When walking into Jennifer Heemer’s fifth grade classroom at
Kolter Elementary School, it’s hard not to get excited about learning.
The walls are adorned with colorful decorations, including a
poster reminding her students to “think outside the box” and class photos from
her 21 years of teaching. Natural light from a wall of large windows fills the
room and illuminates the two rows of perfectly-arranged desks.
Under a cloudy sky, Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan
greeted Westbury High School students and their parents on the first day of the
But instead of navigating blue and grey painted halls that
would normally be crowded with students, she and new Principal Jerri Nixon were
busy handing out pre-packed meals to Westbury families in the parking lot.
As students across the district return to school virtually,
HISD Nutrition Services is offering daily curbside pickup for breakfast and
lunch meals at 86 strategically located schools, including Westbury.
After a week-long break, the Houston Independent School
District is relaunching curbside student meals distribution on Tuesday, Sept. 8
— the first day of the 2020-2021 school year.
HISD Nutrition Services will offer daily curbside pickup, Monday
through Friday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 86 schools strategically located
throughout the district. Each day, families can go to any location to pick up
one pre-packed breakfast and lunch meal per student. The meals are served at no
cost to families.
Parents must show proof of enrollment in an HISD school — such as a student ID or report card —
to pick up the meals.
members took hundreds of calls and answered questions on a variety of topics
during the district’s back-to-school phone banks on Friday as the district
helps families to Reconnect
Safely and Return Strong for the 2020-2021 school year.
The phone banks
gave the public the opportunity to ask questions in English and Spanish by
calling the HISD at H.O.M.E. hotline number at 713-556-(INFO) 4636.
“Every year, we hold our phone banks to ensure our parents and students can get their questions answered by talking one-on-one with an HISD team member,” HISD Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan said. “During this ‘Year of Flexibility,’ we want our parents to know that we are partners with them in their child’s education.”
In preparation for the
upcoming school year, HISD parents began lining up at Northline Elementary
School early to receive technology that will help when online classes begin
daughter Mila, a rising fourth-grader at Northline, received a Chromebook that
she is excited to start using. Villafuerte says she’s relieved the district is
making technology available to students during this challenging time.
“I really appreciate
that they have tried to accommodate as many families as they have,” she said. I
am still concerned about schools opening in October, so if we can continue with
online learning, we would like to take that approach, and this makes that
possible for us.”
For the past three years, Carla Garcia and her 9-year-old daughter
Kaitlyn commuted about 25 minutes every morning to get to Mitchell Elementary
School, despite living just across the street from the school.
The original Mitchell was damaged beyond repair when
Hurricane Harvey hit in 2017, forcing students and staff to move about nine
miles away to the former Caldwell Elementary School — their temporary home for
the past three years.
With the new and improved Mitchell nearly complete, Garcia
and Kaitlyn will once again be able to walk to school in the mornings.
The Houston Independent School District has moved to a new Student Information System (SIS) for the 2020-2021 school year. The new system includes a parent portal that will launch on Aug. 31.
Parents will be able
to use the HISD Connect Parent Portal as a tool to track information related to
their student’s schedule, grades, attendance, academic history, and more.
between educators and parents is more important than ever, as we prepare to
reconnect safely and return strong,” HISD Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan
said. “HISD Connect will integrate seamlessly with online learning.”
HISD is currently enrolling for its full-day pre-K program at
schools across the district, offering more 3- and 4-year-old students in the
community with the opportunity to attend a high-quality program that will build
a strong foundation of learning.
Space in HISD pre-kindergarten
programs is limited, and parents are encouraged to secure their child’s seat
for the 2020-2021 school year as soon as possible. Children must live within
HISD boundaries but do not have to be zoned to a specific campus to attend a
pre-K program. To begin the enrollment process:
Surrounded by the bright orange and white
colors of the Houston Dynamo, HISD Interim Superintendent Lathan led the
unveiling on Tuesday of the district’s first-ever, all-virtual academic
Camp Spark, which kicks off on Monday,
Aug. 24, launched with a live socially distant celebration at Houston’s BBVA
Compass Stadium. The virtual camp, which is designed to get students re-engaged
as the district prepares for online learning, will provide lessons that focus on physical fitness, science, literacy,
math, internet safety, technology and art.
New ninth-graders will take part
in a boot camp to prepare them for high school while 10th- through
12th-graders will participate in a College and Career Readiness