HISD approves extended school day

At its first regular board meeting since Hurricane Harvey forced a delayed start to the school year, the Houston Independent School District Board of Education approved an extended school day to make up instructional time. The Texas Education Agency approved waivers that exempt students from making up the first nine days the storm took away. However, students at 12 schools starting later will have to make up lost time beyond those days.

“There is no perfect solution,” said Superintendent Richard Carranza. “And as we talked about over the course of this weather event, flexibility will be key. But we are also making sure the extra time is not just seat time.”

The board approved an additional 25 minutes of instructional time at the four schools: Bellaire High, Northside High, Key Middle, and Robinson Elementary. Eight schools will have an additional 55 minutes of instructional time: Liberty High, Forest Brook Middle, Mitchell Elementary, Braeburn Elementary, R.P. Harris Elementary, Hilliard Elementary, Kolter Elementary, and Scarborough Elementary. The extended day will begin on each school’s first day, and go through the first semester. They will return to their regular schedules for the spring semester.

Trustees also approved the renaming of the HISD Food Services Support Facility to the Hexser T. Holliday Food Services Support Center. Holliday was the Assistant Superintendent of Food Services, the first black Food Services Director in HISD, and one of the first to hold that position in the country.

During the meeting, the Superintendent also announced that the HISD Foundation’s Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund has raised more than $1.3 million. That money will be used to help with the recovery efforts of the district as it attempts to help our families become whole following the storm. HISD has already started using some of those funds to feed families, purchase items our students need, and taking donations from drop-off sites to the families that need them most.