Houston Independent School District Interim Superintendent
Grenita Lathan and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announced a first-of-its-kind
citywide outdoor celebration planned for graduating seniors.
Students will be invited to return to their campuses in their caps and gowns for the event, which will take place on Friday, June 5, simultaneously outside each HISD high school. All seniors attending will be required to wear face coverings and adhere to social distancing guidelines.
The celebration is the brainchild of Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner who will deliver his own words of encouragement to the class of 2020.
Booker T. Washington High School Principal Carlos Phillips has been named the H-E-B Excellence in Education Secondary Principal Award winner for 2020.
This year, Excellence in Education award winners were announced
during a virtual “Toast to Texas Teachers” in celebration of National Teacher
Appreciation Week. The virtual event included surprise appearances from actors Matthew
McConaughey and Eva Longoria, former NBA player Matt Bonner, and fashion
designer Kendra Scott.
Phillips, who was also the HISD Secondary Principal of the Year
for 2019-2020, received a $10,000 cash prize and a $25,000 grant for Washington
High School. Phillips was one of five finalists from across the state competing
for the Secondary Principal Award.
With the shift to online learning due
to the COVID-19 pandemic, HISD seniors have had to adjust to the abrupt interruption of
what should be the most memorable year in the course of a student’s academic
Because of this, HISD has designated
next week, May 11-15, as Senior Spirit Week to uniquely celebrate the Class of
Each day will be designated with a different theme, and everyone – whether you’re a Class of 2020 senior or a parent or teacher – is invited to take part in the daily recognition of our seniors.
but connected. Students from Bellaire, Lamar, Milby, Westside, and Westbury
high schools have created a virtual collaborative dance performance eloquently expressing
their feelings regarding social distancing. Forced to stay home, they are
connecting with their fellow dance students virtually.
the collaborative performance “Dance Alone Together” by visiting this link.
extensive project was edited and produced by students under the direction of
their dance teachers and Sanja Korman, fine arts dance curriculum
specialist. According to Korman, the next project from the group will be a
dance inspired by a COVID-19 poem written by a Westside High School student.
HISD’s Office of Special Education has launched a YouTube channel
to help special education students and their parents as they adjust to learning
The channel will be used as an instructional resource for teachers
and parents and will offer engaging educational content for students. It
includes videos for grade levels K-12 that focus on science, reading, and math.
Imagine Learning has named two HISD
schools 2019-2020 Imagine Nation Schools of Excellence for their exceptional
use of the award-winning Imagine Learning programs.
Both River Oaks and Windsor Village elementary schools were selected for their use of Imagine Learning’s Imagine Math program, which builds problem-solving skills and conceptual understanding with personalized support.
team from River Oaks Elementary has utilized the program long before the
transition to distance learning, making the award very special.
The list of prestigious universities that
want to enroll Heights High School valedictorian Emily Ramirez is impressive—Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Brown, Dartmouth, Duke,
Stanford, Wellesley, Pomona, and Rice.
Emily has decided on Harvard, however, partly because her sister
is finishing her sophomore year there now. Since attending Harvard Elementary
School, it has been a dream of hers to attend Harvard University.
The numerous acceptances have taken the
sting out of her disappointment regarding an abbreviated senior year and
graduation ceremony that is up in the air.
Benjamin Brown has adjusted to his new online
classroom routine but says he would prefer to go
back to in-person classes to utilize his “full potential.”
Benjamin wakes up 30 minutes prior to his
first virtual class, has breakfast, and logs into the portal where the class
will take place. Afterward, he immediately gets started on the work for his
dual credit and high school classes.
“One of the two of the main challenges I am
experiencing with virtual schooling is waking up on time,” he said. “The second
is definitely an increase in the amount of work from my dual credit classes.”
Maria Rosas Rosas always looks on the bright side. Despite
her disappointment at not seeing her friends and family at graduation, she is
“Being a virtual valedictorian doesn’t feel that different
from being a valedictorian walking the halls at Westbury,” Maria said. “Apart
from the uncertainty surrounding graduation, I am proud of myself and my
accomplishments. I know my friends, teachers, and family are also proud of me.
That is all I really need.
“Like everyone else, I can’t help but feel disappointed by the
way the school year is ending. We have been working so hard the past four years
and expected to see ourselves walking across the stage, receiving our diplomas,
and sharing some tears. Now that is gone. Although it’s depressing, I believe
it will make our next meeting more memorable..”
For Yash Shahi, being Waltrip High School’s Class of 2020 virtual valedictorian
feels just as good as if school were in session.
has changed – it still feels great,” he said. “I am so happy that I was
announced valedictorian before school closed.”
Despite the physical distance, Yash
has found innovative ways to help his fellow students with the transition to