Category Archives: Volunteers and partnerships

Wesley ES students gifted with free shoes for Giving Tuesday

Santa arrived early at Wesley Elementary School on Giving Tuesday, as students in all grade levels received a free pair of shoes, courtesy of Communities in Schools of Houston.  

Right on time for the holiday season, CIS partnered with Soles 4 Souls and Skechers, Gordmans and Macys to donate more than 350 pairs of shoes to students during the internationally recognized holiday. 

“As an underserved campus, it’s beautiful to watch organizations and people donate their time and gifts to our students, who may not always have everything that they need or desire,” Principal TJ Cotter said. 

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HISD school leaders, business executives pair up for ‘Project Principal’

Nine HISD schools give business leaders an opportunity to shadow school principals

It was 8 a.m. on a typical morning at HISD’s Benavidez Elementary School, and Principal Zabeth Parra-Malek was on the go. After making the morning announcements, she stood at the front door greeting late arrivals, making sure they were fed and ready for the day. By 8:45, she landed in a PALS pre-K classroom for a drop-in observation with the school’s therapy dog, Lucy.  

What made this morning different was that she had a “shadow” – Kristie Ketron, an executive with Ernst & Young. Parra-Malek was one of nine HISD principals who hosted visitors like Ketron for Project Principal, an opportunity for business leaders to walk a mile in principals’ shoes. 

And they did plenty of walking, in and out of classrooms and meetings, highlighting the main message Parra-Malek wanted the community to hear: schools, teachers, and students are more than test scores and accountability ratings. 

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HISD Foundation accepting applications for Innovation Fund program

The HISD Foundation is now accepting applications for its Innovation Fund program, which provides funds for teachers and schools to develop innovative projects that lead to increased student success.

The Foundation is funding projects that will:
  • Inspire students, teachers, and parents to think differently about school
  • Enhance the student experience and lead to improved academic outcomes
  • Implement district initiatives in innovative ways
  • Find a new solution to combat barriers of success for students
  • The program, which is in its second year, will allow teachers in grades pre-K through 12 to apply for a $3,000 – $7,000 grant. Two or more teachers from the same school can also apply for a Teacher Collaborative Grant ranging from $5,000 – $10,000.

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    HISD’s Back-to-School Extravaganza helps families prepare for new school year

    A line of bustling people wove its way through the parking lot of Delmar Fieldhouse on Friday as they anxiously waited for the start of the district’s second annual Back-to-School Extravaganza. 

    As the doors opened, district parents and students were greeted by hundreds of smiling volunteers, a welcome chant from Waltrip High School’s cheerleading squad, and a special message from Interim Superintendent Dr. Grenita Lathan. 

    “We are so excited to kick off the 2019-2020 school year,” Lathan said. “To everyone here, thank you for supporting HISD – one of the top school districts in the state of Texas!” 

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    Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation donates thousands of books to HISD students

    There’s nothing quite like the excitement of a new book, and students at HISD’s Browning Elementary School on Thursday got to experience that thrill thanks to the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation.  

    Every student at Browning received six new books as part of the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation’s My Home Library program, which aims to build home libraries for economically disadvantaged children.  

    “To see the children finally receive the books that they have chosen is so heartwarming,” said Julie Baker Finck, President of the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation. “They are so excited to start reading, and that is what it is all about – helping empower children to have a choice in what they read and helping them to have the tools and resources to read more often.” 

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    HISD honors top volunteers at annual VIPS ceremony

    The Houston Independent School District on Wednesday recognized the efforts of thousands of volunteers and honored the top volunteers of the year during the annual Volunteers in Public Schools (VIPS) Recognition and Awards Ceremony. 

    “It’s a privilege for me to honor our volunteers that give so much of themselves to our district,” said HISD School Board Trustee Sergio Lira. “You may never know the profound impact you’ve made on the lives of students in our district.” 

    The theme of this year’s reception was “Impacting Lives Through Service.”  

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    Strong sense of dedication to school community prompts Gallegos ES mom to spread the word

    The rain held off just long enough this past Saturday for one Gallegos Elementary School parent to complete her mission of promoting her beloved neighborhood school.   

    “I have loved this school ever since my oldest started here in pre-K. It feels like home,” said Amy Ortega, who has four children enrolled at Gallegos. “My kids are always happy to come school.” 

    Ortega and group of parent volunteers and staff from Gallegos Elementary School came together for a door-to-door effort to help regain students whose parents have chosen non-district schools and to encourage first-time enrollment at the campus.  

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    Resource Allocation Advisory Committee accepting applications for community members

    The Houston Indepenedent School District’s Resource Allocation Advisory Committee (RAAC) is inviting members of the community to serve on the panel.  

    RAAC, which was created by Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan last year, functions as an advisory committee to create recommendations on HISD’s funding model and expenditures at the campus level.

    The committee consists of HISD principals, parents, community leaders and staff. The administration is open to recommendations from the public and views of the community as a critical partner in the decision-making process of reimagining HISD.  

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    HISD Foundation dinner spotlights national conversation on importance of public education 

    Event raises nearly $300,000 to fund strategic initiatives for HISD students

    About 1,500 public education advocates, HISD educators, supporters and students attended the HISD Foundation’s first-ever Public Education Matters Benefit Dinner, which raised
    nearly $300,000 to fund strategic initiatives for HISD students.

    The highlight of the evening was a fireside chat between Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan, CEO of Teach for America Elisa Villanueva Beard and Harlem Children’s Zone Founder Geoffrey Canada. The discussion was moderated by ABC’s What Would You Do? host John Quiones who recalled his childhood as a migrant worker and a defining moment when his father asked if he wanted to do that kind of work the rest of his life or get a college education.

    “Public education levels the playing field,” Lathan said. “I want people in the community to reach out to elected officials and encourage them to increase funding for our school district so that our students can continue to grow and thrive academically and compete with their peers worldwide.”

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    Mexican university offers HISD students higher education opportunities

    HISD high school students interested in studying abroad attended a college information session on Friday led by Dr. Luis Ernesto Derbez, the president of Universidad de las Américas Puebla (UDLAP). 

    The university is one of the most prestigious in Latin America. It is one of the few accredited by Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, the same organization that endorses major universities like the University of Texas at Austin, Rice University and Tulane University.  

    “Universidad de las Américas Puebla is one of the most beautiful universities in Mexico,” Derbez said. “UDLAP is a multi-cultural community that offers many on-campus activities to international students.” 

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