The Houston Independent School District announced the winners of the district’s 2019 holiday greeting card competition on Friday, featuring creative student artwork highlighting family holiday traditions, seasonal decorations, and classic holiday songs.
“I want to thank all the students who participated for sharing and opening up your world to us,” HISD Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan said during the annual unveiling ceremony. “I hope you’ve enjoyed this experience, and I hope we will be able to provide you additional experiences throughout your school career.”
The winners – fifth-grader Edward Lopez of Neff Elementary School, eighth-grader Josiah Rajesh of Baylor College of Medicine Academy at Ryan, and senior Mariangela Rodriguez of Lamar High School – were among 17 finalists from elementary, middle, and high schools. All finalists received a boxed set of their holiday cards. Their holiday cards also will be available for purchase and on display at the HISD administration building.
Transportation Services is conducting a comprehensive review of bus ridership at schools with high transportation eligibility to identify opportunities for route consolidation and increased efficiency.
The review is focused on 15 schools with low ridership, despite having a high volume of students who are eligible for transportation and have been assigned routes.
Transportation Services General Manager John Wilcots IV explained that requests for transportation are often at their highest at the start of the school year. Once a request is made and the student is found to be eligible, the department is required to assign that student to a route and stop — even if they end up choosing not to ride the bus.
As Bastian Elementary School students filed out onto the green campus lawn, two adventurous boys quickly claimed their garden bed and took turns prodding the large brown mushrooms growing along the side.
Nestled alongside each other, the first- and second-graders paid careful attention as they were taught about garden safety and tools that can be used in a garden, like trowels, shovels, wheelbarrows, watering cans, water hoses, and even gloves.
The duo was participating in a new student garden pilot program launched in October and designed to help students understand the importance of food literacy and living a healthy lifestyle.
Nine HISD schools give business leaders an opportunity to shadow school principals
It was 8 a.m. on a typical morning at HISD’s Benavidez Elementary School, and Principal Zabeth Parra-Malek was on the go. After making the morning announcements, she stood at the front door greeting late arrivals, making sure they were fed and ready for the day. By 8:45, she landed in a PALS pre-K classroom for a drop-in observation with the school’s therapy dog, Lucy.
What made this morning different was that she had a “shadow” – Kristie Ketron, an executive with Ernst & Young. Parra-Malek was one of nine HISD principals who hosted visitors like Ketron for Project Principal, an opportunity for business leaders to walk a mile in principals’ shoes.
And they did plenty of walking, in and out of classrooms and meetings, highlighting the main message Parra-Malek wanted the community to hear: schools, teachers, and students are more than test scores and accountability ratings.
While most people dream of becoming published authors in their adulthood, students at Cornelius Elementary School celebrated the unveiling of their first published books with an exclusive signing and reading on Tuesday.
Surrounded by family, friends and classmates, it was hard to miss one student—fourth-grader and MLK Oratory Winner David Ozuzu, who wore a smile that filled the room as he officially signed one of his three books that would reside in the campus library.
“I’ve been writing since kindergarten, and it’s really exciting to see all of my ideas come to life in my very own book,” David said.
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.”
Over six years ago, HISD faced an enormous challenge when it agreed to take over North Forest ISD, which had been plagued by years of low academic performance, a laundry list of state sanctions, and financial mismanagement – which eventually led to the order from the Texas Education Agency to close the district.
Since taking on the seven schools in the North Forest district, HISD has made significant strides in improving the long-struggling campuses using strategies such as mobilizing effective teachers and principals, implementing reading mastery and corrective reading, extending the school day, and streamlining bus transportation to boost attendance.
Five of the seven original transition team members are still part of Team HISD to this day, and the experience left an indelible impact on each of them.