A sea of red flooded the main entrance of Furr High School on Friday morning as the cheerleaders, Sparkle Dancers — dressed in red and white uniforms — and band pepped up the crowd in celebration of the school’s building dedication ceremony.
Music and chants echoed through the air, and lush trees and landscaping lined the length of the brightly colored 182,000-square-foot-building, offering an ornate backdrop to a long red ribbon stretched across the building’s main walkway.
“Close your eyes for a moment and imagine a high school that empowers students to tackle environmental injustice and becomes the central green hub of their community,” said Furr Interim Principal Rosa Hernandez to attendees. “Imagine spaces filled with student voices, trust, school spirit, and a flexible learning environment.” She pointed to the new building, saying “That’s what we have here.”
ExxonMobil provided engineers and supplies for a day of events, which included testing the girls’ problem-solving skills by challenging them to create marshmallow-launching catapults. While the marshmallows flew, other groups of girls got to speak with current University of Texas engineering students about their field, and with college admissions officers about getting into college.
HISD Board of Education Trustee Paula Harris, before stepping down from her District IV seat and attending her final board meeting on Thursday, was honored for her leadership and dedication to children.
“There are so many things I have learned through this journey,” said Harris, who has served for eight years on the board. “I really want to say a special thank you to this board because we all want what’s best for children.”
HISD STEM coordinators, teachers and students will attend the Pumps & Pipes 9 Symposium on Dec. 7 to hear presentations from medical doctors, astrophysicists, research engineers and other Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) professionals, while thousands of students will watch via webcast from their classrooms.
Students from three HISD high schools took home prizes, as well as lessons on teamwork and sportsmanship from the recent Viva Technology STEM Showdown.
The event, which took place on Nov. 6 at University of Houston, is a partnership between Great Minds in STEM and Shell Oil Company. It provides traditionally underserved high-school students in IPAA/PESA Petroleum Academies with a chance to compete in an intensive series of STEM challenges alongside undergraduate partners attending local universities.
Community partners are invaluable when it comes to helping students see how things are done in the real world. BP America has been partnering with HISD’s Revere Middle School since 2013, when STEM magnet coordinator and robotics teacher Alyssa Cannon-Banks began searching for role models for her students. BP America was one of the first to respond and sent nearly 40 scientists, engineers, and accountants to judge the school’s science fair. Soon after, BP America organized frequent tours of their headquarters, which made lasting impressions on students, most of whom come from underprivileged families.
Campus is one of only two in America selected to receive comprehensive STEM program
Students and faculty at Sherman Elementary School got a sneak preview of the numerous fun and fascinating activities that await them this year on Sept. 9, when representatives from Discovery Education and the Science Channel came to the campus to kick off the year-long Support Our Science initiative.
Discovery Ed Curriculum Specialist Patti Duncan led a number of entertaining demonstrations to illustrate various science concepts, such as an explosive combination of Diet Coke and Mentos that brings gas out of solution.
While some students are vacationing, incoming freshman at South Early College High School (SECHS) are preparing for long careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) through a Summer Bridge Program with Houston Community College.
SECHS is HISD’s only STEM magnet early college, aimed at increasing student awareness of and preparation for careers in fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, all while earning an associate’s degree tuition-free from Houston Community College.
The Summer Bridge Program allows freshman to get a head start on building relationships, developing study habits, and improving critical reading, writing, and math skills. The students also had a chance to tour the Houston Community College campus and see where STEM studies might lead them. Back in the classroom, students have been exploring the range of the STEM world by completing virus and yeast labs and learning computer programming to operate robots.
“We are excited about STEM at South Early,” said Summer School Coordinator Cedric Starks. “I wanted the students to experience working in the science lab, conducting tests and experiments, and using codes to program the robots.”
East Early College HS Falcon 1 team, Pablo Flores, Miguel Lara, and Alejandro Meza
The East Early College High School’s (EECHS) Falcon 1 team, whose members are Pablo Flores, Miguel Lara, and Alejandro Meza, won second place in the High School Water Rocketry category at the 2015 National SECME (Southeastern Consortium for Minorities in Engineering) Competition.
HISD teachers attended their first “STEM Reboot” session earlier this month at Ryan Professional Development Center, where Teacher Development Specialists from the Innovative Curriculum and Instruction Department guided team through a series of hands-on experiments. As part of the science, technology, engineering, and math training, they were challenged to create a hot air balloon from a variety of materials, including plastic cleaners’ bags and tissue paper, and build boats out of aluminum foil that could float while supporting a penny. In addition, the teachers had a rocket-building session and were trained in an Hour of Code.