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
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.
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
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
“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
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.
winners of the HISD and myON Reader by
Renaissance Reading Initiative’s second annual Read to Succeed Competition
have been announced.
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
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
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.
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:
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.
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.
HISD’s Career Readiness department will be hosting a virtual
townhall next week for high school seniors interested in entering the workforce
“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.
HISD’s Parker Elementary School Chorus has been selected as
a finalist in the 2019-2020 American Prize National Competition in the
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.”