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Posts under ‘School days’

More on Early Matters

Scott McClelland, president of H-E-B Houston and also the chair of the Greater Houston Partnership Education Advisory Committee, pens an op-ed about the importance of pre-kindergarten and the latest effort to provide for it. It’s hard to believe, but more than 60 percent of children in Houston start kindergarten lacking basic letter identification skills and […]

HISD should not be on the hook for North Forest’s liabilities

Come on! Fourteen months after the Texas Education Agency ordered Houston ISD to take over the long-troubled North Forest school district, some unexpected disputes over funding have surfaced. The Houston school board has authorized its attorneys to challenge a Texas Workforce Commission ruling that the district owes more than $3.7 million in unemployment benefits to […]

HISD approves its redistricting plan

As we know, HISD now includes all of the former North Forest ISD, and with that new territory came the need to reapportion its Trustee districts. They completed that task last week with a minimum of fuss. The Houston school board Thursday unanimously approved a redistricting plan that changes all nine trustee districts to accommodate […]

HISD’s volunteer reading army

HISD’s number one priority is, or at least needs to be, improving reading performance. I really hope this will help. Leaders of the Houston Independent School District turned to the community on Thursday, launching the district’s largest volunteer recruitment effort in recent years – all to help solve HISD’s intractable literacy problem. The nation’s seventh-largest […]

Teachers are doing it for themselves

I know this is intended to be an upbeat story, but I can’t help but find it a little depressing. Some tech-savvy teachers turned to the Web this summer to try to offset the nearly $500 typically spent to ready a classroom for the first day of school. Numerous Houston-area educators posted pleas on social […]

Trying again with pre-K

Different approach, hopefully a different result will follow. On the first day of school for most Houston-area children, a coalition called “Early Matters” organized by the Greater Houston Partnership announced Monday it would release a 10-year “game plan” at a summit next month to expand pre-kindergarten and child care programs and assist parents so they […]

HISD passes its budget

They restored a lot of funding, but it’s the changes to magnet school funding that everyone is talking about. Bouncing back from recent cash-strapped years, the Houston school board Thursday approved a bigger budget that gives raises to all employees, provides more money to campuses and may require a tax rate increase. The board, over […]

Bad signs of the times

I don’t even know what to say. Cypress-Fairbanks ISD will spend $55 million to tighten school security, including installing strategically placed panic buttons on campuses and replacing existing entry windows with bullet-resistant glass – upgrades experts call a necessary but unfortunate sign of the times. Voters overwhelmingly approved the improvement, which will be completed districtwide […]

HISD prepares its budget

Teacher pay raises and magnet school funding changes are the main points of interest. Thanks to rising property values, all Houston ISD employees would receive raises and schools would get more money for supplies, field trips or tutors next year under a budget proposal drawing complaints for its long-term cuts to some popular magnet programs. […]

HISD hires its defenders for the teacher evaluation lawsuit

I have to say, I’m a bit uncomfortable with this. Earlier this year, seven teachers sued the Houston Independent School District in federal court over their evaluation system. That system uses a statistical formula and student test scores to grade teachers. At its meeting this week, the Houston school district decided to hire a high-profile […]

Digital textbooks are on their way

HISD is on the leading edge. HISD is the first of Texas’ large districts – and among the first large districts in the nation – to radically rethink the way it buys new high school instructional materials, shifting from printed textbooks to digital materials accessible from school-issued laptops. “Our rule is that, each time state […]

HISD magnet funding vote delayed till next week

You still have time to talk to your trustee about this. Superintendent Terry Grier’s administration has proposed standardizing how the programs are funded – a plan that would result in some schools losing tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars and others gaining as much. School board president Juliet Stipeche said Monday that she used […]

What is the deal with Vanguard funding?

It started with an urgent action email sent to Travis Elementary School parents: As you may have heard, the Houston ISD Board’s proposed budget for the 2014-15 school year would eliminate HISD Vanguard Magnet funding. These drastic cuts would threaten the viability of the Vanguard program at Travis. (see the April 24 Budget and PUA […]

Meet T-TESS

Texas has a new teacher evaluation system on the way. It won’t come without a fight. Texas’ more than 380,000 public school teachers are girding for a tumultuous few years as a new method of grading their performance is expected to generate heated legislative debates and perhaps legal challenges. Already, the Houston Independent School District […]

More on Achievement School Districts

Chris Barbic, the founder of YES Prep and the superintendent of Tennessee’s Achievement School District, one of the models for Greg Abbott’s education plan, weighs in on what these things are and are not. First, by law, the Tennessee ASD charters can’t pick and choose their students; the charters are not open-enrollment schools. When a […]

Jay Aiyer: Consider a local option for pre-k

Note: From time to time, I solicit guest posts from various individuals on different topics. While I like to think I know a little something about a lot of things, I’m fortunate to be acquainted with a number of people who know a whole lot about certain topics, and who are willing to share some […]

HISD does have a role to play in the Bush Foundation literacy effort

I learned this from a Terry Grier op-ed in the Chron. That’s why last week’s release of the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation’s “Houston’s Literacy Crisis: A Blueprint for Community Action,” was such a welcome event. The foundation’s plan to unite educators, government and community programs – plus human and financial capital – in a […]

More on the Bush Foundation literacy effort

We had the preview story, now we have the rollout story about the efforts by the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation to tackle the problem of illiteracy. The nascent campaign to improve Houstonians’ reading skills got a $300,000 kick-start Thursday from the federal agency that oversees community service. The three-year grant will fund 15 workers […]

On improving literacy

I have three things to say about this story. In Houston, a city known for its brilliant doctors and energy executives, adults are waiting in line for classes that teach basic literacy skills – reading, writing and speaking clearly. They can’t land jobs or promotions, can’t help their kids with homework. At the same time, […]

Two truths about testing

Lisa Falkenberg boils it down. While there’s no doubt standardized tests are an important part of student assessment, somewhere along the way, they became too important. We’ve tethered them to everything from student promotion to teacher pay to school reputation. And it’s not just the test days that take away from meaningful learning but the […]

SBOE does something OK

I know, I’m as surprised as you are. Instead of making Mexican-American studies an official high school course, the Texas State Board of Education has settled on a tentative compromise that would allow school districts to decide whether to offer the course. “It wasn’t necessarily what we were hoping, with a stand-alone course for Mexican-American […]

HISD board votes for Mexican-American studies class

You would think this wouldn’t be a big deal. The Houston school board, representing the largest district in Texas, threw its support Thursday behind the creation of a Mexican-American studies course in Texas public schools. The 9-0 vote followed some debate over whether the district would appear to be favoring one culture over another. “Unanimous […]

The new North Forest High School

I’m really rooting for them to succeed. It’s not going to be easy. While most schools measure progress by test scores and scholarship dollars, North Forest High School students point to the lack of bathroom fires as a sign that their campus is improving. They also boast that they now have access to soap, toilet […]

Calculator apps

This seems reasonable to me. Despite concerns about test security, Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams announced Thursday that he would allow some students to use calculator “apps” on state exams next school year. Under current rules students may use only traditional calculators. But with more districts giving students iPads or other tablets, some school officials […]

Makeup days

Sorry, kids. Houston area schools are facing possible cuts in state funding, and a bruising in the court of public opinion, by making up days missed earlier this year because of icy roads. With little fat built into the spring school calendar and several days of mandatory state testing, Houston schools have little choice but […]

Let them sleep

Jilly Dos Santos is a hero to teenagers everywhere. Jilly Dos Santos really did try to get to school on time. She set three successive alarms on her phone. Skipped breakfast. Hastily applied makeup while her fuming father drove. But last year she rarely made it into the frantic scrum at the doors of Rock […]

Dodson to be closed, Jones to be revamped

In the end, only one school was closed by HISD, but a lot of people are still upset about the whole thing. During a rowdy meeting where police had to quiet shouting protestors, the Houston school board narrowly agreed Thursday to close Dodson Elementary but accepted a compromise plan that would turn the long-struggling Jones […]

Last stand against school closures

Last chance, too. Community activists called Tuesday for HISD to spare two schools from closure in a last-ditch effort that included filing a federal civil-rights complaint alleging racial discrimination. Charles X. White, president of the city’s South Park Super Neighborhood group, said he had asked federal authorities to investigate HISD’s proposal to close schools in […]

Three of five schools escape closure

For now, at least. The other two are still on the block. Three small schools will be spared from closure at the urging of Houston school board president Juliet Stipeche, but Jones High and Dodson Elementary remain on the potential chopping block. Facing mounting community pressure against Superintendent Terry Grier’s closure proposal, Stipeche eliminated Fleming […]

The state of HISD

HISD Superintendent Terry Grier assesses the district in his State of the Schools address. While not mentioning the closure controversy Wednesday, Grier touted the district’s progress – being named the nation’s top urban school district in 2013, for example – while conceding he has more work to do in the two years left on his […]

On schools and neighborhoods

Efforts to revitalize neighborhoods in the Fifth Ward are running into HISD’s proposal to close five schools. Nearly half the students who attend Nathaniel Q. Henderson Elementary School live steps away from campus in an aging, rundown apartment complex. The neighborhood, in Houston’s historic Fifth Ward, is at a crossroads. The city is seeking a […]

Help HISD review its design plans

HISD would like your input in determining the designs for the schools to be built or rebuilt with the 2012 bond money. The Houston Independent School District is hosting another series of community meetings for the first 17 schools slated for construction in the 2012 bond program to give participants a chance to review designs […]

Tracking diplomas

From the Texas Tribune: Among young Texans who started eighth grade in 2001, less than one-fifth went on to earn a higher education credential within six years of their high school graduation. And rates were even lower among African-American and Hispanic students and those who were economically disadvantaged, according to data analyzed by two state […]

HISD gets more diverse

Which in this case means it’s getting a little whiter. After decades of free fall, Houston ISD’s white enrollment is inching upward, suggesting that more families with the resources to choose are selecting Houston public schools. Enrollment of non-Hispanic white students in the Houston Independent School District bottomed out in 2010 at 15,340 students, or […]