Tag Archives: Chavez HS

Cardboard Boat Regatta keeping girls’ STEM career dreams afloat

Photo courtesy Jeff Fitlow/Rice University

Photo courtesy Jeff Fitlow/Rice University

Chávez HS students build, test their skills through unique partnership with Rice University

Thinking up a concept, executing its design, and thrilling in its success—or learning from its failure—that’s what the Cardboard Boat Regatta at Chávez High School is all about.

Eleven teams comprised of sophomore, junior and senior girls, with mentoring assistance from Rice University graduate students, GE Oil & Gas volunteers, and Chávez HS faculty, raced cardboard boats of their own design on June 25 in the new signature event of the three-year-old Rice University Institute of Biosciences and Bioengineering (IBB) Girls STEM Initiative.

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Linked Learning gives recent grads a jump on public works careers

LiLe_PubWksTour_440x230Students from Furr and Chávez high schools tour largest wastewater facility in the city

The source of our water is becoming the source of a career for several HISD graduates. Fifteen students who just graduated from Furr HS and Chávez HS were selected to partake in a three-week class on water maintenance that will result in them gaining Class D water operator licenses as well as eligibility for employment with the City of Houston Public Works Department.

The class is a part of HISD’s Linked Learning initiative, which combines academics and hands-on learning to prepare students for real-world experiences and career pathways.

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Chávez HS scores surprise first-place finish at state chess competition

Coach Robert Myers (far L) with the Chavez HS team at regionals

Coach Robert Myers (far L) with the Chavez HS team at regionals

Students at Chávez High School were thrilled to walk away with a third-place team victory at the State Scholastic Chess Championship in McAllen, Texas, last month, but they were even more excited when they learned that due to an extremely complicated tie-break system, computer results revealed that they were actually the first-place winner among unrated players.

The team had to score among the top five groups at the regional tournament to advance to the state competition, and placing first there qualified them to compete in the national tournament held in Columbus, Ohio, where they ranked sixteenth in the nation in the unrated section.

“Chess is about options,” said Chávez Coach Robert Myers. “The students exercised those options and continued to practice, study, and develop. They have learned through perseverance to never give up, never surrender.”

The team subsequently placed first at a KIPP chess tournament held on April 18.


HISD students to learn about finance at Rice Summer Business Institute

Rice University has chosen 21 HISD juniors and seniors to attend the 2015 Rice Summer Business Institute (RSBI). The program is designed to broaden the expectations of students from low and moderate income communities as to possible career paths and to develop business leaders for Houston’s future.

Bryan Davila (Chávez HS); Melissa Guzman (Davis HS); Jacory Bellnamy, Lesbia Espinal, Heili Torres, and Elvis Velazquez (Madison HS); Ernesto Camarillo and Lorena Lara (Reagan HS); Abigail Gonzalez, Ruby Rapalo, and Rosa Tristan (Sam Houston MSTC); Giovanna De Leon, Torrance Hunter, and Estefani Reyes (Sharpstown HS); Dante Perez (Wheatley HS); and D’Arius Jackson, Tiarra Jarmon, Joshua Kirkendoll, Charmaine Nealey, Tanya Owens, and La Tresia Wilson (Yates HS) will gain firsthand experience of the fundamentals of finance and business June 13–27 on the Rice University campus.

RSBI provides students with an insight into the world of business, economics, energy, and finance. Participants learn how the stock market works and how to manage a portfolio. They also learn about branding, inspiring others, making ethical business decisions, and how to start a business.

Chávez HS proves afterschool programming still attractive to older kids

Chávez freshman Edwin Alas lifts weight after school.

Chávez freshman Edwin Alas lifts weight after school.

At 4 p.m. in the hallways of Chávez High School, chatter and laughter exceeds the typical end-of-school day buzz as a new community comes alive. Afterschool is on.

Youth who would normally hit the streets are weightlifting in the field house. A business venture takes shape as the afterschool smoothie shop showcases new recipes. Savvy girls with profit margins in mind construct homemade, designer valentine cards to satisfy schoolyard crushes. A running club is canvassing the community to organize a neighborhood fun run.

At a time when out-of-school time funding is being cut throughout the state and nation, this southeast Houston high school is finding funding for its afterschool ventures. The latest comes from a $550,000, homegrown initiative from the City of Houston City Council called City Connections. Chávez received $15,000 from the initiative organized and promoted by the Center for Afterschool and Expanded Learning for Kids (CASE for Kids), a division of the Harris County Department of Education.

“It’s a misnomer to think that high school students won’t become involved in afterschool,” said Lisa Thompson-Caruthers, director of CASE for Kids. “If afterschool activities are meaningful, teens will readily participate.”

“It keeps me out of a lot of trouble,” said Chávez HS senior Jair Woods, between barbell crunches. “Plus, I’m not sitting home being lazy like a normal teenager. I’m doing something productive with my life.”

CASE for Kids, formerly the Cooperative for After-School Enrichment, was launched by Harris County Department of Education in 1999.

High schools compete to win money for completing financial aid application

Priority deadline for FAFSA/TASFA is March 15 for first-round consideration by many colleges, as well as a few Texas scholarships and loans

Six HISD high schools could win up to $750 for having the largest percentage of students complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by March 15.

Thanks to Advise TX and Texas A&M University, 13 HISD high schools have college graduates on campus year-round advising low-income students on what is required to get into a good school and how to pay for higher education.

“HISD is very happy to partner with Advise Texas to ensure that our students receive additional support in navigating the college and financial aid process,” said Assistant Superintendent of College Readiness Rick Cruz. “They are one of our strong continued partners that do great work alongside our staff to support our students.”

These college graduates are working hard right now to get seniors at their schools (see list of schools below) to complete their FAFSA by the March 15 deadline. Submitting the FAFSA or Texas Application for State Financial Aid (TASFA) by the priority deadline is highly recommended for students seeking to qualify for any of the following: Top 10 Percent Scholarship, Texas Grant, and Texas B-On-Time Loan.

Advise TX College Advising Corps is similar to Teach for America or the Peace Corps in that it places graduates in a position for one to two years after graduation and pays them a salary. Advise TX is part of College Advising Corps, a national organization that works to increase the number of students who enter and complete higher education.

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EdWeek: HISD is a “Leader To Learn From” in PowerUp technology initiative

HISD’s PowerUp technology initiative is receiving national attention this week in Education Week’s 2015 Leaders To Learn From report, for “setting the bar for how to manage the digital transformation of a large urban school system.”

Superintendent Terry Grier and Chief Information Officer Lenny Schad are cited for their leadership on PowerUp, which combines a one-to-one laptop program for high school students with an all-encompassing digital “HUB” accessible to students, teachers, and parents for information, teaching, and collaboration.

The article also focuses on Chavez HS, whose students have embraced the laptop program that allows them to use the devices both in and outside school.

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EMERGE fellow credits program with making his Stanford dream a reality

Felipe Guillén has been a student at Stanford University since last fall, but the Chávez High School graduate might not be at his “new home” at all if it weren’t for HISD’s EMERGE program.

“My dream became a reality because of those who believed in me,” said Guillén, who was this year’s featured student speaker at the State of the Schools luncheon on Feb. 11. “The EMERGE program changed my understanding of the world and opened my mind up to new things.”

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On-campus licensed athletic trainers help students get back on track

Licensed Athletic Trainer Stephanie Polydore helped her Waltrip HS student Xavier Smith recover from a season-ending injury last fall. Now fully recovered, he plans to run track this spring.

Licensed Athletic Trainer Stephanie Polydore helped her Waltrip HS student Xavier Smith recover from a season-ending injury last fall. Now fully recovered, he plans to run track this spring.

For Licensed Athletic Trainer (LAT) Stephanie Polydore, one of the most gratifying aspects of her job is helping injured student athletes get back on track—both literally and figuratively.

 “I love helping athletes get back to their full ability to compete in their sport,” said Polydore, who also teaches a sports medicine class at Waltrip High School.

The former stadium-based LAT is now one of only two campus-based LATS in HISD (the other is at Chávez HS). And while Polydore wasn’t able to salvage the football season for senior Xavier Smith, who broke his leg during the very first scrimmage of the season, thanks to the rehab he completed under her supervision, “he says he feels stronger now than he did before he was injured. He’s actually going to run track this spring.”

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