Seven educators have been named as HISD’s 2021-2022 Elementary and Secondary Teachers of the Year finalists, and three teachers have been named the Beginning Teachers of the Year.
The 10 finalists were selected from all 276 schools based on performance and other criteria. Two finalists will be announced as the HISD Teachers of the Year winners for 2021-2022 and will go on to represent the district in Region IV.
Rim Mohamed has been selected as the new principal of Dogan Elementary School. As a 15-year educator she has served in many roles and is currently the Assistant Principal at Seguin Elementary. As part of the leadership team at Seguin, she established an extensive community partnership with Brighter Bites to assist with community needs.
Sunny skies and a warm May morning helped usher in a new partnership that aims to battle food insecurity in the Greater Fifth Ward neighborhood surrounding Dogan Elementary School.
At a launch event on Friday at the school, the Houston Independent School District announced the partnership, which teams up local nonprofit Brighter Bites with the American Federation of Teachers, the Houston Federation of Teachers, and Houston Educational Support Personnel. The partnership hopes to address food equity issues and access to healthy food in the surrounding neighborhood.
The solution? A food distribution at Dogan—open to anyone in need from the community—offering fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as clothing and other supplies on a biweekly basis.
Margarita Tovar has been selected as the new principal of Dogan Elementary School. Tovar began as a teacher aide at Farias Early Childhood Center and has also served as a teacher, teacher specialist and most recently assistant principal at Dogan. She was instrumental in leading Dogan out of Improvement Required (IR) status to meet state standard in May 2018. Tovar has a bachelor’s degree from University of Houston-Downtown and a master’s degree from Houston Baptist University. Tovar is also currently pursuing her doctoral degree at the University of Houston.
The multi-purpose room thumped to the sounds of hip hop music, provided courtesy of DJ GT Mayne and 97.9 The Box radio station, as students showed off their dribbling skills, shot hoops at the portable basketball nets, and challenged each other with the latest dance moves. A lunch of chicken fettuccine, fresh fruit, and garlic bread was served by HISD Nutrition Services.
Third-grader Karla Gonzalez received a brand new bicycle from CYCLE Houston for having read the more than any of her classmates at Dogan. CYCLE donated the bikes to every top reader in each of the 68 participating schools.
Her favorite book during the competition? “I really liked ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid’,” said Karla, grinning.
The NCAA Read to the Final Four Literacy competition, which supported the HISD Literacy By 3 initiative, challenged HISD third-graders to read at least 30 minutes a day and attempt to read more books than other competing schools. Nearly 6,800 third-graders participating in the literacy competition logged a total of 9,128,176 minutes of reading time.
“This group of third-graders has worked extremely hard. And for many of them at home, reading wasn’t always a priority,” said Dogan coordinator/teacher specialist Ben Gibb. “But they really teamed up together to work hard and win the competition.”
Dogan students were also presented with t-shirts, pencil cases, cups, notepads and other goodies thanks to sponsors NCAA Final Four, and the Houston Public Library.
“We really wanted to give them a chance to enjoy their win,” said Gibb. “How often in life do you get a chance to have hard work pay off in such a concrete way as what they’re getting right now?”
The competition was fierce down to the final buzzer, but Dogan ES came out victorious after scoring a whopping 922,464 minutes in reading time during the NCAA Read to the Final Four Literacy competition.
Dogan ES Principal Tarrieck Rideaux beamed with pride Friday amid cheering, hand-waving, and fanfare at NRG Stadium, where 10,000 HISD students, some representing the Final Four schools – Browning ES, Carrillo ES, Dogan ES and Janowski ES, gathered for the announcement of the winner. Rideaux said six months of intensive reading had paid off for his third-graders.
“It has actually helped their reading growth,” said Rideaux. “Stronger growth over the last few months – more than we’ve ever had.”
The top four schools read a total of 2,695,728 minutes since the competition began in September, and all schools netted 9,128,176 minutes read.
Dogan ES was awarded a Final Four trophy and a $5,000 cash prize. On Monday, there will be a celebration at the campus.
“I was excited when they announced our name, and I screamed.” said Dogan fourth-grader Luigi Marquez. “I was proud that we won.”
Courtside VIPS on hand to celebrate the students’ accomplishments included HISD Board of Education Trustees Wanda Adams, Diana Dávila, and Anna Eastman, as well as HISD Chief Academic Officer Andrew Houlihan and Houston Final Four Local Organizing Committee Chairman Tony Chase.
“I am so excited to be here and to rock the ‘Road to the Final Four.’ I want to personally thank all 68 schools for reading over 9 million minutes. You all need to be applauded,” said Trustee Adams. “And congratulations to Dogan Elementary School for reading all those hours. So again, congratulations Team HISD.”
Early in the program, Team HISD enjoyed performances by the Waltrip HS band and the Atherton ES drum line, as well as a quick game between the Cancer Hardwood Heroes and their coaches.
The NCAA Read to the Final Four Literacy competition, which supported the HISD Literacy By 3 initiative, challenged HISD third-graders to read more books than other competing schools and started with 68 schools. Nearly 6,800 third-graders helped kick off the bracket-themed reading contest that encouraged students to read at least 30 minutes a day.
Carrillo Elementary School students learn they are in the lead for the Read to the Final Four challenge in November 2015.
Nearly 10,000 HISD elementary school students will fill NRG Stadium (Reliant Parkway, 77054) on Friday, April 1 for the district’s announcement of the winner of the NCAA Team Works Read to the Final Four Literacy Program at Reese’s Final Four Friday event.
The program begins at 11 a.m., but prior to that, Waltrip HS’s band will play as students arrive, and Atherton ES’s drum line will perform before the announcement of the winning school at 11:40 a.m., which will receive a $5,000 cash prize, Final Four trophy, and campus celebration. The final four elementary schools in the competition are Browning, Carrillo, Dogan, and Janowski. Additionally, the top readers from each of the 68 schools will receive a bike from CYCLE. Attendees are welcome to stay for the remainder of the day and watch special practice games and tributes. The day’s activities are free and open to the public, including parking in the stadium’s Blue Lot beginning at 9 a.m. Anything brought into the stadium during all Final Four events must be in a clear bag, due to security. Some 125,000 clear bags are being given away at Houston hotels and the George R. Brown Convention Center, as well as on METRORail platforms. Find full details here.
After an activity-filled morning that included a dance-off, a science experiment by UH professor Dr. Simon Bott, and lots of cheering (assisted by the UH cheerleaders), the Final Four schools were announced. They are:
“It was so much fun!” said third-grader Braniya Banks, from top team Dogan Elementary. “All of Dogan helped us log our time to win.”
The Read to the Final Four Literacy Competition began in the fall of 2015, with 6,800 third-graders participating. Since that time, they have logged 6.4 million minutes of reading and, according to the Houston Public Library, checked out more than 5,000 books from its shelves.
Approximately 800 students attended the pep rally, which aimed not just to inspire the students, but to reward them as well for all of their hard work.
The top reader from each of the 68 participating schools will receive a bicycle, courtesy of CYCLE (Changing Young Children’s Lives through Education). The winning school will also receive a monetary award.
“This is a great event,” said Rachel Quan, vice president of External Operations for the Final Four Houston Local Organizing Committee. “It’s the culmination of a lot of different partnerships with the Final Four and the local organizing committee, the NCAA, the Houston Public Library, Cycle, UH and, of course, HISD. There’s a lot of folks involved in seeing that these third-graders get more excited about reading.”
The remaining four schools will continue competing until the final event in April, when the top school will be announced. Students at the other 64 schools should not stop reading, though, as there may be additional prizes for the top individual readers.
Winner to be announced May 15 at Celebration of Excellence
New this year at the HISD Celebration of Excellence is the Fan Favorite award. Over the past week, HISD staff, students, and alumni have been voting for their favorite campus-based Teacher of the Year, as designated by schools across the district. More than 25,000 votes were submitted and tallied—and the top two elementary, middle, and high school teachers are moving on to round two of voting. The top six finalists are:
Last year, HISD’s Nutrition Services department launched a pilot program at a handful of campuses to increase the selection of fresh fruits and vegetables available to students in the cafeteria at lunch.
That program was so successful that the district has expanded it this year, and a total of 26 HISD schools now regularly offer a fresh fruit and vegetable bar. Continue reading →