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Posts Tagged ‘high school’

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 unveils new mascots

Here they are. The cafeteria at Hamilton Middle School showcases a painting of a Native American in a feathered headdress. Students wear collared shirts with a similar symbol. They were, until Tuesday, the Hamilton Indians. Now, with a new school district policy banning mascots deemed culturally offensive, the Houston Heights campus has adopted the Huskies […]

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 […]

HISD on HB5

Good information on the changes made to school curricula and graduation requirements. With most details of the state’s new reform of public education – known as House Bill 5 – settled only last week, HISD is ready with a multimedia toolbox to assist students, families, and support staff in making the most of the guidelines […]

HISD proposes closing five schools

Not sure about this. Houston ISD officials are proposing to close five small schools at the end of this academic year, a move likely to set off protests from parents and alumni. Some on the school board – which ultimately must approve the plan – already are expressing concerns about the closures, which would affect […]

HISD schools searching for new nicknames

Good luck to them. The process of determining new school nicknames – a task that elicits passion from generations and has triggered countless “Are you serious” suggestions and even more heartfelt recommendations – is underway at four Houston ISD campuses. Lamar and Westbury high schools and Hamilton and Welch middle schools had their previous nicknames […]

SBOE backs down on Algebra 2

So much for that. Only high school students who pursue an honors plan or a diploma specializing in math and science will have to take algebra II under recommendations that the Texas State Board of Education preliminarily approved Thursday. Despite an initial proposal that had included the advanced math course in all five new diploma […]

Are we going to require Algebra 2 or not?

Apparently, despite what happened in the last Legislature, it’s still an open question. The State Board of Education has proposed toughening high school graduation requirements despite the Legislature’s clear intent last spring to provide more flexibility. The board’s draft plan – up for debate and a preliminary vote this week – would require most students […]

We shouldn’t have any teams called the “Redskins”

What Steve Harvey says. It is time for the Lamar High School Redskins to change their nickname. It actually is past time. A good time would have been 15 years ago. According to a 1999 article in the Houston Press, Kenyon Weaver, a Lamar senior, began a campaign the year before to change the nickname. […]

Perry signs HB5, adds transportation to the special session

There had been some buzz about a possible veto, but in the end this was to be expected. When Gov. Rick Perry signed House Bill 5 on Monday, he ended weeks of speculation that he might veto the high-profile education legislation because of concerns that it would weaken high school graduation standards. The bill, by […]

Testing and charter bills pass

A lot of stuff gets done at the last possible minute in the Legislature. The two big education bills were examples of this. The session’s two biggest school reform bills, one from each chamber, have danced the House and Senate in the session’s closing days—a stalemate that broke Sunday night as both bills passed each […]

Laptops for fewer, at least for now

HISD’s proposed laptops for all proposal has been scaled back from an 18 school pilot to a ten school pilot in response to concerns that they weren’t quite ready yet for anything bigger than that. Lenny Schad, chief technology officer for the Houston Independent School District, told the school board via email this week that […]

Senate passes amended HB5

The Senate has passed its version of House Bill 5, which makes sweeping changes to standardized testing and curriculum requirements for high school students. Texas high school students would have new curriculum requirements under legislation unanimously passed by the Senate on Monday — but they won’t be the ones the House envisioned when it approved […]

UIL moves to limit high school football practice time

They are doing it to limit the risk of concussion. Established in 2001, the University Interscholastic League’s Medical Advisory Committee has done its best to be proactive and stay ahead on issues. That’s been the case in requiring schools to have automated external defibrillators, dealing with concussions and establishing protocols. On Sunday, the committee did […]

School stuff

Just a basic roundup of education-related stories, since there’s so much going on. From the Trib, action in the House on testing in grade school. Elementary and middle school students currently take a total of 17 state exams before high school. They are tested each year in grades three through eight in reading and math, […]

House passes major changes to testing and graduation requirements

This is a big deal. Texas public high school students would face far fewer high-stakes exams and gain more freedom in choosing courses under a major education bill approved by the state House on Tuesday. Hours of debate among lawmakers centered on whether the state was giving students much-needed flexibility or scaling back too far […]

How much testing is too much?

There’s not a consensus on the right number of mandatory high school standardized exams, but a lot of people are saying that what we’re doing right now is too much. The number of high-stakes exams in Texas is the most nationwide, according to the Education Commission of the States. Texas students previously had to pass […]

TAPPS changes its playoff policy

Good for them. The Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools, which faced controversy last spring in a basketball tournament scheduling issue with a local Orthodox Jewish school, has amended its bylaws to ensure that its statewide high school competitions will not conflict with “the Sabbath and religious days of observance” of member schools. The […]

Making the case for the HISD bonds

Bobby and Phoebe Tudor, the chairs of the Citizens for Better Schools campaign, lay out their case for the HISD bond referendum in this Chron op-ed. Study after study has shown that children have more difficulty learning in inadequate school buildings. The 21st Century School Fund, a Washington, D.C., nonprofit organization, reports that these inadequate […]

HISD tweaks its bond proposal

HISD Superintendent Terry Grier presents Bond Referendum 2.0 for your approval. Grier’s amended proposal adds five high schools to a list of 20 that would get new buildings or partial replacements. The additions, originally slated for smaller renovations, are Davis, DeBakey High School for Health Professions, Barbara Jordan, and the Young Men’s and Young Women’s […]

HISD graduation rate up

Good news. Students in the Houston Independent School District are graduating at a higher rate for the fourth straight year, thanks in part to better tracking and online make-up courses, Superintendent Terry Grier said Monday. The district reported a graduation rate of 78.5 percent for the Class of 2011, up 4 percentage points from the […]

How big should those high schools be?

This is a question that HISD is asking itself as the Board of Trustees considers the $1.9 billion bond proposal, much of which is to be spent on high schools. A number of HISD high schools have had large drops in enrollment, but many of these schools also have badly outdated facilities and would be […]

How much would you pay for that high school?

Some cost more than others, but that doesn’t mean they’re not worth it. Supporters of Houston’s nationally recognized High School for the Performing and Visual Arts have lobbied for 15 years for a larger, more modern building. They could get their wish soon. But sticker shock over the $80.2 million price tag – for a […]

HISD will not raise the tax rate

Instead, they will dip into their reserves to balance their $1.5 billion budget for this year. The amount is about the same as last year, when the district reduced spending by approximately 5 percent to offset unprecedented state cuts. Instead of seeking a tax increase – which the school board has been reluctant to embrace […]

Are the end of course standards too low?

Beginning this year, high school students must pass new end of course exams in a variety of subjects in order to be able to graduate. These tests begin in the ninth grade and continue through the 12th. The standards will be relaxed for the first couple of years while everyone gets used to them. Some […]

Are you smarter than a Texas high school student?

Well, why don’t you take this sample STAAR test and find out? It’s very much non-trivial. I got 11 out of 15 correct – I punted on the two physics questions and on the first World History question, though in retrospect I might have gotten it right if I’d thought about it, and I guessed […]

Catholic schools doing the right thing

I’ve had a lot of disagreements with the Catholic Church on policy matters lately, but this is something I applaud. The organization that represents Texas’ Catholic high schools on Thursday called for a comprehensive review of the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools, calling TAPPS’ treatment of Jewish and Muslim schools unacceptable. “Failure to […]

Texas high school graduation rate improved over the last decade

According to one report, anyway. Texas’ graduation rate for high school students increased 1.9 percent since 2002 to just below the national average, according to a new report by a coalition of education groups. The report found that high school graduation rates rose from 73.5 percent to 75.4 percent between 2002 and 2009, and pulled […]

Beren

Though they fell short at the end, the boys of Beren Academy had a remarkable and unforgettable basketball season, and I congratulate them. They rested. They reflected. And once the sun set on the Jewish Sabbath, the Beren Academy Stars rushed to Nolan Catholic High to play the biggest basketball game of their lives. The […]

More on uniform start times and other options HISD is considering

As we know, HISD is contemplating uniform start times as a way to save a few bucks for the next fiscal year. They do have some other ideas going, as well as a possible property tax rate hike, and they would like some input from you. From the inbox, from HISD Trustee Paula Harris: Implementing […]

Shapiro backs STAAR delay

This was unexpected. Senate Education Committee Chairwoman Florence Shapiro, R-Plano, said Monday in a letter to [TEA Commissioner Robert] Scott that ninth-graders taking the exams this year should be given a reprieve from the 15 percent requirement during the phase-in of the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness. “We strongly support the transition to […]

On taking AP tests

I guess I’m not clear on what the issue is here. Since 2009, the number of AP exams taken by Houston Independent School District students has almost doubled. And last year the district reached its highest number of passing scores, marking a 36 percent increase from two years ago. Still, most students perform poorly on […]

On calculating graduation rates

The Texas Education Agency publishes graduation rates for all Texas public schools every year. Some people and organizations disagree with their methodology, saying they assume too many departing students wind up in school elsewhere or are homeschooled rather than counting them as dropouts. One such objector is Children At Risk, and they released their own […]

Class size issues are everywhere

We know that waiver requests to exceed the 22 student class size limit are way up. But that mandated limit is only for grades K through 4. What about higher grade levels? Patricia Kilday Hart reports that those classrooms are more crowded, too. Lamar High Principal James McSwain estimates his classes are on average 8 […]