Twelve Houston Independent School District middle schools are among the latest campuses to be selected for participation in the Verizon Innovative Learning Schools program, which addresses barriers to digital inclusion.
In addition to free mobile devices and data plans, participating schools will be assigned a full-time coach to train teachers in effectively integrating technology into their lessons.
Chantal Duval-Jackson’s Kickstart Karate students lined up
in neat rows and ran through warm-up drills on Monday with their usual
precision and enthusiastic shouts of “Kiai!”
The only noticeable differences on the first day of face-to-face instruction at Navarro Middle School were the addition of masks and carefully staggered checkerboard mat to ensure social distancing measures were observed.
Duval-Jackson, who has taught karate at the school for nearly
10 years, had the extra challenge this year of creating a safe space for her
students – not an easy task considering karate usually is a full-contact sport.
She has about 150 students in sixth through eighth grades, and about 30 percent
of those students have opted for in-person instruction. The majority of her
students are participating virtually.
Emeterio Cruz has been selected as the new principal of Yolanda Black Navarro Middle School. Cruz has been with HISD for eleven years, starting as a fifth-grade bilingual teacher at Sutton Elementary School. He served as a teacher specialist at Shearn Elementary School, assistant principal at Pugh and Anderson elementaries, and most recently as the principal of Sanchez Elementary School. Under his leadership, Sanchez has maintained an “A” rating and all six Texas Education Agency’s rating distinctions three years in a row. Cruz earned a bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Houston-Downtown and a master’s degree in Education as part of the HISD Leadership Cohort from the University of Houston.
Nearly 200 students, staff, and community members gathered Wednesday morning to celebrate the renaming of Yolanda Black Navarro Middle School of Excellence and pay tribute to the well-respected community leader who now serves as its namesake.
On hand for the ceremony were family and friends of the late Yolanda Black Navarro, including HISD Board of Education Trustee Diana Dávila, HISD Superintendent Richard Carranza, U.S. Reps. Gene Green and Sheila Jackson Lee, State Sen. Sylvia Garcia, and son Christian Navarro, as well as many other Navarro family members and supporters.
“The name Yolanda Black Navarro represents the community today that it serves,” Navarro Principal Kelly Vaughn Pichon said, adding that the work of women such as Navarro rarely makes history books, but is “engraved in the hearts and minds of those positively affected.”
“Thank you, Yolanda Black Navarro, for your service not to only the Latino community, but for all people.”
Four HISD schools are celebrating significant milestones next week. Eastwood Academy and the High School for Law and Justice will both hold groundbreaking ceremonies to mark the start of construction on their new school buildings. Continue reading →