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The Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center (HMWESC), the headquarters of the Houston Independent School District
The logo of HISDConnect, the district's website
The former school district logo

The Houston Independent School District (HISD) is the largest public school system in Texas and the seventh-largest in the United States.[1] Houston ISD serves as a community school district for most of the city of Houston and several nearby and insular municipalities. Like most districts in Texas it is independent of the city of Houston and all other municipal and county jurisdictions.

Contents

History

The first Hattie Mae White Administration Building. It has been sold and demolished. The building was replaced by the Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center.
Media Center

Houston ISD was established in the 1920s, after the Texas Legislature voted to separate school and municipal governments. Houston ISD replaced the Harrisburg School District.[citation needed]

The number of students in public schools in Houston increased from 5,500 in 1888 to over 8,850 in 1927.[2]

Houston ISD absorbed portions of the White Oak Independent School District in 1937 and portions of the Addicks Independent School District after its dissolution.[citation needed]

Houston ISD integrated races in a peaceful manner. Its school board, consisting of conservative White Americans, instituted a phase-in with each subsequent grade being integrated. Local African-American leaders believed the pace was too slow, and William Lawson, a youth minister, asked Wheatley High School students to boycott school. Five days afterwards 10% of Wheatley students attended classes. In 1970 a federal judge asked the district to speed the integration process.[3] Some Hispanics felt they were being discriminated against when they were being put with only African Americans as part of the desegregation plan, so many took their children out of the schools and put them in "huelgas," or protest schools[4], until a ruling in 1973 satisfied their demands.[citation needed] At first the district used forced busing, but later switched to a voluntary magnet school program.[3]

In 1994, after superintendent Frank Petruzielo left the district, the school district voted 6-1 to make Yvonne Gonzalez the interim superintendent; the school district board members described this as a "symbolic" motion as Gonzalez was the first Hispanic interim superintendent. Gonzalez served until Rod Paige became the superintendent.[5][6]

Secession movements

In 1977, group of citizens in western Houston tried to form Westheimer Independent School District out of a portion of Houston ISD. The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit rejected the appeals after formation of the district was denied.

HISD once served the Harris County portion of Stafford, until the Stafford Municipal School District was established in 1982 to serve the entire city of Stafford. Most of Stafford was in Fort Bend ISD, with a small amount in Houston ISD.[7]

Reporting of school violence

A 2003 The New York Times report which asserted that HISD did not report school violence to the police created controversy in the community as teachers, students, and parents expressed concern about the district's downplaying of campus violence. [8] HISD officials held a news conference after the publication of the story. During the conference, HISD asserted that The New York Times published the story in an attempt to discredit the Bush administration's new accountability standards for school districts nationwide, which were partly modeled after HISD's system.

School performance

HISD's performance in the late 1990s and 2000s was dubbed the "Houston Miracle" by the media. A 2003 state audit of HISD's performance caused more controversy. One of the district's most publicized accomplishments during the Paige era was a dramatic reduction in dropout rates. When 16 secondary schools, including Sharpstown High School, were audited, it was found that most of the students who left school from those schools in 2000-2001 should have been counted as dropouts, but were not. It was found that the administrators at Sharpstown deliberately changed the dropout rate at the school. The Sharpstown controversy resulted in a recommendation to label the entire HISD as "unacceptable." Former Sharpstown Assistant Principal Robert Kimball, found by an external investigator to have been involved in the false reporting, asserts that HISD coerced administrators at many schools to lie on dropout rates. HISD asserts that the fraud is only contained to Sharpstown, and that the false statistics at other schools were caused by confusion related to the state's system of tracking students who leave school.[9][10] An article in The New York Times disputed the accuracy and usage of survey figures from Yates High School and Sharpstown High School indicating that close to 100% of the students intended to attend universities.[11]

Hurricane Katrina

In 2005, HISD enrolled evacuees from the areas affected by Hurricane Katrina who were residing in Houston. The Houston Astrodome, the shelter used for hurricane evacuees, is located within the HISD boundaries.

Many Katrina evacuees stayed for the long term within the Houston ISD boundaries. Walnut Bend Elementary School's enrollment increased from around 600 to around 800 with the addition of 184 evacuees; Walnut Bend, out of all of the Houston-area elementary schools, took the most Katrina victims [12]. Nearby Paul Revere Middle School, located in the Westchase district, gained 137 Katrina victims. Revere, out of all of the Houston-area middle schools, has taken in the most Katrina victims.

Houston ISD's "West Region," which includes Walnut Bend and Revere, had about 1/5th of Houston ISD's schools but contained more than half of the 5,500 evacuees in Houston schools.

At the start of the 2006-2007 school year, around 2,900 Hurricane Katrina evacuees were still enrolled in Houston ISD schools. Around 700 of them were held back due to poor academic performance. 41% of evacuee 10th graders and 52% of evacuee juniors were held back.

According to the October 2006 "For Your Information" newsletter, the eleven HISD schools which took the largest number of evacuees were:

A University of Houston study concluded that the presence of Katrina evacuees did not impact the test score grades of native Houstonian students.[13]

District organization

On December 1, 1994, HISD board members voted to divide HISD into 12 numbered geographic districts; of eleven districts, each district had one to three high schools. The 12th district was an alternative district.[14]

Prior to Summer 2005, HISD had 13 administrative districts. Originally, the number of districts were to be cut to three, but HISD decided on cutting the number to five in fall 2005.[citation needed]

Declining enrollment figures in the 2000s

The preliminary fall enrollment for the 2006-2007 school year (203,163) had 7,000 fewer students than the 2005-2006 student enrollment (210,202), resulting in a more than 3% loss; the 2006-2007 enrollment was a 2.5% decrease from the fall 2004-2005 enrollment (208,454). From the preliminary 2006-2007 student count, the West and Central regions lost the most students, with a combined 4,400 student loss.[15] The enrollment reported for the year in February 2007 was 202,936.[16]

Micro Systems Enterprises

In 2007 the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Federal Communications Commission, and the United States Department of Justice began an investigation probing business relationships between Micro Systems Enterprises, a vendor, and HISD. Frankie Wong, former president of Micro Systems, and two Dallas Independent School District administrators received criminal charges.[17]

Free breakfast programs

In the 2000s HISD established "Breakfast in the Classroom." The program was replaced with a free breakfast program based in cafeterias.[18] The Houston Press published a story about accounting irregularities regarding a program; the State of Texas announced it would investigate the program. On February 4, 2005, Abelardo Saavedra announced that the program was suspended.[19] By 2006 HISD resumed its free breakfast programs.[20]

Bilingual education and magnet and Vanguard schools

Central Region Office
West Region Office
Rudy C. Vara Center for Technology
Former Food Service Department Building (now Saint Arnold Brewing Company plant)[21]

HISD focuses on bilingual education of its predominantly Hispanic student body, including recruiting about 330 teachers from Mexico, Spain, Central and South America, Puerto Rico, China, and the Philippines from 1998 to 2007.[22]

Magnet schools began in the 1970s as a way to voluntarily racially integrate schools. By the mid-1990s many magnet schools no longer held this goal and instead focused on improving educational quality of schools.[23]

HISD's magnet (Performing Arts, Science, Health Professions, Law Enforcement, etc) high schools are considered a model for other urban school districts as a way to provide a high quality education and keep top performing students in the inner city from fleeing to private schools or exurban school districts. Magnet schools are popular with parents and students that wish to escape low-performing schools and school violence. The members of the administration of schools losing students to higher-performing campuses, such as Bill Miller of Yates High School, complained about the effects [24].

There are 55 elementary magnet schools, 30 magnet middle schools, and 27 magnet high schools. Some magnet schools are mixed comprehensive and magnet programs, while others are solidly magnet and do not admit any "neighborhood" students.

Student body

In February 2009, Houston ISD reported a total enrollment of 200,225[25]

Governance

As of September 2009, the superintendent of Houston ISD is Terry Grier.

As of 2008 the members of the HISD Board of Education are:

  • President: Harvin C. Moore
  • First Vice President: Paula M. Harris
  • Second Vice President: Natasha M. Kamrani
  • Secretary: Carol Mims Galloway
  • Assistant Secretary: Lawrence Marshall

Other members include: Diana Dávila, Greg Meyers, Dianne Johnson, and Manuel Rodríguez Jr..

Superintendents

Rod Paige, former Houston ISD Superintendent

Former HISD superintendent Rod Paige used the PEER Program. Improving scores from its schools have caused a lot of praise from others nationwide. Kaye Stripling took over when Rod Paige headed to Washington, DC as part of United States President George W. Bush's administration cabinet. After Stripling stepped down as the interim Superintendent, Abelardo Saavedra became the superintendent of the district on December 9, 2004.

Administration building

The current administration building is called the "Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center." The administration moved into the northwest Houston offices, located at 4400 West 18th Street, in spring 2006.[26]

Houston ISD's administration building from July 1970 to March 2006 was the 201,150-square-foot (18,687 m2) Hattie Mae White Administration Building, located at 3830 Richmond Avenue. The facility was labelled the "Taj Mahal" due to the counter-clockwise circular layout and the split-level floor pattern. The design made it difficult for wheelchair-bound individuals to navigate the building. The complex cost six million United States dollars. The building had tropical indoor atriums, causing critics to criticize the spending priorities of the district. When the district considered cutting a popular kindergarten program for financial reasons, taxpayers voted many board members out of office. The district sold the former complex for $38 million to a company which demolished the site and develop mixed-use commercial property; demolition began on September 14, 2006. Demolition crews destroyed the Will Rogers Elementary School, an adjacent elementary school located at 3101 Weslayan that closed in spring 2006. The former HISD administration building appears in the film The Thief Who Came to Dinner.[26]

Political divisions

Schools in Houston ISD are organized into "Regional Districts". Each district has its own Regional Superintendent.

There are five regional districts in Houston ISD:

  • Central Regional District
  • East Regional District
  • North Regional District
  • South Regional District
  • West Regional District

Prior to its 2005 reorganization,[27] HISD had the following districts:[28] Geographic districts:

  • Central District
  • East District
  • North District
  • North Central District
  • Northeast District
  • Northwest District
  • South District
  • South Central District
  • Southeast District
  • Southwest District
  • West District

Other districts:

  • Alternative District
  • Acres Homes Coalition Schools

An additional district, the West Central District, was later established before the reorganization.[29][30]

Houston ISD television channel

Houses in the Houston ISD area get the Houston ISD channel on cable [31].

HISD coverage area

The district covers much of the greater-Houston area,[32] including all of the cities of Bellaire,[33] West University Place,.[34] Southside Place,[35] and most of the area within the Houston city limits. HISD also takes students from the Harris County portion of Missouri City,[36] a portion of Jacinto City,[37] a small portion of Hunters Creek Village,[38] a small portion of Piney Point Village,[39] and a small portion of Pearland.[40] HISD also takes students from unincorporated areas of Harris County. The district covers 300.2 square miles (778 km2) of land.[citation needed]

All of the HISD area lies within the taxation area for the Houston Community College System.[41]

Cities

Houston ISD covers all of the following municipalities:

Houston ISD covers portions of the following municipalities:

HISD also covers unincorporated sections of Harris County, including portions of the Airline Improvement District.[42]

Transportation

A Houston ISD CE300 school bus made by IC Corporation.

Houston ISD grants school bus transportation to any Houston ISD resident attending his or her zoned school or attending a magnet program who lives 2 mi (3.2 km) or more away from the campus (as measured by the nearest public roads) or must cross treacherous obstacles in order to reach the campus. Certain special education students are also permitted to use school bus transportation. [43] HISD does not provide transportation for pre-kindergarten students.[44]

List of schools

In HISD grades kindergarten through 5 are considered to be elementary school, grades 6 through 8 are considered to be middle school, and grades 9 through 12 are considered to be high school. Some elementary schools go up to the sixth grade.

Every house in HISD is assigned to an elementary school, a middle school, and a high school. HISD has many alternative programs and transfer options available to students who want a specialized education and/or dislike their home schools.

Notable employees and teachers

See also

References

  1. ^ Houston ISD automates lunch. eSchool News online
  2. ^ "Recent School History in Houston." High Spots in Houston Public Schools. Houston Public Schools. Retrieved on January 24, 2010. Found at Gonzalez, J.R. "1927 booklet gives snapshot of Houston schools." Houston Chronicle. December 30, 2009. Retrieved on January 24, 2010.
  3. ^ a b Berryhill, Michael. "What's Wrong With Wheatley?." Houston Press. April 17, 1997. 3. Retrieved on March 31, 2009.
  4. ^ "Community Profile." Denver Harbor/Port Houston Super Neighborhood Community Health Assessment Report. St. Luke's Episcopal Health Charities.
  5. ^ Markley, Melanie. "Hispanic named interim HISD superintendent." Houston Chronicle. Tuesday February 1, 1994. A17.
  6. ^ Markley, Melanie. "HISD interim leader a "symbolic' gesture." Houston Chronicle. Tuesday February 1, 1994. A19.
  7. ^ "Comptroller Strayhorn to Review Stafford Municipal School District". September 16, 2003. http://www.cpa.state.tx.us/news/30916stafford.html. Retrieved 2007-09-07. 
  8. ^ "Article Critical Of HISD Security Concerns," KPRC-TV
  9. ^ "The 'Texas Miracle'," CBS News
  10. ^ "Sharpstown had 'breakdown'," Houston Chronicle
  11. ^ Schemo, Diana Jean. "For Houston Schools, College Claims Exceed Reality." The New York Times. August 28, 2003. 1.
  12. ^ "Louisiana students distributed unevenly," Houston Chronicle, October 17, 2005
  13. ^ Radcliffe, Jennifer. "UH study finds no Katrina effect on grades." Houston Chronicle. September 12, 2009. Retrieved on September 12, 2009.
  14. ^ Markley, Melanie. "HISD to divide district into 12 geographic areas." Houston Chronicle. Friday December 2, 1994. A36.
  15. ^ "HISD enrollment down by 7,000 for fall semester". Houston Chronicle. November 17, 2006. http://www.chron.com/CDA/archives/archive.mpl?id=2006_4231484. Retrieved 2007-09-07. 
  16. ^ "2006 – 2007 Demographics". HISD Connect. February 2007. http://www.houstonisd.org/HISDConnectDS/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=62c6757761efc010VgnVCM10000052147fa6RCRD&vgnextchannel=2e2b2f796138c010VgnVCM10000052147fa6RCRD. Retrieved 2007-09-07. 
  17. ^ "HISD under federal investigation." KHOU-TV.
  18. ^ "Eating It Up." Houston Press. 1.
  19. ^ http://www.houstonpress.com/2005-02-10/news/on-second-thought/
  20. ^ "New Free Breakfast Program Is Big Attraction for HISD Students." Houston Independent School District. November 14, 2006.
  21. ^ "2000 Lyons Avenue, Houston, TX. Our new home." Saint Arnold Brewing Company. Retrieved on September 2, 2009.
  22. ^ Leonor Garza, Cynthia. "BILINGUAL EDUCATORS WANTED / No boundaries in teacher search / Texas schools increasingly recruit in Mexico, other nations to meet language demands." Houston Chronicle. Wednesday February 21, 2007. A1. Retrieved on December 1, 2009.
  23. ^ Markley, Melanie. "MAGNET FOR QUALITY/HISD program has `done a lot' for education." Houston Chronicle. Sunday November 5, 1995. A1.
  24. ^ "Transfer policy hinders schools," Houston Chronicle, September 4, 2005
  25. ^ "Facts and Figures." Houston Independent School District. Retrieved on September 12, 2009.
  26. ^ a b Radcliffe, Jennifer. "HISD landmark demolished / Known as district's `Taj Mahal,' it won't be missed by everyone / Tearing away its old image." Houston Chronicle. Friday September 15, 2006. B1 MetFront. Retrieved on May 29, 2009.
  27. ^ Home page. Houston Independent School District. July 2, 2005. Retrieved on May 6, 2009.
  28. ^ "Districts and Superintendents." Houston Independent School District. October 30, 2001. Retrieved on May 6, 2009.
  29. ^ "PACT Council Meeting Minutes." Herod Elementary School. Thursday November 4, 2004. Retrieved on May 7, 2009.
  30. ^ "SMDC Minutes." Horn Academy. January 12, 2005. Retrieved on May 7, 2009.
  31. ^ "Instructional Media Television: The Knowledge Network," Houston Independent School District
  32. ^ "HISD High Schools and Attendance Zones." Houston Independent School District. Retrieved on March 1, 2009.
  33. ^ "Bellaire City." United States Census Bureau. Retrieved on March 1, 2009.
  34. ^ "City Map." City of West University Place. Retrieved on February 27, 2009.
  35. ^ "Southside Place City." United States Census Bureau. Retrieved on February 27, 2009.
  36. ^ "Missouri City City." United States Census Bureau. Retrieved on March 1, 2009.
  37. ^ "Jacinto City City." United States Census Bureau. Retrieved on March 1, 2009.
  38. ^ "Hunters Creek Village City." United States Census Bureau. Retrieved on February 27, 2009.
  39. ^ "Piney Point Village City." United States Census Bureau. Retrieved on February 27, 2009.
  40. ^ "Pearland City." United States Census Bureau. Retrieved on February 27, 2009.
  41. ^ Texas Education Code, Section 130.182, "Houston Community College System District Service Area".
  42. ^ "Airline%20ID%20Exhibit.pdf." Airline Improvement District. Retrieved on November 10, 2009.
  43. ^ "Student Eligibility." Houston Independent School District. Accessed July 14, 2008.
  44. ^ "Transportation." HISD Pre-K. Retrieved on May 20, 2009.
  45. ^ "President Lyndon B. Johnson's Biography." Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum. Retrieved on January 29, 2009.
  46. ^ "Laura Welch Bush." Embassy of the United States in Moscow. Retrieved on February 27, 2009.
  47. ^ "Professor Edison E. Oberholtzer Papers, 1905-1967." University of Houston. Retrieved on February 27, 2009.
  48. ^ "Alberto Gonzales Former Attorney General." Whitehouse.gov. Retrieved on February 27, 2009.
  49. ^ "Former U.S. Education Secretary Rod Paige’s letter." Fort Worth Star-Telegram. February 26, 2009. Retrieved on February 27, 2009.

External links








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