When Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan arrived at the
HISD Hexser T. Holliday Food Service Center, she was eager to tour facility
operations, but precautions had to be taken first.
Upon entering the facility, her temperature was taken just
footsteps inside the door — a safety precaution and clear sign of the times as
the world endures the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In the weeks since our district closed, we’ve worked hard
to meet the needs of our community,” Lathan said. “This visit is a great
opportunity to get an up-close look at how the entire food distribution process
Feeding more than 10,000 families five days a week during a
pandemic is no easy task. It’s an effort that requires the collaboration of
multiple departments across the district to bring it all together.
In just over a month, HISD — working together with the
Houston Food Bank — has distributed 2 million pounds of food to more than
60,000 families. That range spans from March 14 through April 18.
“I appreciate the spotlight we’ve received, but it’s not
just us,” HISD Nutrition Services Officer Betti Wiggins said, referencing the
child nutrition department she leads. “We couldn’t have accomplished this
without the help of Community Partnerships and HISD Police.”
With most of the country shut down in an attempt to flatten the COVID-19 curve, HISD’s Construction Services — designated an essential service — is continuing to work on school construction across the district.
HISD Construction General Manager Andreas Peeples said
construction is expected to continue as allowable under public health
guidelines but noted that required public health measures are affecting normal
“We must comply with requirements that individuals must remain
at least six feet from any other person,” Peeples said. “This is important, but
it does result in inefficiencies in mobilizing labor and materials and a
general reduction in labor forces.”
HISD Nutrition Services Officer Betti Wiggins will share her
experiences regarding emergency community feeding during a webinar sponsored by
food service publications.
Wiggins will participate in a panel discussion to explore
how school districts are utilizing different methods to provide nutritious
meals through the COVID-19 pandemic. The “K-12 Child Nutrition: Serving students and families during COVID-19” webinar will be held at 1 p.m. Tuesday, April 21.
The webinar is sponsored by the editorial teams of Nation’s
Restaurant News, Restaurant Hospitality, and Food Management magazines. She
will be joined by Minneapolis Public Schools Director of Culinary and Wellness
Services Bertrand Weber and Londonderry School District Director of Dining
Services Amanda Venezia.
It’s been several years since students at Yates High School had a swim team. But with the completion of the school’s new natatorium set for April, students are one step closer to making that team a reality once again.
Construction on the school’s natatorium and four-lane practice pool is 55 percent complete. The building’s exterior walls – which feature large garage-style overhead coiling doors that allow fresh air inside and have fencing at each opening to maintain a secure perimeter — were built first to ensure interior pool construction would not be affected by wet weather.
The pool’s concrete foundation was laid in January, and pool walls are now being constructed. The project is expected to wrap up later this semester.
When it comes to meeting the nutritional needs of HISD students, Nutrition Services’ work isn’t limited to the cafeteria. Their efforts go beyond the plate and all the way to the athletic field.
Nutrition Services Dietitian Nan Cramer and Chef Trainer Brittany Jones recently visited Delmar Stadium to serve up samples of green power smoothies — a tasty blend of apple, banana, soy milk, kale, no-nut butter, and vanilla extract — and to educate coaches, players, and parents on the impact of proper nutrition on athletes.
He eagerly sampled the smoothie and gave his approval.
In the course of just one day, Code Compliance team members receive a variety of calls — reports of broken elevators, overflowing trash receptacles, and even fire code violations.
But for the eight-member team, it’s all in a day’s work.
“It’s about life safety,” said Code Compliance Area Manager Anne Washington, who leads the team. “We’re behind the scenes, but our job is to make sure that we are in compliance with fire codes so that in an emergency, the staff and students can get out of the building safely.”