News



Summer Manufacturing Camp

The Nuts, Bolts, & Thingamajigs Summer Manufacturing Camp held this June provided 4th-9th grade students an opportunity to explore science, technology, engineering, and math through exciting hands-on activities. Campers learned how to think link inventors, problem-solve, collaborate, and create using a 3D printer. At the end of each week students went on a field trip where they were able to make real-life connections to what they were learning in the camp. Check out the photos…

 

SWS Summer Manufacturing Camp SWS Summer Manufacturing Camp SWS Summer Manufacturing Camp SWS Summer Manufacturing Camp SWS Summer Manufacturing Camp SWS Summer Manufacturing Camp

 

 




What Do You want to be When You Grow Up?

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The Southwest Schools Summer Camp for 8th and 9th graders centers around that question.

“We want to foster, inspire, and empower our students to be innovative.  We want to expose them to skills and crafts that are probably not part of their daily lives,” says Rose Norman, Chief Research & Grants Officer.

Through Nuts, Bolts, and Thingamajigs, 3D Modeling and Design Camp, students learn entrepreneurial skills including inventing, problem solving, and competing.  Challenged with using Tinkercad software to design a piece of jewelry that represents peace, the design is then output via a 3D printer.  After which, kids develop a marketing strategy to sell the jewelry to an older group of students.

Each week of the camp culminates in a field trip that showcases unique jobs in our community.  Storage and Processors (located at the Port of Houston) and Rice University’s 3D Lab are among the stops.

Southwest Schools thanks our Board of Directors President, Rick Hargrove, for encouraging us to apply for grant monies to make this camp possible for our students.

Summer Camp2  Summer Camp12




June 19, 2018 – Meet & Greet Our New Principals

Parents and students are invited to attend a Meet & Greet Ice Cream Social with Southwest Schools’ newest principals – Deborah Silber, Principal, Discovery Middle School and Bianca Clark, Principal, Empowerment High School.

Date: Tuesday, June 19
Time: 4:30 PM – 6:00 PM
Location: 6400 Westpark Drive, Suite 200

We look forward to seeing you there!




New TEA Website for Public Comment Process for Proposed Rulemaking

Southwest Schools is pleased to provide our stakeholders with website links provided by the Texas Education Agency that help facilitate public comments in proposed rulemaking.

A public comment is an opportunity for any interested person to submit data, views, or arguments on a proposed rule. The opportunity for public comment is required by state law, Texas Government Code, §2001.029.

The links are as follows:

TEA has also provided a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page to answer questions you may have on the public comment process for proposed rulemaking. If you have any additional questions regarding the public comment process, you may contact the TEA Rulemaking Unit at (512) 475-1497 or by email at rules@tea.texas.gov.




Teacher and Support Staff Annual Winners

We are pleased to honor the following staff for earning recognition as superstars of the Southwest Schools District. 

Photos https://www.facebook.com/pg/SouthwestSchools/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1775146792553244


DISTRICT WIDE TEACHER OF THE YEAR2018 Teachers of the Year Photo

  • Michael Bourquin- Mangum Elementary

DISTRICT WIDE SUPPORT STAFF MEMBER OF THE YEAR

  • Scott Lawton-Phoenix Schools

CAMPUS TEACHER OF THE YEAR:

  • Bissonnet Elementary- Peggy Billingsley
  • Mangum Elementary-Michael Bourquin
  • Discovery Middle School- Donald Morgan
  • Empowerment High School-Jennifer Rollie
  • Phoenix School- Renaia Eugene
  • Young Learners – Azindokht Baradar

CAMPUS SUPPORT STAFF OF THE YEARE:

  • Bissonnet Elementary- Gricelda Perez
  • Mangum Elementary-Aleyda Salgado
  • Discovery Middle School- Rebecca Cruz
  • Empowerment High School-Todd Davis
  • Phoenix School- Scott Lawton
  • Young Learners-Rita Spivey

Congratulations to our winners and heartfelt gratitude to all our teachers and staff for another successful school year!




Campus Safety

IMPORTANT MESSAGE TO ALL PARENTS:
Incident at our Empowerment Campus

Today, February 21st, we learned about a threatening post on social media at our Empowerment campus. We contacted the Houston Police Department, which quickly investigated the situation together with us. The students were never in any danger, and we took all necessary measures to ensure the safety and security of our students. All parents from the campus have been contacted and made aware of the situation. We are workinglocal authorities to increase law enforcement presence at and around our campuses. As a district, we are also implementing additional safety measures to keep our campuses safe.

Communication is a key component in safety measures. Please feel free to communicate with us, and encourage your child/children to share their thoughts and feelings with you and with us.
We want to reassure all parents our commitment to providing a safe and positive learning environment for our students and staff. All Southwest campuses will continue to operate under regular hours tomorrow, Thursday, February 22, 2018.

Thank you,
Southwest Schools Administration




Now Accepting Enrollment Applications for the 2018-2019 School Year

Southwest Schools is pleased to announce that enrollment applications are now being accepted for the 2018-2019 school year.

To apply, please call or visit one of our campuses or complete the application online at https://forms.swschools.org/interestinquiry/

Our Campuses

Learn more about the incredible opportunities for students by visiting one of our campuses.

Empowerment High School
6400 Westpark Dr.
Houston, Texas 77057
Phone: 713-954-9528

http://empowerment.swschools.org
Discovery Middle School
6400 Westpark Dr.
Houston, Texas 77057
Phone: 713-954-9528

http://discovery.swschools.org
Discovery MS at Nehemiah
5015 Fannin St.
Houston, Texas 77004
Phone: (713) 526-5015

http://discovery.swschools.org
Mangum Elementary
4515 Mangum
Houston, Texas 77092
Phone: 713-688-0505

http://mangum.swschools.org
Bissonnet Elementary
8440 Bissonnet St.
Houston, Texas 77074
Phone: 713-988-5839

http://bissonnet.swschools.org
The Phoenix School (HQ)
6400 Westpark Dr.
Houston, Texas 77057
Phone 346-571-6060

http://phoenix.swschools.org

 

 

 

 

 




Success at the 2018 Bowling Bash Scholarship Fundraiser

Thank you to the friends, faculty and sponsors of Southwest Schools who turned out to support our annual scholarship fundraiser.

The event played host to more than 150 people and raised funds through silent auction, games, sales of jewelry and vacation packages, and financial donations.  Special thanks to our Platinum Sponsor, Trustmark Banking & Financial Solutions as well as our guest host, Cathy Hernandez of Channel 2 Houston.

Congratulations to our bowling team winners:
1st Place-Bissonnet Men’s Team,  2nd Place-IT Team,  3rd Place-Trustmark Bank

Missed the event?  Visit https://www.swschools.org/bowlingbash to donate online.




Bid on Travel Packages to Support Our Bowling Bash Fundraiser

Take a vacation and help a student set his path forever!

Southwest Schools is working with TravelPledge to offer generous vacation packages for guests at the Annual Bowling Bash!  Proceeds of your vacation rental go directly to Southwest Schools to support scholarships for students.

Visit  http://swschools.travelpledge.com/event

Here you will see the fabulous packages that could be your next destination!

If you would like to bid early, you may send your bid amount by email to rnorman@swschools.org  Please identify the description of the package you are bidding on and the amount of your bid.

At the event, all emailed bids will be entered on the bid sheet and opened up to guests who are attending the event. If a package has a “2x” in the upper left corner, we will sell 2 packages to the 2 highest bidders.  All other packages are available to one, single, highest bidder. The bidding increment for vacation packages will be $100.00.  The highest bid will be announced at 4:45 PM, February 2, at the event.




6th Annual Bowling Bash Fundraiser Set for February 2nd!

SWS Bowling Bash header 2018

Our 6th Annual Bowling Bash Fundraiser is set for February 2nd, 2018.

100% of the proceeds go toward scholarships for college and summer camps for Southwest Schools students.

Click here to learn more and to register a team or sponsor this fantastic event.

 




Campuses CLOSED Friday, November 3rd

Southwest Schools’ campuses and administrative office will be CLOSED tomorrow, Friday, November 3rd to allow our families and staff to enjoy the parade to celebrate our Would Series Champions #HoustonAstros!

“Our district is in agreeance with HISD: We are very proud to celebrate our champions with the rest of the city. We are also basing this decision on the congestions and heavy traffic that the parade can potentially cause around Houston.” – Janelle James, CEO/Superintendent of Schools.

Celebrate and be safe!
We will resume back to our regular schedule on Monday, November 6th.

Southwest Schools Closed Nov 3




CHANGE TO FRIDAY HALF-DAY SCHEDULE

STORY HIGHLIGHTS:  FULL DAY FRIDAYS | 1ST FRIDAY EVERY MONTH 1/2 DAY  |  NEW SCHEDULE TO BEGIN IN OCTOBER

Dear Parents/Guardians,

Please allow me to take this opportunity to thank you for a great school start. Despite the
devastating events of the past few weeks and the issues that families might have endured
during Harvey, students were present and excited about starting the new school year. We are
so glad to have your family in our Southwest Schools’ community. Together we will make this a
great year for our students!

As you may know, we lost nine school days as a result of the recent storm. Although the Texas
Educational Agency (TEA) is not requiring us to make up any of that lost instructional time, we
feel that it is in the best interest of our students to add instructional time back into the school
calendar. We are adding back the instructional time to provide the educational benefits our
students deserve.

To that end, we will transition to full day Fridays with one early release Friday each month. The
early release Friday will be the first Friday of each month. The change will begin in October.
I strongly feel that this is the right decision for our students. I believe that this will benefit
Southwest Schools’ students this year and in years to come. Recognizing that this represents a
significant change from past years of practice, we are asking for your support—both with the
school and with your children—with these changes.

You will receive additional correspondence regarding the changes and schedule for early release
days from your child’s campus. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact
your child’s campus principal.

Thank you for your continued support of Southwest Schools and for allowing us to be your
child’s school of choice.

All the best,

Janelle James,

Superintendent / CEO of Schools




Hurricane Harvey Donations & Relief: A Message from the Superintendent

Southwest Cares

The Southwest Schools family pledges to support one another in the aftermath of the devastating floods caused by Hurricane Harvey. Join with us to help the student families and staff members  impacted by this terrible disaster. 


Dear Southwest Schools Community,

As we transition from the impact of such an historic event as Hurricane Harvey to creating a new normalcy in our district for our staff, students, and parents, my thoughts continue to be with you for peace, safety and strength. The recovery from such a devastating weather event is never easy, yet I am comforted by the compassion and humanity of people like our Southwest community.

The next few weeks and the ongoing recovery of our region will be long and difficult. As is our culture, the Southwest Schools family will support one another and we’ll get through this together.

We invite you to donate to the relief effort that will directly aid our student families and staff members who have been impacted by this terrible disaster.

Please continue to check the districts website at https://www.swschools.org, Facebook, and Twitter to obtain important updates regarding the start of school and information and resources to support you and your family during this unexpected transitional time. If you have any questions or need to leave a message for your campus you can respond by email to info@swschools.org.

These recent bright skies give us a renewed sense of hope and are a reminder that our community is full of light and love; let’s continue to lean on each other!

All the best,

Janelle James, Superintendent/CEO of Schools

and

Dr. Spyros Catechis, Founder/CEO


Donate Now

FINANCIAL DONATIONS

https://www.swschools.org/harveyrelief

All donations will go directly to Southwest Schools Hurricane victims.

Donate Online: Select “Other” and enter “Hurricane Relief” in the text box

Donate by Check: Make checks payable to Southwest Schools and include Hurricane Relief in the memo line

 

FOOD, SUPPLIES & CLOTHING

September 5th – 8th

Any Southwest Schools Campus

8:00AM – 3:30PM

  • School Supplies
  • First Aid Items
  • Non-Perishable Food
  • Baby Diapers, Baby Formula
  • Clothing (all sizes)
  • Cleaning Supplies




WEATHER UPDATE: Southwest Schools Closed Until September 11th

Southwest Schools campuses will reopen for students on Monday September 11th due to widespread damage from Hurricane Harvey.

Administrative and non-instructional staff are set to return to work on Tuesday, September 5th and teachers are scheduled to return to work on Wednesday, September 6th.

 The safety of our staff, our students and their families is our top priority. The storms and heavy rains that affected parts of the city make conditions too dangerous for school to begin any sooner.




Jim Knight Instructional Coaching Event Postponed

Southwest Schools is please to partner with Jim Knight to present a 5-part series on Instructional Coaching.

Jim Knight’s Instructional Coaching Group has worked with 30,000 instructional coaches over the last 10 years, throughout 50 states and six continents.

This 5-part series is focused on improving teaching to improve learning, and is comprised of simple step-by-step processes that coaches and educators can master.

DUE TO HURRICANE HARVEY, ALL DATES HAVE BEEN POSTPONED UNTIL SPRING 2018.

  • 1: The Complexity of Helping and The Impact Cycle
  • 2: Better Conversations for Better Coaching
  • 3: Video and Data in Instructional Coaching
  • 4: High Impact Instruction for Great Teaching:  Instructional Coaching to Increase Student Engagement (Building and Instructional Coaching Playbook
  • 5:  Instructional Coaches as Effective Leaders

Visit https://www.swschools.org/jimknight for additional details and to register.




Empowerment High School participated in College & Career Institute

Sparks were flying at Texas State Technical College as the 11 high school students enrolled in a nine-day College and Career Institute got some hands-on experience welding.

The institute is the first of its kind for TSTC and is a partnership between the college, Project Grad Houston, Café College Houston and the Texas Workforce Solution (TWC).

“It has been a pleasure hosting these students on campus,” said TSTC Recruitment Coordinator Marigold Sagrado. “They are attentive, well-mannered and I know they will be successful.”

The students participating in this institute were from Houston-based Southwest Charter School, Sharpstown High School and the Partnership for the Advancement and Immersion of Refugees and have shown an interest in pursuing science, technology, engineering and mathematic (STEM) fields.

“It’s always great when we can bring quality program options and a college experience opportunity to high school students who may not get this chance anywhere else,” said Anne Sung, Project Grad Houston vice president and chief strategy officer.

The institute focused on five career areas offered by TSTC: Cyber Security Technology, Welding Technology, Precision Machining Technology, HVAC Technology and Diesel Equipment Technology.

Instructors from each program engaged the students with hands-on career exploration activities and spoke with them regarding education pathways, the college application and financial aid process and careers they can pursue if they obtain a certificate or associate degree from TSTC.

During the institute students also received lessons on job interviewing and resume writing. Students learned how to represent themselves professionally by practicing greetings, handshakes, eye contact and self-introductions.  A portion of their time was also dedicated to interviews skills and resume development.

“We want these students to leave this institute open to the idea that college is a possibility and that they can be successful,” said Adriana Estrada, College Institute coordinator. “It’s about college and career readiness.”

To experience a real-work environment, the students also visited TSTC Board of Regent Joe Gurecky at his local business Gurecky Manufacturing, Inc. They had the opportunity to tour the facility and speak to professionals in the industry.

“All of the students have expressed interest in pursuing TSTC after high school,” said Sagrado. “I consider this 100 percent success.”

Sung said their data shows that students who attend at least two institutes are more likely to enroll in college after high school.

“The impact of these institutes helping students get inspired to go to college is very powerful,” said Sung. “And we’re very grateful to our partners at the TWC and TSTC for making this program possible for our students.”

Sotelo, Amanda. “TSTC Hosts Summer College and Career Institute” Downtown Houston BubbleLife, 5 July 2017. Web. 20 July 2017

View complete article. 




Southwest Schools Awarded T-Stem Academy Designation

We are pleased to announce that Southwest Schools has been approved for the designation of a T-STEM Academy by the Texas Education Agency (TEA).

The Texas Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (T-STEM) Initiative provides a foundational approach to empower teachers, inspire students, and advance the studies in these four fields.  

T-STEM ACADEMY

A T-STEM Academy is rigorous secondary school focusing on improving instruction and academic performance in science and mathematics-related subjects and increasing the number of students who study and enter STEM careers.

Southwest Schools joins the select group of only 22 schools to join the 121 Academies who have received the designation.  Going forward, Southwest Schools will serve as a demonstration school and learning lab to showcase innovative instruction methods which integrate technology and engineering into science and mathematics instruction.

Southwest Schools successfully completed the rigorous designation process by demonstrating the key elements of the T-STEM blueprint, including:

  • Mission-driven leadership
  • T-STEM Culture
  • Student Outreach, Recruitment, and Retention
  • Teacher Selection, Development, and Retention
  • Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment
  • Strategic Alliances
  • Academy Advancement and Sustainability

In an open letter to our District, Mike Morath, TEA Commissioner of Education writes, “Thank you for Southwest Schools’ hard work and dedication in providing STEM opportunities for students so they may accelerate their learning and graduate from high school prepared for the post-secondary path of their choosing.”

For more information on Southwest Schools and T-STEM, contact Dr. Brenda Arteaga, Southwest Schools Superintendent.




Southwest Schools Graduation 2017

The Southwest Schools graduating seniors will be recognized on Friday, May 26, 2017 at 6pm at Houston Baptist University located at 7502 Fondren Rd, Houston, TX 77074.

Ceremony photos will be available to view and purchase through Rhonda Floyd Photography.

  • Visit http://www.rhondafloyd.com
  • Click “Find your Photos”
  • Click “Sports and Portraits taken after Feb 14 2017
  • Click “Events”
  • Click  Gallery Name – May26
  • Enter  your email
  • Enter password swhs17



New Career and Technology Center

Southwest Schools is pleased to announce the expansion of Southwest Middle School and Southwest High School with the addition of the new Career and Technology Center to serve the District’s secondary students.

The STEAM facility, located within the Middle School and High School complex, will introduce more than 17,500 square feet of space for math, science, fine arts, and technology courses. Features will include flexible and collaborative spaces, state-of-the-art computer systems, industrial learning equipment, a performance hall, and more.

Known for its safe, innovative and intimate campuses, Southwest Schools will be able to accommodate an additional 60 high school and 110 middle school students from across the Houston area. “We planned this expansion as part of Southwest Schools strategic plan to provide more space for innovative teaching and learning, with a focus on enhancing 21st Century career and college readiness”, says Dr. Brenda Arteaga, Superintendent.

The Center that was designed by local Houston architect, Kay Macias, is being constructed by Longevity Realty Partners (LRP) and is scheduled to open for the 2017-2018 school year.

For enrollment information, to learn more about Southwest Schools or to become a community partner, please visit www.swschools.org.

 




Board Member Ed Vesely Copilots B-17 Plane at Airshow

Ed Vesely Copilots B-17 Aircraft
Ed Vesely Copilots B-17 Aircraft

On April 21st, Southwest Schools Board Member Ed Vesely, served as copilot on a B-17 aircraft at the Gulf Coast Salute Airshow at Tyndall AFB in Panama City, Florida.

Mr. Vesely, Senior Sales Director at Welsch Aviation, is a seasoned pilot with 40 year’s flying experience.  He is also a respected member of the Board of Directors at Southwest Schools and continuously provides valuable insight and guidance to our district.

Mr. Vesely is one of the few people that are lucky enough to fly the aircraft known as “The Flying Fortress”.  Primarily used as a military plane in WWII and then as a civilian aircraft for several years after, there are currently only 15 of the 12,731 originally produced, flying today.

B-17 Aircraft Photo
B-17 Flying Fortress Aircraft

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