Category Archives: Virtual Learning

First virtual Dream Summit series event puts students on path to college

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.

The HISD 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 true.

Chief Strategy & Innovation Officer Rick Cruz welcomed students and their families to the virtual event applauding them for their commitment to the future.

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Texans star QB Watson surprises C. Martinez ES students with grant, prizes

As volunteers decked out with Houston Texans swag walked into Wendy Martinez-Morales’ third-grade class at C. Martinez Elementary School on Tuesday, students suspected they were in for a big surprise.

But, when Texans starting quarterback Deshaun Watson popped into their virtual classroom, the students – and Martinez-Morales – could hardly contain their excitement.

“We are huge Texans fans! I never thought anything like this would happen,” she said. “It is really amazing that Mr. Watson took some time out of his busy schedule to meet with us.”

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Parents asked to complete Fall 2020 Virtual/Remote Learning Parent Survey

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.

The survey will run from Monday, November 9 through Tuesday, November 17. Parents are asked to complete the survey online at HoustonISD.org/FallParentSurvey. The survey is also available in Spanish, Vietnamese, and Arabic.

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Carnegie Vanguard HS juniors create free tutoring start-up company

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 school,”

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With return to face-to-face instruction, Sanctuaries of Learning program comes to a close

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.

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HISD students, teachers attend prestigious virtual STEM camp at Rice University

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.

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HISD receives $1 million grant from Moody Foundation to help close digital divide

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 underperforming campuses.

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.

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Selection period for in-person or virtual instruction begins Sept. 21

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.

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HISD Board approves formation of District of Innovation Committee

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.

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HISD teachers kick off classroom lessons virtually for 2020-2021 school year

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.

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