School is Back in Session

School is now in session for nearly two hundred-thousand students in the state’s largest school district. With new teachers, principals and a record number of high ranked schools, HISD Superintendent Abe Saavedra is excited. Pat Hernandez caught up with him on the first day.


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One of Dr. Saavedra’s first stops was at Yates High School, where he was greeted by new principal Ronald Mumphrey. In all, 156 schools in the HISD are newly rated by the state as Exemplary or Recognized. Mumphrey says he has one big goal for Yates:

“You know, there’s no reason that we couldn’t be a recognized school, we put some academic programs in place. We have all the help that we need from our regional office in the big HISD. We just have to make sure that mathematics and science — we’re recognized in every are except those two — so that’s where our thrust is gonna be.”

image starting with HISD Superintendent Dr. Abe Saavedra with Yates Principal Ronald Mumphrey and teacherSaavedra was later escorted to the third floor, which is home to the new The Energized for STEM Academy, Inc. (E-Stem), short for Energized for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

“Teacher: “This gentleman is… “
Students: “Dr. Saavedra.”
Teacher: “And he is…”
Students: “HISD Superintendent.”
Saavedra: “How are y’all doing this morning?”
Students: “Fine.”
Saavedra: “Are y’all excited about the first day of school?”
Students: “Yes.”
Saaverda:  “Why did you pick E-STEM?”
Student: “It gives me a better opportunity to go to college…”
Saaverda: “A better opportunity to go to college— That’s good. Well, y’all have a good school year, alright? Alright, thank you.”

E-STEM Academy is under the leadership of of veteran educator Lois Bullock. She calls it her purpose.

“It is no way that I could have written a business plan ten years ago that said ‘in ten years, I would have over two-thousand students.’ I have stayed focused with what I know my purpose is and truly my passion.”

Dr. Saavedra:  “We expect nothing less as far as levels of success from this school. That’s what we need. We need more programs like this where kids get excited about coming to school, and that’s happening here.”

Pat Hernandez: “How about you doctor?”

Saaverda: “I’m excited. The first day of school is probably the most exciting day of the school year. It’s always good to kick it off.  We have a lot of exciting things going on this year. We had a great successful year last school year. We will do a lot of the same type of things. We will improve in some of the things that we did last year as well. We’re starting the new literacy program also. We are providing some literacy coaches for athletes at the high school level. We have a new food processing facility that’s opening up this year. So yeah, it’s an exciting year.”

Teachers return to school with a three percent pay raise and the chance to earn for their work this year bonuses of up to ten thousand dollars — the most in the history of the HISD.

Pat Hernandez, KUHF…Houston Public Radio News.

Above image: HISD Superintendent Dr. Abe Saavedra with Yates Principal Ronald Mumphrey and teacher

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