Category Archives: HISD @ HOME

Carnegie Vanguard HS juniors create free tutoring start-up company

COVID-19 has presented several educational challenges that have exacerbated gaps in student learning, but two Carnegie Vanguard High School students saw it as an opportunity for positive change.

During the pandemic, juniors Aadhav Jai Murugesh and Levi Chen created Numerly, which provides easy-to-access, free tutoring services for students grades 3-8. Numerly’s goal is to uplift economically and medically underserved communities by making high-quality math and science education available for free.

“We wanted to do our part to help students succeed, regardless of the circumstances,” Murugesh said. “The math and science knowledge kids gain in elementary and middle school is crucial, and a strong foundation ensures that more challenging subjects are attainable in high school,”

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Cafeteria manager works diligently to feed students

Before 9 a.m. on the first day of school, Sam Houston Math, Science, and Technology Center Cafeteria Manager Dony Jules had moved quickly to pack more than 70 student meals.

It may seem like a lot of work, but it was a slow start for someone who is used to feeding students by the thousands.

Jules is one of the hundreds of Nutrition Services staff who helped prepare and distribute meals to families at community food distributions during the early months of COVID-19 pandemic.

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Bellaire HS debate tournament goes virtual on global stage

More than 100 high schools from 23 states and China took part in Bellaire High School’s 65th Annual Forensics Debate Tournament earlier this month.

Despite the pandemic, participation was high, because, for the first time, the tournament was held virtually. The event was organized by Bellaire High School Debate coach Jay Stubbs.

The Bellaire tournament has a stellar reputation in the world of high school debating. The Boston Globe said it is “practically the Rose Bowl of the high-octane world of high school debate.”

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Highland Heights ES welcomes students back with Family Resource Center

HISD campuses may have been closed for months, but the team at Highland Heights Elementary School has been working around the clock to make sure their school community is safe, clothed, fed, and supported.  

The Highland Heights Resource Center officially opened its doors on Monday, welcoming new and old Honeybees to the first-of-its-kind center, which offers families much-needed items such as food, clothes, shoes, and toiletries.

Highland Heights Wraparound Resource Specialist Brendella Chavis has worked diligently to make sure students were supported.

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Mark White ES nurse helps foster healthy, safe atmosphere for students

Nurse Janda Jelks’ first year as a school nurse has been unusual and challenging, but she has leveraged her creativity and enthusiasm to excel in her new role.

Jelks, who worked in a hospital before coming to Mark White Elementary School, said her goal is to foster relationships between parents, teachers, and students and ensure the return to face-to-face instruction is as smooth as possible.

“Our priority is making sure kids are getting as much instruction time as they can, either virtually or in person,” Jelks said. “I would hate for something that I’m doing, even though it’s state-mandated, to cut into that. So instead of the students coming to me, I come to them.”

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Washington HS engineering students learn new skill with face shield project

For Booker T. Washington High School sophomore Rebecca Stansell, the first day of face-to-face instruction for the 2020-21 school year had some added emotion – and even a few nerves.

HISD Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan was scheduled to visit the historic Independence Heights neighborhood campus on the first day of face-to-face instruction, where she would be greeted by Stansell and fellow engineering students with a customized face shield designed to protect against the spread of COVID-19.

“It was thrilling, but a little nerve-racking because I had never met the superintendent. There was a lot of moving around, and a lot of people.” Stansell said. “We assembled her face shield last week, and I think she was happy – and even a little surprised – to see that we customized it by putting her name on the shield.”

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Unique masks help students innovate, adapt at T.H. Rogers

Asusena Gonzales’ 9-year-old son, Brandon Martinez, is deaf and attends the Region 4 Regional Day School Program for the Deaf (RDSPD) at HISD’s T.H. Rogers School.

Brandon has been at Rogers since the age of 3, growing and learning like any other student. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit. The school closed and went fully remote in March, and Gonzales worried that virtual school would be a challenge for her son and that he could fall behind, but Brandon exceeded all expectations.

“He was able to learn multiplication through virtual learning, and that was shocking to me because I thought he would be delayed but … it has been really great,” she said. “Actually, we’ve been learning with him, and learning the signs to assist him, which has been really good.”

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With return to face-to-face instruction, Sanctuaries of Learning program comes to a close

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.

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Hotline available this weekend to support return to face-to-face instruction

The Houston Independent School District’s HISD @ H.O.M.E. Hotline will be available this weekend to provide answers to questions from students and parents about fall distance learning.

Students and parents can call the HISD @ H.O.M.E. Hotline at 713-556-INFO (4636), Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 17 and 18, from 8 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m. Operators will be on hand to answer questions in English and Spanish.

HISD mentoring programs celebrate students’ return with car parade supply distribution

HISD’s mentoring programs, Ascending to Men Project (ATMP) and Resilient Outstanding Sisters Exemplifying Success (ROSES), welcomed back over 600 students and their families to the new school year through socially distanced car parades.

The events, held at Kashmere, Worthing, Wisdom, Waltrip, and Milby high schools, served as an opportunity to holistically support students and families in high-need areas by supplying items to help meet some of their basic needs. The distribution of school supplies, food, and toiletries was made possible through the strategic work of HISD partnerships in collaboration with community partners Procter & Gamble and United Airlines, who donated and assembled over 1600 toiletries packs.

“With this unprecedentED situation we find ourselves in due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we know that the need across our city has increased, but especially for our most underserved communities,” Candice Castillo, Executive Director of Equity and Outreach, said. “We are grateful for our community partners and their support to our students.”  

Under the umbrella of HISD’s Equity and Outreach Division, HISD’s Ascending to Men Project, and Resilient Outstanding Sisters Exemplifying Success mentorship initiatives connect students from historically underserved demographics in the district to community resources and mentors. In turn, these mentors serve as positive role models and advocates providing guidance and opportunities for educational, social, and professional growth.

As the programs continue to cultivate meaningful partnerships, the public can support HISD’s mentoring programs becoming mentors for either ATM project or ROSES.