Samyra Rogers has been selected as the new principal of Pleasantville Elementary School. Rogers began her career in HISD 12 years ago at Holland Middle School as a mathematics teacher. While at Holland, her leadership roles have included department chairperson, teacher specialist, and most recently, assistant principal. She has served Holland as assistant principal for the last three years. Her most recent accomplishment has been her selection as the Achieve 180 Middle School Assistant Principal of the Year 2020. Rogers earned a bachelor’s in Business Administration from Prairie View A&M University and holds a master’s in Educational Leadership from the University of St. Thomas.
When Robinson Elementary School flooded, their neighborhood schools (Holland Middle and Pleasantville Elementary) stepped up to take in displaced students and their teachers. In order to support students, leaders from the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation, American Federation of Teachers, Houston Federation of Teachers, and First Book visited Holland Middle School as part of a joint “Hurricane Harvey Relief: Essentials for Kids Fund” effort. The groups surprised students with more than 500 books on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017.
HISD Superintendent Richard Carranza, AFT President Randi Weingarten, Barbara Bush Foundation Chairmen and Founders Neil and Maria Bush, First Book CEO and President Kyle Zimmer, and HFT president Zeph Capo observed two Holland MS classrooms filled with Robinson students learning.
Campuses receive every distinction designation available from the state.
Twenty-nine schools from across the Houston Independent School District earned the maximum number of distinction designations from the state for their top performance throughout the 2014-2015 school year.
The campuses – 17 elementary schools, six middle schools and six high schools – earned every distinction designation awarded by the Texas Education Agency. Schools are eligible for distinctions if they are rated as having “Met Standard” — the highest rating under the state accountability system — and meet various other performance standards.
Guests at HISD’s 2015 State of the Schools luncheon got a side order of entertainment with their meal. Westside High School’s Wind Ensemble of 35 students provided music throughout the program under the guiding hand of Conductor Joey Brunson, and students from 19 HISD elementary schools sang the national anthem.
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
Students at eight Houston ISD schools have been improving their literacy skills through a program created by FotoFest, and you have a chance to check out their work.
Literacy Through Photography utilizes photography as a tool to develop basic learning skills, particularly writing and critical thinking, for students in grades 3-12. It includes a curriculum aligned to state standards, professional development for teachers, and artist-educator residency programs for students in both in-school and after-school environments.
Amari Venzor of Cornelius Elementary School took home top honors in the 18th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Oratory Competition sponsored by Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP in Houston.
Every year since 1996, fourth- and fifth-graders from two dozen HISD schools have competed in this annual contest, which challenges students to write and present a short original speech on a subject related to the slain civil rights leader. The topic this year was, “If Dr. King were speaking at a March on Washington today, what would he say?”
“If Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was speaking at a March on Washington today, he would say: As I consider the past 50 years of progress, I can’t help but wonder if for every two steps we have taken forward, we have taken three steps back,” Amari said. “Have we fought so hard to instill that pride that we fail to include words like integrity, self-respect, and even a simple hi? Have we allowed economic and social status to lull us into a crippling complacency and a sense of entitlement? Simply meaning, are we putting $200 sneakers on our children who can barely read or solve basic mathematical equations rather than teaching them how to invest the same $200 into the actual shoe company? Have we been so busy trying to give our children what we didn’t have that we forgot to give them what we did have?”
The other 2014 finalists, in alphabetical order, were:
• Shahnoor Ahtesham, Sutton ES
• Reginald Brown, Pleasantville ES
• Chrislyn Brownlow, Anderson ES
• Kierra Hunter, MacGregor ES
• Robert Lane III, Valley West ES
• Amaria Maldonado, Wainwright ES
• Kennady Roberson, Lockhart ES
• Jayla Wright, Burrus ES
• Jacovia Young, Windsor Village ES
If you’ve never seen the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Oratory Competition sponsored by Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP in Houston, you’re in for a treat.
Every year since 1996, fourth- and fifth-graders from two dozen HISD schools have competed in this annual contest, which challenges students to write and present a short original speech on a subject related to the slain civil rights leader. The topic this year is, “If Dr. King were speaking at a March on Washington today, what would he say?”
Burbank and Elrod elementary schools to keep magnet status for 2014-2015 academic year
The Houston Independent School District is restoring the magnet designation at two elementary schools following a thorough review of the schools’ presentations and related documentation during the appeal process. Burbank and Elrod elementary schools will keep their magnet designation and funding for the 2014-2015 academic year.
“As we listened to the magnet program representatives who presented appeals, the committee was looking for clear evidence that these programs were on the path to meeting the magnet standards within one to two years,” HISD Assistant Superintendent of School Choice Dave Wheat said. “After a lot of deliberation, we’re pleased to announce that we are restoring the magnet designation at Elrod and Burbank elementary schools.”
During the appeal process, Burbank administrators presented to the committee nearly 40 additional applications they have received from non-zoned students. Those additional applications bring their percentage of non-zoned students to 16.52 percent, just under the minimum standard of 20 percent. In addition, Burbank will be adding three classrooms to increase capacity and accommodate additional non-zoned students.
As for Elrod, school administrators showed the committee their consistent enrollment growth over the past three years, going from 4 percent at the start of the magnet program to nearly 14 percent this year. Also, because Elrod changed its magnet theme in 2012 from math, science and technology to Emerging Medical Scholars, the committee felt more time was needed to assess the program’s viability.
However, Burbank and Elrod, like all magnet schools in HISD, will be re-evaluated at the conclusion of the 2013-2014 school year and every year thereafter to assess compliance with the enrollment goals and state accountability system ratings.
The Magnet Appeal Review Committee is still reviewing Law Elementary’s appeal, with a site visit planned for Wednesday morning.
“This is HISD’s first step in applying system standards across the district to ensure we maintain a high level of excellence at all schools,” Wheat said. “It is critically important that we ensure all magnet programs are meeting the enrollment and academic requirements set forth by HISD’s Board of Education.”
In May of 2013, the HISD Board of Trustees adopted a new policy that included the 20 percent non-zoned enrollment requirement for all magnet schools and the 100 non-zoned magnet students per grade level requirement for secondary magnet schools. The policy also stated that magnet schools would be held accountable for student academic outcomes aligned with the Board Monitoring System and/or current accountability standards.
As a result, HISD made the decision last month to remove the magnet designation from 20 magnet schools with the lowest percentages of non-zoned students enrolled. The schools were notified of this decision and were given the opportunity to appeal. Thirteen campuses filed an appeal but only Burbank and Elrod were approved to keep their magnet programs.
At the end of this academic year, the following 18 schools are slated to lose their magnet status and will only receive half of their funding during the 2014-2015 academic year: Law (under review), Pleasantville, Wesley, and West University elementary schools; Attucks, Deady, Dowling, Holland, Jackson, Key, and Patrick Henry middle schools; and Jones, Lee, Madison, Sharpstown, Westbury, Wheatley and Worthing high schools.
Twenty of HISD’s 115 magnet programs are not attracting enough students
Twenty HISD magnet school programs that are not drawing enough students from outside their neighborhoods will be closed after the 2013-2014 school year under a plan announced Thursday.
These 20 magnet school programs enroll a combined 758 students from outside their attendance zones.