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