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Visiting with some of HISD’s top teachers

2012 January 25
by HISD Communications

I had the great pleasure this morning of visiting the classrooms of two of HISD’s top teachers to congratulate them for earning the highest ASPIRE Award for the 2010-2011 school year. In all, 9,162 teachers earned ASPIRE Awards this year totaling $35 million.

Chavis Mitchell (left)

Our first stop was at Osborne Elementary School in the Acres Homes community. I was impressed as fourth-grade writing teacher Chavis Mitchell’s students told me about the “word funerals” they have conducted this year to bury words such as “sad” and “happy.” Instead, their writing is infused with more descriptive words such as “blue” and “ecstatic.” Under the guidance of Principal Jacqueline Parnell, it was clear to see that the students at Osborne are really thriving.

From there, we drove a short distance to another Acres Homes school, Highland Heights Elementary. Teacher Debra Bunton works with students who don’t speak English at home. The academic gains being made by the children in Ms. Bunton’s class are impressive, which is why she received such a high ASPIRE Award. Ms. Bunton told me that she and Principal Kettisha Jones regularly discuss each individual student’s needs, and this helps her come up with teaching approaches that take each child’s unique learning style into account.

Debra Bunton (right)

Two other HISD teachers also won the top ASPIRE Award this year: Marcos Giannotti of Hobby Elementary School, and Stephanie Spurling of Hartsfield Elementary School.

Please join me in congratulating these fine educators, and thanking them on behalf of the children they serve each day. I came away from these visits more convinced than ever that placing a quality teacher in every HISD classroom is our city’s best chance for a bright future.


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