Category Archives: District VIII – Judith Cruz

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 of Education elects president, new officers for 2021-2022

The Houston Independent School District Board of Education elected officers for the 2021-2022 school year during a special meeting on January 21.

District IV Trustee Patricia Allen, a former principal and longtime educator who worked for HISD for 35 years, was elected president.

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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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Top HISD student-athletes commit to collegiate teams across the U.S.

With their parents, coaches, and friends looking on, two of the Houston Independent School District’s top athletes announced they will attend Sul Ross State University and the University of California at Berkeley to pursue their athletic and academic careers. 

Fatou Samb is a standout in basketball at Westside High School and has been offered a scholarship to play at the University of California at Berkeley. 

Jordan Huffpower, a top running back at Yates High School, has accepted a scholarship to play at the Sul Ross State University. 

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HISD Police Department welcomes 15 new officers

Fifteen uniformed men and women gathered with friends and family Wednesday at the High School for Law and Justice to be sworn in as the district’s newest law enforcement officers.

The audience cheered after each officer had a shiny silver badge affixed to their uniform by a family member or friend. The new officers walked across the stage proudly, pausing to shake their colleagues’ hands and accept congratulations.

 “Before stepping foot on a school campus, please remember that some of our students deal with challenges beyond what you can imagine,” HISD Police Chief Paul Cordova said, offering the officers a few words of advice just before they were officially sworn in. “Remember to have a warm smile and a bit of compassion.”

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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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Kinder HSPVA named 2019 Landmark Award finalist

The new Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts building has been named a Houston Business Journal 2019 Landmark Award finalist.

The annual awards program recognizes impressive real estate projects that make a significant impression on the Houston landscape and help sculpt the look, feel, and image of the city.

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