Category Archives: Facilities Services

HISD, No Kid Hungry to provide up to 5,000 holiday turkeys to families in need

For a lot of families, the holiday table doesn’t feel complete without a turkey as its centerpiece.

Nutrition Services will be able to provide that holiday hallmark — and a little extra holiday cheer — for up to 5,000 HISD families thanks to a partnership with and generous donation from No Kid Hungry, a nonprofit organization that aims to end child hunger.

Up to 5,000 turkeys will be distributed to Houston families just ahead of HISD’s winter break during Neighborhood Supersites scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 12 and Wednesday, Dec. 16. The turkeys are funded by an $80,000 donation from No Kid Hungry.

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HISD increasing food distribution ahead of Thanksgiving break

As the district prepares to close its doors for Thanksgiving, Nutrition Services is ramping up efforts to ensure all students have access to healthy food during the week-long break, which kicks off Monday, Nov. 23.

All campus curbside pickup locations will offer seven days’ worth of student meals on Thursday, Nov. 19 — the final campus curbside pickup date prior to Thanksgiving break. Typically, campus curbside pickups offer three to four days’ worth, but not a week’s worth.

Additionally, a third Neighborhood Supersites will be held at Sugar Grove Academy on Saturday, Nov. 21 — the final community distribution before Thanksgiving. The new location is in addition to two existing distribution sites on Saturdays and one on Wednesdays.

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HVAC team lead keeps students, staff comfortable and safe

When it comes to temperature levels, HVAC team lead Jonathan Harper is an expert in keeping things ‘just right.’

‘Just right’ can depend on the season with sweltering Texas heat and mild winters. But his goal is always the same — keep students and staff comfortable.

“If I get a call saying a building is too hot, my first response is to check the chillers on the roof,” Harper said.

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Plant operators play an essential role in students’ return

If you follow Eliot Elementary School Plant Operator Irma Martinez along on her new cleaning route, you’ll see her clean and disinfect the school from wall-to-wall — figuratively and literally.

As part of her new duties, Martinez is required to clean and sanitize restrooms and high touch surfaces every hour. It includes walls, door handles, light switches, faucets, cafeteria tables, and anything else young students may touch that could harbor viruses.

“I try to help the students as fast as I can,” Martinez said. “That’s why I don’t work by myself. I work with my team.”

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Nutrition Services launches Neighborhood Supersites to feed community

Facing hundreds of cars in a line that stretched down the street and around the block, it would have been easy for Nutrition Services staff to feel overwhelmed at their first neighborhood supersite in southeast Houston.

But for a department known for its dedication to keeping families fed and well-nourished, it was all in a day’s work on Wednesday — the launch of weekly community food distributions.

Hosted through a partnership with the Houston Food Bank, the supersites provide a place where Houstonians can go each week to pick up 32-pound family food packages and a week’s worth of student meals.

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With 6 weeks left in hurricane season, facilities crews stand ready

From the moment a severe storm is predicted to make landfall along the Texas Gulf Coast, Facilities, Maintenance, and Operations staff are among the first to spring into action.

Crews place sandbags around flood-prone campuses. Generators are checked and filled with fuel. Pump systems are inspected to make sure they are operational.

“As long as we don’t have a power outage in the area, the pumps should carry all the water that could cause more damage down the road,” said North Maintenance Plumbing Team Lead Kenneth Wesley, who oversees the dispatch of plumbers to campuses when faced with a severe weather threat.

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Custodial services emphasize sanitization as students return

As an HISD plant operator at Field Elementary, Maria Santana has always worked hard to keep her school clean and safe. When students return to campus on Oct. 19, she’ll work even harder to do so.

As part of enhanced cleaning procedures, HISD custodians are required to target high touch surfaces every hour. This includes continuous sanitization of sink faucets, handrails, and desks using a host of cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting methods on an hourly, daily, weekly, and even emergency basis.

“We know how to clean,” Santana said. “But now it’s going to be about the details. Hitting those high touch areas like doorknobs.”

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HISD crossing guards help students maintain physical distancing at Digital Learning Centers

As an HISD crossing guard, Mary Campbell has always placed a strong focus on student safety as she carefully ushered students across busy streets. This fall, her mission is no different – but her job is.

Campbell is one of 72 school crossing guards tasked with helping students maintain physical distancing at HISD’s 36 Digital Learning Centers, which provide students without technology a place to complete virtual lessons during HISD’s online-only first six weeks of school.

With the help of physical distancing floor markers, Campbell keeps each student six feet apart and leads them down the hall to breakfast.

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Principals of schools damaged by Hurricane Harvey excited to return ‘home’

A new school year typically brings a mix of emotions for Kolter Elementary School Principal Julie Dickinson. Feelings of excitement mingled with the hope that everything will run smoothly.

As Dickinson readies for the start of the 2020-2021 school year, she is once again experiencing those same feelings, but this time they’re tinged with the promise of new beginnings.

“There was a huge loss to get where we are today,” Dickinson said. “But I can’t think of a more deserving community.”

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For Mitchell ES family, new school signals renewed hope

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.

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