Who: The May 2013 edition of HISD Up Close hosted by HISD Board of Education President Anna Eastman features an interview with fellow trustee Manuel Rodriguez Jr. on the importance of the district’s customer satisfaction survey called Your Voice. All HISD parents, principals and teachers are encouraged to complete and return the survey by May 20. Students will fill out the questionnaire during the school day from May 20-31. The survey is the largest of its kind in the history of the district and is being conducted by an outside company to assure confidentiality.
Basketball teams from 12 HISD elementary schools will compete in the final round of the 2013 Paula Harris Basketball Classic. This is the third year HISD Board of Education Trustee Paula Harris has hosted the event which encourages student participation and parent and community involvement for schools in the Cullen Middle School community. At the conclusion of the tournament there will be an awards ceremony. The event will also showcase various HISD bands, cheerleaders, and dance and step teams.
Who: The January 2013 edition of HISD Up Close hosted by HISD Board President Michael Lunceford discusses the next steps in the 2012 HISD Bond Program, which was overwhelmingly approved by voters in November. The program also takes a closer look at Istation, an online tool that elementary school teachers across the district are using for literacy assessment and intervention. Fellow Board Trustee Paula Harris also stops by with three principals to talk about some of the exciting things happening at schools in the neighborhoods she represents.
Board of Education approved $5.7 million initiative
The Houston Independent School District Board of Education approved the $5.7 million proposal to add 4,110 laptops at 115 schools in an effort to aid in reading instruction.
Initiative to benefit 115 schools district wide
The Houston Independent School District Board of Education is expected to vote Thursday on a $5.7 million proposal to add 4,110 laptops at 115 schools in an effort to aid in reading instruction. The meeting begins at 5 p.m. on December 13, 2012 in the board auditorium of the Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center (4400 West 18th Street).
The Houston ISD Board of Education will consider revisions to the board ethics policies on Thursday, September 13. At the board’s request, the firm of Whitley Penn, L.L.P. conducted an independent review of existing HISD policies and best practices related to procurement and will present its recommendations to the board during the meeting.
The recommendations are intended to strengthen existing policies by requiring board members to further disclose potential conflicts of interest, and avoid the appearance of conflicts. The proposal also describes potential repercussions for when the policy is violated. The revised policy would better define the board responsibilities and allowable contacts with vendors or organizations with which HISD is considering entering into a business or contractual relationship. Vendors would also have to provide conflict of interest disclosure statements and may be disbarred from doing business with the district for two years if trustees fail to disclose conflicts of interest.
Another item on the agenda for Thursday’s meeting:
Modifications to the ASPIRE award for teachers and campus-based staff members, including school leaders, for the 2012-2013 school year. The recommendations include increasing the maximum award amounts for teachers, principals, and assistant principals and increasing rigor in the requirements. It would also include simplifying and streamlining the language regarding the awards. The changes would refine the eligibility for receiving an award and would align criteria for the award with the teacher appraisal and development system that is now in its second year.
The board’s regular monthly meeting begins at 5 p.m. on Thursday, September 13, 2012 in the board auditorium of the Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center (4400 West 18th St., 77092).
The board is scheduled to receive status updates on a number of projects and vote on several programs, contracts, and grants. For a full copy of the Board meeting agenda, click here. The board meeting will be carried live on HISD’s website and on the HISD Channel, which can be found on Comcast Channel 18 or AT&T Channel 99.
The Moody Foundation has awarded HISD’s Young Men’s College Preparatory Academy a $31,000 grant to purchase school uniforms for the 2012-2013 school year. Nearly 80 percent of YMCPA students are from low-income families, and many students and parents cannot afford the uniforms which consist of blazers, slacks, and ties. Since state and federal guidelines prevent the academy from paying for uniforms, the school relies primarily on partner organizations for financial support.
The HISD Board of Education is expected to accept the grant during the board’s regular meeting on Thursday, June 14.
Principal Dameion J. Crook says the school uniform project has helped inspire student confidence and has helped nurture both the intellectual and social development necessary for his students to graduate college and become successful leaders.
Who: The May 2012 edition of HISD Up Close hosted by HISD Board President Michael Lunceford gives viewers a tour of the Oral Language and Literacy Lab at the Gabriela Mistral Early Childhood Center. The lab, which is a partnership with Rice University’s School Literacy and Culture Project, is having success at teaching English to non-native speakers. The show also features an interview with fellow Board Trustee Anna Eastman who brings along two principals from her district to talk about some of the exciting things happening at District I schools. Assistant Superintendent of School Support, Martha Salazar-Zamora, also joins the board president to talk about some of the many services HISD offers to students and parents.
What: Monthly HISD UP Close television hosted by Board President Michael Lunceford.
When: Throughout the month of May at www.houstonisd.org and on HISD-TV (Comcast channel 18 and AT&T U-verse channel 99) on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sunday at 8:30 p.m.
Why: HISD Board President Michael Lunceford is committed to showcasing some of the amazing things happening at HISD schools across the district, in addition to highlighting district initiatives and accomplishments. His monthly show will regularly feature a tour of an HISD school or project, an interview with one of his colleagues on the HISD Board of Education, and a segment showcasing the academic accomplishments of HISD students and the dedication of HISD staff.
The Houston ISD Board of Education on Thursday gave preliminary approval to a policy requiring all schools to adopt a minimum 7 hour and 15 minute daily schedule.
The proposal is intended to provide schools more flexibility to meet their students’ academic and developmental needs. Earlier this spring, the Board of Education approved a resolution encouraging all elementary principals to offer their students daily recess, and this proposal would further enable them to do so.
Currently, the length of school days at HISD campuses ranges from 7 hours to 7 hours and 40 minutes, meaning no school’s day would be lengthened by more than 15 minutes under this proposal. Schools that already exceed the minimum time requirement will be able to continue doing so.
Other items approved at Thursday night’s meeting include:
- A resolution calling on the Texas Legislature to “reexamine the public school accountability system in Texas and to develop a system that encompasses multiple assessments, reflects greater validity, reduces the number of instructional days affected by state-mandated standardized tests, and uses more cost efficient sampling techniques and other external evaluation arrangements, and more accurately reflects what students know, appreciate and can do in terms of the rigorous standards essential to their success, enhances the role of teachers as designers, guides to instruction and leaders, and nurtures the sense of inquiry and love of learning in all students.”
- Expanding newcomer programs at Liberty High School and Las Americas Middle School. These schools are designed to meet the unique needs of students who have recently immigrated to the United States.
- A new set of performance criteria, the HISD School Leadership Framework, to be used in the appraisal instrument for principals, assistant principals, and deans of instruction. For more than a year, leaders from across the district have been working together to make recommendations about the design of this new appraisal system, including the appraisal process and timelines and the performance criteria used to assess school leader performance. With the right supports and standards, principals will be best positioned to improve the quality of instruction within schools and strengthen parent and community engagement.
An initiative that has significantly increased the number of college-level Advanced Placement exams passed by Houston ISD students won unanimous support from the Board of Education on Thursday.
Beginning in the 2009-2010 school year, HISD pledged to pay the AP and International Baccalaureate exam fees for all students enrolled in those college-level courses. That policy, combined with expanded professional development opportunities that have given more teachers the tools they need to teach the more rigorous courses, has brought the total number of passing AP exam scores in HISD to 6,657, a 35 percent increase over a two-year period. A score of 3 or higher on an AP exam is accepted by most colleges and universities.
This significant progress in AP exam achievement is among the many reasons why HISD was recently named among four national finalists for the prestigious Broad Prize for Urban Education. HISD’s senior class of 2013 is now guaranteed $150,000 in Broad scholarships. That figure would rise to $550,000 if HISD were to beat out the other three finalists.
“Efforts such as our AP initiative demonstrate the HISD Board of Education’s commitment to providing every student in every high school access to classes that will prepare them for success in college and in the workplace,” said Superintendent Terry Grier. “This $1.6 million investment is saving our graduates and their parents millions more dollars in college tuition bills that they won’t have to pay.”
Providing every student at every school with an academically rigorous education is one of the five Core Initiatives outlined in HISD’s Strategic Direction.
In addition to voting to continue paying students’ AP exam fees, the board agreed to spend as much as $338,800 on summer programs that will train more teachers to prepare students for the tests.
Board Shows Support for Recess
The HISD Board of Education unanimously adopted a resolution and policy brought forward by HISD parents that recommends elementary schools offer daily recess in addition to physical education classes (by muanza). The resolution and policy does not mandate that all schools follow this recommendation. However, all HISD elementary schools are expected to comply with a state law that requires elementary students receive at least 135 minutes per week of physical activity, which may include recess and/or PE.