Support for teachers is more important this school year than ever before as our local teachers are working in stressful and ever-changing conditions. The Greater Heights Area Chamber of Commerce and its Education Committee are sponsoring an Adopt a Teacher program for the 2020-2021 year as part of a continued effort to show support and appreciation for Heights-area educators.
Local businesses, individuals, groups of individuals, and organizations of all sizes are invited to come together to Adopt a Teacher. Participants are not obligated to purchase every item on the teacher’s wish-list. Multiple individuals may come together to adopt a single teacher, and an individual or business may adopt multiple teachers.
- Select a Participating teacher from out list.
- Send an email to our Education Committee Chair Cindy Reibenstein at email@example.com stating the name of the teacher you’d like to adopt and from which school.
- Cindy will provide the teacher’s contact information to you.
- Fulfill some or all of the items on the teacher’s wish-list and coordinate drop-off with the teacher. Some wish-list items are tangibles such as supplies, and other items are intangibles such as supportive emails and even prayers.
Please consider contributing to this very worthy cause. The Chamber plans to recognize the businesses who participate!
The advent of Covid-19 has clouded plans and operations for the 2020-2021 school year and with the beginning of school re-openings now scheduled, many questions have arisen. Governing the state’s educational system is the Texas Education Agency (TEA). On July 17, TEA released public health planning guidelines for the 2020-2021 year in order to prepare students, teachers and staff to safely return to school campuses for daily, in-person instruction.
HISD, the local independent school system, which serves more than 200,000 students has formulated and announced its plans and policies. The HISD Communicable Disease Plan Task Force, a group of key employees, educators, parents, community members and health care officials were charged with reviewing safety guidance from local, state, and federal health and education officials. The district also considered feedback from parent and teacher surveys distributed over the summer. With an Instructional Continuity Plan, the district sought to ensure that learning will continue throughout the year. Interim School Superintendent, Dr. Grenita Lathan made the announcement.
All HISD students will begin the school year virtually on September 8, 2020. Virtual instruction for all students will continue for six weeks through Friday, October 16, 2020. On Monday, October 19, face-to-face instruction for all students will begin. However, this date is subject to change based on Covid-19 conditions across the city and recommendations from local, state and federal health officials. Parents will have the option to opt out of face-to-face instruction entirely for the fall semester and school year.
To find out more information regarding the re-openings, you may review the HISD website, www.houstonisd.org/reopening. Information from the TEA may be obtained at www.tea.texas.gov/about-tea.
As our area student athletes begin to participate in summer and fall sports programs, the Covid-19 virus has created changes in procedures and needs – mainly in water bottles. Athletes can no longer share water bottles so there is an acute need for each participant to have their own hydration bottles. The need is for student athletes at area middle and high schools, and the Chamber is requesting your assistance.
If you currently use water bottles in your marketing programs, would you be willing to donate a quantity to the schools in need? Your logo on the bottle can provide valuable exposure for your business. Our schools are limited from a resource standpoint, so this represents a void your business can help to fill. If you cannot supply may we ask that you contact friends and associates to see if they would be willing to donate.
An additional way to participate would be to make a financial commitment. so that the Chamber can then order water bottles with your logo for distribution to the schools. There will or can be photos of your community support for you to display on your website. For more information please contact Cindy Reibenstein, Chamber Education Committee Chair at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Greater Heights Area Chamber of Commerce Education Committee actively serves our community, and with your support will continue the tradition. Thank you.
This year the educational system was rocked a significant curve and our area schools met the challenge. Teacher of the Year (TOY) at each campus led the way as their peers voted them in.
Teacher of the Year was Tamara Williams and Beginning or Rookie Teacher of the Year was Gabriela Garrido with Maria Hernandez being the Bilingual Teacher of the Year.
Garden Oaks Montessori Magnet
The Elementary TOY was Ms. McCord and Middle School TOY was Ms. Ortiz with Ms. Saenz the Beginning TOY and Ms. Macias ESL and Ms. Dore, Bilingual TOY.
Kathryn Smith Elementary
Tiffany Bennett was TOY and Evelyn Andrews was ESL TOY and Yolanda Guzman was Science TOY and Carlos Montoya was Bilingual TOY.
Amanda Bland was TOY and Kabara Gibson was Beginning TOY.
Washington High School
Chardai Grays was TOY and Aldrich Smith was Beginning TOY.
Northside High School
Christopher Prince was TOY and Candace Munoz was Beginning TOY.
Lutheran North High School
Blythe Barreto was their Teacher of the Year.
Waltrip High School
Jesse Espinosa was TOY.
Each educator contributes time, knowledge and loads of caring as they prepare lessons and ‘be with’ the students. Administrators and team leads will be busy this summer planning for a successful upcoming year although we are not sure how they will look yet.
The Greater Heights Chamber of Commerce Education Committee looks forward to working with all the schools in the area; the businesses are ready to partner with you. If you are interested in becoming involved in this committee, just shoot Cindy an email: email@example.com
In light of the coronavirus and the scrambling from all educators as well as the rest of society, this spring, The Education Committee focused on the annual scholarships and have plans to try and honor all teachers in the fall upon their return to schools. The students entering the military also had to be put on a different type of recognition as the recruiters and counselors did not have up to date information. This recognition is also planned for end of school, early summer. It will be generic as we do not have names. So, instead of having a partial list of teacher honorees displayed earlier, it was felt that working for an end of school recognition (if more names are submitted) would be better. Teachers/Educators have just recently gotten into a work mode that allows time in their day to collaborate with outside agencies more.
Basic needs are such a need right now for so many of the students and their families and this is a reality; schools were sent from Houston Highway Credit Union a resource manual to help address rent, utilities, food.
Education is a strong focal point of the Chamber and serving the educational community is an area the Chamber strives to be a resource for their needs. Traditionally, the Education Luncheon was the highlight of putting all the recognitions together! This year it is different–and the recognition of teachers, educators, schools, military and scholarship winners will continue to go on this summer. Look for new postings throughout the weeks. Thank you for understanding! Cindy Reibenstein, Chair of the Education Committee.
Cynthia F. Reibenstein, LCSW, ACSW Diplomate in Clinical Social Work
This year The Education Committee of the Greater Heights Chamber of Commerce is proud to announce the 21 students who will be receiving $1000 each towards pursuing their education at the college of their choice. With the COVID-19, Zoom interviews were held of the top 50 applicants. The traditional Education Luncheon will not happen this year and therefore the celebration of this award will be done in a couple of ways. There will be social media, school website, business website and chamber website publicity along with area newspapers and sponsors received decals for their business entries. The students will each be receiving a personalized yard sign with the sponsor name and logo and chamber name and logo. Each student will also receive a certificate and the student presentation will be captured so celebrations can continue through social media.
The twenty-one scholarship winners are as follows: Adams Insurance sponsored six students: from Waltrip—Aliyah Douglas and Feliece Hossman; from Lutheran North—Tabitha Waiser and Geonna Waddell and from Houston Christian—Adam Kral and Ellie Chaves. Frost Bank sponsored Morgan Hicks from St. Pius X; Houston Highway Credit Union sponsored Brooklyn Jade-Torres and Angelilque Martinez from Northside; Members Trust of the Southwest Federal Credit Union sponsored Chandler Solomon from Heights; Memorial Hermann Greater Heights sponsored Ymani Banks and Anaisa Gomez from Heights; PrimeWay Federal Credit Union sponsored Sloan Hudson and Sabrina Ysaguirre from Heights; Willie Diefenbach-Jones with Send Out Cards sponsored Carla Alexander from Northside; Third Coast Impressions sponsored Jennifer Montalvan from KIPP; The Tom and June Kimball Memorial Scholarship sponsored MacKenzie Payne from Northside; Reibenstein and Associates sponsored Angela Espinoza from St. Pius X; Reynolds and Associates sponsored Andrew Requena from St. Pius X and the Greater Heights Chamber sponsored Adrian Herrera from Heights and Juan Bustos from Northside. These young men and women will make a difference in their chosen field of study.
I hope you will take the time to congratulate seniors this year as it is tough missing out on all the traditional celebrations that they and their parents have been looking forward to their entire 18 years. Thank you for the sponsors for stepping up and making this year’s scholarship winners have a personalized celebration!
Cindy Reibenstein, Education Chair
Click on the pictures below for more information.
Thank you again to our Scholarship Sponsors:
|J&K Memorial||SendOut Cards|
|Third Coast Impressions|
The Greater Heights Area Chamber of Commerce is currently accepting applications for the 2020 Scholarship Program for deserving high school students in the area.
Each year, the Greater Heights Area Chamber of Commerce awards scholarships to outstanding high school seniors in the area. Those students are honored at a luncheon to be held in May. Since the inception of the program, the Chamber has awarded over $350,000 in scholarships to area students. Those scholarships are made possible through generous donations by our members. We are pleased to continue that tradition this year and are currently taking applications for the 2020 scholarship program. Deadline to apply is March 15, 2020. To apply, please read and complete the 2020 scholarship application
Greater Heights Area Chamber of Commerce
Education Committee Meeting
February 19, 2020 at Baptist Temple
Today our meeting was filled with lots of success stories as our businesses and schools are partnering up and fulfilling the needs of students and their families.
Tiffany Mensing with Space and Serenity helped to provide for family in need from Northside High School. EEPB, an accounting firm, held an internal food drive in order to help supply the Food Pantry at Northside High School, Great job!
Huntington Learning Center partnered with Heights High School for college needs and they have an upcoming Boot Camp for preparing for the ACT and SAT.
Carlos Larios with Ascending to Men, a mentoring program for males from K-12, has a mentor program March 5, 2020 from 10-1 pm at Booker T. Washington. Want to help sponsor the breakfast or become involved, come!
HCC, Northeast Campus is having a great Automotive Career/Job Fair on March 25 from 10-1pm!
Clifton Middle School is having career fair coming and speakers are wanted. Resources for immigration and deportation issues are needed.
Waltrip High School is having a bake sale on voting day, March 3 and the money raised will help purchase translation devices and this will help the school be more accessible to parents. Need bakers and volunteers! The JROTC has a Military Ball on March 28 and gently used dresses, formal or prom, please talk with Doris Aguilar at Waltrip.
CTE Showcase and Competition Day is Sat. Feb. 29th; come and explore what is going on. Kathleen Goerner of Pinspiration has great ideas and has the ability to partner with many schools as well as businesses for fun as her motto says, “Where community meets creativity.”
Willie Diefenbach-Jones with SendOutCards has great creative ways to build a business, extra money or for your agency or school fundraisers. You cannot go wrong with Thank You cards and personalize your service.
April Petronella with Petro-Fox Education has a super article about the schools coming out in the Leader Newspaper and this will be a monthly column titled “Campus Corner.” So, get your information to her, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Houston Highway Credit Union has great ways to help build character and values through financial education; Money Mammals, Money Bright and Biz Kids. It is a free service that can be built in your school, agency or business! HHCU also has adult financial literacy workshops, again free! Check it out.
The chamber reminders include Crawfish Festival on March 7; come out and see great vendors, schools perform as well as Zydeco Dots. Education Luncheon is May 19; the theme is “Explore.” Scholarship Applications are accepted through March 15, 2020; get them in asap! Teacher of the Year and New Teacher of the Year 2020 winners from each school are needed so we can honor and recognize them at the luncheon. Please send that information to me asap at email@example.com. Thank you.
Come out and support education; we meet the third Wednesday of the month at 10:30 at Baptist Temple. See you March 18, 2020.
Cindy Reibenstein, Education Committee Chair
Wednesday, we had a full meeting with returning businesses and schools along with new businesses and schools. It is exciting to see our committee continue to grow and build partnerships.
April Petronella is working with The Leader to gain more exposure for our committee and the school needs and she is going to work with Chamber Intern, Kayler Walker, to locate grants to help fund some scholarships for our students.
All Saints Early Childhood Catholic Center partnered with Booker T. Washington Day Care providing toddler supplies.
Waltrip High School needs businesses to come and speak to classes (pick a class and time) about careers as well as they have volunteer needs (leading to potential job next year) in working with the Special Education Classes. A Vision Board workshop on Jan. 23 is open for the community with light dinner and the Spring Tours for the Middle Schools is beginning.
Space and Serenity, Tiffany Mensing, is building a format for schools to express their needs (clothes, prom dresses, decorations, etc.) so she can connect other organizers as they work with the different client’s items.
Roberto Zamora, HISD Wrap Around Specialist Manager for the North area, has needs for his eleven schools: shoes, uniforms and family resources.
Kathryn van der Pol of Liberty Hoepfl Garage, is opening a charter school, Heritage Classic Academy, beginning in 2021; it will focus on character building and citizenship through the study of classic materials; it will be located in the northwest area beginning with Kindergarten and going eventually to the 12th grade.
Houston Community College NE is having their Spring Registration Fest.
Huntington Learning Center-Heights is hosting a College GPS event at Heights High School on Feb. 1; all middle school and high school students and parents are welcome.
Helms Elementary is having their Western Dance for the Pre-K students on Feb. 28 from 4 pm-7; volunteers are needed.
Willie Diefenbach-Jones with SendOutCards is looking for parent groups and school organizations that wish to make a little extra money; great way to help send a student to camp or athletic needs.
Garden Oaks Montessori has their Externship Program for the 8th graders in March and needs business to partner with them for a student to shadow them for a day up to the whole week. The GOM UnGala is Feb. 25 and donations are needed to help with the event: Wine Pull, silent auction items and sponsors overall.
Katherine Smith Elementary needs new or used softball equipment as they are forming a team. Please donate.
Ryan Shumberg with Spark Soccer, an indoor soccer company, and new Chamber member, would like to partner with pre-schools and schools to help with soccer skills and teams.
Black Middle School is seeking donations for their silent auction/gala coming up in March; the theme is the Roaring 20’s.
Houston Highway Credit Union can host a financial reality event for your school and/or PTO (retirement planning, or budgeting).
The Chamber is giving back to the schools and non-profits through the pre-sale ticket program for the Crawfish Festival. If your group is interested, please contact me. You get $10 for each ticket sold. Great way to raise money to send a student off to Washington D.C. camp, soccer classes, or school supplies or organization needs.
As you can see there are many opportunities for your business to partner with a specific school need or make a longer partnership overall. You can grow your network through school venues and parents. If you need contact information for anyone above you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and/or come to our next meeting on Feb. 19 at 10:30, Baptist Temple, Heritage Room.
Great Partnerships are being forged through the Education Committee; Tiffany Mensing with Space and Serenity gathered the Christmas and holiday supplies to help make Heights High School Winter Holiday Festival spirited. In the past, Hermann and Sons donated uniforms to Waltrip Ladies Soccer and this one act has led to increased interest as well as dreaming of going further with their education. HEB Heights has great opportunities to build community service hours by being Super Bowl Caring ambassadors. Texas Charity Partners, a new chamber member, is looking to give away supplies for teachers (yea! No money out of your pocket). Katherine Smith has been the recipient of Imperial Guard Alumnae, a non-profit Chamber member, organized food bags for each child, coats and clothes for the children and toys from Houston Highway Credit Union. Waltrip High School and Booker T. Washington High School and Day Care program also were recipients of clothing donations from the Imperial Guard Alumnae and from the organizing by Space and Serenity. The Chamber Community Fund also contributed to the area children needs. Willie Diefenbach-Jones with Send Out Cards is working with the teachers and parents in the community, so they enhance their abilities to provide for the children as well as with area business to obtain scholarships for the graduating seniors.
So how can you participate in building partnerships with the schools? Contribute to the development of mentorship with the young men and women at Black Middle School, help raise the funds for a Spark Park dedicated to the younger children and community around Katherine Smith. Marshall Middle School needs clothes for their kids along with volunteers to help with the community closet. Reach out! Become involved; the Education Committee can be the venue for networking. Upcoming partnerships continue to build as Waltrip High School and Katherine Smith Elementary will be hosting a financial workshop by Houston Highway Credit Union; Garden Oaks Montessori is already participating. Come to our next meeting, January 15, 2020 at 10:30 in the Heritage Room at Baptist Temple, located at 230 West 20th Street.