Off the Kuff Rotating Header Image

Posts Tagged ‘HISD’

Supreme Court to hear school finance appeal in September

Mark your calendars. The Texas Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Sept. 1 in the long-running case challenging the state’s school-finance system. “We are very pleased that the court is moving so expeditiously,” attorney David Thompson, representing the Houston Independent School District, Fort Bend ISD and dozens of others, said Friday. “We think it’s a […]

HISD Board President backs changing Confederate school names

Fine by me. Amid a growing move to shed symbols of the old, slave-owning South, the Houston school board president said Thursday that she supports renaming six campuses named after Confederate loyalists. Rhonda Skillern-Jones said she plans to discuss the issue with her fellow trustees at an upcoming meeting. Superintendent Terry Grier added that he […]

HISD’s test scores

Not so good. Needs to be better. Houston ISD high school students continue to struggle with reading and writing, passing state exams at significantly lower rates than the state average, new results show. The district’s scores in algebra, biology and U.S. history also dipped a couple of points from last year, at a slightly sharper […]

What now for Terry Grier?

The HISD Superintendent is in the last year of his contract, and it’s not clear whether it will get extended or not. Kashmere has made limited strides as one of the schools in Superintendent Terry Grier’s signature reform effort, called Apollo. Students passed their first AP exams and the graduation rate rose, yet the school […]

Where the education reform bills stand

As we know, the attempt to take a first stab at school finance reform did not make it to the House floor. That doesn’t mean there wasn’t some action on school-related issues. This Chron story from the weekend recapped a couple of the major bills that did make it through. Lawmakers likely could have killed […]

HISD mostly declines to rezone its schools

Lots of noise, not nearly as much action. A divided Houston school board on Thursday rejected most of the rezoning proposals designed to reduce class sizes after dozens of parents expressed concerns about families having to send their children to different campuses. Only two of the six proposals passed, with parents and board members in […]

HISD postpones redrawing school boundaries

This stuff is hard, y’all. The school board [had planned] to vote Thursday on the district’s biggest rezoning plan in recent years, involving more than two dozen campuses. The proposal mostly would redraw attendance boundaries to shift homes from more crowded schools to campuses with space. The major impact may not be immediate, however. As […]

We need to know how body cameras are going to be used

Having the body cameras is great, but it’s how we use them that really matters. Harris County’s two largest police agencies are testing body cameras on officers but refuse to release their policies detailing when the cameras should be turned on and off to maximize accountability and minimize intrusiveness. The Houston Police Department spent $108,000 […]

A slowdown in construction would be good for school districts

One potential upside to a weakening real estate market. Since the Houston Independent School District passed a historic $1.9 billion bond issue in 2012, the construction market has boomed, driving up costs and drying up labor. But now, with the recent drop in crude oil prices, district leaders say they may be able to ease […]

HISD considers a different kind of redistricting

It would likely be just as contentious as the usual kind. Houston school officials may rezone students from roughly two dozen elementary schools over the next few years in an effort to meet the state’s class size limits. District officials presented a proposal to the school board Thursday morning. It would be the largest redrawing […]

January campaign finance reports – HISD trustees

Four HISD Trustees are up for re-election this year. There are nine Trustees in all, and they serve four-year terms, so in a normal year either four or five are up for re-election. As things stand right now, all four incumbents would be running for re-election, which would be the first time there would be […]

HISD Student Congress

Kids today, with their “getting involved” and their “having their voices heard”, I tell you. The high school students gave up their Saturday afternoon, meeting at the downtown library with laptops and legal pads to brainstorm ideas for improving the Houston Independent School District. “Let’s say class sizes are too large at some schools in […]

HSPVA groundbreaking

Looking forward to seeing how this turns out. A slab of cracked cement painted over with yellow parking lines sits at the corner of Rusk and Austin – with downtown skyscrapers looming overhead. Come Tuesday, the cement will be ripped up and construction will begin on a new five-story, 168,000-square-foot building for the Houston ISD’s […]

Re-redistricting HISD

Well, this would be different. The Houston school board would grow from nine elected trustees to 17 under a bill filed by state Rep. Senfronia Thompson, who said she wants to give residents of the former North Forest school district increased representation. The Houston Independent School District took over the northeast Houston district in 2013 […]

HISD Board approves one cent tax rate increase

Still a low tax rate, just slightly higher now. As architects prepare designs for dozens of new campuses, the Houston school board on Thursday approved a 1-cent tax rate increase to help pay down debt from the largest school district construction bond in Texas history. The board voted 7-1 to raise the tax rate, the […]

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 […]

HISD redistricting underway

As we know, the Houston Independent School District now includes all of the former North Forest ISD. The addition of all that new territory, and especially all those new voters, means that the existing HISD Trustee districts will have to be redrawn. HISD is going through that process now. The Houston Independent School District will […]

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 […]

Reading and writing and operating systems

Religion, politics, and operating systems – three things sure to start a spirited discussion. By January 2016, when the Houston Independent School District’s latest tech initiative hits full stride, the district will issue laptops to every high school student and teacher in the district. All 65,000 of those laptops will run Windows 7 and cloud-based […]

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 […]

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 […]

Lawsuit filed over teacher evaluation system

A new front is opened in the war on standardized testing. Seven HISD teachers and their union are suing the school district to try to end job evaluations tied to students’ test scores, arguing the method is arbitrary, unfair and in violation of their due-process rights. The lawsuit, filed in federal court late Wednesday, could […]

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, […]

HCC has not begun any 2012 bond construction yet

I hadn’t realized it was taking this long. A divided Houston Community College board has failed to approve construction contracts for its November 2012 voter-approved bond program, potentially costing the college system tens of millions of dollars in fines. The clock to break ground on building projects is ticking to meet federal spending deadlines that, […]

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 […]