Katy Independent School District

The Katy Independent School District (KISD) is a public school district based in Katy, Texas, United States with an enrollment of over 85,700 students. In 2022, the district was given a grade of "A" by the Texas Education Agency.[4]

Katy Independent School District Or KISD
Location
Katy, TX, Fulshear TX
Katy, Texas
United States
District information
TypePublic
MottoBe the Legacy
GradesPre-K – 12
EstablishedFebruary 25, 1919 [1]
SuperintendentKenneth Gregorski
Schools74 [2]
BudgetUS$1.108 billion (2021-22)[2]
NCES District ID4825170[3]
Students and staff
Students88,693 [2]
Teachers5,603 [2]
Staff11,018 [2]
Student–teacher ratio15.83
Other information
WebsiteOfficial Website
Leonard E. Merrell Center
Katy School 1899-1909 Elementary School 1909-1927
Katy High School building 1909-1947
Elementary School addition 1927-1951

The district serves 181 square miles (469 km2) in parts of Harris County, Fort Bend County and Waller County. Most of the district lies within the boundaries of the City of Houston, the City of Katy or their municipalities' extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ). Unincorporated areas in Katy ISD include Barker, Cinco Ranch, and Cimarron.[5]

All residential areas of the district are assigned to an elementary school, a junior high school, and a high school by subdivision.

History edit

During the 2004–2005 school year Katy ISD began a new and revolutionary program in the history of the district, with the use of random drug testing for all individuals involved in UIL competitive organizations, student leaders of any official school clubs, and anyone wishing to park on campus.[6] This caused much controversy prior to its instatement. Many parents complained to the school district, citing the new policy as the violation of individual rights. The district responded to this by having every student who wished to participate in the said activities sign a waiver granting the school district to test them randomly. This matter had already been settled by the Supreme Court of the United States as constitutional before KISD chose to implement it. In 2019, Katy ISD celebrated 100 years since being founded.[7]

In 2015, the two sections of the Thornwood subdivision served by KISD proposed being removed from KISD and placed in the Spring Branch Independent School District. The boards of both school districts denied the proposal.[8]

In March 2020, classes, campus events, field trips, student trips and competitions were postponed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic in Texas. Virtual learning was put in place using Canvas, and was extended throughout the 2020-2021 school year during which two options were offered for returning students. The first involved in-person instruction, combining face-to-face teaching with digital learning through Canvas, including daily attendance tracking. The second option, the Katy Virtual Academy (KVA), offered real-time, live instruction via Canvas, allowing students to follow the KISD curriculum and meet Texas graduation requirements. Both in-person and virtual students adhered to the same grading guidelines, but the attendance requirement for the fall 2020 final exam eligibility was waived, allowing high school students to exempt a final exam if they met semester average and behavior requirements.[9]

In adherence to safety measures, facial coverings were mandated for all district staff and students in grades 4 through 12, while students in pre-k through grade 3 were encouraged to wear face coverings. The protocol also included instructional day temperature checks for new district enrollees and late arrival students.[9]

District awards edit

Blue Ribbon Schools[10]

  • Edna Mae Fielder Elementary 1999
  • Zelma Hutsell Elementary 2001
  • Katy Elementary 2006
  • Memorial Parkway Elementary 1999
  • Hazel S. Pattison Elementary 1994
  • Diane Winborn Elementary 2012
  • Rodger and Ellen Beck Junior High 2002
  • Memorial Parkway Junior High 2000
  • Cinco Ranch High 2008
  • Katy High 1998
  • James E. Taylor High 1996

Controversies edit

Lance Hindt edit

Lance Hindt, who served as the district's superintendent from 2016 to 2018, was an alumnus of Katy Taylor High School.[11]

During a school board meeting in March 2018, an individual named Greg Gay (also known as Greg Barrett) spoke during a public forum segment of the meeting, and accused Hindt of shoving his head in a urinal when they were both enrolled in a secondary school within the district, and said the incident drove him to the brink of suicide.[12][13] Hindt denied Gay's allegations, claiming he will only be judged by God, despite being recorded giggling in reaction to Gay's testimony.[13]

Following the incident, Alabama judge David Carpenter also accused Hindt of bullying during their secondary school years. While Carpenter said that he was not a victim of Hindt's bullying, he has witnessed "frightening, intense and near constant" bullying of weaker classmates by Hindt. Carpenter even labeled Hindt a "thug".[12]

Prior to the incidents' surfacing, Hindt was noted to have taken very public stance against bullying.[14]

At around the same time, a man named Sean Dolan ran Hindt's dissertation through a software, and discovered that it matched with another paper, leading to accusations of plagiarism.[15][16] The University of Houston administration stated that it would investigate the matter.[17]

After an 18-month investigation, the University of Houston removed Hindt's dissertation from their official website. In May 2018, Hindt announced his resignation and retirement effective January 1, 2019, saying that he cannot fulfill his duties as superintendent and that he had done "dumb things".[18] The district agreed to pay $955,795 as severance, a payment which violated Texas Education Code Section 11.201 and resulted in a loss of $513,755 in funding.[19]

To pursue any defamation claims on behalf of Hindt, the district hired the law firm Feldman and Feldman.[20]

Hindt would later campaign for the KISD board members who had defended him and arranged his huge severance bonus.[21]

The district has been criticized for its perceived inaction on Hindt's plagiarism allegations, which critics say runs afoul of the district's responsibility to provide an ethical education to its students.[16] The district's decision to retain a law firm for possible defamation lawsuits was also criticized as possibly an act of bullying in and of itself by the district against its critics,[16] or even an attempt by a taxpayer-funded entity to silence those who were thinking about criticizing a public official.[22]

Intellectual censorship edit

In October 2021, author Jerry Craft was scheduled to speak to fourth and fifth graders about his graphic novels New Kid and Class Act. Parents in the district claimed the books taught critical race theory and started an online petition, prompting the district to cancel the author visit and remove the book from school libraries. Craft was later invited again for a visit to the district, and the books were reinstated in libraries with a restricted audience.[23][24][25]

During a school board meeting in November 2021, Seven Lakes High School senior and student activist Cameron Samuels spoke during a public forum segment of the meeting to claim the district was blocking student internet access to the Trevor Project and other websites supporting the LGBTQ+ community.[26][27] Students, including Samuels, started a petition soon after that garnered almost two thousand signatures within a few months and drew national attention to the district.[28]

The district defended blocking access to the Trevor Project by claiming it violated the Children's Internet Protection Act with its chat features. In December 2021 and January 2022, following formal complaints by Samuels, the district unblocked the websites of four organizations supporting the LGBTQ+ community: the Montrose Center, the Human Rights Campaign, PFLAG, and GLSEN.[29][30][31][32] The filter was eventually brought down after a complaint and letter delivered by the ACLU of Texas on behalf of Samuels.[33][34]

In February 2022, NBC senior investigative reporter Mike Hixenbaugh and NBC correspondent Antonia Hylton published a report on books disappearing in record numbers from Texas schools, especially those in Katy ISD. The district's superintendent, Dr. Kenneth Gregorski, sent a parent communication to clarify the district's policy regarding removing books from schools, which includes various methods for parent input.[35][36]

The Houston Chronicle reported in February 2022 that Samuels and other students planned to distribute challenged books to students during a "FReadom Week" initiative, including Maus by Art Spiegelman and Beloved by Toni Morrison.[37] In response to the distribution of hundreds of books, the district initiated an internal review of Maus. Students and parents spoke against banning Maus during the public forum segment of the March 2022 board meeting, and the district announced its decision later that week to keep the book in middle school libraries.[38][39]

The ACLU of Texas delivered a letter to school board members and the superintendent in April 2022 claiming that the district's book removals violated the First Amendment, the Texas Constitution, and the district's own policies.[40]

After a district parent filed a criminal complaint against Mike Curato's Flamer in the Jordan High School library, district police temporarily removed the book for an investigation. The book had already been deemed appropriate for high schools by a book review committee in March, and the police concurred.[41][42]

At the August 2022 board meeting, the board discussed the first read of a proposed EF local policy update. Ten students from the Cinco Ranch High School Gay-Straight Alliance, led by student Logan McLean, spoke in support of adding students to the reconsideration committees for instructional materials. The policy was passed at the next meeting without the inclusion of students or explicit inclusion of librarians in the committees.[43][44] McLean had planned to hold a book distribution at the start of the 2022-2023 school year with the GSA club, but school administrators claimed that prior review was necessary and confiscated the books.[45]

Demographics edit

In, Hispanic and Latino people made up 34.4% of the student body. This is related to the Venezuelan American community established in Greater Katy. Prior to the growth of the Venezuelan community, circa the 1990s, the main Hispanic and Latino population in Greater Katy was Mexican American.[46]

Schools edit

High schools edit

 
Cinco Ranch High School

Note: In addition, the Katy ISD website lists under high schools:

  • Miller Career & Technology Center[47] - Offers students from other campuses specialized career and technology programs as well as core classes.
  • Opportunity Awareness Center[48] - The discipline alternative campus for the school district.
  • Martha Raines Academy[49] - A project-based learning campus that allows students to earn credits at an accelerated pace.

Junior high schools edit

  • Joe M. Adams Junior High (Fulshear) (Est. 2019)
  • Rodger and Ellen Beck Junior High (Unincorporated Fort Bend County) (Est. 1996)
  • Beckendorff Junior High (Unincorporated Fort Bend County) (Est. 2004)
  • Cardiff Junior High (Unincorporated Harris County) (Est. 2008)
  • Cinco Ranch Junior High (Unincorporated Fort Bend County) (Est. 2001)
  • Cindy Haskett Junior High (Unincorporated Harris County) (Est. 2021)
  • Katy Junior High (Katy) (Est. 1965 next to Katy High, present location 1995)
  • Mayde Creek Junior High (Unincorporated Harris County) (Est. 1980)
  • T. H. McDonald Junior High (Unincorporated Harris County) (Est. 1991)
  • Garland McMeans Junior High (Unincorporated Harris County) (Est. 2000)
  • Memorial Parkway Junior High (Unincorporated Harris County) (Est. 1982)
  • Morton Ranch Junior High (Unincorporated Harris County) (Est. 2003)
  • Seven Lakes Junior High (Unincorporated Fort Bend County) (Est. 2012)
  • Stockdick Junior High (Unincorporated Harris County) (Est. 2017)
  • James and Sharon Tays Junior High (Unincorporated Fort Bend County) (Est. 2016)
  • West Memorial Junior High (Unincorporated Harris County) (Est. 1976)
  • Woodcreek Junior High (Katy) (Est. 2008)

Elementary schools edit

  • Roosevelt Alexander Elementary (Unincorporated Fort Bend County) (Est. 1998)
  • Bear Creek Elementary (Unincorporated Harris County) (Est. 1978)
  • Catherine Bethke Elementary (Unincorporated Harris County) (Est. 2016)
  • Robert and Felice Bryant Elementary (Unincorporated Waller County) (Est. 2017)
  • Amy Campbell Elementary (Fulshear) (Est. 2018)
  • Cimarron Elementary (Unincorporated Harris County) (Est. 1980)
  • Betty Sue Creech Elementary (Unincorporated Fort Bend County) (Est. 2000)
  • Keiko Davidson Elementary (Unincorporated Fort Bend County) (Est. 2014)
  • Jo Ella Exley Elementary (Unincorporated Fort Bend County) (Est. 2004)
  • Edna Mae Fielder Elementary (Unincorporated Fort Bend County) (Est. 1993)
  • Franz Elementary (Unincorporated Harris County) (Est. 2004)
  • Loraine T. Golbow Elementary (Unincorporated Harris County) (Est. 1989)
  • Michael Griffin Elementary (Unincorporated Fort Bend County) (Est. 2006)
  • Jeanette Hayes Elementary (Unincorporated Harris County) (Est. 1995)
  • Bonnie Holland Elementary (Unincorporated Fort Bend County) (Est. 2008)
  • Zelma Hutsell Elementary (Katy) (Est. 1978)
  • MayDell Jenks Elementary (Unincorporated Fort Bend County) (Est. 2016)
  • Katy Elementary (Katy) (Est. 1951, present location 1965)
  • Kilpatrick Elementary (Unincorporated Fort Bend County) (Est. 2003)
  • Robert E. King Elementary (Unincorporated Harris County) (Est. 2001)
  • Olga Leonard Elementary (Unincorporated Harris County) (Est. 2019)
  • Mayde Creek Elementary (Unincorporated Harris County) (Est. 1983)
  • Peter McElwain Elementary (Unincorporated Harris County) (Est. 2020)
  • Polly Ann McRoberts Elementary (Unincorporated Harris County) (Est. 1997)
  • Memorial Parkway Elementary (Unincorporated Harris County) (Est. 1978)
  • Morton Ranch Elementary (Unincorporated Harris County) (Est. 2008)
  • Nottingham Country Elementary (Unincorporated Harris County) (Est. 1981)
  • Hazel S. Pattison Elementary (Unincorporated Harris County) (Est. 1989)
  • James E. Randolph Elementary (Fulshear) (Est. 2014)
  • Rhoads Elementary (Unincorporated Harris County) (Est. 2004)
  • Robertson Elementary (Unincorporated Harris County) (Est. 2022)
  • Rylander Elementary (Unincorporated Fort Bend County) (Est. 2004)
  • Betty and Jean Schmalz Elementary (Unincorporated Harris County) (Est. 2001)
  • Fred and Patti Shafer Elementary (Unincorporated Fort Bend County) (Est. 2012)
  • Stan Stanley Elementary (Unincorporated Harris County) (Est. 2009)
  • Stephens Elementary (Unincorporated Harris County) (Est. 2007)
  • Sundown Elementary (Unincorporated Harris County) (Est. 1982)
  • West Memorial Elementary (Unincorporated Harris County) (Est. 1974)
  • James E. Williams Elementary (Unincorporated Fort Bend County) (Est. 2000)
  • Tom Wilson Elementary (Unincorporated Fort Bend County) (Est. 2012)
  • Diane Winborn Elementary (Unincorporated Harris County) (Est. 1981)
  • Maurice L. Wolfe Elementary (Houston) (Est. 2012)
  • Ray and Jamie Wolman Elementary (Unincorporated Fort Bend County) (Est. 2012)
  • Wood Creek Elementary (Katy) (Est. 2007)

Support facilities edit

Other campuses edit

  • Katy ISD Virtual School
  • Robert R. Shaw Center for STEAM
  • Simon Youth Academy

Katy ISD maintains and updates District Growth and Facilities Planning Studies.[51]

Departments edit

The Katy ISD Police Department was created in 1989 because the district had jurisdictional issues and low response times from other police agencies.[52]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ "100 Year Anniversary". www.katyisd.org.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Katy ISD Public Dashboard". www.katyisd.org.
  3. ^ "Search for Public School Districts – District Detail for Katy ISD". National Center for Education Statistics. Institute of Education Sciences. Retrieved January 5, 2022.
  4. ^ "Texas Education Agency 2022 Accountability Ratings Overall Summary: Katy ISD". tea.texas.gov. Retrieved August 27, 2023.
  5. ^ Johnson, Trish. "Location helps make Cimarron popular." Houston Chronicle. April 7, 2009. Retrieved on March 25, 2010.
  6. ^ {{cite web In 2019, Katy ISD celebrated 100 years since being founded. | title = Random Drug-Testing Program Question and Answers | publisher = Katy Independent School District | date = June 3, 2006 | url = http://www.katyzerotolerance.com/Webedition3/Graphics/KISDDocs/drug_QA.pdf | access-date = October 16, 2007 }}
  7. ^ Bretting, Sandra (May 27, 2004). "Random Drug-Testing Program Question and Answers". Katy Independent School District. Retrieved October 16, 2007.
  8. ^ Herrera, Sebastian (July 29, 2015). "Spring Branch ISD denies subdivision petition to join district, leave Katy ISD". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved November 20, 2019.
  9. ^ a b Intern, Sandra Sadek | Times Editorial (July 15, 2020). "KISD prepares for return to school". Katy Times. Retrieved January 18, 2024.
  10. ^ "NBRS Previous Awardees". nationalblueribbonschools.ed.gov. Retrieved August 24, 2023.
  11. ^ Alfonso, Fernando (April 2, 2018). "Judge claims Katy ISD superintendent was a 'vicious bully' in school". Houston Chronicle.
  12. ^ a b Glenn, Mike (January 7, 2019). "Lance Hindt's final year at Katy ISD". Associated Press. Retrieved March 1, 2021.
  13. ^ a b Groogan, Greg (March 27, 2018). "More brutality emerging in Katy ISD superintendent's past". FOX 26 Houston. Retrieved August 17, 2018.
  14. ^ Groogan, Greg (March 26, 2018). "Judge says Katy superintendent was once a 'vicious bully'". FOX 26 Houston. Retrieved March 1, 2021.
  15. ^ Ketterer, Samantha (August 3, 2018). "Higher education leader asks UH to investigate plagiarism claims against Katy ISD superintendent". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved August 17, 2018.
  16. ^ a b c Lieber, Dave (February 27, 2020). "After the Allen ISD superintendent left to lead his hometown district, the wheels came off his career". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved March 1, 2021.
  17. ^ Glenn, Mike (October 28, 2018). "UH says it 'thoroughly investigates' plagiarism allegation against Hindt". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved November 20, 2019.
  18. ^ Simon, Erica (May 11, 2018). "Katy ISD superintendent's resignation effective Jan. 1, 2019". KTRK-TV. Retrieved March 1, 2021.
  19. ^ Reporter, R. Hans Miller | Times Senior (March 3, 2020). "KISD penalized more than $500K for Hindt payout". Katy Times. Retrieved October 4, 2020.
  20. ^ Glenn, Mike (May 12, 2018). "Katy ISD's Lance Hindt resigns top job, will get $750,000 payout". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved August 17, 2018.
  21. ^ Glenn, Mike (April 17, 2019). "Ex-Superintendent Lance Hindt endorses Katy ISD board candidates". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved October 4, 2020.
  22. ^ Blain, Charles (May 10, 2018). "Katy ISD Votes to Sue Complaining Citizen". Texas Scorecard. Retrieved March 1, 2021.
  23. ^ Rhodes, Syan (October 26, 2021). "Award-winning children's author speaks to Katy ISD students after critical race theory controversy". KPRC. Retrieved April 22, 2022.
  24. ^ Garcia, Ariana (October 15, 2021). "Book accused of promoting critical race theory reinstated by Katy ISD". Chron. Retrieved April 22, 2022.
  25. ^ KTRK (October 15, 2021). "Book pulled from from Katy ISD after parent petition is now back on library shelves". ABC13 Houston. Retrieved April 22, 2022.
  26. ^ Dellinger, Hannah (November 24, 2021). "'It needs to be accessible by all': Katy ISD blocks LGBTQ+ resources, suicide prevention website". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved April 22, 2022.
  27. ^ Childers, Shelley (December 14, 2021). "Katy ISD continues to block LGBTQ+ resource websites as student appeals for change again". ABC13 Houston. Retrieved April 22, 2022.
  28. ^ Lee, Josephine (January 11, 2022). "At one Texas school, LGBTQ teens call onslaught of hostile laws "matter of life and death"". Salon. Retrieved April 22, 2022.
  29. ^ "Katy ISD reviewing LGBTQ-related websites after backlash over blocking them". khou.com. December 14, 2021. Retrieved April 22, 2022.
  30. ^ "Texas continues to remove LGBTQ suicide prevention resources from state websites". NBC News. March 2, 2022. Retrieved April 22, 2022.
  31. ^ "Katy ISD Unblocks Four LGBTQ Websites". OutSmart Magazine. January 24, 2022. Retrieved April 22, 2022.
  32. ^ Ernst, Sara Willa (January 25, 2022). "Katy ISD unblocks some LGBTQ websites after public complaints, but others remain banned". Houston Public Media. Retrieved April 22, 2022.
  33. ^ "Katy ISD reverses course, allows access to LGBTQ+ internet resources previously filtered out". khou.com. September 16, 2022. Retrieved December 22, 2022.
  34. ^ Dellinger, Hannah (September 16, 2022). "Katy ISD unblocks LGBTQ+ websites following year of student advocacy, ACLU letter". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved December 22, 2022.
  35. ^ "Book banning in Texas schools: Titles are pulled off library shelves in record numbers". NBC News. February 2, 2022. Retrieved April 22, 2022.
  36. ^ "Mike Hixenbaugh: Banned library books". Twitter. Retrieved April 22, 2022.
  37. ^ Dellinger, Hannah (February 18, 2022). "Katy ISD students organize to distribute books about racism, LGBTQ+ issues". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved April 22, 2022.
  38. ^ Dellinger, Hannah (March 25, 2022). "Katy ISD reviewing whether Holocaust novels 'Maus,' 'Maus II' are appropriate for students". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved April 22, 2022.
  39. ^ Dellinger, Hannah (April 6, 2022). "Katy ISD decides Holocaust novels 'Maus' and 'Maus II' are appropriate for middle school and up". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved April 22, 2022.
  40. ^ Dellinger, Hannah (April 21, 2022). "ACLU demands Houston-area school districts to stop removing books and apologize to students". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved April 22, 2022.
  41. ^ "A Texas woman went to the cops about an actual library book". Literary Hub. August 24, 2022. Retrieved December 22, 2022.
  42. ^ Owen, Greg (August 23, 2022). "Texas Karen calls cops over gay graphic novel". LGBTQ Nation. Retrieved December 22, 2022.
  43. ^ Slaughter, George (September 2022). "Advocates promote student inclusion on Katy ISD book review committee". Katy Times. Retrieved December 22, 2022.
  44. ^ Dellinger, Hannah (September 27, 2022). "Katy ISD now requires parent permission for secondary students to check out classroom library books". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved December 22, 2022.
  45. ^ Walsh, Dominic Anthony (December 13, 2022). "Katy school students come together as censorship of LGBTQ+ voices ramps up". Houston Public Media. Retrieved December 22, 2022.
  46. ^ Herrera, Sebastian (March 15, 2016). "Why some call this area 'Katy-zuela'". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved December 16, 2023.
  47. ^ "Katy ISD MCTC". katyisd.org. Retrieved September 1, 2019.
  48. ^ "Opportunity Awareness Center". katyisd.org. Retrieved August 27, 2023.
  49. ^ "Martha Raines Academy". katyisd.org. Retrieved August 27, 2023.
  50. ^ "Katy ISD approves name of second stadium - Community Impact Newspaper". communityimpact.com. February 28, 2017.
  51. ^ "Katy ISD Demographic Study" (PDF). katyisd.org. November 14, 2022. Retrieved August 27, 2023.
  52. ^ Gordon, Cathy. "Katy ISD solves jurisdiction problem with creation of its own police force." Houston Chronicle. February 26, 1989. Section C p. 1W. Available at NewsBank, Record: 02*26*606156, accessible from the website of the Houston Public Library with a library card.

External links edit