Project Advisory Teams for Garden Oaks Montessori, Pilgrim Academy and Wilson Montessori spent two days last week in a design charrette, where they worked with architects and facilities planners to put together initial design concepts for their schools.
This week marks the end of Autism Awareness Month, so we asked some of our parents of students with autism about their families’ experiences with HISD, to find out what they felt contributed the most to their students’ successes.
Kristi Anders, the parent of a 12-year-old who is finishing up his last year in elementary school, says her son has flourished at two different campuses due to the inclusive environments created there by caring staff members.
“Noah’s teachers and principal at Garden Oaks Montessori were so accepting and supportive of him,” she said. “He has had to learn his limits and figure out what works for him and what doesn’t, but we bought him noise-reducing headphones and he learned to tell people when they were in his personal space. His teacher would also send him on errands or to get a drink of water when she could see he was getting frustrated. In the third grade, Noah’s friends voted him class president.”
Two HISD employees were recognized recently for their contributions to the education of Heights-area children.
Shakiri Hooper, a clerk at Garden Oaks Montessori, has been named the Paraprofessional of the Year, while Joyce Rogers, an instructional specialist at Waltrip High School, was named the Educator of the Year by the Greater Heights Area Chamber of Commerce.
Nominees were judged by a committee on the basis of their experience and evidence of leadership, service, and dedication to making a difference in students’ lives.
“Ms. Hooper is extremely hard-working and goal-oriented,” wrote Garden Oaks Principal Lindsey Pollock. “She is a team player who seeks win-win solutions even when faced with seemingly insurmountable odds.”
“Joyce has served as a role model not only for staff, but also for students,” said former Waltrip High School Principal Andria Schur. “She takes a personal interest in motivating people to be their personal best, while also challenging them to serve as models and motivators to those around them.”
Both women will be formally recognized during the organization’s annual education luncheon on May 18.
The students are participating in the Midwest Regional Middle School Conference of the Montessori Model United Nations (MMUN) on March 13 and 14 in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and according to Principal Lindsey Pollock, this is the very first time a public school has done so.
“This is only our first year to have a Model UN, but the experience is life-changing for students,” said Dr. Pollock. “Our kids will meet people from across the country and they have researched topics that are impacting lives all over the world. It broadens their horizons and helps them recognize our inter-connectedness and our responsibility in making the world a better place.”
Booker T. Washington High School teacher Dr. Nghia Le and his students recently led hands-on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) activities for students and parents at Garden Oaks Montessori.
Students collaborated in their efforts to design the perfect landing vehicle for their precious cargo – an egg. Students worked together in small groups and learned that sometimes failure is part of the process for scientists who learn from practice in order to perfect a design. Continue reading
Deadline to apply for next year’s Fund for Teacher grants is Thursday, Jan. 29
When Shana Steinhardt applied for a Fund for Teachers grant earlier this year, she did so for a very specific reason.
“After 15 years of teaching, I risked becoming stagnant,” said the Garden Oaks Montessori social studies teacher. So to expand her knowledge of Asian culture, history, and ecology, Steinhardt traveled to the steppes of Mongolia, where she met with six different herding families living a nomadic lifestyle.
Administrators are recommending that the HISD Board of Education authorize the district to negotiate design contracts with 13 firms on the remaining 14 projects within the 2012 bond program.
The latest round of contract recommendations comes ahead of schedule in response to the booming construction market in Houston. Although architect selections for schools in Groups 3 and 4 of the program weren’t slated to take place until next year, the district wanted to move forward as quickly as possible to minimize the impact of escalating construction inflation.
What: The seventh annual Public Montessori Educators of Texas conference, sponsored by Friends of Montessori, will be held Friday, March 1 through Sunday, March 3 at Garden Oaks Montessori Magnet school. The theme is Montessori: Surviving and Thriving in the Public School Setting and will feature breakout workshops for parents, teachers and educators that focus on elevating and sustaining Montessori education within the classroom and the community, and a tour of Houston’s three public Montessori schools. The keynote speakers for the conference are author and lecturer Alfie Kohn and Dennis Schapiro, editor and publisher of the Public School Montessorian newspaper. They will be speaking on the topics of education, parenting and human behavior.
For more information or to register, visit www.fomhouston.org.