The Houston Independent School District celebrated the top students from each high school’s graduating class at a Scholars Recognition Ceremony on Tuesday evening at Delmar Stadium.
Dozens of attending valedictorians and salutatorians were presented with medallions by their parents in recognition of their outstanding academic achievements, including a history-making nine valedictorians from Bellaire High School.
With the first phase of construction 85 percent complete, Bellaire High School is on track to debut three new wings — academic, fine arts, and physical education — when students return for the 2021-2022 school year.
Crews are installing technology in the three-story academic wing, which is nearly complete and expected to be outfitted with furniture in June after students depart for the summer.
Carpet has been installed in the auditorium and ceiling tiles and flooring are now being installed in the remainder of the fine arts wing. Epoxy flooring in the natatorium pool also is underway in the physical education wing.
Following a path of green and white balloons, dozens of Austin High School students and staff shuffled into the auditorium to find seats for the big event — the premiere of Austin’s virtual grand opening.
Clad in green attire and masks, students and staff gathered for the physically distanced watch party hosted in the recently renovated school auditorium, where a giant screen was set up to display the celebration.
Among the sea of green was senior Zuri Mendoza Gonzalez, who sat front and center in a ruffled green and white dress. She said she was excited to represent Austin as the master of ceremonies in the virtual grand opening and wanted to be close to the action.
“It was nice to be part of such a historical event, especially as the master of ceremonies,” Mendoza Gonzalez said. “It was very special, an honor really.”
Built as part of the 2012 Bond program, Austin’s $80.9 million, 288,628-square-foot campus features a three-story academic wing, two gyms, and an outdoor courtyard. The virtual grand opening showcased these areas, bringing them to life with student-led segments and performances.
High school students in Houston Independent School District have the chance to enroll in two Ethnic Studies courses for the 2021-2022 school year. Students can choose from African American Studies or Mexican American Studies.
A 2016 study with Stanford University showed that such courses can improve performance with students at risk of dropping out. The researchers found that the courses increased students’ attendance by an average of 21 percent and increased their GPA by an average of 1.4 grade points.
In African American Studies (HISD Course #SST3714), students learn about the history and cultural contributions of African Americans, developing an understanding of the historical roots of African American culture, especially as it pertains to social, economic, and political interactions within the broader context of United States history.
In Mexican American Studies (HISD Course #SST3510), students explore history and culture from an interdisciplinary perspective. The course emphasizes events in the 20th and 21st centuries, but students will also engage with events prior to the 20th century.
The recently released list of Texas Honor Roll schools selected by the Educational Results Partnership includes 49 Houston Independent School District campuses.
The schools were selected by the Educational Results Partnership (ERP) for 2019-2020 based on students’ academic performance, closing achievement gaps among groups of students, utilizing evidence-based instructional practices, and having a defined system-wide mission of college and career readiness for all students.
Just before he was set to arrive at a meeting with Bruce Elementary Principal Dr. Shawn Nickerson, a third-grader had an asthma attack and needed immediate attention.
“That’s the epitome of Nurse Paul right there,” Nickerson said. “Always putting the students first.”
A few moments later, Rademacher walked into the meeting, surprised to also find the HR Prize Patrol —and a group of cheering colleagues— waiting with the principal. To his surprise, he was named the January Elementary School Nurse of the Month.
In the sunny courtyard of Blackshear Elementary, Tanya Fontaine Clark stood speechless for a few moments before elaborating on her passion for her job—and the school she calls home.
“My mother was a teacher. I guess I’m a chip off the old block,” Clark said. “I wanted to give back. I wanted to enrich the lives of the children at Blackshear.”
The third-generation educator had just received the award for January’s Achieve 180 Dedicated Associate Teacher of the Month. It was just one of the stops of the day for the Human Resources Prize Patrol as they also surprised the December and January Associate Teachers of the Month and Achieve 180 Dedicated Associate Teachers of the Month.
To assist with ongoing efforts to support public health and safety, the Houston Independent School District is offering COVID-19 BinaxNOW Rapid Tests at all campuses and its central office.
The district has been provided with testing resources to test campus-based staff, district administrators, and a percentage of students (with permission from parents) through a statewide COVID-19 Rapid Testing program implemented in conjunction with the Texas Education Agency and the Texas Division of Emergency Management. The tests will be optional, but all staff who work on a campus are encouraged to participate in the program.