The Houston Independent School District will hold its
2020 Special Education Fall Virtual Parent Summit on Saturday, Dec. 12,
providing parents with the opportunity to meet with Special Education
professionals and attend online learning sessions.
This event serves as an opportunity for HISD to better support families and empowers them to be a partner in their child’s education. The theme of the event is “Supporting Educational Success During a Pandemic” and will address topics such as transition, instruction, compliance, and evaluation.
With homemade thank-you cards in hand, Tonya Middleton’s class at
Southmayd Elementary School eagerly awaited a visit from a surprise special
When Houston Astros all-star third baseman Alex Bregman burst
through the school’s library doors on Monday with a smile on his face and gifts
in his hands, a collective gasp could be heard from the group of students, all
of whom are on the autism spectrum.
“It is a blast and an honor to be here,” he said while juggling a
box of iPads for the students. ““Hopefully,
these iPads help the students because it is a fun way to learn.”
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.
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.”
The Office of Special
Education Services invites parents to the first virtual
Autism Services Meeting of the school year from 9:30 a.m. to 11
a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 10.
This is an opportunity for
parents to receive information and recommendations on reconnecting safely
and returning strong, as well as to learn strategies on implementing in a
virtual setting for academic success.
$2.3 million in grants for mental health, afterschool
supports also approved
The Houston Independent School District Board of Education
voted 8-0 with one abstention to approve a $41 million budget amendment to fund
additional supports for special education, pay for personal protective
equipment (PPE), enhanced cleaning services and supplies, and computer devices
The extra funding for special education amounts to $17 million and has been under consideration since August of 2020. The funding will pay primarily for assigning speech-language pathologists to campuses where students in need have been identified and allow for expansion of the number of existing Intensive Intervention Teams. The funding will also pay for the addition of mental health specialists to address students’ emotional and behavioral challenges. The district will also use the additional funding to increase the number of occupational and physical therapists and assistive technology specialists.
The board also adopted by a vote of 9-0 the district’s 2020
tax rate of $1.1331 per $100 of taxable property value to allow the Harris
County Tax Assessor-Collector to begin the preparation of 2020 tax bills.
Special Education records which have been collected by the Houston Independent School District (HISD) related to the identification, evaluation, educational placement, or the provision of Special Education in the district, must be maintained under state and federal laws for a period of five years after Special Education services have ended for the student. Special Education services end when the student is no longer eligible for services, graduates, completes his or her educational program at age 22, or moves from the district.
HISD Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan embarked on a
whirlwind tour of the district on Tuesday as hundreds of thousands of students,
educators, parents, and staff began the first day of the 2020-2021 school year
virtually with a charge to Reconnect Safely and Return Strong.
Lathan spent the day making in-person and virtual visits
to campuses and online classrooms to speak with students, parents, and teachers
encouraging them as they began, calling the 2020-2021 school year the
district’s Year of Flexibility.
“We are very excited for today because March was the last
time many of us saw our students,” she said before the start of the
districtwide tour. “The first day of school certainly looks different this
year, however, I remain optimistic that with continued determination,
resilience, and flexibility, 2020-21 can be our best year yet.”
HISD’s Special Populations department will host a series of
Parent Labs in August and September to assist parents who have students in any
special populations program with navigating virtual learning for the 2020-2021
The Parent Labs will proactively engage and support parents with
programs such as autism, dyslexia, speech/language, 504, intellectually
disabled, and gifted & talented. There will be up to 20 sessions available by
disability area or special population group and will be accessible via live or
recorded formats. There also will be sessions available in Spanish.
“As we embark on a school year like no other, we know that
extra supports for parents and students are vital as we navigate a more virtual
approach to learning,” said HISD Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan. “These
live interactive sessions are designed to inform, engage and empower our HISD parent
community for the coming school year.”
Khalilah Campbell-Rhone has
been named Officer of Special Populations. She is a proud product of the
Houston Independent School District and the University of Houston, where she
received her bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees.
Dr. Campbell-Rhone has worked
as a teacher and administrator at several campuses including Tanglewood and
Stevenson Middle Schools, Sam Houston MSTC, Ninth Grade College Preparatory
Academy and served as principal at Thomas Middle School and currently at
Worthing High School. During her tenure in HISD, she also served as a
School Support Officer and oversaw and advised 17 principals and schools in the
“I am honored to
have the opportunity to help HISD continue to provide
quality programs and services to the district’s diverse groups of students,”
Campbell-Rhone said. “I look forward to supporting Dr. Lathan’s vision
of providing equity to all HISD students.”
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.