Luis Saenz has been named the new principal of Patterson Elementary School. An product of the Austin High School Magnet Program for Teaching Professions, Saenz started his career in HISD 19 years ago as a teacher assistant and bilingual teacher at Crespo and Twain Elementary Schools. Upon completing HISD’s Principal Academy for Collaborative Engagement cohort, Saenz joined Patterson Elementary as assistant principal and IB Primary Years Program coordinator. Through his leadership, Patterson Elementary became the first elementary campus in the East Area to become authorized by the IB Program to offer the Primary Years Program as part of the IB continuum in the Chavez Feeder Pattern. He earned his bachelor’s degree in bilingual education and master’s degree in English from the University of St. Thomas.
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
HISD is expanding its successful dual language program to 21 more campuses in 2015–2016, launching thousands of additional pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students on the road to learning a second language. Currently, 31 HISD schools offer a Spanish dual language program.
Starting in August, kindergarten students — and pre-kindergarten students, at some schools — will be learning in both English and Spanish. One grade will be added to the program each year until it reaches school-wide.Continue reading
Students across HISD are giving back to those in need this holiday season in a variety of creative and inspiring ways. At Herrera Elementary, the school’s 3D design and print club produced toys using their 3D printer to give as holiday presents to children in their community. The toys were based on characters from animated movies and video games. Read more about that story here.
At Farias Early Childhood Center, Santa and his helpers — AKA HISD high school students —distributed toys to every prekindergarten child, thanks to a partnership with Leading Ladies, a nonprofit organization run by students from different high schools in Houston. Read more here.
During the month of December, students at Roosevelt Elementary joined the district’s effort to collect new toys for the Toys for Tots campaign. Approximately 140 new toys were collected and donated by students from that campus. See related story here.
Almost 90 percent of the children attending HISD’s Patterson Elementary School qualify for the federal Free and Reduced Price Lunch program, but they didn’t let that stop them from giving back to others.
Students at the literature magnet campus collected more than 400 toys for the benefit of children who can’t be home with their families this year because they are receiving on-going treatment for injuries or illnesses at local medical facilities. Continue reading
A new team approach – blending classroom learning with home support — is revolutionizing teacher-parent conferences in an HISD pilot program.
Centered on “Academic Parent-Teacher Teams,” the approach being tried at eight schools brings in groups of parents to meet with their child’s teacher three times a year. Instead of merely walking out with a report card, these parents know where their youngster stands in relation to the rest of the class – and take with them important tools to help support in the home what’s being taught in the classroom.