Houston Independent School District
|This article is outdated. (October 2010)|
|Houston Independent School District|
|4400 W 18th St
Houston, TX 77092
|Established||approx. 1880 by the City of Houston, 1920's as an Independent School District|
|President||Paula Harris, Board of Education President|
|Head of school||Terry B. Grier, Ed.D., Superintendent|
|Grades||Pre-K3 - 12|
|Number of students||202,773 |
|Website||Houston Independent School District|
The Houston Independent School District (HISD) is the largest public school system in Texas and the seventh-largest in the United States. Houston ISD serves as a community school district for most of the city of Houston and several nearby and insular municipalities. Like most districts in Texas it is independent of the city of Houston and all other municipal and county jurisdictions. The district has its headquarters in the Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center (HMWESC) in Houston.
||This section needs additional citations for verification. (November 2008)|
Houston ISD was established in the 1920s, after the Texas Legislature voted to separate school and municipal governments. Houston ISD replaced the Harrisburg School District.
The number of students in public schools in Houston increased from 5,500 in 1888 to over 8,850 in 1927.
Houston ISD absorbed portions of the White Oak Independent School District in 1937 and portions of the Addicks Independent School District after its dissolution.
During the 1960s, HISD's school board instituted a phase-in with each subsequent grade being integrated. Local African-American leaders believed the pace was too slow, and William Lawson, a youth minister, asked Wheatley High School students to boycott school. Five days afterwards 10% of Wheatley students attended classes. In 1970 a federal judge asked the district to speed the integration process.
Simultaneously Mexican Americans were being discriminated against when they were being labeled as whites and being put with only African Americans as part of HISD's desegregation / integration plan. This kept both Mexican Americans and African Americans away from Anglos while satisfying integration requirements set forth by the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education court case decision. Many Mexican Americans took their children out of the public schools and put them in "huelga," or protest schools. On August 31, 1970 and organized by the Mexican-American Education Council (MAEC), they began three weeks of boycotts, protests, and picketing. This action lasted approximately three weeks, during which up to 75% of the student bodies of some high schools participated in the boycotts. During the protests MAEC demanded twenty issues to be resolved and HISD began rezoning school areas within its jurisdiction in response. However, this rezoning encouraged "white flight" since minorities were now entering "white schools" in large numbers. At first the district used forced busing, but later switched to a voluntary magnet school program in order to discourage "white flight". The district eventually integrated races in a semi-peaceful manner. River Oaks Elementary School became the first school to implement the HISD's Vanguard Program in the Fall of 1972, with a program for 4th-6th graders. This program was initially named the Elementary School For The Gifted. The Vanguard Program name was adopted a year later.
In 1987 Olivia Munoz, the district's foreign language director, said that an increase in interest in foreign languages prompted the district to add foreign language languages to four high schools.
In 1994, after superintendent Frank Petruzielo left the district, the school district voted 6-1 to make Yvonne Gonzalez the interim superintendent; the school district board members described this as a "symbolic" motion as Gonzalez was the first Hispanic interim superintendent. Gonzalez served until Rod Paige became the superintendent.
In the 1990s, after voters rejected a $390 million bond package, Paige contracted with The Varnett School, River Oaks Academy, and Wonderland School to house 250 students who could not be placed in HISD schools. The schools were paid $3,565 per student. This was 10% lower than the district's own per pupil cost.
As of 2007 several existing HISD schools were converting to K-8 school setups while other new K-8 schools were opening. Prior to the bond election in November 2007, the district abandoned a proposal to convert several schools into K-8 campuses due to African American neighborhoods communities resisting proposed school consolidations.
In 1977, group of citizens in western Houston tried to form Westheimer Independent School District out of a portion of Houston ISD. The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit rejected the appeals after formation of the district was denied.
HISD once served the Harris County portion of Stafford, until the Stafford Municipal School District was established in 1982 to serve the entire city of Stafford. Most of Stafford was in Fort Bend ISD, with a small amount in Houston ISD.
Reporting of school violence
A 2003 The New York Times report which asserted that HISD did not report school violence to the police created controversy in the community as teachers, students, and parents expressed concern about the district's downplaying of campus violence. HISD officials held a news conference after the publication of the story. During the conference, HISD asserted that The New York Times published the story in an attempt to discredit the Bush administration's new accountability standards for school districts nationwide, which were partly modeled after HISD's system.
HISD's performance in the late 1990s and 2000s was dubbed the "Houston Miracle" by the media. A 2003 state audit of HISD's performance caused more controversy. One of the district's most publicized accomplishments during the Paige era was a dramatic reduction in dropout rates. When 16 secondary schools, including Sharpstown High School, were audited, it was found that most of the students who left school from those schools in 2000-2001 should have been counted as dropouts, but were not. It was found that the administrators at Sharpstown deliberately changed the dropout rate at the school. The Sharpstown controversy resulted in a recommendation to label the entire HISD as "unacceptable." Former Sharpstown Assistant Principal Robert Kimball, asserts that HISD coerced administrators at many schools to lie on dropout rates. HISD asserts that the fraud is only contained to Sharpstown, and that the false statistics at other schools were caused by confusion related to the state's system of tracking students who leave school. An article in The New York Times disputed the accuracy and usage of survey figures from Yates High School and Sharpstown High School indicating that close to 100% of the students intended to attend universities.
For the past two years, HISD has failed to meet standards set by the No Child Left Behind Act. In response, HISD is working on a reform of its magnet program, forcing each program to justify its existence, with the intent to eliminate unneeded/unworkable programs.
In 2005, HISD enrolled refugees from the areas affected by Hurricane Katrina who were residing in Houston. The Houston Astrodome, the shelter used for hurricane refugees, is located within the HISD boundaries.
Many Katrina refugees stayed for the long term within the Houston ISD boundaries. Walnut Bend Elementary School's enrollment increased from around 600 to around 800 with the addition of 184 refugees; Walnut Bend, out of all of the Houston-area elementary schools, took the most Katrina victims. Nearby Paul Revere Middle School, located in the Westchase district, gained 137 Katrina victims. Revere, out of all of the Houston-area middle schools, has taken in the most Katrina victims.
Houston ISD's "West Region," which includes Walnut Bend and Revere, had about one-fifth of Houston ISD's schools but contained more than half of the 5,500 Katrina refugees in Houston schools.
At the start of the 2006-2007 school year, around 2,900 Hurricane Katrina refugees were still enrolled in Houston ISD schools. Around 700 of them were held back due to poor academic performance. 41% of refugee 10th graders and 52% of refugee juniors were held back.
According to the October 2006 "For Your Information" newsletter, the eleven HISD schools which took the largest number of Katrina refugees were:
- Elementary schools: Bonham, Foerster, McNamara, Walnut Bend
- Middle schools: Fondren, Revere, Sharpstown Middle
- High schools: Lee, Sharpstown High, Westbury, Westside
On December 1, 1994, HISD board members voted to divide HISD into 12 numbered geographic districts; of eleven districts, each district had one to three high schools. The 12th district was an alternative district.
Prior to Summer 2005, HISD had 13 administrative districts. Originally, the number of districts were to be cut to three, but HISD decided on cutting the number to five in fall 2005.
Declining enrollment figures in the 2000s
The preliminary fall enrollment for the 2006-2007 school year (203,163) had 7,000 fewer students than the 2005-2006 student enrollment (210,202), resulting in a more than 3% loss; the 2006-2007 enrollment was a 2.5% decrease from the fall 2004-2005 enrollment (208,454). From the preliminary 2006-2007 student count, the West and Central regions lost the most students, with a combined 4,400 student loss. The enrollment reported for the year in February 2007 was 202,936.
Micro Systems Enterprises
In 2007 the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Federal Communications Commission, and the United States Department of Justice began an investigation probing business relationships between Micro Systems Enterprises, a vendor, and HISD. Frankie Wong, former president of Micro Systems, and two Dallas Independent School District administrators received criminal charges.
Free breakfast programs
In the 2000s HISD established "Breakfast in the Classroom." The program was replaced with a free breakfast program based in cafeterias. The Houston Press published a story about accounting irregularities regarding a program; the State of Texas announced it would investigate the program. On February 4, 2005, HISD Superintendent Abelardo Saavedra announced that the program was suspended. By 2006 HISD resumed its free breakfast programs.
In January 2006, HISD started the implementation of the Primero Child Nutrition software system from Cybersoft and successfully completed that implementation in the projected timeframe and well under budget. The software helped run the district's Food Service department with high accountability, lower costs and increased the revenues.
Bilingual education and magnet and Vanguard schools
HISD focuses on bilingual education of its predominantly Hispanic student body, including recruiting about 330 teachers from Mexico, Spain, Central and South America, Puerto Rico, China, and the Philippines from 1998 to 2007.
Houston ISD offers three specialized programs, magnet programs, vanguard programs, and neighborhood vanguard programs. Each magnet program has a special focus and draws students throughout HISD. Each vanguard program is a gifted and talented program for students throughout HISD. A neighborhood vanguard program is a program designed for gifted and talented children zoned to a particular school. As of 2011, its 113 programs served almost 20% of the HISD student population.
Magnet schools began in the 1970s as a way to voluntarily racially integrate schools. By the mid-1990s many magnet schools no longer held this goal and instead focused on improving educational quality of schools. As of 2011 magnet schools continued to be popular among HISD constituents.
HISD's magnet (Performing Arts, Science, Health Professions, Law Enforcement, etc.) high schools are[who?] considered a model for other urban school districts as a way to provide a high quality education and keep top performing students in the inner city from fleeing to private schools or exurban school districts. Magnet schools are popular with parents and students that wish to escape low-performing schools and school violence. The members of the administration of schools losing students to higher-performing campuses, such as Bill Miller of Yates High School, complained about the effects.
There are 55 elementary magnet schools, 30 magnet middle schools, and 27 magnet high schools. Some magnet schools are mixed comprehensive and magnet programs, while others are solidly magnet and do not admit any "neighborhood" students.
For the 2009-2010 school year the district reported a total enrollment of 202,773
- 125,097 (61.7%) were Hispanic American
- 53,680 (26.5%) were African American
- 15,889 (7.8%) were White American
- 5,962 (2.9%) were Asian American
- 1,241 (0.6%) were Multiracial
- 531 (0.3%) were American Indian or Alaska Native
- 373 (0.2%) were Native Hawaiian/Other Islander
Between the 1970-1971 and the 1971-1972 school years, during a period of white flight from major urban school districts across the United States, enrollment at HISD decreased by 16,000. Of that number, 700 were African Americans. By the 1990s HISD's student body was increasingly made up of racial and ethnic minority groups.
Of the 9th graders that were in the graduating classes of 2004-2005 in the district, 15% successfully obtained bachelor of arts and bachelor of science degrees. The U.S. average was 23%. In the District of Columbia Public Schools, 9% of its equivalent 9th grade class received a bachelor of arts or a bachelor of science and/or higher.
As of 2007, of the more than 29 HISD HISD high schools, five had White students as the largest group of students; one of them, High School for Performing and Visual Arts, was the district's only White majority high school.
In 2010 Peter Messiah, the head of HISD's Homeless Education Office, said that HISD classified around 3,000 students as homeless. Margaret Downing of the Houston Press said that Messiah predicted "with confidence" that the actual number of homeless is higher because some families are too embarrassed to self-identify as homeless. Messiah also said that in the years leading to 2010, the number of students classified as homeless increased because the school district became better able to identify homeless students and because the Late-2000s recession continued to have an effect on their families.
As of 2011, between 50% and 66% of White students within the HISD boundaries enroll in private schools.
As of September 2009, the superintendent of Houston ISD is Terry Grier.
As of 2010 the members of the HISD Board of Education are:
- President: Greg Meyers
- First Vice President: Paula M. Harris
- Second Vice President: Diana Dávila
- Secretary: Carol Mims Galloway
- Assistant Secretary:
Other members include: Michael L. Lunceford, Lawrence Marshall, Harvin C. Moore, and Manuel Rodríguez Jr.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (July 2009)|
Former HISD superintendent Rod Paige used the PEER Program. Improving scores from its schools have caused a lot of praise from others nationwide. Kaye Stripling took over when Rod Paige headed to Washington, D.C. as part of United States President George W. Bush's administration cabinet. After Stripling stepped down as the interim Superintendent, Abelardo Saavedra became the superintendent of the district on December 9, 2004. As of 2011 Terry Grier is the superintendent.
As of 2010 HISD schools are organized by elementary school, middle school, and high school offices.
Previously schools in Houston ISD were organized into "Regional Districts". Each district had its own Regional Superintendent.
There were five regional districts in Houston ISD:
- Central Regional District
- East Regional District
- North Regional District
- South Regional District
- West Regional District
- Central District
- East District
- North District
- North Central District
- Northeast District
- Northwest District
- South District
- South Central District
- Southeast District
- Southwest District
- West District
- Alternative District
- Acres Homes Coalition Schools
As of 2010, of the school districts in Harris County, Houston ISD has the lowest taxation rate.
Houston ISD television channel
Houses in the Houston ISD area get the Houston ISD channel on cable.
HISD coverage area
The district covers much of the greater-Houston area, including all of the cities of Bellaire,West University Place,.Southside Place, and most of the area within the Houston city limits. HISD also takes students from the Harris County portion of Missouri City, a portion of Jacinto City, a small portion of Hunters Creek Village, a small portion of Piney Point Village, and a small portion of Pearland. HISD also takes students from unincorporated areas of Harris County. The district covers 300.2 square miles (778 km2) of land.
Houston ISD covers all of the following municipalities:
Houston ISD covers portions of the following municipalities:
- Houston (the majority of Houston, including much of the inside Loop area falls under HISD)
- Hunters Creek Village (areas south of Buffalo Bayou are HISD)
- Jacinto City (areas north of Market street are in Houston ISD)
- Missouri City (Harris County portion only)
- Pearland (A section of the Harris County portion)
- Piney Point Village (areas south of Buffalo Bayou are in HISD)
Houston ISD grants school bus transportation to any Houston ISD resident attending his or her zoned school or attending a magnet program who lives 2 mi (3.2 km) or more away from the campus (as measured by the nearest public roads) or must cross treacherous obstacles in order to reach the campus. Certain special education students are also permitted to use school bus transportation.  HISD does not provide transportation for pre-kindergarten students.
List of schools
In HISD grades kindergarten through 5 are considered to be elementary school, grades 6 through 8 are considered to be middle school, and grades 9 through 12 are considered to be high school. Some elementary schools go up to the sixth grade.
Every house in HISD is assigned to an elementary school, a middle school, and a high school. HISD has many alternative programs and transfer options available to students who want a specialized education and/or dislike their home schools.
As of 2007, over twenty high schools require their students to wear school uniforms or "standardized dress." Of them, one Lamar High School, had a White plurality. Nine Houston ISD high schools did not require students to wear uniforms or standardized dress. Four of them had White students as the largest group of students.
Around the early 1990s the district began a trend of more localized management, so local schools set their own dress code policies. At the start of the 1994-1995 school year 37 HISD elementary and middle schools had uniforms or standardized dress; this was a large increase from the previous school year.
The current administration building, the Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center, is located in northwest Houston. The administration moved into the offices in spring 2006. It is named after Hattie Mae White, the first African American HISD board member and the first African-American public official in the State of Texas elected since the Reconstruction.
The current Sam Houston High School building in the Northside opened in 1955. The previous Sam Houston High School building in Downtown Houston became the administrative headquarters of HISD. By the early 1970s HISD moved its headquarters out of the building, which was demolished. As of 2011 an HISD-owned parking lot occupies the former school lot; a state historical marker is located at the lot. In meetings it had been proposed as a new location for the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts.
Houston ISD's administration building from July 1970 to March 2006 was the 201,150-square-foot (18,687 m2) Hattie Mae White Administration Building, located at 3830 Richmond Avenue. The facility was labeled the "Taj Mahal" due to the counter-clockwise circular layout and the split-level floor pattern. The design made it difficult for wheelchair-bound individuals to navigate the building. The complex cost U.S.$6 million. The building had tropical indoor atriums, causing critics to criticize the spending priorities of the district. When the district considered cutting a popular kindergarten program for financial reasons, taxpayers voted many board members out of office. The district sold the former complex for $38 million to a company which demolished the site and developed a mixed-use commercial property; demolition began on September 14, 2006. Demolition crews destroyed the Will Rogers Elementary School, an adjacent elementary school located at 3101 Weslayan that closed in spring 2006. The former HISD administration building appears in the film The Thief Who Came to Dinner.
HISD has three athletic facility centers: Herman A. Barnett Sports Complex, Joe K. Butler Sports Complex, and the two-stadium Delmar - Dyer Sports Complex. Barnett has the capacity of 8,000 for American football and track games, 2,750 for basketball games, and 2,500 for soccer (football) games. Butler can seat 8,000 for American football and track games and 2,500 for basketabll games. Butler also has middle school and high school baseball fields, which have a seating capacity of 4,500. The Delmar American football stadium has a seating capacity of 12,500. The Delmar field house has a capacity of 5,400. The Delmar baseball field has a capacity of 1,500. The Delmar middle school stadium has 3,000. The Dyer Stadium has a seating capacity of 6,000 for American football and track games.
Notable employees and teachers
- J. Don Boney, former administrator
- Lyndon B. Johnson, a teacher who became the 36th President of the United States
- Laura Bush, a teacher at Kennedy Elementary School who later became the First Lady of the United States
- Alberto Gonzales, chair of the Commission for District Decentralization, later became United States Attorney General
- Edison E. Oberholtzer, former superintendent, founder and first president of the University of Houston
- Rod Paige, former superintendent, became the United States Secretary of Education
- List of school districts in Texas
- List of schools in Harris County, Texas
- Houston Area Independent Schools — association of Houston-area private schools.
- Facts and Figures About HISD
- Houston ISD automates lunch. eSchool News online
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- "Community Profile." Denver Harbor/Port Houston Super Neighborhood Community Health Assessment Report. St. Luke's Episcopal Health Charities.
- Angela Valenzuela Subtractive Schooling: U.S.-Mexican Youth and the Politics of Caring (New York: State University of New York Press, 1999) p. 39-49
- "LANGUAGES DRAWING STUDENTS Houston schools increase offerings to meet demands." Associated Press at The Dallas Morning News. Wednesday January 7, 1987. News 11B. Retrieved on November 28, 2011.
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- "The 'Texas Miracle'," CBS News
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- Schemo, Diana Jean. "For Houston Schools, College Claims Exceed Reality." The New York Times. August 28, 2003. 1.
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- "Eating It Up." Houston Press. 1.
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- "2000 Lyons Avenue, Houston, TX. Our new home." Saint Arnold Brewing Company. Retrieved on September 2, 2009.
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- "Guide to applying to HISD magnet programs and other tips." Houston Chronicle. November 3, 2010. Retrieved on November 5, 2010.
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- Markley, Melanie. "MAGNET FOR QUALITY/HISD program has `done a lot' for education." Houston Chronicle. Sunday November 5, 1995. A1.
- "Transfer policy hinders schools," Houston Chronicle, September 4, 2005
- "Facts and Figures." Houston Independent School District. Retrieved on October 4th, 2010.
- "White flight accompanies integration." Associated Press at the The Telegraph-Herald. Monday January 17, 1972. 6 Retrieved from Google Books (6 of 38) on October 3, 2011.
- Fleck, Tim. "What Went Wrong at the Rice School?." Houston Press. August 21, 1997. 3. Retrieved on September 8, 2009.
- Downing, Margaret. "Only 15 Percent Of HISD 9th-Graders End Up With A College Degree." Houston Press. Thursday June 17, 2010. Retrieved on June 17, 2010.
- Viren, Sarah. "BACK TO SCHOOL / Demographics may dictate uniformity / More HISD senior campuses requiring `standardized dress'." Houston Chronicle. Monday September 3, 2007. Section A, Page 1. Retrieved on October 25, 2011.
- Downing, Margaret. "Children of God." Houston Press. Wednesday December 22, 2010. 1. Retrieved on December 26, 2010.
- Downing, Margaret. "Children of God." Houston Press. Wednesday December 22, 2010. 2. Retrieved on December 26, 2010.
- "Organization." Houston Independent School District. June 2010. Retrieved on June 17, 2010.
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- "Districts and Superintendents." Houston Independent School District. October 30, 2001. Retrieved on May 6, 2009.
- "PACT Council Meeting Minutes." Herod Elementary School. Thursday November 4, 2004. Retrieved on May 7, 2009.
- "SMDC Minutes." Horn Academy. January 12, 2005. Retrieved on May 7, 2009.
- Downing, Margaret. "No Raises For HISD Employees (Updated)." Houston Press. Thursday June 24, 2010. Retrieved on June 26, 2010.
- "Instructional Media Television: The Knowledge Network," Houston Independent School District
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- "Bellaire City." United States Census Bureau. Retrieved on March 1, 2009.
- "City Map." City of West University Place. Retrieved on February 27, 2009.
- "Southside Place City." United States Census Bureau. Retrieved on February 27, 2009.
- "Missouri City City." United States Census Bureau. Retrieved on March 1, 2009.
- "Jacinto City City." United States Census Bureau. Retrieved on March 1, 2009.
- "Hunters Creek Village City." United States Census Bureau. Retrieved on February 27, 2009.
- "Piney Point Village City." United States Census Bureau. Retrieved on February 27, 2009.
- "Pearland City." United States Census Bureau. Retrieved on February 27, 2009.
- Texas Education Code, Section 130.182, "Houston Community College System District Service Area".
- "Airline%20ID%20Exhibit.pdf." Airline Improvement District. Retrieved on November 10, 2009.
- "Student Eligibility." Houston Independent School District. Accessed July 14, 2008.
- "Transportation." HISD Pre-K. Retrieved on May 20, 2009.
- Markley, Melanie. "Dressing for success/More schools have pupils don uniforms." Houston Chronicle. Saturday August 13, 1994. A29. Retrieved on October 25, 2011.
- Zubowski, Courtney. "HISD discusses measures to handle multi-million dollar budget crisis." KHOU. January 22, 2011. Retrieved on January 23, 2011.
- Radcliffe, Jennifer. "HISD landmark demolished / Known as district's `Taj Mahal,' it won't be missed by everyone / Tearing away its old image." Houston Chronicle. Friday September 15, 2006. B1 MetFront. Retrieved on May 29, 2009.
- Radcliffe, Jennifer. "Celebrating Black History Month Elected official Hattie Mae White." Houston Chronicle. February 13, 2011. Retrieved on July 10, 2011.
- "History." Sam Houston Math, Science & Technology Center. Retrieved on November 22, 2011.
- Gonzales, J.R. "Sam Houston High School (old)." Houston Chronicle. March 30, 2010. Retrieved on November 22, 2011.
- Google Maps  Retrieved on Oct 10, 2010
- "Stadiums." Houston Independent School District. Retrieved on September 2, 2012.
- "President Lyndon B. Johnson's Biography." Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum. Retrieved on January 29, 2009.
- "Laura Welch Bush." Embassy of the United States in Moscow. Retrieved on February 27, 2009.
- "Alberto Gonzales Former Attorney General." Whitehouse.gov. Retrieved on February 27, 2009.
- "Professor Edison E. Oberholtzer Papers, 1905-1967." University of Houston. Retrieved on February 27, 2009.
- "Former U.S. Education Secretary Rod Paige’s letter." Fort Worth Star-Telegram. February 26, 2009. Retrieved on February 27, 2009.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Houston Independent School District|
- HISDConnect (1997–2002) (Archives)
- Houston ISD Pre-K
- HISD Virtual School
- HISD Library Services
- Construction and Security Services
- HISD Benefits
- HISD Tax Office (Archive)
- Think HISD (Archive)
- List of schools in the HISD from GreatSchools.net