Category Archives: Volunteers and partnerships

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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Astros star third baseman donates iPads to Southmayd ES students

With homemade thank-you cards in hand, Tonya Middleton’s class at Southmayd Elementary School eagerly awaited a visit from a surprise special guest.

When Houston Astros all-star third baseman Alex Bregman burst through the school’s library doors on Monday with a smile on his face and gifts in his hands, a collective gasp could be heard from the group of students, all of whom are on the autism spectrum.

“It is a blast and an honor to be here,” he said while juggling a box of iPads for the students. ““Hopefully, these iPads help the students because it is a fun way to learn.”

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HISD partners with Rice University to conduct districtwide study on educational equity

HISD has partnered with Rice University’s Houston Education Research Consortium (HERC), a program of the Kinder Institute for Urban Research and School of Social Sciences, to conduct a comprehensive study on educational equity across the district.

Recognizing its responsibility to continually improve academic achievement for all students, HISD and HERC will examine equitable access to educational programming, resources, supports, facilities and opportunities for students by race/ethnicity, economic status, English-learner status and other factors.

“Conducting a districtwide study on educational equity — at this scale — is remarkable, and truly unprecedented in many ways,” HISD Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan said. “We know that for some of our students, simply having equal access to opportunities and resources may not be enough of the support they need to achieve their greatest academic potential. This study will inform critical decision-making relating to equity and closing achievement gaps across the city.”

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HISD partners with Houston Dynamo to provide virtual soccer lessons during summer school

The Houston Independent School District has partnered with the Houston Dynamo to provide students with virtual soccer lessons during summer school.

Beginning Monday, June 8 through the Clever Portal, Kindergarten through 6th-grade students can access Diesel’s Skill Builders, presented by Tom Byer’s Soccer Starts at Home. The program will offer daily video lessons featuring Houston Dynamo and Houston Dash players and coaches demonstrating various soccer skills.

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HISD recognizes Volunteers in Public Schools Week

The Houston Independent School District Board of Education has issued a proclamation designating April 20 through April 24 as Volunteers in Public Schools Recognition Week in the district.

Every year, thousands of parents, businesses, and community partners support students and teachers in HISD by donating their time, resources, and knowledge through the district’s Volunteers In Public Schools (VIPS) program.

HISD’s VIPS program was started in 1970 by longtime HISD educator Jean Davis Myers, who passed away in 2015. Myers served as executive director of VIPS for 20 years and under her leadership, the program became an award-winning national model.  

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Curbside pickup service to be available, social distancing required at district food distribution sites

The Houston Independent School District and the Houston Food Bank will offer curbside pickup service at all 36 food distribution sites districtwide beginning March 16 to help promote personal health and social distancing.

Families who do not have transportation and must walk to the site can continue to stand in line but will be required to stand six feet apart from each other. HISD Police and staff volunteers will be on site to enforce these measures and help with crowd control.

“Social distancing is a key measure we must implement to prevent the spread of COVID-19, so adding curbside pickup and keeping lines spaced out are important steps,” said HISD Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan. “Thanks to our partners at the Houston Food Bank and our police and staff volunteers, we are able to safely distribute meals to our families in need during this time.”

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Bastian ES to host free community health fair

Students, employees, and the community are invited to attend the free Smart Scholars Foundation Community health fair on Saturday, Feb. 29 at HISD’s Bastian Elementary School.  

The event, which is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., is sponsored by the Houston Food Bank and will feature free dental, health, vision and hearing screenings for the community, as well as enough food to feed more than 300 families.  

Hope Farms, a Recipe for Success Foundation dedicated to combating childhood obesity, will also be on hand doing culinary demonstrations to teach the community how to incorporate healthy vegetables and fruits into their diet.  

This event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact 832-367-9688. 

HISD Foundation to host Public Education Matters Benefit Luncheon on March 6

The Houston Independent School District Foundation, a nonprofit organization that raises funds to support HISD’s strategic initiatives, will hold its Public Education Matters Benefit Luncheon on Friday, March 6. 

The event will highlight the importance of community investment in public education and focus on the social and economic impact that results when public school students receive a quality education. 

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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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