Laura Zavaleta has been selected as the new principal of Franklin Elementary School. Zavaleta started her career fifteen years ago in HISD, as a bilingual teacher. Zavaleta continued to serve as an ESL teacher at Sugar Grove Academy Middle School and later served as a teacher specialist at McNamara Elementary School. She was promoted to assist campuses, at the district level, as a Data Driven Instructional Specialist. Most recently, she joined Team Franklin as a teacher specialist. Zavaleta earned her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Houston- Downtown and a master’s degree in Educational Administration from Lamar University.
Wilfredo Montanez is a product of HISD schools and began his educational career as a teaching assistant and associate teacher. He served as Spanish teacher at the Ninth Grade College Preparatory Academy and he taught math at Sam Houston MSTC. Montanez served as a curriculum and content specialist, instructional specialist, and most recently dean of Students at both Sam Houston and Hamilton Middle. Montanez earned his bachelor’s degree in Spanish with a minor in mathematics from University of Houston-Downtown and a master’s degree in supervision and counseling from Sam Houston State University.
HISD is expanding its successful dual language program to 21 more campuses in 2015–2016, launching thousands of additional pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students on the road to learning a second language. Currently, 31 HISD schools offer a Spanish dual language program.
Starting in August, kindergarten students — and pre-kindergarten students, at some schools — will be learning in both English and Spanish. One grade will be added to the program each year until it reaches school-wide.Continue reading
More and more, educators are realizing that attendance is critical to a child’s academic success. In fact, attendance is directly tied to performance – in general, the lower a child’s attendance rate, the lower their grades. Chronic absenteeism (missing 10 percent or more days a year) leads to a greater chance of that child dropping out of school.
HISD’s Family and Community Engagement Dept. (FACE) has been using a new initiative to increase attendance at Franklin and Whittier elementary schools, with positive results. FACE provided professional development for teachers and attendance clerks, a workshop for parents on the importance of attending school, and programs to promote attendance. The attendance plan had three major components: a data-tracking system, a rewards program, and chronic-absenteeism intervention.