Teachers of the Month named at Gregory Lincoln Education Center, Seguin ES

After nearly 30 years of teaching—in two different countries—it takes a lot to startle Irene Mirasol, an 8th grade teacher at Gregory Lincoln Education Center.

But as she walked into the school’s gym on a Tuesday morning, the English/Language Arts teacher was not expecting to be recognized as the HISD Teacher of the Month.

“I’m so surprised,” Mirasol said. “Gregory Lincoln is my second home. This honor, this recognition is definitely for my students, the staff, and the leadership team here. I’m even more motivated now to do more for my students, and for the community of Gregory Lincoln.”

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HISD hosting job fairs to recruit new bus drivers

Transportation Services is hosting more than a dozen job fairs over the next four months to recruit new bus drivers in preparation for the 2021-2022 school year.

Though no decisions have been made about next year, the department is ramping up recruiting efforts to prepare for the possibility of transporting more students this fall. Bus service was limited during the 2020-2021 school year due to physical distancing restrictions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Bellaire HS preparing to open three new wings to students this fall

With the first phase of construction 85 percent complete, Bellaire High School is on track to debut three new wings — academic, fine arts, and physical education — when students return for the 2021-2022 school year.

Crews are installing technology in the three-story academic wing, which is nearly complete and expected to be outfitted with furniture in June after students depart for the summer.

Carpet has been installed in the auditorium and ceiling tiles and flooring are now being installed in the remainder of the fine arts wing. Epoxy flooring in the natatorium pool also is underway in the physical education wing.

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Austin HS celebrates virtual grand opening with watch party

Following a path of green and white balloons, dozens of Austin High School students and staff shuffled into the auditorium to find seats for the big event — the premiere of Austin’s virtual grand opening.

Clad in green attire and masks, students and staff gathered for the physically distanced watch party hosted in the recently renovated school auditorium, where a giant screen was set up to display the celebration.

Among the sea of green was senior Zuri Mendoza Gonzalez, who sat front and center in a ruffled green and white dress. She said she was excited to represent Austin as the master of ceremonies in the virtual grand opening and wanted to be close to the action.

“It was nice to be part of such a historical event, especially as the master of ceremonies,” Mendoza Gonzalez said. “It was very special, an honor really.”

Built as part of the 2012 Bond program, Austin’s $80.9 million, 288,628-square-foot campus features a three-story academic wing, two gyms, and an outdoor courtyard. The virtual grand opening showcased these areas, bringing them to life with student-led segments and performances.

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Associate Teachers of the Month recognized at Scarborough and Stevens elementary schools

As Maria Iglesias posed for photos in her classroom at Scarborough Elementary School to celebrate her selection as the Associate Teacher of the Month for March, several of her kindergarten students stood by quietly hoping to get a photo with their favorite associate teacher.

“I just come here and I know they need so much help, especially now because of the pandemic,” Iglesias said. “I know I can help them, push them forward, however I can make a difference in their lives.”

Repeatedly referring to them as “my kids,” Iglesias has long had a passion for teaching. She became a part-time associate teacher when she retired as a full-time HISD teacher with the district, where she taught for 16 years.

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Bellaire HS makes history with nine valedictorians

There have been seniors who have tied for valedictorian at many HISD high schools over the years, but never before have there been nine valedictorians who all achieved a grade point average of 5.0.

Bellaire High School is where this extraordinary achievement happened. The nine valedictorians are Alkiviades Boukas, Daniel Chen, Evie Tsen-Ying Kao, Angela Ling, Miles Mackenzie, Wenson Tsiah-Hao Tang, Christopher Zhou, and twin sisters Annie and Shirley Zhu.

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HISD Board of Education approves 2021-2022 academic calendar

The Houston Independent School District Board of Trustees unanimously approved the 2021-2022 academic calendar, which includes 15 additional academic days to help address learning gaps caused by COVID-19.

The calendar consists of a one-week Thanksgiving break, two-week winter break and a one-week spring break. Students will be off on Labor Day, Martin Luther King Day, Presidents Day, Chavez-Huerta Day, and Memorial Day. The school district will also observe a Fall holiday on September 16, 2021, and Spring holiday on April 15, 2022.

The approved 2021-2022 school year can be found at houstonisd.org/2021AcademicCalendar.

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HISD Police Department’s K-9s Boni and Thor to get donation of body armor

HISD Police Department K-9s Boni and Thor

The Houston Independent School District Police Department’s K-9s Boni and Thor will receive bullet- and stab-protective vests, thanks to a charitable donation from non-profit organization Vested Interest in K9s, Inc.  

K-9 Boni’s vest is sponsored by Kathleen Pellissier of Temecula, Calif., and will be embroidered with “Honoring those who served and sacrificed.” K-9 Thor’s vest will be embroidered with “This gift of protection provided by Teresa.” Delivery is expected within eight to 10 weeks.

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Nurses of the Month named at School at St. George Place, Jane Long Academy

It’s not easy surprising a school nurse.

As the HR Prize Patrol snuck into the back entrance of the School at St. George Place, Nurse Hsueh Beveridge was working on her morning tasks near the front entrance. The Prize Patrol had to be careful not to spoil the surprise of Nurse Beveridge being named the March Secondary Nurse of the Month.

As she entered the school cafeteria expecting a medical issue, Beveridge was surprised to find the Prize Patrol waiting along with several teachers, the school principal, and one special guest—her husband.

“I’m very honored,” Beveridge said. “And overwhelmed!”

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HISD Interventions Office Conference set for April 17

The HISD Interventions Office is set to host its inaugural conference on Saturday, April 17, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Designed for both HISD employees and educators across the country alike, the one-day, virtual conference will focus on educational interventions for suffering students and other assistance for special populations.

The theme of the conference is Momentum: Getting Back on Track, and will have four different tracks. The four tracks are:

  1. Technology: developing responses to providing instruction, learning opportunities, and tools in a pandemic.
  2. Whole Child: fostering a learning environment with empathy, creativity, and engagement that support the needs of a diverse learner.
  3. Leadership in a Pandemic: creating accommodations for virtual learning, supporting staff members, moral, engaging parents.
  4. Interventions Resources: implementing independent learning opportunities and strategies for ongoing success.
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