What We Learned

  • Our initial “Listen and Learn” helped us gain a deep understanding of the district. HISD has many existing strengths. We’ve also learned some hard truths about how we must improve. This five-year plan is built to leverage our assets, while solving key challenges:

    • Parents, students, and the community highly prioritize and desire caring, effective, and engaging educators and support staff. The need to develop, recruit, and retain effective teachers, principals, and support staff was often cited as the most important thing we should focus on as a school district.
    • There is a widespread desire and imperative to strengthen teaching and learning at all schools. The quality of teaching and learning varies greatly across the district, and differences in curriculum, testing, and classroom instruction are leading to inequitable academic outcomes, especially for children who attend more than one HISD campus during their school career.
    • The community is very proud and supportive of its highly acclaimed schools and magnet programs, but there is a desire and a need for more high-performing schools and specialty programs, especially in underserved communities. Many parents and students expressed that while the district has very high-performing schools and specialty programs, there are areas throughout the city where they do not exist and where the only options that exist are chronically low-performing campuses.
    • The district offers a wide portfolio of services and resources for students, but these are not always equitably distributed across schools. Student and family experience is very different across campuses and neighborhoods. This includes fundamental services like facilities, libraries, social and mental health services, fine arts education, extracurriculars, and access to advanced coursework.
    • Many families who have children with exceptional needs are frustrated that the district has not lived up to its promise and obligation of providing their children with the services and support necessary for them to thrive academically. Students with exceptional needs, including students with disabilities and English-language learners, are not realizing their full academic potential.
    • Many parents expressed confidence in HISD and their child’s school, but there is a desire for HISD to be more engaging, efficient, and transparent. They want us to partner with families and community members more effectively and make district operations more responsive and student-centered. These operations include finance, transportation, facilities, and information technology services.

    We benefited greatly from these listening and learning opportunities and are eager to leverage our strengths to move us to our collective, desired outcomes. To do this, we must redefine and align critical standards of behavior. The following core values will guide our actions and serve as cornerstones of how we hold ourselves accountable.