Board also approves $250,000 grant for family mental health supports related to pandemic
On Thursday, December 10th, the Houston Independent School District (HISD) Board of Education had a new face on the dais, as newly appointed Trustee Myrna Guidry (District IX) took part in her first regular board meeting after being sworn in earlier that same day.
“I am grateful and happy to have this opportunity to serve the district by working to build up our students’ potential and do whatever I can to contribute to their ultimate success,” said Guidry.
Guidry has been a Houston attorney for the past 20 years and is an adjunct professor at Thurgood Marshall School of Law. She is a graduate of South Texas College of Law Houston and has also worked as a certified mediator. Guidry received her undergraduate degree from Tulane University. She was selected from among eight candidates who applied to fulfill the unexpired term of Wanda Adams who resigned in November after being elected to serve the citizens of Harris County as their new Harris County Justice of the Peace.
The board term expires December 31, 2021.
“I welcome Ms. Guidry to our ‘Team of Ten’ and look forward to the expertise, dedication, earnestness and commitment that she will bring to the board,” said HISD Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan.
Also on Thursday, the HISD Board accepted a $250,000 grant from School-Based Healthcare Solutions Network to address students’ and parents’ mental health issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The grant, approved by an 8-0 vote with one abstention, will be used at 10 participating schools to assist families whether their students are enrolled in virtual or face-to-face instruction. Only 25 recipients across the nation are receiving the grant. The HISD schools are: Highland Heights and Wesley elementary schools; Attucks, Cullen, Henry, and Thomas middle schools; and Bellaire, Madison, North Forest, and Waltrip high schools.
The board also approved the following:
- An agreement for the University of Houston to hire, train and supervise select students to tutor and mentor HISD students enrolled in the district’s Miles Ahead Scholars (MAS) program. Students identified as needing support at Kashmere, Wheatley and Worthing high schools will also participate. The UH students will work with a teacher at the high schools or a program manager with the MAS program. UH tutors will also provide MAS students with college application guidance.
- HISD’s annual Targeted Improvement Plans for Comprehensive Support schools that require additional resources and for schools that received an F rating from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) during the 2018-2019 school year. Ratings for 2019-2020 were not issued by the TEA due to COVID-19. Plans for the schools include essential actions needed to address the identified focus areas for school improvement, goals for the improvement process, and persons responsible for implementing and monitoring improvement activities. All campuses were required to have their Targeted Improvement Plans approved by HISD’s Board of Education so that the documents may now be submitted to the TEA.
- Accepting a $20,000 donation from the family of the late Irma Rodriguez, who was a veteran teacher at Sanchez Elementary School. The donation will be
- Receiving a $20,000 cash donation from the Houston Texans and Reliant, an NRG company, to eight HISD schools to support technology. The Texans and Reliant are also donating $84,000 worth of drawstring bags, phone chargers, and Deshaun Watson jerseys and autographed footballs to reward attendance.
- Accepting $10,000 worth of supplies and materials donated by FedEX’s Purple Totes campaign to four HISD elementary schools in response to wish lists provided by the schools.
- Receiving a $31,700 in-kind donation of video production equipment and a sound mixing console from NASA’s Johnson Space Center for Sam Houston Math, Science, and Technology Center High School to support STEM education through student-led productions.