Category Archives: HISD at HOME

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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HISD Board approves $54.6 million budget amendment to help students Reconnect Safely, Return Strong

The Houston Independent School District Board of Education approved a $54.6 million amendment to the 2020-2021 budget, which includes a $31 million purchase of devices and wireless hotspots to help close the digital divide and ensure students are equipped to Reconnect Safely and Return Strong when classes resume virtually on Sept. 8.

The district has provided 76,362 devices for students in need since the pandemic and plans to distribute 22,750 additional devices by next month. HISD has provided 6,628 hotspots for students in need and plans to distribute an additional 19,151 of the wireless devices by next month as well.

The added appropriations in the budget amendment will also fund additional special education positions, personal protective equipment (PPE), social distancing signage, plexiglass dividers, and instructional supports.

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HISD teachers to create lessons for HISD @ H.O.M.E. TV

HISD @ H.O.M.E. TV lessons will continue this fall, and teachers will be able to develop content to be broadcast across various platforms.

Starting on Aug. 10, area offices will distribute a survey to collect basic information from interested teachers, such as school, grade level, subject, and language. Teachers who complete the survey will receive a link to upload a 10-minute video lesson by Aug. 17. 

A committee will use a rubric to assess the submissions and select 25 teachers to submit a weekly lesson during the fall semester for the grade level band and subject of their application submission. Selected teachers will be announced on Aug. 21 and will receive a stipend.

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HISD to launch Parent Virtual Learning Course

The Houston Independent School District will soon launch an online course designed to provide parents with the tools needed to support their child’s transition to the online classroom this fall.

The Parent Introduction to Virtual Learning online course will be available on Monday, Aug. 10 at HoustonISD.org/ParentCourse. It is designed to introduce virtual learning and provide guidance to parents on the HISD @ H.OM.E platform. The course should be completed no later than Friday, Sept. 4.

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HISD launches ‘Students Within Reach/Return Strong’ campaign to ensure all children engage academically

District seeks to reach students who have not participated in at-home instruction during the COVID-19 pandemic

The Houston Independent School District will launch its Students Within Reach/Return Strong campaign on August 3 with the goal of re-engaging children who have not participated in at-home instruction during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The campaign will be a targeted effort to reach students who have not connected with their schools since virtual instruction began in March. The district will also seek to connect with a smaller group that disengaged after May 1.

“It’s important as a district to ensure all students are engaged in meaningful instruction and learning at all times,” HISD Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan said. “We will be persistent in our efforts to reach all of our children, and when we do, we will ensure they have the resources and support needed to navigate virtual coursework.”

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