Marlen Martinez has been selected as the new principal of Ortiz Middle School. An HISD alumnus, Martinez has served students as a teacher, magnet coordinator, and an assistant principal. Most recently, she served as the principal at Lewis Elementary School, where she built a strong academic program that shepherded the school out of Improvement Required (IR) status into meeting state standard. She earned a bachelor’s degree at Texas State University and a master’s degree from the University of Houston-Clear Lake.
Five boys and five girls from 10 different HISD schools will be testing the limits of their vocabulary on Saturday, April 2, when they take part in the finals of the Houston Public Media spelling bee. The top two winners of the Houston-area competition will be eligible to advance to the Scripps National Spelling Bee near Washington, D.C., in May.
This year’s local contest is particularly meaningful for two HISD students: fifth-grader Bryan Moore (Lovett ES) and eighth-grader Christine Bowyer (Baylor College of Medicine Academy at Ryan).
Thursday, Feb. 25
- 4 p.m. Ortiz MS (6767 Telephone Rd. 77061)
- 6 p.m. Hartman MS (7111 Westover, 77087)
Saturday, Feb. 27
- 10 a.m. HMWESC (4400 W. 18th St, 77092)
The Houston Independent School District Board of Education is searching for a new superintendent and trustees want input from community members about the qualities and traits they would like to see in their next district leader.
HISD Board of Education President Manuel Rodríguez Jr. and Trustee Diana Dávila have scheduled seven meetings this week to gather feedback from the community that will be used to develop a superintendent candidate profile. The dates and times for additional meetings hosted by other trustees will be announced soon.
The desks in seventh-grade teacher Zachary Cummings’ AVID classroom at Hamilton Middle School are arranged so that students can work in groups. Collaboration is one of the five hallmarks of AVID, along with reading, writing, inquiry, and organization.
Cummings’ students recently quizzed each other on Cornell notes they took on a PowerPoint presentation about the history of Apple Inc. Cornell notes are just one example of college-level study techniques students learn in AVID, a global nonprofit organization directed at students who are capable of completing a college-preparatory path if they receive the proper support. The focus is on low-income students whose families don’t traditionally attend college.
Incoming sixth-grader Taylor, 10, believes it’s important to protect the bee population, and she thinks she knows ways to do so. “Planting flowers will help attract bees so they can make more honey,” she said as she put marigold seeds into a small decorated pot.
This was only one of the many lessons she and several other soon-to-be sixth-graders learned during their two weeks in the Summer Bridge program, made possible by the federally-funded Race to the Top grant the district received, at Holland Middle School.
Students planted flowers as one way to help improve the bee population, discussing the reasons bees were threatened, and ways they could help save them. It was all part of a day’s work that integrated the mini-ecology lesson into other areas such as mathematics, reading, improving critical thinking skills, leading discussions, and other subjects. Continue reading
Noelia Longoria, who is one of HISD’s Principals of the Year for 2014, is now one step closer to being recognized at the state level for her exemplary campus leadership, after recently being named the Region 4 Principal of the Year by the Texas Association of Secondary School Principals (TASSP).
Longoria, who has led Ortíz Middle School since 2009, is a veteran educator with more than 30 years’ of experience. She serves as the lead principal for two other campuses, and her school was one of those selected to showcase the district’s best practices during the Broad Prize selection committee’s site visit in 2012. Continue reading
Hundreds of middle and high school students learned about science, technology, engineering, and math careers at a symposium organized by the Gathering of Eagles and the Houston Military Affairs Committee.
A variety of speakers working in STEM-related careers, including a geologist at NASA, encouraged about 375 students in attendance at the Saturday event at Houston Community College Southeast. They came from schools including Austin, Bellaire, Davis, and Milby high schools and Deady, Hartman, Ortiz, and Stevenson middle schools and heard about exploring science and math courses and considering the engineering profession.
HISD is launching a new program this year designed to increase student achievement “from the middle.” The Lead Principal Initiative pairs highly effective principals with other campus leaders at similar schools to spread the district’s best practices more effectively.
“‘Leading from the middle’ refers to influencing from among, rather than from above, below, or in front of one’s group,” explained HISD School Services Officer Lupita Hinojosa. “It implies positioning ourselves alongside of those we’ve empowered and working shoulder to shoulder with them.”