HOUSTON – Monday was the first day back to school for students, teachers and staff members at the Houston Independent School District since TEA took over in March.
Superintendent Mike Miles assessed how the first day of back-to-school activities and changes went for students and parents.
Miles said his assessment of student performance was quick and informal and wasn’t based on any specific criteria, but rather based on a general feel of the school’s principal and how well HISD collected data from 5,000 different classrooms reporting medium to high-quality instruction on day one.
When asked how he would grade the district on day one, Miles answered, “I’m going to give it an A minus. People got in there, we had instruction everywhere, and we weren’t perfect on the buses, but pretty good overall. All the kids got instruction today, they got where they needed to be. That’s pretty good.”
Student enrollment at HISD saw a slight increase by roughly 2,000 students compared to the end of the school year last year. The district is looking at about 186,400 students in total. With more students, Miles said more bus routes will be added or consolidated over the next two to three weeks, and parents will be provided with a 48-hour notice regarding any changes.
Parents navigating through all of the new changes said they were optimistic about what the new school year has in store for their children.
“I definitely want to make sure our kids are educated and paying attention in class. Hopefully, the teachers are doing exactly what they say they are gonna do, teach our kids the right way,” one parent said.
Miles also defended his new open-door classroom policy amid strong criticism from parents and educators.
“This turns out to be even better safety-wise because, invariably, kids are in the hall, and if something happens, kids can dart into their classroom doors or into any classroom quickly, and it takes five seconds to close the door,” Miles said.
He added that the district is fully staffed with police, but at an upcoming school board meeting, he will be discussing adding police to expand the number of officers in the district’s elementary schools.