Alejandro Lopez named new principal of Clemente Martinez Elementary School

Alejandro Lopez has been named principal of Clemente Martinez Elementary School, where he assisted the campus in making double digit gains in mathematics across all grade levels and increased mastery and met performance on STAAR. His previous experience includes administrator at Reagan K8, where he also assisted in making double digit gains in mathematics for third- through eighth-grade. He has also served as an Apollo coordinator for Lawson Middle School, where he oversaw the biggest Apollo campus in the district with over 27 tutors. Lopez holds a bachelor’s degree from University of Houston-Downtown and a master’s in Educational Administration from Lamar University.

Maria Guerra named new principal of J.P. Henderson Elementary School

Maria Guerra has been selected as the new principal of J.P. Henderson Elementary School. Guerra began her career with HISD as a teacher assistant at J.P. Henderson and has also served as a teacher at Davila Elementary School before moving into a leadership role as a teacher specialist at Helms Elementary School. During her tenure at Helms, Guerra was instrumental in helping lead the campus out of Improvement Required (IR) to meet state accountability standards. Most recently, she returned to Davila as a teacher specialist and assistant principal. She holds a bachelor’s in Interdisciplinary Studies from University of Houston-Downtown and a master’s in Educational Administration from Lamar University.

HISD Board of Education approves budget to raise minimum wage to $14 an hour

With a vote of 5-1, HISD’s Board of Education passed the budget for the 2019-2020 school year that will increase the district’s minimum wage from $12 an hour to $14 an hour. 

Trustees proposed and adopted an amendment that included $17 million in department cuts but any staff reductions as a result would be offset by utilizing fund balance. 

The spending plan mandates that district employees will see no increase in health insurance premiums.

The budget approved provides teachers, full-time counselors, full-time nurses, full-time librarians and other educational professionals with raises ranging from 3.5 percent to 8 percent, depending on years of service in HISD.

Trustees also approved increasing bus drivers’ minimum wage to $18/an hour.

The board also approved an amendment to provide no raises for staff earning more than $75,000 per year.  Instead, these employees would receive a one-time bonus of $1000 and two extra vacation days.

HISD’s administrators had presented a balanced budget for consideration to the Board of Education that included raises for every district employee and no staff reductions.

Several other amendments were made by Trustees which administrators will be analyzing over the next several days to incorporate into the budget.

Astros, Chevron kick off ‘Wins for Kids’ initiative at Young ES

After a rainy start to the week the sun shone brightly on HISD students from Young Elementary School on Wednesday as they were treated to a visit from Houston Astros star outfielder Myles Straw and mascot Orbit to help kick off the “Wins for Kids” Initiative. 

Chevron and the Houston Astros Foundation have teamed up to launch the new program, which invests in local youth organizations. Throughout the 2019 season, they will each donate $500 for every Astros win to a local youth charity.

Young Elementary was chosen to be the initiative’s first recipient.

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HISD wins 28 national honors for print and digital communications

The Houston Independent School District has been selected as the winner of 28 National School Public Relations Association’s (NSPRA) awards, including six Golden Achievement Awards for 2019.

The awards were won by the HISD Communications and HISD Business Operations Strategic Engagement & Outreach teams. The HISD’s districtwide Communications team took home 18 awards, while Business Operations Strategic Engagement & Outreach earned 10.

HISD’s Communications team, under the direction of Chief Communications Officer Rebecca Suarez, has worked diligently to keep employees, families, and the public informed of all district news at every level.  

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HISD students participate in Rice University’s first-ever scholars’ program

It was a walking science experiment for HISD students, who observed rats and fruit flies used for research on Tuesday at the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute in the Medical Center.

The visit was a part of the first annual Tapia-Turner Healthcare Scholars Program hosted by Rice University from June 23-29 in partnership with the HISD’s College and Career Readiness, the City of Houston’s Education Office and Houston Community College-Coleman.

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Op-Ed: HISD Administration Proposes a Balanced Budget and Across-the-Board Salary Increases

By HISD Interim Superintendent Dr. Grenita Lathan

Over the last few months, HISD administration has worked diligently to prepare a sound budget for the 2019-2020 school year that would provide our students with the tools they need to succeed, while keeping our district on track financially.

I am the leader of the largest school district in Texas and it is my mission that every employee in the district be treated fairly and equitably. Our students deserve the resources to be successful and so do our employees. One of my strategic priorities is attracting and retaining top talent and this proposal is a step in the right direction.

That is why I am urging the Board of Education to pass the recommended budget and approve the compensation package for all HISD staff.

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More than 30 HISD schools earn spot on 2018-2019 Texas Honor Roll

Thirty-three Houston Independent School District campuses have been named to the 2018-2019 Educational Results Partnership (ERP) Texas Honor Roll for their high achievement and student success rates. 

“We applaud our hard-working teachers, staff, and students,” said HISD Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan. “We are especially proud of our schools that despite the high-poverty levels, they still have high-achieving results.”

Schools can earn a spot on the ERP Honor Roll in three categories: Star – high-achieving, high-poverty campuses; Scholar – high-achieving, low-poverty campuses; or STEM – top 10 percent of high-poverty, high-achieving campuses in math and science.

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