Gabriel Lopez has been appointed principal of West Briar Middle School. Lopez has been an educator for 14 years, beginning his career in education as a fourth- and fifth-grade teacher at HISD’s Gross Elementary School. Since 2006, he has been on staff at West Briar, serving as a seventh-grade social studies teacher and dean of students. Lopez earned his bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from Angelo State University and his master’s degree in public school administration from Texas A&M University in College Station.
Houston Independent School District Superintendent Richard Carranza, along with school board members, made surprise visits to Lyons Elementary School and West Briar Middle School on Thursday to name the district’s top campus leaders of the school year.
Lyons Elementary School Principal Cecilia Gonzales was named HISD’s Elementary Principal of the Year, while West Briar Middle School Principal Keeley Simpson was selected as HISD’s Secondary Principal of the Year. Both winners will advance to the state’s regional principal of the year competition.
“I am so proud of our principals and the incredible work they do each and every day to ensure the success of their campus, students and teachers,” Carranza said. “The level of student achievement at these schools did not happen by accident.” Continue reading
The desks in seventh-grade teacher Zachary Cummings’ AVID classroom at Hamilton Middle School are arranged so that students can work in groups. Collaboration is one of the five hallmarks of AVID, along with reading, writing, inquiry, and organization.
Cummings’ students recently quizzed each other on Cornell notes they took on a PowerPoint presentation about the history of Apple Inc. Cornell notes are just one example of college-level study techniques students learn in AVID, a global nonprofit organization directed at students who are capable of completing a college-preparatory path if they receive the proper support. The focus is on low-income students whose families don’t traditionally attend college.
Basketballs were flying around the Hofheinz Pavilion on Nov. 10, as more than 50 HISD students with special needs got to meet and play basketball with coaches and student-athletes from the University of Houston (UH) men’s basketball program.
For the first UH Special Olympics Basketball Camp, Cougar coaches and players set up six stations on the pavilion’s basketball court, and middle-school students practiced shooting, dribbling, passing, and other fundamentals. Continue reading
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
West Briar Middle School teacher Adam Beckham has always been one to embrace new technology, but admits he has had a hard time finding a safe tool to collaborate with his students outside of school hours.
“Teachers know there is technology out there that would truly enhance our teaching and connection with students, but with things changing so fast it is hard to find the right one,” said Beckham.