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May 4, 2012

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May 6: Lemonade Day

May 6–12: School Nurse Appreciation Week

May 7–11: Teacher Appreciation Week

May 10: Regular Board of Education meeting

May 12: 25th Annual Art Car Parade

May 19: Young Audiences' Artsploration

May 26: Empty Bowls @ HCCC

May 28: Memorial Day

May 31: Last day of school (students)

June 1–3: Graduation ceremonies

June 4–August 3: Four-Day Work Week

June 11–July 12: Summer School

June 14: Regular Board of Education meeting

June 16: TX Black Expo College Fair & Youth Summit

July 4: Independence Day Holiday

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It is the policy of the Houston Independent School District not to discriminate on the basis of age, race, color, ancestry, national origin, sex, handicap or disability, marital status, religion, veteran status, political affiliation, sexual orientation, gender identity, and/or gender expression, in its educational or employment programs and activities.

Click to view Cinco de Mayo photosAs a school district, our mission is to prepare students for successful lives in a global society—and that begins with making children aware of the wider world outside of their homes, neighborhoods, communities, and cities.

With the internet granting people almost instant connectivity to the world, it is more important than ever to teach our children to respect their differences, to appreciate other cultures, and to cherish what makes their own unique.

That's why I am so pleased to see our schools hosting Cinco de Mayo celebrations. This annual event is an opportunity for all of us to learn more about Mexican history and Hispanic culture. Many, like the one held today at Garden Oaks Elementary School (pictured), feature talented mariachi bands and student performances of traditional folkdances. I hope that you will have a chance to enjoy at least one over the weekend.

HISD serves an incredibly diverse student body. At last count, our students came from more than 120 different counties and speak more than 80 languages. This alone is a cause for celebration—as every child we welcome from another corner of the world gives us a chance to learn something new—and makes all of our lives richer in the process.

District News

HISD Names Top School Leaders for 2012HISD Names Top School Leaders for 2012: On May 2, HISD recognized some of its top administrators as Principal of the Year, First Year Principal of the Year, or Assistant Principal of the Year for their outstanding contributions to the district and their school communities.

Rice School Educator Named HAABE ESL Teacher of the YearRice School Educator Named HAABE ESL Teacher of the Year: Teresa Barton shared honors at the district level with her colleague, Juanita Soliz (Bilingual TOTY), and Burbank Middle School's Carmen Parra (Secondary ESL TOTY).

Join HISD's Young Entrepreneurs on Lemonade Day May 6Join HISD's Young Entrepreneurs on Lemonade Day May 6: Thousands of students will be manning lemonade stands at locations across the city from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday and visitors can taste three students' award-winning recipe for most unique lemonade at Paige ES starting at 12:30 on Friday.

HISD Partners with Chinese Consulate to Expand Options for StudentsHISD Partners with Chinese Consulate to Expand Options for Students: Additional resources to include Hanban-provided educational and cultural opportunities, financial support through grants and donations, and stronger collaborations between HISD students and teachers with their counterparts in China through exchanges and partnerships.

Environmental Defense Fund Awards Climate Corps Fellow to HISDEnvironmental Defense Fund Awards Climate Corps Fellow to HISD: Joseph Konkel, a top-tier MBA student at the University of Houston's College of Business, will help HISD develop a customized energy plan this summer.

May 2012 Employee of the Month Stanley HarrisMay 2012 Employee of the Month Stanley Harris: This response team operator in the Transportation Department was among the 300 district employees who gave up their Labor Day weekend plans in 2005 and drove all night to rescue Hurricane Katrina survivors from flooded areas in New Orleans.

HISD in the NewsHISD in the News: What are people saying about HISD and its quest to become the best school district in America? Find out in this collection of links to stories from print, broadcast, and internet media sources from all across the country. The latest is an article by reporter Edel Howlin that discusses the dual-language program structure at two HISD schools—Wharton K–8 and the Helms Community Learning Center—which is proving so successful that the district is expanding it to five more campuses.

Got a Great Story About an Inspiring Teacher? Tell Us! Got a Great Story About an Inspiring Teacher? Tell Us! HISD will be observing Teacher Appreciation Week May 7–11, and announcing its Elementary and Secondary Teachers of the Year at the Team HISD Celebration of Excellence on May 24. To help us say "thanks" to these dedicated professionals, we invite you to share your most inspiring or heartwarming story with us about a teacher who changed your (or your child's) life. Just send an e-mail to, using the subject line, "Inspiring Teachers," and we'll post as many as we can on the district's website.

HISD Taking Applications for Bond Oversight CommitteeHISD Taking Applications for Bond Oversight Committee: The Bond Oversight Committee was created by the HISD Board of Education to ensure the effective and efficient use of bond proceeds. The committee's charge is to monitor HISD bond-funded construction projects and help interested Houstonians stay informed about new construction and renovation projects in the district. The nine member committee has two vacant seats. To apply on line, click here.

Mandarin Chinese Immersion School Now Accepting ApplicationsMandarin Chinese Immersion School Now Accepting Applications: Applications are currently being accepted for Pre-K, kindergarten, first, and second grades for the 2012–2013 academic year. The school will be located at 6300 Avenue B in Bellaire and will initially serve students in the grades noted above, with additional grades to be added in subsequent years.

School News

Bellaire High School graduates of the Youth Business Institute (YBI) seniors each received college scholarships worth a little more than $1,000 during a special recognition ceremony held on April 17. YBI is an innovative 10-week program led by representatives of the TJX Companies, Inc. (the umbrella organization of TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and other discount stores) that teaches students about careers in retail.

Briarmeadow Charter School students observed Earth Day by planting a large oak tree on campus April 20 in memory of Elizabeth Kajoh, a toddler who died in a tragic daycare fire in 2011. The baby's mother is a second-grade teacher at the school. The tree was graciously donated by Big Tex Tree.

Mandarin Chinese Immersion School Now Accepting ApplicationsClifton Middle School eighth-grader Victoria Rodriguez and four of her peers from across the state brought home the first-place prize in the team design event from the Texas Alliance for Minorities in Engineering (TAME) Statewide Math & Science Competition recently, after constructing a crane using nothing more than four toothpicks, two rubber bands, a clothespin, and a few dozen other small items. Read the full story here.

Milby High SchoolMilby High School received a "face-lift" recently when 65 volunteers from North Highland Company spent a day beautifying the campus. The volunteers have committed to 350 man hours to improve and refurbish the school grounds, courtyards, walkways and park benches.

Paige Elementary School students Gayla Powell and Dakota Merriweather, along with Gayla's older sister Mary (Clifton MS), won second place in the "most unique" category of the 2012 Houston Lemonade Day's "Best Tasting" competition for their concoction, which earned its title by including a small piece of real cotton candy in every cup.

Parker Elementary SchoolParker Elementary School prekindergarten teacher Yen Trieu, who received a 2012 Great Educator Award from Paperclip Publishing, was one of 30 educators chosen from all over the U.S. to be interviewed about "Finding Balance in the Classroom." Her comments were published in the book, Great Educators—30 Days of Restoration Workbook, 2012 Edition.

Scarborough High SchoolScarborough High School received almost $15,000 worth of musical instruments through a partnership with the Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation and the Percussion Center of Houston, which sponsored the donation with proceeds from the latter's Big Beat 2011 event. The grant will be used to purchase bells, cymbals, drums, castanets, and a triangle.

Young Women's College Preparatory AcademyYoung Women's College Preparatory Academy became the latest HISD campus to cement its pledge to end bullying when it was designated a "No Place for Hate" school earlier this month by the Anti-Defamation League.

National News

State Education Commissioner Robert Scott Stepping Down

New York City Sets Limits on Student-Teacher Social Media Contact

Texas Association of Business Join School-Financing Lawsuit

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Houston Independent School District
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