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It’s nice to be the bearer of good news

2014 March 6
by HISD Communications

Writing this blog is fun when I can’t just pick one topic but have several “good news” items to share. This is one of those times.

Most important is the excitement over our first meetings about what’s known commonly by the bureaucratic-sounding name, “House Bill 5.” Here at HISD, we’re calling this “Plan Your Path” because it creates remarkable new, individualized opportunities for our students in high school and beyond.

Parents of current eighth-graders, who will be the first to graduate under this new system that personalizes learning with educational and career goals, will start learning about the ins-and-outs Monday. We’ve set the first two of 10 meetings from 6-7:30 p.m. at Reagan and Washington high schools. You can follow our @HoustonISD twitter that night to be among the first to know what’s being shared.

There’s a meeting in each trustee district and one at HISD headquarters (see the full schedule at, and while attendance is a must for parents of the class of 2018, anyone is welcome.


Shout-outs are in order for two of our five early college high schools – those programs where you can earn both your high school diploma and an associate’s degree at the same time.
Our Houston Academy for International Studies learned it’s in the running to be a U.S. Blue Ribbon School, after being tapped by the Texas Education Agency (TEA). This unique school with a global perspective includes field trips, international travel and local internships.

And TEA informed our South Early College High School that it’s received an official “early college” designation. South is the only of our early college programs with a focus in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM)


Kudos to our College Readiness Department and to our high schools for staging an awesome Houston FAFSA Day on Feb. 20. We heard back from the U.S. Department of Education that 1,601 federal financial aid applications were received from HISD – that’s an increase of 159 percent over last year.

North Forest HS increased their applications by 400 percent, and the East Early College High School saw an increase of more than 1,000 percent.

College Readiness is still working to make sure every student who needs financial aid applies – which will mean more of our students going to college and more scholarship and financial aid offers.


It’s likely that by the time you read this, the Yates High School boys basketball squad will know the outcome of its state semifinal game in Austin, scheduled for Thursday afternoon, and whether they’ll be competing for the state title Saturday.

That outcome isn’t really important because team members are already champions in every sense of the word that matters. They’ve shown persistence and class and have helped galvanize their school behind them.

Yates’ consistency at reaching state is amazing, given the vagaries of high school sports with academic requirements and graduations. The squad made the finals in 2009, 2010, 2012, and 2013, winning back-to-back state crowns in 2009 and 2010.

Yates, you make us proud. Over and over again.

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