Harvard Elementary School marked an important milestone on Sept. 18 when the school celebrated being 123 years old.Continue reading
Bridgett Ramirez was born and raised in Houston, the oldest of three children. She began her formal education at Harvard Elementary School and is now attending Harvard University in Boston. She is the first in her family to go to college after graduating from Lanier Middle School and Heights High School.
Ramirez credits the HISD EMERGE program with helping her get into Harvard U. “EMERGE gave me the mentorship that my parents were not able to provide. The one-on-one relationship that I built with (EMERGE Program Manager) Esau Molina was so valuable. He made sure I was prepared for the college-application process, and he helped me get SAT prep.” Continue reading
Keeping email accounts secure with strong passwords is an important aspect of responsible digital citizenship, and students from two HISD schools have demonstrated their mastery of this concept by winning the top prizes in a video production contest co-sponsored by the Future of Privacy Forum (FPF) and HISD’s Educational Technology team.
Harvard Elementary School students won four of the five prizes available (first and second, as well as two honorable mentions), while a student from Eastwood Academy took home the third-place prize.
Laura Alaniz has been named the new principal of Harvard Elementary School. She previously served as the principal at Gabriela Mistral Center for Early Childhood for five years. Under her leadership, the school established a working collaboration with Rice University to create the Rice Oral and Written Language Lab, which operates as a teaching lab for educators in the greater Houston community.
Alaniz has an extensive career in education. She has served as an elementary teacher, a bilingual evaluation specialist, a parent involvement manager, and an assistant principal at a comprehensive high school.
Laura received a bachelor’s degree in education from Our Lady of the Lake University and a master’s degree from the University of the Incarnate Word.
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.”
In this week’s edition of I am HISD, which features district students, graduates, employees, and other team members, Harvard Elementary School third-grade teacher (and former District I Board of Education member) Karla Cisneros talks about how she went from the classroom to the boardroom and back again, the greatest gifts of her experience as a trustee, and if she’d ever consider running for that office again.
You represented District I on HISD’s Board of Education for five years in the early aughts, even serving as its president one year. Now you’re teaching third-graders at one of our elementary schools. How did that transition come about?
Well, I was not a certified teacher before. I was just sort of a mom who got pulled in. They hired me at Travis Elementary to be a part-time science teacher, and one thing just led to another. After I left the board, I was going to work with my husband, but I realized I wanted to be back in education at kind of a grass-roots level, so I went back to school and got certified.
And I really, really, really like being a teacher. The best part of all is the kids, but then, that’s always the best part. I knew when my own children grew up and moved on that I was going to hate being an empty nester, but so much of teaching is not just about teaching. It’s about helping usher children through their lives, not just the curriculum.
Whether you’re five, 15, or 55 years old, it can still be a thrilling experience to meet someone who actually created a book you enjoyed. If it makes a big enough impression, the experience can even make you a reader for life.
That’s why a number of HISD schools regularly invite popular authors to visit their campuses as part of the district’s literacy initiatives, such as Harvard ES, Patterson and Red elementaries, and Burbank Middle School.
Barney Saltzberg was the latest writer/illustrator to bring inspiration and encouragement to students. He came to Memorial Elementary School on Feb. 13.
“His visit was awesome,” said Visual Art Specialist Rebecca Stewart. “He spoke about not being a very good student. He said he was terrible at spelling. No one—not even his parents—was very optimistic that he would ever do anything significant, because he had such a hard time in school. But he loved to draw, so he drew all the time. When he went to art school, he still didn’t think he was very good, but a teacher looked at his drawing one day and said, ‘You need to write a book with that character.’ So he did. And the little boy who had such a hard time at spelling is now a best-selling author with more than a million books in print.” Continue reading
Harvard Elementary students learned what some students in Afghanistan deal with on a daily basis, straight from a woman who founded an all-girls school in a rural area of the country.
Razia Jan visited Harvard on Nov. 11, 2014, as part of the school’s IB Action Project. Jan, who was named a Top 10 CNN Hero in 2012, is the founder of Razia’s Ray of Hope Foundation, which is dedicated to improving the lives of women and children in Afghanistan through community-based education. Harvard students will raise money for the foundation through a read-a-thon, selling spirit bracelets, and seeking direct donations. Continue reading
Reagan High School and Hogg Middle School are officially celebrating their new status this week as International Baccalaureate (IB) World Schools, the latest HISD campuses to receive official authorization. After receiving approval July 5, the schools were able to begin offering the rigorous IB program when the new school year launched, creating the first continuous IB feeder pattern in the historic Houston Heights. Students begin the IB Primary Years Programme (PYP) at Harvard Elementary and progress to the Middle Years Programme (MYP) at Hogg and Reagan.
Students and staff at Harvard Elementary School put together an energetic video to celebrate Katherine Applegate, author of the 2013 Newbery Medal winner The One and Only Ivan, visiting the school on Oct. 29. Applegate read from her award-winning book and discussed it with students. Her visit is the highlight of the school’s annual “One Book, One School” project, which strives to create a sense of community among all Harvard students through the shared experience of reading a work of literature.
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