HISD kicked off the district’s Dream
Summit Series on Thursday with the “Launch the Dream” virtual event, which was filled
with information to help students take the necessary actions and steps to make
their college aspirations a reality.
Office of College and Career Readiness and Multilingual Programs DREAM
Summit annual event, which is held each year to aid HISD DREAMers,
DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipients, visa holders,
permanent residents, refugees, and asylum grantees, along with their families,
was adapted into a series of
virtual events giving more students a chance to make their college dreams come
Strategy & Innovation Officer Rick Cruz welcomed students and their
families to the virtual event applauding them for their commitment to the
To guide district decision-making, particularly
moving forward on virtual learning, the HISD Research and Accountability
Department is launching a districtwide Fall 2020 Virtual/Remote
Learning Parent Survey.
COVID-19 has presented several educational challenges that
have exacerbated gaps in student learning, but two Carnegie Vanguard High
School students saw it as an opportunity for positive change.
During the pandemic, juniors Aadhav Jai Murugesh and Levi Chen created Numerly, which provides easy-to-access, free tutoring services for students grades 3-8. Numerly’s goal is to uplift economically and medically underserved communities by making high-quality math and science education available for free.
“We wanted to do our part to help students succeed,
regardless of the circumstances,” Murugesh said. “The math and science
knowledge kids gain in elementary and middle school is crucial, and a strong
foundation ensures that more challenging subjects are attainable in high
The Houston Independent School District partnered with several
churches throughout the city for the Sanctuaries of Learning program, which
offered hundreds of students a safe place to participate in virtual learning.
Now, as the district returns to face-to-face instruction this week, the program is ending, but not before having served an important purpose for HISD students and staff alike.
The program served students who had a device but were not
old enough to stay home alone or lacked internet access. Participating students
spent their school days in the church buildings, supervised by HISD staff and
church volunteers and receiving breakfast, lunch, and snacks.
Nearly 20 HISD students and teachers
were among a select group from around the state who were invited to attend the
prestigious Tapia Say virtual STEM Camp at Rice University this summer.
At the summer camp, which is
sponsored by ExxonMobil, students
experienced five days of online STEM experiences led by Rice professors and
experienced facilitators, which focused on building problem solving and
communications skills. Each camper was challenged to design their own heatsink,
simulating the process through which heat is transferred away from the
processor in a computer to keep the device from overheating.
The Houston Independent School District will receive $1
million from the Moody Foundation to help close the digital divide by
purchasing computers for HISD’s Achieve 180 students on some of the district’s
The funds will be used to purchase more than 2,000 devices
for students in pre-K through fifth grade at schools where Achieve 180 program
is in place. Achieve 180 is a research-based action plan to support,
strengthen, empower, and increase student achievement in underserved and
underperforming HISD feeder pattern communities.
Starting with the
second six weeks of the 2020-2021 school year, Houston Independent School
District families will be required to select either in-person or virtual instruction
for students. The first day of the second six weeks is October 19.
The Houston Independent School District Board of
Education on Thursday unanimously approved 9-0 a resolution concerning virtual instruction that
provides flexibility for the district, if needed.
Currently, HISD is scheduled to begin in-person
instruction on October 19, 2020, pending COVID-19 conditions. The board voted
to provide flexibility to extend the virtual learning period for an additional
two weeks if that becomes necessary based on recommendations from health
authorities. As announced on July 15, HISD’s plan to provide face-to-face
instruction beginning on October 19 has not changed.
Trustees also approved a plan
to carry out online learning on Election Day, November 3, 2020 to accommodate
voters and maintain safe conditions for students and staff amid COVID-19
conditions. Per state law, the district is required
to make campuses available as voting sites during elections.
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.