Roberts Elementary School fourth-grade teacher LaTasha Owens’
first social studies lesson of the new school year included an educational
video about the three branches of government, shared on Microsoft Teams.
Owens called on students to share their thoughts about what
they were watching. The children appeared onscreen as they unmuted themselves. Each
was accessing the class from a private residence, some of them wearing headphones
and some of them sitting in large office chairs.
This example of leveraging technology to ensure her students learn without jeopardizing the health and safety of all involved was replicated across the district on Tuesday.
HISD @ H.O.M.E. TV lessons will continue this fall, and
teachers will be able to develop content to be broadcast across various
Starting on Aug. 10, area offices will distribute a survey
to collect basic information from interested teachers, such as school, grade
level, subject, and language. Teachers who complete the survey will receive a
link to upload a 10-minute video lesson by Aug. 17.
A committee will use a rubric to assess the submissions and
select 25 teachers to submit a weekly lesson during the fall semester for the
grade level band and subject of their application submission. Selected teachers
will be announced on Aug. 21 and will receive a stipend.
Sam Houston MSTC
Plumbing and Pipes Trades teacher Raul Ortega has been named one of 50
finalists from across the nation for the 2020 Harbor Freight Tools for Schools
Prize for Teaching Excellence.
The award, which
was started in 2017 by national tool retailer Harbor Freight Tools founder Eric
Smidt, recognizes outstanding instruction in skilled trades in U.S. public high
licensed plumber, is entering his ninth year at Sam Houston MSTC. Ortega’s
hands-on classroom includes bathroom and kitchen simulators where students
learn to install fixtures and piping systems using curriculum from the National
Center for Construction Education & Research (NCCER). Students enrolled in
the program also perform basic plumbing repairs for homeowners in the Sam
Houston MSTC community and learn directly from local employers who visit
Ortega’s classroom regularly to hire graduating seniors.
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.