HISD Board of Education also approved 2021-2022 academic calendar
The Houston Independent School District (HISD) Board of Trustees voted recently to unanimously approve the renaming of Woodrow Wilson Montessori School to be named after Ella J. Baker, an African American activist who worked more than 50 years alongside some of the nation’s most noted civil rights leaders of the 20th century.
Baker studied at Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina, and as a student, challenged school policies that she thought were unfair. After graduating in 1927 as class valedictorian, she moved to New York City and began joining social activist organizations. In 1930, she joined the Young Negroes Cooperative League, whose purpose was to develop Black economic power through collective planning. She also involved herself with several women’s organizations and was committed to economic justice for all people. Baker began her involvement with the NAACP in 1940, where she worked as a field secretary and then served as director of branches from 1943 until 1946. Inspired by the historic bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1955, Baker co-founded the organization In Friendship to raise money to fight against Jim Crow Laws in the Deep South. In 1957, Baker moved to Atlanta to help organize Martin Luther King’s new organization, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). After leaving the SCLC, Baker wanted to assist new student activists because she viewed young, emerging activists as a resource and an asset to the movement, so she organized a meeting at Shaw University for the student leaders of the sit-ins in April 1960. From that meeting, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) was born. Baker also ran a voter registration campaign called the Crusade for Citizenship. Baker continued to be a respected and influential leader in the fight for human and civil rights until her death on December 13, 1986, at the age of 83.
The renaming of the school is an effort to align the school with the inclusive values of HISD.
At that same meeting, Trustees also voted unanimously to approve the 2021-2022 academic calendar, which includes 15 additional academic days to help address learning gaps caused by COVID-19. The calendar consists of a one-week Thanksgiving break, two-week winter break and a one-week spring break. Students will be off on Labor Day, Martin Luther King Day, Presidents Day, Chavez-Huerta Day, and Memorial Day. The school district will also observe a Fall holiday on September 16, 2021, and Spring holiday on April 15, 2022.
The HISD Board also approved a donation of more than $174,000 from Arts Connect Houston for HISD schools to expand access to arts education programming from local, community-based arts/cultural organizations. HISD Trustees also approved an interlocal agreement with Harris County Resources for Children and Adults (HCRCA) to provide crisis counseling and consultation, social services support, and assistance with referrals from the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.