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Katy ISD is now accepting nominations for naming of the South, East and West transportation centers.  The Board of Trustees has authorized Superintendent Lance Hindt to solicit names and form a committee for the purpose of naming all three facilities.Katy ISD is now accepting nominations for naming of the South, East and West transportation centers.  The Board of Trustees has authorized Superintendent Lance Hindt to solicit names and form a committee for the purpose of naming all three facilities.Individuals interested in submitting a name are asked to review the Katy ISD Board Policy CW (Local) for specific facility naming guidelines, and submit a completed Nomination for Naming a New School or Facility Form.  Click here for guidelines and form.The Nomination for Naming a New School or Facility Form and all supplementary materials may be submitted in the following manner:
Via email:
By mail: Katy ISD School/Facility NamingCommunications DepartmentP.O. Box 159Katy, TX 77492-0159
Personal delivery: Education Support Complex (ESC)Communications Department6301 S. Stadium LaneKaty, TX  77494
Submissions must be received no later than 4:00 p.m. on August 1, 2017.

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Katy Independent School District Police Officer Shannon Dresser, who finished as first runner-up in the Miss United States Pageant in Orlando, Florida. (Photo courtesy Shannon Dresser)

By George Slaughter

Shannon Dresser, the Katy Independent School District police officer who in May was crowned Miss Texas United States, finished as first runner-up at the Miss United States Pageant Saturday night in Orlando, Florida.

Rachael Todd, Miss Florida United States, won the pageant.

As an officer, Dresser is involved in the Teen and Police Service Academy (TAPS), an international mentoring program that closes the gap between at-risk students and police officers. While students get an elective credit for their participation in this 13-week program, the mentoring has greater value. Topics covered include bullying, conflict management, and avoiding drug use and gangs, among others.

She has also been promoted as a K-9 officer, where she will be working with a Golden Labrador Retriever.

Dresser joined the Katy Independent School District Police Department in September 2015 after serving in the Honolulu Police Department. She had moved to Hawaii after accepting a scholarship to the University of Hawaii. Her parents are both retired sergeants with the Los Angeles Police Department. She grew up in Palmdale, California, which is north of Los Angeles.

Last year, Dresser was Miss West Houston United States. She competed in the Miss Texas United States Pageant, finishing as second runner-up. The winner of that pageant, Alayah Benavides, went on to become Miss United States.

The YMCA of Greater Houston aims to provide supplies and backpacks to 120,000 children


HOUSTON – YMCA Operation Backpack, an initiative of the YMCA of Greater Houston, is one of Texas’ largest back-to-school supply drives. In its 13th year, YMCA Operation Backpack is expecting to reach its highest goal to date by giving school supplies and/or a new backpack to 120,000 youngsters whose families struggle to make ends meet. Last year, the YMCA delivered backpacks and supplies to more than 105,000 children. Thirty-six school districts in the Houston area will benefit from the event.

This initiative is not possible without donors, however. Required school supplies can cost up to $200 per student, yet more than 25 percent of Houston-area children ages 17 and under live in poverty.

YMCA Operation Backpack will launch a month-long school supply drive on Tuesday, July 11 at the Houston Texans YMCA, 5202 Griggs Road. There, a group of 150 children will hand-pick supplies and stuff their own backpacks, creating an opportunity for interviews, photos and B roll from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

It’s easy to make donations from July 11-August 11:

  • Make a monetary donation or purchase pre-packaged school supplies and a backpack at any participating H-E-B at the checkout stand. Your donation will directly support your local YMCA.
  • Text the word SCHOOL to 91999 to make a monetary donation.
  • Visit org to make a monetary donation.
  • Visit org for a list of school supplies if you wish to purchase them individually. Supplies and backpacks can be dropped off at any YMCA or at designated sites specified on the YMCA website.

Partners of YMCA Operation Backpack are: ABC13/KTRK-TV, 89.3 KSBJ and H-E-B. Sponsors include: Kidde/The Home Depot, CITGO, The UPS Store Houston locations, Shoe Carnival and Greater Houston Honda Dealers.

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By Sarah Wilson, Texas A&M University College of Architecture

COLLEGE STATION, July 5, 2017 — Outside a pop-up medical clinic in Webb County, Texas, a wide-eyed woman stood in shocked silence, suddenly able to see the world in sharp focus for the first time after receiving a pair of glasses from Operation Health and Wellness, a Texas A&M Colonias Program collaboration with the U.S. Army Reserve and Navy to bring hundreds of low-income community residents necessary and no cost health services.

Even the most basic health care is often too costly for inhabitants of South Texas colonias — impoverished, relatively undeveloped villages on the U.S. side of the Texas-Mexico border.

Operation Health and Wellness, the first such Army-Navy collaboration with the Colonias Program, offered access to military doctors, nurses, opticians and personnel in the U.S. Army Reserve Center at Laredo Community College. The medical team included student volunteers from Texas A&M Corpus Christi College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Texas A&M International University, and Texas A&M Health Science Center who provided translation services and filled in as needed.

“I’ve never seen this much help for us before,” said Juanita Martinez, a 64-year-old Santa Teresita resident, who came in for an eye exam and reading glasses. “There are a lot of us who don’t have the means to pay for a doctor. If this could be done once a year, that would really help us a lot.”

The military personnel acted within the Department of Defense’s Innovative Readiness Training initiative, a civil-military program that builds mutually beneficial partnerships between U.S. communities and the DoD. In addition to providing help to local communities, the operation allows soldiers to train on equipment and spend time helping local people, according to U.S. Army Sgt. Ruben Carlos Solomon.

“I’ve done similar medical clinics in Iraq,” Solomon said. “The activity was a lot more dangerous there. Everyone here is very supportive. People from the area have brought food out and expressed their support for the program. It’s been a very positive experience.”

In addition to medical check-ups, eye exams and dental work, the medical teams have also been able to identify potential future health problems and advise patients on how to avoid or treat them.

“One resident came in for just a checkup and one of the doctors detected a heart murmur,” said Oscar J. Muñoz, Colonias Program director. “He was referred to a nearby clinic for further examination. To know this project saved a life, and possibly many others is the greatest reward we can have.”

Muñoz said his office is working to bring more, similar operations to Laredo and expand them to other border regions. For patients who were seen and need follow-up care, he said, a federally funded community health center in Laredo has agreed to serve those patients for little or no cost.

The two-week Operation Health and Wellness initiative ended June 29.

25 years of service to the Colonias

Operation Health and Wellness coincides with the 25th year of the Texas A&M Colonias Program. Established by the Texas Legislature in 1991 and housed within the Texas A&M College of Architecture, the Colonias Program strives to enhance the quality of life and the quality of place for residents in the unincorporated, unregulated, substandard settlements on the border. Extending its service to underdeveloped communities across Texas, the Colonias Program serves nearly a million residents every year through 42 resource centers, creating sustainable solutions to local challenges.

With the goal of increasing residents’ abilities to become self-sufficient, enhancing the overall quality of life for the individual and for the community, these centers provide access to a wide array of social programs such as educational services, dropout prevention and literacy, graduate equivalency and job training and referrals, vital health and human services, and economic and community development assistance.

The heart and soul of the program are the “promotoras,” specially trained colonia residents who work door-to-door throughout their communities, disseminating useful knowledge to help bridge language and cultural communication barriers that exist between their often-isolated neighbors in need and social service providers.


Celebrate the annual reunion of Japan’s iconic star-crossed lovers with cultural activities!

Saturday, July 8, beginning at 10 a.m.

In partnership with the Consulate General of Japan in Houston 

The Fort Bend Children’s Discovery Center and the Consulate General of Japan in Houston would like to invite you to celebrate the Make a Wish! “Tanabata 七夕” Japanese Star Celebration. As legend is told in Japanese culture, two star-crossed lovers, Vega and Altair, are separated by the Milky Way. They are allowed to meet only once a year on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month. This reunion marks the celebration of Tanabata (meaning the evening of the seventh).


  • Tanzaku: Write down a wish on a card and hang it on a bamboo tree at OcuSOFT® Art Academy.
  • Origami: Master the art of Japanese paper folding by making stars at OcuSOFT® Art Academy.
  • Tanabata Postcard: Decorate a postcard to mail to your friends at OcuSOFT® Art Academy.


  • Lemon- Powered Clock: convert lemons into battery cells to design a clock at Science Station.
  • Sonic Screwdriver: Assemble your own handy dandy screwdriver like Doctor Who at Junktion.
  • Back in Time Watch: Design a watch which would help you travel through time at Junktion.
  • Steampunk Time Traveler: Design the perfect time travel accessory at Junktion.


Make a Wish! “Tanabata 七夕” Japanese Star Celebration

July 8, 2017 from 10 a.m. to noon

***Activities, events and times subject to change.


Fort Bend Children’s Discovery Center, 198 Kemper St., Sugar Land, TX, 77498


  • MUSEUM HOURS: – Sat.: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • General Museum admission: $12 per person and $11 for seniors 65+. Children under one and Museum Members receive free admission.
  • For more information, visit or call (832) 742-2800.

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Cortez Granted the 2017 Cesar Chavez Spirit Award for Leadership Award in San Antonio 

Texas State Board of Education Board Secretary Ruben Cortez (D- Brownsville) was honored as the recipient of the 2017 Cesar Chavez Spirit Award for Leadership by the Cesar E. Chavez Legacy and Educational Foundation (CECLEF). The CECLEF has a long history of social advocacy and established to preserve the life & legacy of Cesar E. Chavez, legendary American labor leader and civil rights activist.

Isidro Garza, Jr., CECLEF Board Member, stated “Through SBOE Member Cortez’s continuous advocacy, leadership and uncanny ability to bring clarity and focus to political battles, the topics that matter most to Texans and the future of our children have been better approached by the Texas State Board of Education. He has been a policy-oriented champion for proper depictions of minorities in textbooks, strengthened educational resources and proper educational standards.Member Cortez’s foresight and willingness to reach across the political aisle for the greater good of our Nation embodies the essence of the Cesar E. Chavez Legacy and solidified him as our Spirit Award for Leadership champion.”

Secretary Cortez stated “The future of a strong Texas lies in people’s ability to recognize wrong and do good by all Texans. I am proud of my work to have this Board recognize the contributions of Mexican-Americans throughout Texas and the US and unanimously reject that atrocious textbook. While it was a long road, full of uncertainty and political topics, I found strength and inspiration in the journies of figures like Cesar E. Chavez who fought for human rights and equity– it was my duty to ensure that his legacy along with millions of others did not fall victim to politics.  I am humbled to be recognized by the CECLEF and vow to continue embodying the spirit of Cesar E. Chavez.

Hon. Cortez will join notable figures like Mr. Charles Butt, HEB Chairman, and Mr. Jeff Moseley, CEO of Texas Association of Business.


 Hindus are urging all public school districts and private-charter-independent schools in Texas to close on Diwali, most popular of their festival, which falls on October 19 this year.

Many public school districts in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania have already reportedly declared day-off for students on October 19.

Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, said it if would be a step in the positive direction, as it was important to meet the religious and spiritual needs of Hindu pupils.

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, indicated that schools should make efforts to accommodate the religious requirements of Hindu students and show respect to their faith by not conducting regular business and scheduling classes on Diwali. We did not want our students to be put at an unnecessary disadvantage for missing tests/examinations/papers, assignments, class work, etc., by taking a day-off to observe Diwali.

If schools had declared other religious holidays, why not Diwali, Rajan Zed asked. Holidays of all major religions should be honored and no one should be penalized for practicing their religion, Zed added.

Zed suggested all Texas schools, public-private-charter-independent, to seriously look into declaring Diwali as an official holiday, thus recognizing the intersection of spirituality and education. Zed noted that awareness about other religions thus created by such holidays like Diwali would make Texas students well-nurtured, well-balanced, and enlightened citizens of tomorrow.

Rajan Zed urged Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Texas Commissioner of Education Mike Morath and Texas State Board of Education Chair Donna Bahorich; to work towards adding Diwali as an official holiday in all the state’s public schools, and persuading the private-charter-independent schools to follow.

Zed further says that Hinduism is rich in festivals and religious festivals are very dear and sacred to Hindus. Diwali, the festival of lights, aims at dispelling the darkness and lighting up the lives and symbolizes the victory of good over evil.

Hinduism is oldest and third largest religion of the world with about 1.1 billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal. There are about three million Hindus in USA.

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Elizabeth Moreland-Mason, Instructional Officer for Special Education Curriculum and Instruction K-12 for Katy ISD, has been selected as a 2017 Texas A&M University Dean’s Roundtable honoree. The College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) recently honored Moreland-Mason among 28 other transformational leaders from across the state for being excellent role models, mentors and servant leaders in their communities.

Established by Dr. Jane Stallings in 1991, the Dean’s Roundtable has recognized more than 550 individuals who positively impact the lives of people throughout Texas and beyond.

Moreland-Mason’s goal is to ensure that Katy ISD campuses and teachers have the support they need to implement high quality programming in their classrooms for special education students. She supervises programs for students in LIFE Skills, Resource and In-Class Support. As part of her 33-year career, she has worked collaboratively in many different settings, from special opportunity support, autism programs as well as in a general classroom environment. Teaching children with special needs has always been her passion. She is the author of two books and has conducted staff development and training related to goal writing, state assessment for students with intellectual disabilities and programming for students with multiple disabilities.

(Harris County, TX) – The Harris County Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management (HCOHSEM) received an Award of Excellence for its ReadyHarris app from the Texas Association of Municipal Information Officers (TAMIO) at its annual conference this June. 

“We are honored to be recognized by communication professionals from around the state for our mobile app,” said Harris County Judge Ed Emmett. “The ReadyHarris app helps our residents better prepare and stay informed during emergencies.” 

The ReadyHarris app delivers real-time weather alerts, hosts a step-by-step guide to building a personalized family disaster plan, offers survival tip sheets, maps evacuation routes, and locates local emergency services.  

“Every minute counts when severe weather, or any emergency, threatens our community,” said Emmett. “The ReadyHarris app empowers residents to make a personal plan and receive life-saving information at their fingertips.” 

Since its release, the ReadyHarris app has been successfully promoted mainly through social media. In just a few months, the app has been downloaded more than 12,300 times. This free app is available at the Apple App Store and Google Play in both English and Spanish. 

The TAMIO awards recognize outstanding communication products in various categories including, website, social media, video production and publications. Judging is conducted by non-TAMIO members with expertise in communications and local government.

(June 28, 2017) – Katy ISD is now accepting nominations for naming of the South, East and West transportation centers.  The Board of Trustees has authorized Superintendent Lance Hindt to solicit names and form a committee for the purpose of naming all three facilities.

Individuals interested in submitting a name are asked to review the Katy ISD Board Policy CW (Local) for specific facility naming guidelines, and submit a completed Nomination for Naming a New School or Facility Form.  Click here for guidelines and form.

The Nomination for Naming a New School or Facility Form and all supplementary materials may be submitted in the following manner:

Communications Department

P.O. Box 159

Katy, TX 77492-0159

  • Personal delivery to: Education Support Complex (ESC)

Communications Department

6301 S. Stadium Lane

Katy, TX  77494

Submissions must be received no later than 4:00 p.m. on August 1, 2017.