Category Archives: Parents

10 reasons why students should submit their FAFSA or TASFA today

Completing the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and TASFA (Texas Application for State Financial Aid) is the first step toward receiving the various types of financial aid for school, and finishing your FAFSA/TASFA early is the best way to maximize college-award packages.  

But how much do you know about these financial aid applications? Here are 10 reasons why students should submit their FAFSA ASAP! For info on TASFA, see below. 

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State law requires distribution of bacterial meningitis information to parents and students

A new state law enacted by the 86th Legislature, HB 3884, requires school districts to provide information on bacterial meningitis to students and parents.  

Information on symptoms, how bacterial meningitis is spread, prevention, healthy habits and more can be found on HISD’s Health and Medical Services website. For downloadable PDFs in English, Spanish, Arabic and Vietnamese, click here

As a reminder, school nurses, family doctors, and the staff at your local or regional health department office are excellent sources for information on all infectious diseases. You may call your family doctor or local health department office for more information.

New Parent University session scheduled for Oct. 15 

HISD will host its next Parent University workshop from 5:15 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 15 at four locations throughout the district: Cook Elementary School, Lawson and Pershing middle schools, and Westside High School. 

The theme for the session will be “How to Get Involved.” The workshop will begin with a dinner and resource fair and will include information on district programs, parent engagement, community resources, and how parents can become active partners in the successful education of their children. 

Parents can look up locations and select the most convenient one to attend. Registration is available at HoustonISD.org/ParentUniversity

Free dinner, interpretation services, and child care will be provided.

Transportation Services updating routes in SafeStop app

Transportation Services is updating the SafeStop bus tracking app to reflect temporary changes made to bus routes that do not yet have a permanent driver assigned due to an ongoing driver shortage.  

Of the department’s 828 routes, about 10 percent — or 87 routes — do not have permanent drivers due to the shortage, which is impacting transportation organizations across the region.  

As a result, stops on these open routes were temporarily reassigned to nearby staffed routes to ensure all students have safe and reliable transportation to and from school. This has caused some staffed routes to run longer than originally expected. 

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Staff Development Days for 2019-2020 to impact campus schedules

The district has designated five “Staff Development Days” for the 2019-2020 school year to be utilized for professional development at the school level. As a result, schools will release students early on those days throughout the school year. 

On the following dates outlined below, elementary schools will be dismissed at noon, and middle and high schools will be dismissed at 1:10 p.m.  

HISD Transportation Services will be adjusting bus schedules to ensure students are picked up at the early dismissal times, which will result in earlier delivery times to bus stops. 

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School Choice applications for 2020-2021 available on Sept. 27

First of five school choice fairs set for Sept. 28 at Sterling HS

Parents will have the ability to begin applying to School Choice Programs for the 2020-2021 school year on Friday, Sept. 27, 2019. The district’s first school choice fair will take place from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Sept. 28 at Sterling High School (11625 Martindale, 77048).

HISD offers a robust portfolio of magnet programs at 112 schools to best meet students’ academic needs and interests. The magnet programs within the district include:

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Transportation Services receives influx of new requests for bus service

Transportation Services is temporarily halting the acceptance of route and stop change requests as the department works to process an abundance of new requests for bus service submitted after the start of the new school year. 

This measure allows the department to focus on ensuring all new requests for service are processed and accompanying students are assigned to routes. Once that work is complete, the department will resume review of route and stop change requests.  

Alternate Stop Request Forms — required when requesting a bus stop or route change — will not be accepted during this time. Additionally, the Alternate Stop Request Form option in the Let’s Talk! online communication platform is being temporarily disabled. 

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Veteran crossing guard creates community connections while keeping students safe

Crossing Guard Charlethia Vaughn is nearly a permanent fixture at the corner of Walnut Bend Lane and Briar Forest Drive during the school year.  

Every morning and afternoon, she is there to help Walnut Bend Elementary School students and their parents cross the busy street — even when the Texas heat is nearly unbearable, when the skies are pouring rain, or when it’s so cold, her fingers get numb. 

“I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else,” she said. “This community has really embraced me.”  

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Transportation Services update scheduled for Thursday

Transportation Services is announcing its first round of bus route updates on Thursday. The changes will impact 445 routes with families being notified via SchoolMessenger. 

These adjustments result from the department’s continued focus to increase route efficiency, as well as its efforts to process new requests for bus service and route and stop changes. Changes to routes are not uncommon at the start of the school year and mostly involve minor adjustments to stop times.  

This year, Transportation Services will be making route update announcements on Thursdays, as needed, with changes to take effect the following Monday. The announcements distributed Thursday will take effect immediately after Labor Day on Tuesday, Sept. 3. 

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Interim Superintendent makes special stop during first-day districtwide tour to showcase pre-K expansion efforts

During her whirlwind first-day of school district tour, HISD Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan stopped at Neff Early Learning Center, where she and other administration officials gathered to highlight to the media and community the expansion of pre-K education throughout the district. 

“High-quality, full-day pre-K will continue to be a top priority in HISD,” Lathan said. “We must provide all children with a solid foundation as they embark on their educational journeys. Funding these programs are an investment in our children and our families.” 

HISD’s full-day Pre-K program, which is offered to three- and four-year-olds, began in 2006. This school year, a total of 12 elementary campuses throughout the district will be expanding pre-K classrooms for a total of 38 pre-K rooms.  

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