them. 

Twenty-one HISD schools are participating in the Monarch Heroes program this school year, allowing students to create monarch habitat gardens to reverse the decline of the species.  

The two-year program is part of the National Wildlife Federation Eco-Schools USA Program, the nation’s largest comprehensive green school program. 

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Bond Oversight Committee tours Sam Houston MSTC, looks ahead to future plans

While Sam Houston Math, Science, and Technology Center students made their way to classes Tuesday morning, the HISD Bond Oversight Committee strolled through the hallways to see the new school in action.  

Led by Associate Principal Ryan Hutchings and HISD Construction Services Senior Manager Sizwe Lewis, the group made stops in the school’s dining commons, cosmetology, robotics and math labs, gymnasium, and auditorium.  

The Bond Oversight Committee is an independent citizens’ committee tasked with monitoring the bond program, ensuring revenues are spent appropriately, and evaluating program risks and controls. The group meets quarterly. 

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Houston MSTC celebrates grand opening at homecoming pep rally

The school spirit was palpable as the Sam Houston Math, Science, and Technology Center Mighty Tiger Marching Band played crowd-pumping music and the Tigerettes danced in fringed gold leotards with big bows fastened to their ponytails. 

The performances were part of the school’s homecoming week festivities, which included a pep rally-style grand opening held to celebrate the new school and the impact it’s had on students, staff, and the community.  

“Transitioning to this building has been a new beginning for everyone,” Sam Houston MSTC Senior Deann Mendoza said, noting that the new school changed her classmates’ attitudes. “The atmosphere here is different in a good way.” 

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HISD Direct Digital Control team keeps HVAC systems going

When the air conditioning at Atherton Elementary School was running after hours, Direct Digital Control Field Technician Dustin Agnew headed to the campus to find out why.   

Agnew first checked the master control panel and the variable-frequency drives, making sure everything was set to “auto.” He then went outside to inspect the chillers and quickly found the problem — both were running, but only one was supposed to be on.  

“I enjoy figuring out what’s wrong, because it could be so many different elements,” he said. 

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HISD students participate in National School Lunch Week jingle contest

Elementary and middle school students have been busy creating lively videos for Nutrition Services’ National School Lunch Week jingle contest. 

Students were asked to compose a short jingle or rap about the importance of making healthy food choices. The contest was developed in honor of National School Lunch Week, which was held Oct. 14-18.  

This year, the theme — What’s on Your Playlist? — highlighted the variety of flavors and dishes offered in today’s school lunch.  

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Transportation Services conducting ridership review

Transportation Services is conducting a comprehensive review of bus ridership at schools with high transportation eligibility to identify opportunities for route consolidation and increased efficiency.  

The review is focused on 15 schools with low ridership, despite having a high volume of students who are eligible for transportation and have been assigned routes.  

Transportation Services General Manager John Wilcots IV explained that requests for transportation are often at their highest at the start of the school year. Once a request is made and the student is found to be eligible, the department is required to assign that student to a route and stop — even if they end up choosing not to ride the bus.   

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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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Food Literacy and Inclusion program launches at Bastian ES

As Bastian Elementary School students filed out onto the green campus lawn, two adventurous boys quickly claimed their garden bed and took turns prodding the large brown mushrooms growing along the side. 

Nestled alongside each other, the first- and second-graders paid careful attention as they were taught about garden safety and tools that can be used in a garden, like trowels, shovels, wheelbarrows, watering cans, water hoses, and even gloves.  

The duo was participating in a new student garden pilot program launched in October and designed to help students understand the importance of food literacy and living a healthy lifestyle.  

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HISD bus driver offers helping hand to students in need

As a bus driver for the Houston Independent School District, Ethan Sowell knows his mission focuses on providing students with safe and reliable transportation to and from school.  

But for Sowell, his job isn’t just about driving a bus. It’s about making a difference. 

“Children can’t do anything about their situation,” Sowell said. “Somebody has to look out for them.” 

That’s just what he did earlier this month when he noticed a student on his route had become especially quiet and withdrawn and appeared self-conscious, especially about his clothes.

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New procedure for Transportation Services focuses on student safety

Transportation Services is strengthening its focus on student and driver safety with the implementation of a new practice to address student conduct concerns on the bus.  

The practice, which is being implemented this fall, addresses the procedures that bus drivers and Transportation Services leadership must follow when student conduct issues arise.  

The new policy requires drivers to complete a Student Conduct Form and submit it to their terminal manager when a student incident — such as eating and drinking, fighting, or defacing the bus — occurs.  

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