Judge upholds mask mandates in Texas schools

 A Travis County judge says the Houston Independent School District can continue mandating masks to protect students and staff from COVID-19.

The judge’s ruling extends a temporary restraining order banning Governor Greg Abbott from enforcing his prohibition on mask mandates in Texas schools.

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2021-2022 Parent University Sessions begin Sept. 21, 2021

The Houston Independent School District is holding its first Parent University events for the 2021-2022 academic school year on Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2021.

For now, Parent University sessions will be held virtually via ZOOM and will connect parents and students to HISD and community resources to help support successful academic outcomes as well as safe and healthy environments at home and in school.

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HISD Wraparound Services supports students, families

Wesley Elementary School Principal Thomas Cotter proudly showed Superintendent Millard House around the school’s Parent Center, where families in need can come to get uniforms, school supplies, food, and even computer access.

The center is supported by HISD Wraparound Services, which provides HISD students the non-academic supports necessary — like access to mental and physical health professionals, food, and housing — necessary for them to be successful in school. collaborates with campuses to help

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HISD names chief operating officer

Wanda Paul, a veteran business operations officer and Houston native, has been named chief operating officer of the Houston Independent School District. Paul begins her new role on September 20.  

With a career spanning more than three decades, Ms. Paul brings a wealth of experience to HISD, including serving as chief operating officer for schools in Texas and Florida.  

Most recently, she spent four years as chief operating officer for The School District of Palm Beach County in Florida. In this role, she oversaw more than 1,700 employees, 187 schools, and a $63 million capital budget. She also implemented a program to better track energy use and reduce utility costs. Before going to Florida, Ms. Paul served four years as chief operating officer for the Dallas Independent School District.  

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New building, classrooms impress Bellaire HS students

The familiar hoots and hollers of classmates returning to campus on the first day of school were replaced by “oohs” and “aahs” as students entered the new Bellaire High School for the first time on Monday.

Eleventh-grader Carter Sasser said everyone gathered at school early to meet up with friends and get their first glimpse of the new building.

“This place is impressive, especially the new pool and gym and the new lockers,” Sasser said. “The stairs are commons areas we didn’t have in the old building.”

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Benbrook Elementary students eat breakfast with the superintendent on first day

Standing under a clear and sunny sky, excited students and their hopeful parents lined up to enter the bustling hallways of Benbrook Elementary School on Monday, the first day of the 2021-2022 school year.

“I can’t wait to see my classroom,” said one student to her classmate, both shouldering new backpacks as they waited in line to have their temperatures checked and sanitized their hands.

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HISD Police Department comfort dog helps ease back-to-school jitters

First impressions are always hard, but Jamaica took the first day of school in stride.

The hypoallergenic Bernedoodle — a special breed that has Bernese Mountain Dog and Poodle parents — welcomed Wesley Elementary School students back to school with her tail wagging and a paw-sitive attitude.

The pup recently joined HISD Police as the department’s first-ever comfort dog, working on campuses across the district to help combat stress and anxiety in students and build trust between police, students, and the community. 

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Wharton Dual Language Academy offers ‘vast opportunities’ for HISD students

As Superintendent Millard House arrived at Wharton Dual Language Academy, he walked toward two young students tasked with welcoming the chief educator and holding open glass double doors leading to the main hallway.

Clad in masks and blue school shirts, the second graders peered quizzically at their special visitor.

“Are you guys doing OK?” House asked, as he approached the pair and asked about their names and grades. “You know, it makes my day when I get to see you all.”

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Learning loss addressed at two HISD middle schools

On the second day of school at Stevenson Middle School in south Houston, as students filed in from parent drop-off with their backpacks slung over their shoulders and arms full of books, one phrase could be heard repeatedly in the main hallway: “It’s Dragon Time!”

It’s a phrase that Principal Christyn McCloskey said is an important part of the 2021-2022 school year.

“One of the initiatives that we put in place this year is Dragon Time; we are the Stevenson Dragons,” McCloskey said. “It’s where students are getting those intensive small-group interventions. Every single teacher on campus has a Dragon Time group, and they’re all working on figuring out where are the students, what are they working on.”

The new addition is a part of the school’s efforts to address learning loss this school year. Dragon Time is a series of small group learning activities that help students to make up for any learning loss that might have taken place over the summer—or even over the course of the pandemic.

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