Category Archives: District I – Elizabeth Santos

14 EMERGE students accepted to Middlebury College with full-ride financial aid

Sitting in English class at the High School for Law and Justice, listening to a lesson on Macbeth, Roy Urbina knew his life would soon be completely different.

In just a few short months—just over 150 days, he’ll tell you—Urbina will leave his home near Hobby Airport and fly to Vermont, where he’ll be attending Middlebury College. From the largest city in Texas to a town of about 9,000 people a two-hour drive from French Canada, the first-generation college student is ready for the adventure.

“I can’t wait for the independence of college,” he said, laughing. “But I’m looking forward to the environment. You can go hiking, you can go outside, having that openness right there. Living in Houston, it’s pretty urban, and Vermont is so different.”

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HISD board approves administration’s request to restore COVID-related paid leave for staff

The Houston Independent School District Board of Education approved a resolution on Thursday to extend paid leave to employees who are required to quarantine due to a COVID-19 diagnosis or exposure to a confirmed positive individual.

Employees will be able to apply for up to 80 total hours (or 10 days) of emergency paid sick leave if required to quarantine due to a COVID-19 diagnosis or exposure to the virus. The application can be found on the HISD Human Resources page under “Important COVID-19 Info.” In addition, principals will have the discretion to afford teachers and other campus-based employees the ability to work or teach virtually, if the employee needs to quarantine and if working virtually is a benefit to the campus and fulfills campus needs.

The approved resolution is an extension of certain leave benefits provided by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which expired December 31, 2020. If Congress modifies or extends the federal act, the resolution also gives the superintendent the authority to determine how/if employees may use the 80 hours of leave originally provided by the FFCRA.

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January is School Board Recognition Month 

January is School Board Recognition Month, and the Houston Independent School District is proud to honor its Board of Education trustees for their dedication and willingness to serve as advocates for public schools.

The year 2020 brought historic, overwhelming challenges. However, HISD’s nine trustees navigated the unprecedented year with unwavering determination, charting a course to ensure that academic progress could continue for all students.

Our school board members are volunteers who shoulder critical responsibilities and often make difficult choices for our district, all without pay.

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HISD board approves $250,000 grant for family mental health supports related to pandemic

The Houston Independent School District Board of Education accepted a $250,000 grant from School-Based Healthcare Solutions Network to address students’ and parents’ mental health issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The grant, approved by an 8-0 vote with one abstention, will be used at 10 participating schools to assist families whether their students are enrolled in virtual or face-to-face instruction. Only 25 recipients across the nation are receiving the grant. The HISD schools are: Highland Heights and Wesley elementary schools; Attucks, Cullen, Henry, and Thomas middle schools; and Bellaire, Madison, North Forest, and Waltrip high schools.

Joining the board for her first regular meeting was newly appointed Trustee Myrna Guidry (District IX). The Houston attorney and law professor will fulfill the unexpired term of Wanda Adams who resigned to serve as a Harris County Justice of the Peace. The board term expires December 31, 2021.

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HISD Board of Education to host virtual community meetings on district goals for student outcomes

Virtual Community Meeting 2 (ENGLISH ONLY)
Thursday, Oct. 15, 5 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Zoom Meeting Link: https://bit.ly/2SkKKiL
Passcode: hYT3qT

The HISD Board of Education will host two community meetings ahead of a vote to set new district goals for student outcomes. All meetings are virtual and open to the public.

Trustees are scheduled to vote on the goals during a special meeting on Thursday, Oct. 22.

“Our mission as the Board of Education is to educate the whole child so that every student in HISD graduates with the tools to reach their full potential,” HISD Board President Sue Deigaard said. “As we discuss and consider new goals for student outcomes in our district, we want to better understand the views of our communities, which is why public participation in these community meetings is important to us.”

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Wharton Dual Language Academy celebrates new school with grand opening

Hundreds of Wharton Dual Language Academy students, staff, parents, and community members gathered Thursday in their new gymnasium to celebrate the school’s grand opening. 

Red and yellow balloons created a colorful backdrop for guests as they were entertained by several student musical performances, as well as traditional folkloric dance routines performed by students clad in colorful, folkloric attire.  

“Today we celebrate the realization of the vision that we had for our new school,” Wharton Dual Language Academy Principal Jennifer Day said. “And it is a school that is built especially for our unique program,”  

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HISD Board of Education hosting meetings to gather input on superintendent search

The Houston Independent School District Board of Education is conducting a nationwide search for a permanent superintendent, and trustees are seeking input from the community about the qualities and traits they would like to see in their next district leader.

HISD Board of Education trustees have scheduled several meetings to gather feedback from the community that will be used to develop a superintendent candidate profile. The dates and times for the meetings are listed below.

In March, Dr. Grenita Lathan was named by trustees as HISD’s interim superintendent. Lathan will continue to serve in that capacity during the duration of the search.  Continue reading

Sam Houston MSTC students return from holiday break to new building

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It was a seamless transition to the new Sam Houston Math, Science and Technology Center Monday as students entered the building for the first time.

“When I walked in for the first time, my jaw dropped. It literally looks like a college,” senior Yuri Caballero said. “There is so much light and space in here.”

Sam Houston MSTC is one of 29 high schools being renovated or rebuilt as part of HISD’s voter-approved 2012 Bond Program.
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Six HISD schools set to open new facilities in January

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HISD will open six new schools next month, bringing the total number of new campuses opened during the past year to 21 and marking the completion of more than 80 percent of all school construction projects.

Schools include Madison and Worthing high schools, Sam Houston Math, Science and Technology Center, Barbara Jordan Career Center, Wharton Dual Language Academy, and Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. All are part of the 2012 Bond Program.

“We’ve completed a record-breaking number of projects,” HISD Construction Services Officer Derrick Sanders said. “Essentially, that means more students now have access to vibrant, modern, state-of-the-art learning spaces. That’s our goal.” Continue reading

HISD Board of Education unanimously votes to reinstate Lathan as interim superintendent

The Houston Independent School District Board of Education voted unanimously to reinstate Dr. Grenita Lathan as interim superintendent of HISD.

The Board of Education also voted to authorize the Board President or her designees and the interim superintendent to bring back recommendations concerning executive coaches for trustees and the interim superintendent, respectively. Trustees voted to submit a request to the Texas Education Agency to change the district’s assigned governance conservator.

In addition, trustees voted to set a date for the completion of the superintendent search and adopt a resolution concerning reconciliation.

The firm Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates will conduct a national search for a permanent superintendent.