The casual observer might never guess that the students who gather after school in Dr. Maqsuda Afroz’s science classroom at César E. Chávez High School are anything but ordinary high schoolers. They gossip and smack-talk and speculate about the future, most of them seniors with one foot out the door. Few would guess that these “average high schoolers” are in fact literal rocket scientists.
The Chávez Rocketry Club, headed by Afroz, spends two afternoons a week (and sometimes lunch periods or whatever scraps of free time they can get) designing and engineering model rockets for an international competition, The American Rocketry Challenge.
As students gathered in the Deady Middle School auditorium on Friday, Sept. 15, they thought they knew what they were in for. Deady students, along with students from Milby High School and Davila Elementary, were treated the day before to a preview screening of the new Amazon Prime film, A Million Miles Away, the life story of astronaut José Hernández. Little did they know that José Hernández himself was waiting in the wings to surprise them.
Hartsfield Elementary School looks like an average campus from the outside. Inside the school’s front doors, even a keen observer might not immediately notice one of the elements that makes Hartsfield unique, even though it – or they – are just a few feet away, lining the hallways to the left and right: snakes, lizards, a tarantula, even an alligator, all call Hartsfield, HISD’s only Animal and Environmental Science magnet elementary school, home.
With more than 186,000 students of different interests and talents, HISD offers 128 unique magnet programs at schools throughout the district. From STEM, medicine, and biotechnology to law and performing and visual arts, and the programs are designed with accessibility, equity, and individual student growth in mind.
“HISD magnet programs serve as a bridge for our scholars and families to access unique opportunities, transformative experiences, and exposure to innovative careers,” said School Choice Manager Alyssa Banks, who is herself a product of a magnet program. “The assortment of magnet themes and options are a testament to our philosophy in HISD, that our students can be anything they set their mind to, and we as educators are here to help them get there.”
For the second year in a row, the Houston Astros Foundation partnered with Honeywell International Inc. to recognize 10 outstanding teachers from the Greater Houston area for their commitment to excellence in STEM and contribution to creating innovative ways to improve student achievement and interests in robotics and coding.
Over summer break, Rice University welcomes hundreds of middle and high school students to participate in various academic camps offered on campus. The Tapia Camps, named for mathematician and Rice professor Dr. Richard Tapia, are for rising eighth-12th graders interested in STEM and honing their calculus skills before the new school year.
Now that the 2022-2023 school year has come to an end and students are enjoying the freedom from early mornings and classroom schedules, they might be looking for something to do with their excess time.
HISD’s Library Services Department is providing access to Comic Plus and MackinVIA, ebook platforms that keep library books and comics available to students over the summer months and motivate them to read wherever they are. HISD is also encouraging students to take advantage of the Houston Public Library’s John P. McGovern Summer Reading Program.
Necessity is the mother of invention, and few things can shine a light on unmet needs quite like a global pandemic. Nearly two years of digital and hybrid learning forced everyone to adapt, and HISD school libraries were no exception. In year two of their three-year library improvement and refreshment project, HISD Library Services has adapted to the new digital needs of students and educators by establishing community partnerships and working to increase the equity of library education with digital and online resources.
“Libraries in general, and Houston ISD campus libraries in particular, are engines of equity,” said HISD Library Services Director Len Bryan. “We help level the playing field for students who might not have access to learning materials outside of their classrooms. Books, eBooks, academic databases, makerspace equipment and materials, and most importantly, a caring and professional library staff help our students realize their potential and follow their dreams, regardless of their zip code.”
In honor of International Women’s Day, HISD’s Career Readiness Department hosted its first Girls in Industry Day on Wednesday, March 8, at the HISD Pavilion to educate students on career opportunities.
HISD invites all students, teachers, and administrators to celebrate Computer Science Education Week (Dec. 6-12) and the Hour of Code global movement by participating in HISD’s 12 Days of Code (Dec. 1-16).