HISD School Choice applications for 2021-2022 school year open Saturday

First of five school choice fairs slated for Sept. 19 via Microsoft Teams

Houston Independent School District parents can begin applying for their child to enter a choice program for the 2021-2022 school year on Saturday, Sept. 19. The district’s first of five school choice fairs will also take place on Saturday, Sept. 19 virtually through Microsoft Teams from 9 a.m. to noon.

HISD offers a comprehensive selection of magnet programs at 112 schools, as well as program choice transfer options to all 280 schools in HISD, to meet every students’ academic needs and interests. HISD magnet programs include College & Career Readiness, Fine Arts, Futures Academy, International Specialty Schools, International Baccalaureate, Language Immersion Schools, Language Programs, Montessori, STEM & STEAM, Single-Gender College Preparatory, and Vanguard.  HISD program choice transfer options include Boundary Option, Career/Technology Education, Dual Language, and International Baccalaureate.

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HISD Director of Athletics named to board of Touchdown Club of Houston

Houston Independent School District Director of Athletics and UIL Activities Andre’ Walker has been named to the board of the Touchdown Club of Houston, an organization established in 1966 that is dedicated to community service and sharing fellowship through football.

“We know that Andre’ will represent the district well,” HISD Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan said. “He is a tireless supporter of student-athletes and we are proud of this appointment and his many other accomplishments.”

Walker is an HISD graduate of Kashmere High School and an alumnus of Texas Southern University who holds a Master’s degree in Education from Prairie View A&M University. He served as a teacher and later an assistant principal at Key Middle School and Kashmere High School.

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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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Transportation Services ready to transport select students when school year begins

Though most HISD students are starting school virtually, Transportation Services was back on the road on Sept. 8, providing student shuttle service to and from 36 digital learning centers across the district.

Strategically located across the district, digital learning centers provide students without technology access a place to complete their daily virtual lessons during the district’s online-only first six weeks of school.

Students who have been previously identified as needing technology will be assigned to a select center, based on the location of their home school. Once assigned, the home school will provide parents with their student’s bus stop and pick-up and drop-off times.

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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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HISD teams up with Texans, Reliant to encourage perfect attendance during virtual learning

The Houston Independent School District is teaming up with the Houston Texans and Reliant to encourage attendance in virtual learning during the 2020-2021 school year through the “Attend to Win” initiative. 

Throughout the fall semester, which ends January 29, 2021, HISD students and classrooms will receive inspiring messages from Texans players and celebrities through public service announcements and other forms of communication. Students and classrooms with outstanding attendance in virtual learning can win special prizes such as signed footballs and jerseys, backpacks, a virtual tour of NRG stadium, and more.

“It’s imperative that all students are logging in daily and engaging virtually with their teachers,” Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan said. “I welcome the support of the entire Houston community to achieve educational excellence in our district, and I want to thank our friends at the Houston Texans and Reliant for their partnership in our work to educate all children.”

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Interim Superintendent kicks off first day of virtual learning with districtwide tour

HISD Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan embarked on a whirlwind tour of the district on Tuesday as hundreds of thousands of students, educators, parents, and staff began the first day of the 2020-2021 school year virtually with a charge to Reconnect Safely and Return Strong.

Lathan spent the day making in-person and virtual visits to campuses and online classrooms to speak with students, parents, and teachers encouraging them as they began, calling the 2020-2021 school year the district’s Year of Flexibility.

“We are very excited for today because March was the last time many of us saw our students,” she said before the start of the districtwide tour. “The first day of school certainly looks different this year, however, I remain optimistic that with continued determination, resilience, and flexibility, 2020-21 can be our best year yet.”

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Kolter ES teachers adjust to teaching in new school without students

When walking into Jennifer Heemer’s fifth grade classroom at Kolter Elementary School, it’s hard not to get excited about learning.

The walls are adorned with colorful decorations, including a poster reminding her students to “think outside the box” and class photos from her 21 years of teaching. Natural light from a wall of large windows fills the room and illuminates the two rows of perfectly-arranged desks.

There’s only one thing missing. Students.

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As school year starts, curbside student meals program kicks off

Under a cloudy sky, Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan greeted Westbury High School students and their parents on the first day of the school year.

But instead of navigating blue and grey painted halls that would normally be crowded with students, she and new Principal Jerri Nixon were busy handing out pre-packed meals to Westbury families in the parking lot.

As students across the district return to school virtually, HISD Nutrition Services is offering daily curbside pickup for breakfast and lunch meals at 86 strategically located schools, including Westbury.

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‘A sense of excellence’ as progress continues at new Bellaire HS

Natural light and a central “Main Street” hallway are the hallmarks of the new Bellaire High School, which is now 57 percent complete.

Part of the 2012 Bond Program, the project is on track to be completed in time for the 2021-2022 school year. The completion of Bellaire will close out the massive bond program, which included the renovation or rebuilding of 40 schools, including 29 high schools, across the district.

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