Category Archives: High Schools

‘Culture of trust, accountability’ at the center of North Forest turnaround success

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. 

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The road to redemption: Wheatley HS on a journey to demonstrate academic growth

From a sprawling mural featuring famous politicians and educators to students laughing as they head to their next class, it’s hard to imagine Houston’s Fifth Ward community without Wheatley High School, the campus that has served many residents as a gateway to adulthood.  

There’s the feeling of perseverance and reassurance when you step foot onto the Wheatley campus. Plagued with the “improvement Required” label since 2012, the district learned in August 2019 that Wheatley wouldn’t meet standard for the 2018-2019 school year.

Despite Wheatley High School demonstrating tremendous academic progress and earning a passing grade of D this year with a calculated score of 63, they earned an overall rating of 59 due to a provision introduced into TEA’s 2018 Accountability Manual. 

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Sing your heart out with National School Lunch Week student jingle contest

Nutrition Services is sponsoring a student jingle contest in honor of National School Lunch Week, which is being held Oct. 14-18. 

National School Lunch Week was created by President John F. Kennedy in 1962 as an annual celebration of the National School Lunch Program. This year, the theme — What’s on Your Playlist? — highlights the variety of flavors and dishes offered in today’s school lunch.  

“National School Lunch Week provides us with a great opportunity to celebrate the importance of a healthy school lunch, while also reinforcing the importance of eating good food and expanding students’ palates,” HISD Nutrition Services Officer Betti Wiggins said. 

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HISD announces CTE partnership with HCC, construction firm to provide students free certifications

As a young boy, Jorge Rubio, a sophomore at HISD’s Austin High School, idolized his father and dreamed of one day following in his footsteps. Now, thanks to a new CTE partnership, Jorge has a chance to live out his dream. 

Jorge, along with 24 other students from Austin and Milby High Schools, participated in a commitment ceremony on Wednesday at HCC’s Southeast Campus for the district’s new dual credit, two-year construction certification program in partnership with MAREK, a specialty construction company. 

“This opportunity means a lot to me and my parents,” Jorge said. “My dad is a construction worker and he is my inspiration.” 

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Marvy Finger Family Foundation Scholarships now open

Apply by Feb. 28 for a full career and technical education scholarship 

Students considering a career in construction, transportation, cosmetology, nursing, or industrial technology may qualify for a full scholarship in one of these fields or many more. Local and national industry data show a need for highly skilled employees in high-growth jobs with great earning potential. 

Since 2012, the Marvy Finger Family Foundation Scholarship has been awarding worthy HISD graduates full scholarships covering their two-year degree or certification program in these high-demand careers. This scholarship includes not just tuition but books, fees, etc. 

As many as 80 full scholarships are available from Finger for a career and technical degree or certificate program in architecture and construction, health science, hospitality and tourism, human services, law and public safety, information technology, and transportation distribution and logistics. Included in these fields are HVAC, plumbing, pharmacy technician, chef, welding, and maritime transportation (see application for a complete list). 

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New Parent University session scheduled for Oct. 15 

HISD will host its next Parent University workshop from 5:15 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 15 at four locations throughout the district: Cook Elementary School, Lawson and Pershing middle schools, and Westside High School. 

The theme for the session will be “How to Get Involved.” The workshop will begin with a dinner and resource fair and will include information on district programs, parent engagement, community resources, and how parents can become active partners in the successful education of their children. 

Parents can look up locations and select the most convenient one to attend. Registration is available at HoustonISD.org/ParentUniversity

Free dinner, interpretation services, and child care will be provided.

Madison HS celebrates grand opening in style

Red, white, silver, and blue balloons were artfully arranged into columns and arches alongside a bright red carpet that guided guests to the dining commons, where rows of black chairs were lined up. 

The celebratory décor created a festive atmosphere for the official grand opening of the new Madison High School, built as part of the district’s 2012 Bond Program and opened to students in January 2019. 

“It’s the perfect place to create a better version of ourselves,” Madison Senior Class President and Student Council Vice President Mariana Martinez said of the new school. “We’re really thankful.” 

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New Lamar HS features innovative academic neighborhoods

Lamar High School 11th-grader Mackenzie Wilson is an active student. She plays volleyball and serves as student body president while also working on her International Baccalaureate diploma. After graduation, she hopes to study pathology or constitutional law. 

Although she is confident in her academic endeavors, Wilson said it was easy to get lost in the crowd at Lamar — a sprawling campus home to about 3,000 students.  

But when the school introduced its academic neighborhoods concept at the start of this school year, everything changed. 

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Want to become an HISD teacher?

District’s alternative certification program hosting info session 

Thinking about changing careers and love working with children? Maybe you’ve thought about becoming a teacher, but not sure what’s involved with getting your certification? 

The Houston ISD Alternative Certification Program invites you to attend its upcoming ACP Teacher Information Session at 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 29 at Hattie Mae White (4400 West 18th St., 77092).  

Prospects can learn more about the ACP program and candidate selection process, as well as meet current teachers with HISD and those enrolled in the HISD ACP program. The one-year program is dedicated to recruiting individuals from diverse educational and career backgrounds who are passionate about students, teaching, and learning. 

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HISD celebrating Principals Month with downloadable templates for special messages

Principals play a vital role in the success of our students. As campus leaders, principals are responsible for fostering a positive climate and culture at our schools.

Whether it’s placing the right teacher in the classroom or having coffee with school parents, it’s without question that HISD principals go the extra mile to ensure the greatest outcomes for students.

HISD is encouraging students, parents, staff, and community members to honor and thank district principals during the month of October by printing out one of our custom cutouts, which are downloadable at the link below. You can include a message to give to your school leader or display on your campus and post on social media. There is even a version for students to color!

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