Fourth-grade math and science teacher Christine Velasquez didn’t stop her lesson on double-digit multiplication when Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan made a classroom visit to surprise her as the Sterling McCall VIP Services Teacher of the Month for November.
“Mrs. Velasquez has been crucial in the turnaround at Lewis,” Principal Jorge Rodriguez said. “Her work ethic can be described as an undeniable dedication in providing the best educational experiences and opportunities for all students at the campus.”
What was thought to be a classroom observation on Tuesday quickly evolved into a celebration as district and campus administrators, followed by the campus’ very own mariachi band filled the space to honor the lead teacher with the district’s monthly award.
Jorge Rodriguez has been selected as the new principal of Lewis Elementary School. He has served as a teacher, interventionist, specialist, and most recently assistant principal at Longfellow Elementary School, where he supported the successful implementation of restorative discipline practices and “The Leader in Me” framework. His recognitions include being named a finalist for the Harris County Education Foundation Teacher of the Year and Bilingual Teacher of the Year while serving at Burbank Elementary School. Rodriguez holds a bachelor’s degree in criminology from the Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon and a Master’s in Educational Leadership from the University of St. Thomas.
Marlen Peña has been named the new principal of Lewis Elementary School. Peña began her career as a second-grade teacher at Herrera Elementary School, worked as a health teacher at Eastwood Academy, and served as the magnet coordinator at Burbank Elementary School. Her most recent assignment was assistant principal at Benavidez Elementary.
Peña earned a bachelor’s degree from Texas State University and a master’s degree from the University of Houston-Clear Lake.
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 →
As one federal literacy grant to HISD is ending, the U.S. Department of Education has approved a new, expanded $749,982 grant that will fund “Project REALITY” family library activities at 10 HISD elementary schools and extend to others during the summer. The acronym stands for Reading Elevates All Learners Through Integrated Technology for Youth.
“It shows that the Department of Education has faith in what we’re doing,” said Liz Philippi, manager of HISD Library Services. Continue reading →