district and school-based employees gathered online for HISD’s first-ever all
virtual Professional Learning Series (PLS), three days of professional
development, team building, and preparation for the upcoming 2020-21 school
The theme of
this year’s event, which took place June 15-17, was “Virtual Learning and
Beyond: Bridging Gaps with Strong Systems.” A major focus of the series
included preparing for a virtual school system, as well as management best practices
and guidance for schools and teachers on how to support students engaged in
“We are embracing the virtual learning space across HISD,
and PLS this summer is no exception,” Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan
said during the recorded general session. “It is our goal that our leaders
rejuvenate, renew and reimagine the possibilities for the upcoming school
The Houston Independent School District Board of Trustees
voted 7-2 on Thursday to pass a $2 billion 2020-2021 budget, which includes a
$34.4 million salary and benefits package as well as an increase in employer
contribution to health insurance premiums for employees.
The 2019-2020 Houston Independent School District educators of the year were announced during surprise home visits, including visits by Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan at the homes of the elementary and secondary teachers of the year and beginning teachers of the year.
The visits took place on Wednesday, May 6, and Thursday, May
7, during Teacher Appreciation Week and included yard signs, balloons, and gift
baskets near the front doors of the educators who were asked to come outside
for the announcements, in keeping with safe social distancing practices.
Appreciation Week is May 4 through 8, and it’s a time for our staff, students,
parents, and community to recognize our teachers.
For Teacher Appreciation Week, HISD is launching a fun campaign called “Get Emoji-tional” so we can share the love😍for our teachers on social media. Each day, share emojis as well as videos, photos and special messages with the hashtag #ThankAnHISDTeacherto show your support for teachers.
finalists have been named as HISD’s 2019-2020 Elementary and Secondary Teachers
of the Year. The two winners will go on to represent the district in Region IV.
The 12 finalists were selected from all 280 schools based on performance data
and other criteria.
Ashford Elementary School fifth-grade Science Teacher Kirk Coppes
has received the 2020 HISD Elementary Science Teacher Grand Prize Award from Alliantgroup.
Six finalists from across the district were nominated by HISD for
the award based on their innovative teaching methods and ability to ignite the
interest of students in the subject of science. The grand prize award
announcement was made live on CW39’s “Morning Dose” on April 28.
Coppes, a veteran teacher in his 12th year in HISD and fourth year
at Ashford ES, credited the support he receives both at work and home for the
Fine Arts Department is working with teachers and students to promote the fine
arts curricula, as well as additional projects to inspire students while
distance learning is occurring.
from six HISD high schools worked together virtually to create a dance to
inspire students studying at home via distance learning. The students
are in the process of editing the video, which is part of a series titled
“HISD Dance Alone—Together.” The video is expected to debut on Fine Arts Friday
on April 24.
Fine Arts Department is also receiving world-class guidance for instruction in
theater arts. The Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre, and the
Globe – three world-renowned theater companies in the United Kingdom – have
granted HISD permission to use their online materials in the district’s theater
curriculum. In addition, eight HISD theater teachers have created or are in the
process of creating videos to accompany the HISD @ H.O.M.E. theater curriculum.
Houston Independent School
District STEM educators are joining the effort to help first responders and
health care professionals by producing face shields to be used in the fight
Using HISD’s 3D printers,
a team of six district educators are producing at least 100 face shields per
week in response to the shortage of personal protective equipment.
The collaborative effort,
which began on April 8 and is known as H-Force, is led by Houston Community
College (HCC) and includes HISD, San Jacinto College, the University of Houston
at Sugar Land, the Fort Bend County Judge’s Office, TX/RX Labs, and Alief ISD.
With a districtwide closure in place and distance learning
underway, what may have once been considered “normal” for principals and
teachers in the seventh-largest district in the nation has changed for the
Due to the ongoing spread of the COVID-19 virus, school districts
across Texas were ordered by Gov. Greg Abbott to close until at least May 4,
and that has made for huge adjustments at the campus and district levels.
“I assumed we would shut down for a week or two. But when I heard
it would be through April, it was devastating for me,” said Worthing High
School Principal Khalilah Campbell. “We knew it had to be done for the safety
of our students and the community, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt.”
With the federal government extending social distancing guidelines through the end of April, the Houston Independent School District will remain closed, providing online instruction until further notice.
In addition to
the federal guidelines, this decision comes in response to the new executive
order by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday to close all Texas schools until May
4. During this time, we will continue remote learning.
classroom instruction resumes, the district has launched HISD
@ H.O.M.E. (Home-based
Online Mobile Education), a distance learning plan to ensure students’ academic
and non-academic needs are met as the district remains closed due to COVID-19