HISD Awards $35 Million to Schools for Student Achievements

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The Houston Independent School District on Tuesday handed out awards to teachers for student high scores on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) test. The ASPIRE Award program is part of an ongoing effort to reward teachers for the success of their students.

According to an HISD press release, $35 million is being paid to 12,390 campus employees -- mostly classroom teachers -- this year. Some 9,162 teachers will receive $30.5 million with an average award of $3,324.26. Four teachers received $10,300 each including Debra Bunton (Highland Heights Elementary), Marcos Giannotti (Hobby Elementary), Chavis Mitchell (Osborne Elementary) and Stephanie Spurling (Hartsfield Elementary).

"These teachers personify the firmly held belief shared by all members of Team HISD that every child has the ability to excel in the classroom under the guidance of quality teachers working in schools led by great principals," said HISD Superintendent Terry Grier. "The value that HISD educators bring to our city is immeasurable and these ASPIRE Awards are one way of recognizing the impact they have on our children."

Schools with the highest average core teacher awards were:

Elementary Schools

Hartsfield - $7,610.00 Osborne - $7,275.36 Highland Heights - $7,053.39 Hobby - $7,025.49 Felix Cook - $6,678.28

Middle Schools

Kaleidoscope - $7,975.00 Grady - $7,514.71 Pin Oak - $6,750.00 Fondren - $6,568.75 Burbank - $6,302.08

High Schools

Eastwood Academy - $7,612.82 DeBakey - $7,454.42 Sharpstown - $7,140.31 North Houston Early College - $7,055.56 Lee - $6,697.69

Changes made to make the criteria tougher this year resulted in an 18 percent decrease in the number of awards handed out to teachers and a 25 percent decrease to campus-based employees.

According to an HISD release, the awards are paid from a combination of funding sources including a state grant ($12 million), a federal grant ($4.5 million) and the HISD general fund ($18.5 million).

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