Category Archives: HISD at HOME

Parents asked to complete Fall 2020 Virtual/Remote Learning Parent Survey

To guide district decision-making, particularly moving forward on virtual learning, the HISD Research and Accountability Department is launching a districtwide Fall 2020 Virtual/Remote Learning Parent Survey.

The survey will run from Monday, November 9 through Tuesday, November 17. Parents are asked to complete the survey online at HoustonISD.org/FallParentSurvey. The survey is also available in Spanish, Vietnamese, and Arabic.

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With return to face-to-face instruction, Sanctuaries of Learning program comes to a close

The Houston Independent School District partnered with several churches throughout the city for the Sanctuaries of Learning program, which offered hundreds of students a safe place to participate in virtual learning.

Now, as the district returns to face-to-face instruction this week, the program is ending, but not before having served an important purpose for HISD students and staff alike.

The program served students who had a device but were not old enough to stay home alone or lacked internet access. Participating students spent their school days in the church buildings, supervised by HISD staff and church volunteers and receiving breakfast, lunch, and snacks.

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HISD students, teachers attend prestigious virtual STEM camp at Rice University

Nearly 20 HISD students and teachers were among a select group from around the state who were invited to attend the prestigious Tapia Say virtual STEM Camp at Rice University this summer. 

At the summer camp, which is sponsored by ExxonMobil, students experienced five days of online STEM experiences led by Rice professors and experienced facilitators, which focused on building problem solving and communications skills. Each camper was challenged to design their own heatsink, simulating the process through which heat is transferred away from the processor in a computer to keep the device from overheating.

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HISD receives $1 million grant from Moody Foundation to help close digital divide

The Houston Independent School District will receive $1 million from the Moody Foundation to help close the digital divide by purchasing computers for HISD’s Achieve 180 students on some of the district’s underperforming campuses.

The funds will be used to purchase more than 2,000 devices for students in pre-K through fifth grade at schools where Achieve 180 program is in place. Achieve 180 is a research-based action plan to support, strengthen, empower, and increase student achievement in underserved and underperforming HISD feeder pattern communities.

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Selection period for in-person or virtual instruction begins Sept. 21

Starting with the second six weeks of the 2020-2021 school year, Houston Independent School District families will be required to select either in-person or virtual instruction for students. The first day of the second six weeks is October 19.

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HISD chef selected to lead Texas AgriLife food videos

Nutrition Services Chef Trainer Brittany Jones is used to teaching others how to prepare tasty, nutritious meals. Now she’ll get to share her expertise with others around the state thanks to a virtual learning seminar.

Jones recently visited Texas A&M University where she filmed culinary demonstrations to be included in virtual lessons for the Learn, Grow, Eat, and Go program offered by Texas AgriLife Extension’s Junior Master Gardener program.

Learn, Grow, Eat, and Go curriculum is used in select HISD elementary science classes to teach students about gardening, nutrition, and physical activity to promote long-term health. Nutrition Services hopes to share the new virtual lessons, which complement the in-person curriculum, all HISD elementary teachers via science curriculum coordinators.

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HISD students win Microsoft Innovation Challenge

The winning team, Heights High School’s Bulldog Apparel

Six Heights High School students took home top honors in a virtual entrepreneurship challenge last Saturday during Junior Achievement of Southeast Texas’ official JA Company Program kick-off.

The Microsoft Innovation Challenge empowered teams of students from across the district to come up with innovative additions to Microsoft’s communication and collaboration platform Teams that would increase productivity, and the human connection, at work, as well as in remote learning.

The winning team, “Bulldog Apparel,” was comprised of Heights students Bora Colkesen, Faustino Martinez, Joe Maddux, Emma Rodriguez, Alan Hernandez Saavedra and Kevin Valerio. After a 30-minute brainstorming session, the six students pitched their winning idea for a Teams poll icon that would give the meeting host immediate and direct feedback from participants.

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HISD School Choice applications for 2021-2022 school year open Saturday

First of five school choice fairs slated for Sept. 19 via Microsoft Teams

Houston Independent School District parents can begin applying for their child to enter a choice program for the 2021-2022 school year on Saturday, Sept. 19. The district’s first of five school choice fairs will also take place on Saturday, Sept. 19 virtually through Microsoft Teams from 9 a.m. to noon.

HISD offers a comprehensive selection of magnet programs at 112 schools, as well as program choice transfer options to all 280 schools in HISD, to meet every students’ academic needs and interests. HISD magnet programs include College & Career Readiness, Fine Arts, Futures Academy, International Specialty Schools, International Baccalaureate, Language Immersion Schools, Language Programs, Montessori, STEM & STEAM, Single-Gender College Preparatory, and Vanguard.  HISD program choice transfer options include Boundary Option, Career/Technology Education, Dual Language, and International Baccalaureate.

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HISD teachers kick off classroom lessons virtually for 2020-2021 school year

Roberts Elementary School fourth-grade teacher LaTasha Owens’ first social studies lesson of the new school year included an educational video about the three branches of government, shared on Microsoft Teams.

Owens called on students to share their thoughts about what they were watching. The children appeared onscreen as they unmuted themselves. Each was accessing the class from a private residence, some of them wearing headphones and some of them sitting in large office chairs.

This example of leveraging technology to ensure her students learn without jeopardizing the health and safety of all involved was replicated across the district on Tuesday.

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HISD teams up with Texans, Reliant to encourage perfect attendance during virtual learning

The Houston Independent School District is teaming up with the Houston Texans and Reliant to encourage attendance in virtual learning during the 2020-2021 school year through the “Attend to Win” initiative. 

Throughout the fall semester, which ends January 29, 2021, HISD students and classrooms will receive inspiring messages from Texans players and celebrities through public service announcements and other forms of communication. Students and classrooms with outstanding attendance in virtual learning can win special prizes such as signed footballs and jerseys, backpacks, a virtual tour of NRG stadium, and more.

“It’s imperative that all students are logging in daily and engaging virtually with their teachers,” Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan said. “I welcome the support of the entire Houston community to achieve educational excellence in our district, and I want to thank our friends at the Houston Texans and Reliant for their partnership in our work to educate all children.”

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