When Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan arrived at the
HISD Hexser T. Holliday Food Service Center, she was eager to tour facility
operations, but precautions had to be taken first.
Upon entering the facility, her temperature was taken just
footsteps inside the door — a safety precaution and clear sign of the times as
the world endures the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In the weeks since our district closed, we’ve worked hard
to meet the needs of our community,” Lathan said. “This visit is a great
opportunity to get an up-close look at how the entire food distribution process
The Houston Independent School District Board of Education on Thursday approved a comprehensive, districtwide facilities assessment designed to aid administrators as they prepare to address aging infrastructure across the district.
Facing more than $4.7 billion in deferred maintenance needs,
the assessment data will be used to drive the district’s response to
maintenance issues, safety concerns, student population growth, and building
capacity needs, as well vertical curriculum alignment and educational equity.
In the course of just one day, Code Compliance team members receive a variety of calls — reports of broken elevators, overflowing trash receptacles, and even fire code violations.
But for the eight-member team, it’s all in a day’s work.
“It’s about life safety,” said Code Compliance Area Manager Anne Washington, who leads the team. “We’re behind the scenes, but our job is to make sure that we are in compliance with fire codes so that in an emergency, the staff and students can get out of the building safely.”
As clouds of monarch butterflies migrate south for the winter, many of them pass through Houston, where a special program allows HISD students to provide nectar-rich flowers and milkweed to nourish them.
Twenty-one HISD schools are participating in the Monarch Heroes program this school year, allowing students to create monarch habitat gardens to reverse the decline of the species.
The two-year program is part of the National Wildlife Federation Eco-Schools USA Program, the nation’s largest comprehensive green school program.
When the air conditioning at Atherton Elementary School was running after hours, Direct Digital Control Field Technician Dustin Agnew headed to the campus to find out why.
Agnew first checked the master control panel and the variable-frequency drives, making sure everything was set to “auto.” He then went outside to inspect the chillers and quickly found the problem — both were running, but only one was supposed to be on.
“I enjoy figuring out what’s wrong, because it could be so many different elements,” he said.
Crossing Guard Charlethia Vaughn is nearly a permanent fixture at the corner of Walnut Bend Lane and Briar Forest Drive during the school year.
Every morning and afternoon, she is there to help Walnut Bend Elementary School students and their parents cross the busy street — even when the Texas heat is nearly unbearable, when the skies are pouring rain, or when it’s so cold, her fingers get numb.
“I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else,” she said. “This community has really embraced me.”
Northside High School students steadily filed into the commons on Monday and lined up behind a bank of white tables, eager to pick up schedules, find friends, and get a first glimpse of the new campus.
Standing just behind the tables was Assistant Principal Victor Okoli, armed with a floor plan and ready to help students navigate the new facility.
Principal Cecilia Gonzales stood just a few feet away, watching over the process, welcoming students back to school, and guiding them through new, brightly colored hallways.
Maintenance office looks like any other, with computers, cubicles, and
conference rooms. You might never know that it houses HISD’s first line of
defense against burglars, fires, floods, and natural disasters.
Facilities Services and Fleet Operations, Security Maintenance is responsible
for ensuring safety and security systems and equipment are fully functioning.
provides routine maintenance and emergency repairs on all safety equipment,
such as cameras and alarm panels. It oversees and coordinates annual fire
alarm, intercom, and fire extinguisher inspections. The team also works closely
with HISD Construction Services to bring safety systems online in new and