Category Archives: Special Education

Special Education Fall Virtual Parent Summit set for Dec. 12

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.

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Astros star third baseman donates iPads to Southmayd ES students

With homemade thank-you cards in hand, Tonya Middleton’s class at Southmayd Elementary School eagerly awaited a visit from a surprise special guest.

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.”

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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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Parents invited to virtual Autism Services Meeting on Nov. 10

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.

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HISD Board approves $41 million budget amendment

$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 and hotspots.

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.

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Notice of Destruction of Special Education Records

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.

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Interim Superintendent kicks off first day of virtual learning with districtwide tour

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.”

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HISD Special Populations to offer Parent Labs in August and September

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 school year.

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.”

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Khalilah Campbell-Rhone named Officer of Special Populations

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 district. 

“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.” 

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HISD Office of Special Education launches YouTube channel

HISD’s Office of Special Education has launched a YouTube channel to help special education students and their parents as they adjust to learning at home. 

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.

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