Category Archives: High Schools

HISD students earn study abroad scholarships during inaugural Global Issues Summit

Two HISD students earned study abroad scholarships after delivering inspiring speeches during the district’s inaugural virtual HISD Global Issues Summit and speech competition.

Ritika Gupta, an eighth-grader at Lanier Middle School gave a passionate speech about gender equality, and Nusaibah Arif, a junior at Sharpstown International High School, showcased Houston’s diversity by delivering her speech in Bengali about the Bengali Language Movement. These two students will receive a full scholarship to study abroad – when global travel safely resumes – from HISD Abroad partners, The Puranik Foundation and Amigos de las Américas.

The two HISD students had their voices amplified by UNICEF USA, who announced the winners and included their speeches in an article published on the UNICEF USA website.

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Bellaire HS construction surpasses halfway mark

Construction at Bellaire High School is now more than 50 percent complete, with the new school expected to be ready for students this time next year.

Crews have installed the roof structure for the new building, which includes wings for academics, fine arts, and physical education. The academic wing is now closed in and air-conditioned, with construction crews currently working on the finishing touches, including tiling and flooring.

Crews also are working on overhead construction in the auditorium high ceilings, digging out the pool and diving well, and construction of the interior walls in the athletics area. Air conditioning is expected to be flowing through the entire building by the end of July.

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Construction continues on 2012 Bond realignment projects

Although the Houston Independent School District is closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, construction work has continued on several 2012 Bond realignment projects across the district.

Realignment projects are new, board-approved projects that were not part of the original scope of work but are funded by surplus bond funds. The projects include natatoriums at Milby, Washington, and Yates high schools, Westbury High School’s fine arts wing, and Sharpstown International School’s dining canopy.

Milby’s natatorium is 98 percent complete. Construction Services is coordinating with HISD Technology and HISD Security Maintenance for remaining minor work. The pool will be ready for the 2020-2021 school year.

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A special message from Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan

Following a statewide call on Tuesday between school district superintendents and Commissioner of Education Mike Morath, I wanted to provide an update on plans for the 2020-2021 school year – which remain to be finalized.

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, the situation remains fluid as we try to determine next steps on what the school year will look like. During his presentation, the commissioner emphasized that the Texas Education Agency (TEA) is working with Gov. Greg Abbott’s medical advisors to establish public health guidance for school districts. While preliminary information has been provided by TEA, final guidance will not be available until mid-July.

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HISD launches Virtual Student Leadership Program

In response to the unique challenges presented by COVID-19, the Houston Independent School District hired nearly 100 interns to tutor students remotely this summer.

HISD quickly pivoted its traditional Summer Student Leadership Program, in which students are hired for in-person internships in a variety of departments, to providing high-quality academic instruction virtually.

The district is committed to ensuring that students have access to competitive summer employment opportunities. This comes at a time when companies across the country are rescinding previously slated student job and internship offers. Despite the circumstances, HISD students can gain paid real-world work experience, develop their soft skills, and become more competitive applicants for colleges, scholarships, and jobs.

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Campus, district leaders share best practices at first-ever all virtual PLS 2020

Nearly 2,000 district and school-based employees gathered online for HISD’s first-ever all virtual Professional Learning Series (PLS), three days of professional development, team building, and preparation for the upcoming 2020-21 school year.

The theme of this year’s event, which took place June 15-17, was “Virtual Learning and Beyond: Bridging Gaps with Strong Systems.” A major focus of the series included preparing for a virtual school system, as well as management best practices and guidance for schools and teachers on how to support students engaged in online learning.

“We are embracing the virtual learning space across HISD, and PLS this summer is no exception,” Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan said during the recorded general session. “It is our goal that our leaders rejuvenate, renew and reimagine the possibilities for the upcoming school year.”

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Senior celebrations poignant, bittersweet for Bellaire HS grad

When Bellaire High School Senior Madison Olds thinks back on the past three months, she does so with a sense of bittersweet nostalgia.

She thinks about the missed basketball, baseball, and soccer games where, as a cheerleader, she didn’t get to cheer her teams on to victory. She thinks about the missed trips to Chick-Fil-A for lunch with her friends.

She thinks about missing her senior luncheon, joining with her cap-and-gown-clad classmates for their senior class picture, and graduation practice — all part of an annual Senior Week that she had been looking forward to since she was a freshman.

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Middle College HS at HCC Fraga senior shows resilience on path to graduation

Before Mykayla Clark-Jolivet could begin her high school career at Middle College High School at HCC Fraga, her home was destroyed by Hurricane Harvey. This was the first of many challenges she would face on her way to graduating.

Clark-Jolivet and her family left their mold-ruined house to live in a hotel for three months.

“I left a lot of memories behind,” Clark-Jolivet said. “I was constantly late to school because the hotel was across town.”

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Graduation marks end of remarkable journey for Yates HS student

As Jack Yates High School senior Ernest Russell sat on the school’s football field for the citywide senior celebration recently, it was far more than an event honoring his graduation from the historic school.

The celebration — marked by colorful Yates High School masks and chairs spaced at a proper social distance — represented the culmination of a trying journey that was marked by the loss of his father and homelessness.

“I don’t really have a word to describe it. But, if I had to come up with one, I’d say it was challenging,” Russell said.

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HISD honors Class of 2020 in virtual graduation ceremonies

The Houston Independent School held virtual graduation ceremonies on Sunday to celebrate the district’s 11,000-plus graduating seniors.

The virtual commencements were broadcast in partnership with Herff Jones and in collaboration with graduation technology partners StageClip and MarchingOrder. Each virtual ceremony included recorded messages from the superintendent and other district officials, as well as audio of each student’s name as their personalized slide was displayed.

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