Tag Archives: business operations

For one HISD family, a new school building to call home

A day before Hurricane Harvey hit Houston in 2017, Tiffany Irving and her son Grant eagerly delivered school supplies to his kindergarten classroom at Mitchell Elementary, just south of Hobby Airport.

Little did they know then that Grant’s supplies — along with the rest of his building and three other elementary schools across the district — would be destroyed in the coming days as the storm dumped unprecedented amounts of rain on the city.

Unfortunately, the damage wasn’t limited to the school. The Irving’s home just around the corner from the school also flooded.

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Braeburn ES students head ‘home’ to new school

Students couldn’t hold back their delight as they entered the new Braeburn Elementary School for the first time on Monday — the district’s first day of in-person learning.

The long-awaited day marked not just a return to classrooms, but also the first time since 2017 that Braeburn students have been able to settle into a permanent home.

Teachers offered a friendly ‘hello’ and ‘welcome back’ to students as they entered the main hallway, were positioned in physically distant single-file lines, and then led to their new classrooms.

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Kolter ES welcomes students to new campus for in-person instruction

Kolter Elementary School Principal Julianne Dickinson began to feel the weight of Monday morning before the sun went down the day before.

For Dickinson, Monday was different for a few reasons — the start of in-person instruction, the return of students to classrooms after eight months, and the required use of masks due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

But the most special reason was that it was her students’ first day in their newly constructed school.

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Plant operators play an essential role in students’ return

If you follow Eliot Elementary School Plant Operator Irma Martinez along on her new cleaning route, you’ll see her clean and disinfect the school from wall-to-wall — figuratively and literally.

As part of her new duties, Martinez is required to clean and sanitize restrooms and high touch surfaces every hour. It includes walls, door handles, light switches, faucets, cafeteria tables, and anything else young students may touch that could harbor viruses.

“I try to help the students as fast as I can,” Martinez said. “That’s why I don’t work by myself. I work with my team.”

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Nutrition Services launches Neighborhood Supersites to feed community

Facing hundreds of cars in a line that stretched down the street and around the block, it would have been easy for Nutrition Services staff to feel overwhelmed at their first neighborhood supersite in southeast Houston.

But for a department known for its dedication to keeping families fed and well-nourished, it was all in a day’s work on Wednesday — the launch of weekly community food distributions.

Hosted through a partnership with the Houston Food Bank, the supersites provide a place where Houstonians can go each week to pick up 32-pound family food packages and a week’s worth of student meals.

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With 6 weeks left in hurricane season, facilities crews stand ready

From the moment a severe storm is predicted to make landfall along the Texas Gulf Coast, Facilities, Maintenance, and Operations staff are among the first to spring into action.

Crews place sandbags around flood-prone campuses. Generators are checked and filled with fuel. Pump systems are inspected to make sure they are operational.

“As long as we don’t have a power outage in the area, the pumps should carry all the water that could cause more damage down the road,” said North Maintenance Plumbing Team Lead Kenneth Wesley, who oversees the dispatch of plumbers to campuses when faced with a severe weather threat.

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Custodial services emphasize sanitization as students return

As an HISD plant operator at Field Elementary, Maria Santana has always worked hard to keep her school clean and safe. When students return to campus on Oct. 19, she’ll work even harder to do so.

As part of enhanced cleaning procedures, HISD custodians are required to target high touch surfaces every hour. This includes continuous sanitization of sink faucets, handrails, and desks using a host of cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting methods on an hourly, daily, weekly, and even emergency basis.

“We know how to clean,” Santana said. “But now it’s going to be about the details. Hitting those high touch areas like doorknobs.”

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HISD chef selected to lead Texas AgriLife food videos

Nutrition Services Chef Trainer Brittany Jones is used to teaching others how to prepare tasty, nutritious meals. Now she’ll get to share her expertise with others around the state thanks to a virtual learning seminar.

Jones recently visited Texas A&M University where she filmed culinary demonstrations to be included in virtual lessons for the Learn, Grow, Eat, and Go program offered by Texas AgriLife Extension’s Junior Master Gardener program.

Learn, Grow, Eat, and Go curriculum is used in select HISD elementary science classes to teach students about gardening, nutrition, and physical activity to promote long-term health. Nutrition Services hopes to share the new virtual lessons, which complement the in-person curriculum, all HISD elementary teachers via science curriculum coordinators.

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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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With cafeterias closed, Nutrition Services finds innovative ways to feed students

A group of Windswept Gardens Apartments residents made their way through the complex’s tree-lined central courtyard, which sits just a few hundred yards from the speeding cars and unending traffic of the Southwest Freeway.

Clad in face masks and carefully keeping their distance from each other, the families gathered around a blue tent where HISD’s Nutrition Services staff were handing out student summer meals in the afternoon sun.

The district has long offered a free summer meal program for students throughout the greater Houston community. In previous years, children would come to local schools to eat. But the COVID-19 pandemic changed the game, prompting Nutrition Services to look for innovative and safe ways to feed kids without a cafeteria.

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