Category Archives: Distance Learning

Texans star QB Watson surprises C. Martinez ES students with grant, prizes

As volunteers decked out with Houston Texans swag walked into Wendy Martinez-Morales’ third-grade class at C. Martinez Elementary School on Tuesday, students suspected they were in for a big surprise.

But, when Texans starting quarterback Deshaun Watson popped into their virtual classroom, the students – and Martinez-Morales – could hardly contain their excitement.

“We are huge Texans fans! I never thought anything like this would happen,” she said. “It is really amazing that Mr. Watson took some time out of his busy schedule to meet with us.”

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Parents asked to complete Fall 2020 Virtual/Remote Learning Parent Survey

To guide district decision-making, particularly moving forward on virtual learning, the HISD Research and Accountability Department is launching a districtwide Fall 2020 Virtual/Remote Learning Parent Survey.

The survey will run from Monday, November 9 through Tuesday, November 17. Parents are asked to complete the survey online at HoustonISD.org/FallParentSurvey. The survey is also available in Spanish, Vietnamese, and Arabic.

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Office of School Choice to host virtual lunch and learn series for students

HISD students are invited to attend a series of virtual lunch and learn programs presented by the HISD Office of School Choice in partnership with The Ion of Houston and Pumps and Pipes.

The first event, Careers in Innovation, Technology & Entrepreneurship, will take place from noon to 1 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 5, and will feature speakers from Xecta Digital Labs, Plug & Play Tech Center, and The Ion.

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Cafeteria manager works diligently to feed students

Before 9 a.m. on the first day of school, Sam Houston Math, Science, and Technology Center Cafeteria Manager Dony Jules had moved quickly to pack more than 70 student meals.

It may seem like a lot of work, but it was a slow start for someone who is used to feeding students by the thousands.

Jules is one of the hundreds of Nutrition Services staff who helped prepare and distribute meals to families at community food distributions during the early months of COVID-19 pandemic.

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Bellaire HS debate tournament goes virtual on global stage

More than 100 high schools from 23 states and China took part in Bellaire High School’s 65th Annual Forensics Debate Tournament earlier this month.

Despite the pandemic, participation was high, because, for the first time, the tournament was held virtually. The event was organized by Bellaire High School Debate coach Jay Stubbs.

The Bellaire tournament has a stellar reputation in the world of high school debating. The Boston Globe said it is “practically the Rose Bowl of the high-octane world of high school debate.”

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Mark White ES nurse helps foster healthy, safe atmosphere for students

Nurse Janda Jelks’ first year as a school nurse has been unusual and challenging, but she has leveraged her creativity and enthusiasm to excel in her new role.

Jelks, who worked in a hospital before coming to Mark White Elementary School, said her goal is to foster relationships between parents, teachers, and students and ensure the return to face-to-face instruction is as smooth as possible.

“Our priority is making sure kids are getting as much instruction time as they can, either virtually or in person,” Jelks said. “I would hate for something that I’m doing, even though it’s state-mandated, to cut into that. So instead of the students coming to me, I come to them.”

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Washington HS engineering students learn new skill with face shield project

For Booker T. Washington High School sophomore Rebecca Stansell, the first day of face-to-face instruction for the 2020-21 school year had some added emotion – and even a few nerves.

HISD Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan was scheduled to visit the historic Independence Heights neighborhood campus on the first day of face-to-face instruction, where she would be greeted by Stansell and fellow engineering students with a customized face shield designed to protect against the spread of COVID-19.

“It was thrilling, but a little nerve-racking because I had never met the superintendent. There was a lot of moving around, and a lot of people.” Stansell said. “We assembled her face shield last week, and I think she was happy – and even a little surprised – to see that we customized it by putting her name on the shield.”

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With return to face-to-face instruction, Sanctuaries of Learning program comes to a close

The Houston Independent School District partnered with several churches throughout the city for the Sanctuaries of Learning program, which offered hundreds of students a safe place to participate in virtual learning.

Now, as the district returns to face-to-face instruction this week, the program is ending, but not before having served an important purpose for HISD students and staff alike.

The program served students who had a device but were not old enough to stay home alone or lacked internet access. Participating students spent their school days in the church buildings, supervised by HISD staff and church volunteers and receiving breakfast, lunch, and snacks.

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Selection period for in-person or virtual instruction begins Sept. 21

Starting with the second six weeks of the 2020-2021 school year, Houston Independent School District families will be required to select either in-person or virtual instruction for students. The first day of the second six weeks is October 19.

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HISD chef selected to lead Texas AgriLife food videos

Nutrition Services Chef Trainer Brittany Jones is used to teaching others how to prepare tasty, nutritious meals. Now she’ll get to share her expertise with others around the state thanks to a virtual learning seminar.

Jones recently visited Texas A&M University where she filmed culinary demonstrations to be included in virtual lessons for the Learn, Grow, Eat, and Go program offered by Texas AgriLife Extension’s Junior Master Gardener program.

Learn, Grow, Eat, and Go curriculum is used in select HISD elementary science classes to teach students about gardening, nutrition, and physical activity to promote long-term health. Nutrition Services hopes to share the new virtual lessons, which complement the in-person curriculum, all HISD elementary teachers via science curriculum coordinators.

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