Category Archives: News

HISD mentoring programs celebrate National Mentoring Month

January is National Mentoring Month, and HISD’s Ascending to Men (ATM) Project and Resilient Outstanding Sisters Exemplifying Success (ROSES) mentoring programs are celebrating by highlighting mentors and mentoring stories on their social media platforms.

National Mentoring Month is a celebration of the positive impact mentors have in their mentees’ lives. It is also a time where interest in mentorship and making a difference in the community is at its highest, with the excitement of a fresh new year and the goals and resolutions to impact others. HISD is encouraging the public to get involved and become a mentor.

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Crews keep students, staff warm during coldest days of the year

On the rare occasion that Houston temperatures drop to freezing, it’s not just people who may struggle to get going in the morning. HISD schools and buses need extra time to warm up, too.

But for every cozy classroom or bus ride, there is a team that has braved the weather in the dark and early morning hours to make learning environments comfy and safe for students’ arrival.

They are the cold-start crews – the ones who are called in when temperatures drop to 32 degrees and below.

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HISD board approves administration’s request to restore COVID-related paid leave for staff

The Houston Independent School District Board of Education approved a resolution on Thursday to extend paid leave to employees who are required to quarantine due to a COVID-19 diagnosis or exposure to a confirmed positive individual.

Employees will be able to apply for up to 80 total hours (or 10 days) of emergency paid sick leave if required to quarantine due to a COVID-19 diagnosis or exposure to the virus. The application can be found on the HISD Human Resources page under “Important COVID-19 Info.” In addition, principals will have the discretion to afford teachers and other campus-based employees the ability to work or teach virtually, if the employee needs to quarantine and if working virtually is a benefit to the campus and fulfills campus needs.

The approved resolution is an extension of certain leave benefits provided by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which expired December 31, 2020. If Congress modifies or extends the federal act, the resolution also gives the superintendent the authority to determine how/if employees may use the 80 hours of leave originally provided by the FFCRA.

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HISD launches Wraparound Services Needs Map & Dashboard tool

The Houston Independent School District is launching a Wraparound Services Needs Map & Dashboard tool, a visual and interactive tool capturing areas of demand and trends of non-academic supports across the district.

This effort is the result of a collaboration between the Houston Education Research Consortium (HERC), ProUnitas and HISD Wraparound Services department as the district continues its strong commitment to serving the whole child through non-academic supports. Wraparound Services is dedicated to meeting the non-academic needs of students in order to support their academic achievement.

“In HISD, our goal is to support the whole child to ensure both their academic and social/emotional needs are met,” HISD Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan said. “We thank our partners for helping to develop this tool, which will go a long way in identifying the high-needs areas in our district and ensuring delivery of wraparound services to those students and families who need our support the most.” 

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New Westbury HS fine arts wing ‘ups the ante’ for magnet program

When Nathaniel Melvin began teaching art at Westbury High School, he was assigned a classroom with no sink. For someone who specializes in building large sculptures and technical art pieces, that was an issue.

He installed one, but even then, the classroom never quite functioned the way he needed it to. There wasn’t enough cabinetry to hold supplies.

Melvin now teaches in a “visual arts studio” specifically designed to meet his students’ needs. Ample power is available via ceiling cables at each art table. There is plenty of built-in storage space. Most importantly — there is not one, but three sinks.

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Austin HS students start new year in new school

Austin High School seniors Daniel Miranda and Jesus Cantu greeted each other as they made their way through their school’s dining commons, stopping to soak in their new surroundings before the first bell rang.

“It looks futuristic,” Miranda said, first looking up at the contemporary lighting and then down below at the dining tabletops featuring the school’s mustang mascot.

“Futuristic?” Cantu asked with a laugh. “I think you mean modern.”

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HISD Neighborhood Supersites to resume weekly community distributions

With students back in class after winter break, Nutrition Services is re-starting its weekly Neighborhood Supersite community distribution program to ensure HISD students and families have continued access to good food.

The January supersites will kick off on Wednesday, Jan 6, at Barnett Stadium from 2 to 6 p.m. Another three supersites will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 9 at Hattie Mae White and Hexser T. Holliday Food Services support centers and Sugar Grove Academy.

All sites provide seven days’ worth of student meals and family food boxes from the Houston Food Bank.

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District mentorship programs, HISD PD’s C.O.R.E Team promote positive youth-police dialogues

Students from across the district participated in a virtual conversation with the HISD Police Department’s C.O.R.E Team that focused on the importance of relational policing between police and youth.

During the event, Let’s Talk: Youth Promoting Social Action, more than 150 students from HISD’s mentorship programs, Ascending to Men Project (ATMP) and the Resilient Outstanding Sisters Exemplifying Success (ROSES), engaged in dialogue and asked officers questions about how to best establish relationships with local police.

According to Officer Odell McKinney, building relationships based on trust and understanding leads to strong partnerships between officers and students that help solve problems, break barriers, and create positive environments.

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HISD Customer Care team meets the demand as calls increase

Anticipating a surge of calls as students began returning to classrooms in September, Customer Care and Operations Senior Manager Delorian Moore began preparing her team of customer service representatives over the summer.

To prepare for the potential increase, she first guided the team through COVID-19 online safety trainings. Next, she advocated for a department goal of accountability and growth.

As students returned for in-person instruction in September, campus maintenance and custodial calls increased, putting the Business Operations Customer Care team at the center of the effort to keep students and staff safe.

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