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.
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.”
Students who walked into the De Chaumes Elementary School cafeteria on Wednesday were greeted with decorations featuring musical instruments, disco balls, and vinyl records.
Long cafeteria tables clad in green and yellow tablecloths with black and white music note centerpieces tied to colorful balloons — all in celebration of National School Lunch Week.
“I’ve never been a part of this type of event before,” De Chaumes third-grader Diego Martin Salinas said. “It feels kind of cool.”
Observed this year from Oct. 14 to Oct. 18 and featuring a “What’s on Your Playlist?” theme, National School Lunch Week aims to promote the benefits of serving nutritionally balanced meals to students.
The autumn chill did not stop the Mitchell Elementary School community from gathering Thursday on the site where their new school soon will stand to celebrate the progress being made on their new building.
Students in matching yellow T-shirts kicked off the event with a heartwarming rendition of “There’s a Leader in Me.” Mitchell Principal Elizabeth Castillo-Guajardo then spoke to the crowd in English and Spanish.
“We are so proud of the resiliency everyone has shown throughout this process,” Castillo-Guajardo said. “Our new school will be a symbol of promise and hope that will propel our students into their bright future.”
Nutrition Services is sponsoring a student jingle contest in honor of National School Lunch Week, which is being held Oct. 14-18.
National School Lunch Week was created by President John F. Kennedy in 1962 as an annual celebration of the National School Lunch Program. This year, the theme — What’s on Your Playlist? — highlights the variety of flavors and dishes offered in today’s school lunch.
“National School Lunch Week provides us with a great opportunity to celebrate the importance of a healthy school lunch, while also reinforcing the importance of eating good food and expanding students’ palates,” HISD Nutrition Services Officer Betti Wiggins said.
Red, white, silver, and blue balloons were artfully arranged into columns and arches alongside a bright red carpet that guided guests to the dining commons, where rows of black chairs were lined up.
The celebratory décor created a festive atmosphere for the official grand opening of the new Madison High School, built as part of the district’s 2012 Bond Program and opened to students in January 2019.
“It’s the perfect place to create a better version of ourselves,” Madison Senior Class President and Student Council Vice President Mariana Martinez said of the new school. “We’re really thankful.”
Lamar High School 11th-grader Mackenzie Wilson is an active student. She plays volleyball and serves as student body president while also working on her International Baccalaureate diploma. After graduation, she hopes to study pathology or constitutional law.
Although she is confident in her academic endeavors, Wilson said it was easy to get lost in the crowd at Lamar — a sprawling campus home to about 3,000 students.
But when the school introduced its academic neighborhoods concept at the start of this school year, everything changed.
Leticia Resendiz spends her weekdays at Seguin Elementary School, carefully preparing and serving wholesome meals to eager students.
A dedicated employee, she carefully reviews the instructions of every recipe and always remembers to follow health and safety regulations.
“I’m happy with this job,” Resendiz said. “I love giving the kids their breakfast and lunch. Everyone is so nice to me.”
Resendiz is one of four food service attendants hired by Nutrition Services in partnership with two transition programs — HISD-HCC Lifeskills and HISD/HEART (Housing, Entrepreneurship, and Readiness Training).
The programs are designed to help HISD special education students who have met all academic and course requirements for graduation but require transition services to complete their Individualized Education Program.
Transportation Services is updating the SafeStopbus tracking app to reflect temporary changes made to bus routes that do not yet have a permanent driver assigned due to an ongoing driver shortage.
Of the department’s 828 routes, about 10 percent — or 87 routes — do not have permanent drivers due to the shortage, which is impacting transportation organizations across the region.
As a result, stops on these open routes were temporarily reassigned to nearby staffed routes to ensure all students have safe and reliable transportation to and from school. This has caused some staffed routes to run longer than originally expected.
The new Austin High School soon will have permanent power, marking a significant development for the 2012 Bond project, which is tracking at 60 percent completion.
The $80.9 million project will feature flexible learning spaces and sound upgrades for the existing auditorium. The new school will also preserve the façade of the original main building, which was constructed in 1937.
The tilt-wall panels have been raised, the steel structures supporting them have been erected, and the floor slabs have been placed. The first layer of the roofing system has been installed. Transformers and switchgear are set, and wiring has been connected in preparation for permanent power.