Category Archives: Global Education

Petrochallenge student competition drills down to the top three teams

The sounds of students hard at work — plotting, drilling, and making deals — filled the room at Houston Community College-Southwest during the Independent Petroleum Association of America/Petroleum Equipment Suppliers Association (IPAA/PESA) Petrochallenge. Nearly 400 students participated in the annual four-day competition, which challenges young people to become leaders in the oil and gas industries through a simulation-based training tool called OilSim.

Students from different schools in Houston and Fort Worth not only predicted and acquired valuable blocks for oil and gas production, they were tasked with making deals among the different teams to test their business acumen. In the process, students learn about the methods used in the real world of oil and gas, the terminology used, and maybe even a new career option.

“I’ve learned about water depth and geometrics and all this stuff I didn’t know about going in,” said Westside High School student Jason Levine.

When all was said and done, three teams of students from Milby and Westside high schools, as well as the Young Women’s College Preparatory Academy (YWCPA), took home the top prizes. Each winning team received a monetary prize, but students say they gained so much more.

“I knew I wanted to be a petroleum engineer,” said YWCPA student and second-place team member Alyssa Dorelus. But coming here just reaffirmed what I already knew.”

The Petrochallenge is sponsored by Schlumberger, NExT, Occidental Petroleum Corporation, and IPAA/PESA.

Career Day at Mading ES benefits students, entire community

More than 30 professional volunteers took time out of their busy careers to speak to Mading Elementary School students, parents, and community members during the school’s second annual Career Day on Jan. 14.

Mading Principal Nicole Haskins said the event began last year as a community job fair in an effort to get more parents and community members involved. This year, after extending the event, the number of community involvement increased significantly.

“This is an opportunity not only for the students to see different careers, but the teachers, community members, and parents as well,” Haskins said. “It also affords our parents the opportunity to perhaps find a job just by coming to our Career Day.”

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Arabic-speaking parents and students can now access resources in Arabic online

First day of class at the Arabic Immersion Magnet School, August 24, 2015.

First day of class at the Arabic Immersion Magnet School, August 24, 2015.

Arabic-speaking parents in HISD will now be able to access various resources on the district’s website in the Arabic language. The new section will be accessible from the top right corner of the district’s website, in the same way that resources in Spanish and Vietnamese can be accessed.

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HISD announces partnership with Taipei Department of Education

The Houston Independent School District joined Thursday with the Department of Education in Taipei to celebrate the formalization of an international partnership between the two organizations.

The Partnerships in Education agreement formally solidifies the friendship between the two entities, allowing the pair to become “sister” organizations. It includes opportunities for the sharing of educational information, coursework and teaching methods between HISD and educators in Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, a world leader in information technologies. Continue reading

Hour of Code keeps HISD students globally competitive

Hour of Code is a global initiative that calls for students to do at least one hour of coding during Computer Science Education Week, which runs from Dec. 7 to 13. Basically, coding is typing step-by-step commands into the computer that tell it what you want it to do. When coding, also known as programming, students will use language that computers understand to create computer games, applications, web content, and much more.

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HISD students take on the Bebras computational thinking challenge

Critical thinking is a key part of HISD’s Global Graduate profile. That’s why students from 59 HISD schools are taking part in a worldwide challenge that introduces computational thinking through online challenges.

The Bebras Computing Challenge is open to 5th- through 12th-grade students from Nov. 9-21. The goal is to get kids excited about computing and improve their problem-solving skills. The challenge comes just a few weeks before Computer Science Education Week (December 7-13) and the worldwide Hour of Code. Continue reading

‘Caught in the Act’ spotlights HAIS

World history teacher featured in November 2015 C.I.A. video

Emily Neale, a second-year teacher at the Houston Academy for International Studies, was “Caught in the Act” of delivering great instruction during a recent visit to her world history class. An HISD video crew, along with Secondary Curriculum and Development Officer Annie Wolfe, surprised Neale and her students in the middle of a lesson on the rise and fall of different world empires.

“When planning lessons for my students, I want to make sure the instruction allows them to develop the skills they are going to need to compete globally with their peers,” said Neale. They need to be able to work in groups and collaborate with each other, and they need to be able to think critically and communicate effectively.”

The “Caught in the Act” video campaign recognizes highly effective HISD teachers who are delivering instruction that will lead to students becoming Global Graduates — young men and women who possess the skills necessary to succeed in college and compete in today’s global workforce.

Throughout the 2015–2016 school year, the HISD video team, along with Wolfe or Chief Elementary Curriculum and Development Officer Lance Menster, will be dropping in on classrooms to observe and point out examples of effective instruction based on the six qualities of the Global Graduate profile: adaptable and productive, a leader, a responsible decision-maker, a skilled communicator, a critical thinker, and a college-ready learner.

Teachers can be nominated for the video series by school offices, chiefs, principals, and teacher development specialists. To nominate someone, please send an email to

DiscoverU expands the number of educational travel opportunities for HISD students

DiscoverU has increased the number of partnerships it has with HISD schools to seven for the current school year, allowing even more students to expand their horizons through foreign travel, college campus residencies, business internships, and more.

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HISD Chamber of Commerce and schools partnering to create ‘global graduates’

Members honored for their commitment to prepare students for the workforce

Ever wonder what qualities employers are looking for in today’s workforce? High school principals got a chance to hear that first-hand from local industry and business leaders during a recent HISD Chamber of Commerce meeting. The chamber, which is made up of members from Houston’s key industries, provides the district with guidance on how to improve school-based career programming in order to better meet our area’s workforce needs.

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Oak Forest ES named ‘Rainforest Hero’ for protecting Sumatran wildlife

The island of Sumatra may be half a world away, but that didn’t stop Oak Forest Elementary School students from caring about its wildlife.

Children in the school’s kindergarten classes raised more than $2,170 before school let out last year and donated it to the Rainforest Trust after learning how man’s activities can threaten the natural world. And for that, the organization named the campus a “Rainforest Hero.”

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