HISD is celebrating Black History Month by exploring the many schools named for distinguished African Americans in the community. The district has more than 30 schools that recognize the contributions of African American leaders, ranging from renowned educators to legislators and community leaders.
The first week focused onHISD’s namesake high schools, alternative schools, and the Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center. The second week focused on HISD’smiddle and combination schools. This week, learn more about HISD’s namesake early childhood centersand elementary schools.
First impressions are always hard, but Jamaica took the first day of school in stride.
The hypoallergenic Bernedoodle — a special breed that has Bernese Mountain Dog and Poodle parents — welcomed Wesley Elementary School students back to school with her tail wagging and a paw-sitive attitude.
The pup recently joined HISD Police as the department’s first-ever comfort dog, working on campuses across the district to help combat stress and anxiety in students and build trust between police, students, and the community.
Inspired by Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan’s mission to provide fine arts education to more students, HISD will add a fine arts teacher to 37 elementary schools across the district for the 2019-2020 school year.
“For the first time in recent history, all HISD elementary students will have access to a certified fine arts teacher,” HISD Director of Fine Arts Wenden Sanders said. “HISD views every student as an emerging artist, and thanks to Dr. Lathan’s vision, students will have ample opportunity to develop those creative skills.”
Up until this year, roughly 20,000 HISD elementary students had little to no access to fine arts instruction. Now, those students will have the chance to participate in either music, theater or visual arts on a daily basis.
Thomas Cotter has been selected as the new principal of Wesley Elementary School. Cotter began as a teacher at Gregory-Lincoln Education Center and has since served as an instructional specialist, dean of students, and assistant principal at Woodson PK-5 Leadership Academy, where he assisted with the school moving from Improvement Required (IR) to meeting state accountability standards. Cotter earned a bachelor’s in business administration in marketing from Texas Southern University and a Master’s in Administration and Policy Studies from the University of Houston. He is currently working to earn a Doctorate’s in professional leadership and policy studies at the University of Houston.
Cornelius Anderson has been selected as the new principal of Wesley Elementary School. Anderson has been an educator for 16 years and has served in various roles, from paraprofessional to principal. He began his career in Garland ISD as a special education paraprofessional and dyslexia facilitator before joining Denton ISD as a kindergarten teacher, dean of instruction, and assistant principal. Since 2014, he has served as the principal at Stafford Intermediate School in Stafford MSD and was named district administrator of the year for 2015-2016. Anderson earned his bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from Texas Woman’s University, master’s degree in educational leadership from American College of Education, and completed the superintendent certification program at Sam Houston State University.
Dr. Lorraine Killion had the same group of students from the third through fifth grades at Wesley Elementary School some 35 years ago. They were a pilot group for what was known then as DISTAR, a system for teaching reading and math (DISTAR reading has since been expanded and rebranded by SRA/McGraw-Hill as Reading Master). Dr. Killion and her students became so close during those three years that the students never forgot her.
When one of the alumnus’s sons discovered that Dr. Killion was still teaching, the former students used Facebook to get in touch and organize a reunion. Nearly the entire class gathered at a Houston restaurant recently to honor Dr. Killion, whom they hadn’t seen since the fifth grade.
“They surprised me, and I cried like a baby,” Dr. Killion said. “I hadn’t heard from them for 30 years! I thought I was having lunch with a couple of students, and nearly all of them were there.” Continue reading →
Students whose families move during the middle of the school year are being allowed to stay at their “home school,” or the one they enrolled in at the beginning of the academic year, thanks to a innovative HISD program called Home Field Advantage. Since May 2014, schools involved in the program have seen their overall mobility rate drop by an average of 10 percentage points.
During his State of the Schools address last February, HISD Superintendent Terry Grier promised to create a program to build educational stability among highly mobile students. Subsequently, students at 13 elementary schools, where roughly 30 percent of families move in any given year, were offered transportation to their “home” school, even if their parents moved. Continue reading →