Category Archives: HISD @ HOME

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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High school fine arts students use dance to connect

Students from Bellaire, Lamar, Madison, Milby, Westbury, and Westside high schools collaborated on a dance piece performed in response to a strong poem written and recited by Andrea Minotti, a senior dance student at Westside High School.

“This situation will fade, but we can’t run away from it,” he writes, “so as the days go by, sitting inside, what you will make of it?” Minotti’s powerful message inspired the dancers to express their emotions during this difficult time.

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Winners of HISD, myON Read to Succeed competition announced

The winners of the HISD and myON Reader by Renaissance Reading Initiative’s second annual Read to Succeed Competition have been announced.

The competition is hosted in partnership with myOn, an online literacy platform, and encourages pre-kindergarten through fifth-grade students to compete against each other to see who read myON books for the most number of minutes.

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HISD students to host Virtual Global Issues Summit

Staying connected is important now more than ever, and HISD Abroad is answering the call with next week’s Virtual Global Issues Summit hosted by HISD students.

Student hosts Van Nguyen and Boris Mejia, seniors from HISD’s Houston Academy of International Studies, will go live on Zoom at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, May 27 to discuss the impact of global issues on high school students. They will be joined by guest speakers John Moravec, founder of Education Futures, and Carrie Olson, President of the Denver Public Schools Board of Education. 

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HISD Board approves resolution to seek District of Innovation designation

Editor’s Note: The HISD Board of Education is hosting a public hearing at 5 p.m. on Thursday, May 28 to gather feedback on beginning the process of becoming a District of Innovation, as designated by the TEA. More information can be found here.

The Houston Independent School District Board of Education at its virtual meeting on Thursday voted 7-2 in favor of a resolution to initiate the process of designating HISD as a District of Innovation.

By adopting District of Innovation status, HISD could exercise greater local control over decisions impacting positive educational outcomes for students. The resolution approved by the Board of Education outlines specific exemptions from state law that the district would seek, including:

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Dance students base project on Pershing MS student’s narrative

Students from Black, Gregory-Lincoln, Hamilton, Meyerland, Pershing, and Revere middle schools collaborated on the HISD Dance Connected project, inspired by a narrative written by Pershing Middle School student Mariam Galstyan.

Mariam’s narrative, which is read by Gregory-Lincoln student Kendal Burns, was inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic. Meyerland PVA teacher Chadwick Peters did the video editing and sound mixing.

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Interim Superintendent gathers feedback from parent leaders during virtual roundtable

HISD Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan on Wednesday hosted the first in a series of three virtual roundtables with PTA/PTO parent leaders to share feedback, provide insight, and address questions regarding distance learning efforts and information about the coming 2020-2021 school year.

During this first Virtual Parent Connection session, much of the conversation centered around HISD’s pursuit of the District of Innovation designation, resources to engage students and families, as well as ways that parent organizations can support their schools while the district is operating remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lathan said students, parents, and staff have done a remarkable job adjusting to distance learning and asked parents to share some of the needs they are experiencing. She also asked parents to share what would they need from her and HISD team as they prepare for the 2020-21 school year, and what assistance families need to navigate HISD virtual platforms.

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HISD to host virtual career fair for seniors

HISD’s Career Readiness department will be hosting a virtual townhall next week for high school seniors interested in entering the workforce after graduation.

“Seniors to Success 2.0” will be held from 2 – 4 p.m. on Wednesday, May 20 and will highlight career training programs and other career opportunities for HISD seniors. Nearly 20 local employers, including Goodwill, H-E-B and Allegiance Staffing, will be on hand to discuss interview strategies, tips for success and current job openings with pay ranging from $10-16 an hour.

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Parker ES chorus named finalist for American Prize National Competition

HISD’s Parker Elementary School Chorus has been selected as a finalist in the 2019-2020 American Prize National Competition in the Performing Arts.

Parker’s advanced chorus, under the direction of Marianna Parnas-Simpson, is nominated for The American Prize in Choral Performance—youth division. The advanced chorus is made up of fourth and fifth-grade students.

“It is a huge honor for our Parker students and their families to be recognized like this on a national level,” Parnas-Simpson said. “It is a testimony to their hard work and dedication to the choral art.”

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