In response to the unique challenges presented by COVID-19, the Houston Independent School District hired nearly 100 interns to tutor students remotely this summer.
HISD quickly pivoted its traditional Summer Student
Leadership Program, in which students are hired for in-person internships in a
variety of departments, to providing high-quality academic instruction
The district is committed to ensuring that students have
access to competitive summer employment opportunities. This comes at a
time when companies across the country are rescinding previously slated student
job and internship offers. Despite the circumstances, HISD students can gain paid
real-world work experience, develop their soft skills, and become more
competitive applicants for colleges, scholarships, and jobs.
district and school-based employees gathered online for HISD’s first-ever all
virtual Professional Learning Series (PLS), three days of professional
development, team building, and preparation for the upcoming 2020-21 school
The theme of
this year’s event, which took place June 15-17, was “Virtual Learning and
Beyond: Bridging Gaps with Strong Systems.” A major focus of the series
included preparing for a virtual school system, as well as management best practices
and guidance for schools and teachers on how to support students engaged in
“We are embracing the virtual learning space across HISD,
and PLS this summer is no exception,” Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan
said during the recorded general session. “It is our goal that our leaders
rejuvenate, renew and reimagine the possibilities for the upcoming school
Editor’s Note: The HISD Board of Education is hosting a public hearing at 5 p.m. on Thursday, May 28 to gather feedback on beginning the process of becoming a District of Innovation, as designated by the TEA. More information can be found here.
The Houston Independent School District Board of Education at
its virtual meeting on Thursday voted 7-2 in favor of a resolution to initiate
the process of designating HISD as a District of Innovation.
By adopting District of Innovation status, HISD could exercise greater local
control over decisions impacting positive educational outcomes for students.
The resolution approved by the Board of Education outlines specific exemptions
from state law that the district would seek, including:
Students from Black, Gregory-Lincoln, Hamilton, Meyerland, Pershing, and Revere middle schools collaborated on the HISD Dance Connected project, inspired by a narrative written by Pershing Middle School student Mariam Galstyan.
Mariam’s narrative, which is read by
Gregory-Lincoln student Kendal Burns, was inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic. Meyerland
PVA teacher Chadwick Peters did the video editing and sound mixing.
The Houston Independent School District has been working diligently to celebrate the Class of 2020 graduates while ensuring the health and safety of students, staff, and families. HISD has decided to facilitate all high school graduation ceremonies for our 11,000 seniors virtually.
Considering current challenges surrounding the COVID-19 health crisis, the district believes virtual graduations are the safest option. The virtual ceremonies will begin on June 14.
graduations will take place virtually, seniors will have an additional
opportunity to celebrate with their fellow graduates, if they so choose, during
a citywide celebration on
June 5, hosted by Mayor Sylvester Turner. This citywide
celebration will take place outdoors at school campuses following strict safety
The 2019-2020 Houston Independent School District educators of the year were announced during surprise home visits, including visits by Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan at the homes of the elementary and secondary teachers of the year and beginning teachers of the year.
The visits took place on Wednesday, May 6, and Thursday, May
7, during Teacher Appreciation Week and included yard signs, balloons, and gift
baskets near the front doors of the educators who were asked to come outside
for the announcements, in keeping with safe social distancing practices.
Houston Independent School District Interim Superintendent
Grenita Lathan and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announced a first-of-its-kind
citywide outdoor celebration planned for graduating seniors.
Students will be invited to return to their campuses in their caps and gowns for the event, which will take place on Friday, June 5, simultaneously outside each HISD high school. All seniors attending will be required to wear face coverings and adhere to social distancing guidelines.
The celebration is the brainchild of Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner who will deliver his own words of encouragement to the class of 2020.
With the shift to online learning due
to the COVID-19 pandemic, HISD seniors have had to adjust to the abrupt interruption of
what should be the most memorable year in the course of a student’s academic
Because of this, HISD has designated
next week, May 11-15, as Senior Spirit Week to uniquely celebrate the Class of
Each day will be designated with a different theme, and everyone – whether you’re a Class of 2020 senior or a parent or teacher – is invited to take part in the daily recognition of our seniors.
but connected. Students from Bellaire, Lamar, Milby, Westside, and Westbury
high schools have created a virtual collaborative dance performance eloquently expressing
their feelings regarding social distancing. Forced to stay home, they are
connecting with their fellow dance students virtually.
the collaborative performance “Dance Alone Together” by visiting this link.
extensive project was edited and produced by students under the direction of
their dance teachers and Sanja Korman, fine arts dance curriculum
specialist. According to Korman, the next project from the group will be a
dance inspired by a COVID-19 poem written by a Westside High School student.
The list of prestigious universities that
want to enroll Heights High School valedictorian Emily Ramirez is impressive—Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Brown, Dartmouth, Duke,
Stanford, Wellesley, Pomona, and Rice.
Emily has decided on Harvard, however, partly because her sister
is finishing her sophomore year there now. Since attending Harvard Elementary
School, it has been a dream of hers to attend Harvard University.
The numerous acceptances have taken the
sting out of her disappointment regarding an abbreviated senior year and
graduation ceremony that is up in the air.