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Please reference the Frequently Requested section of the Heights High School website for the most up-to-date information about things like Dress Code, the Academic Calendar, and the Student Handbook.
Heights HS FAQ by PTO Parents
****Caveat: The PTO is run by volunteers, meaning we are all parents just like you, only our kids have been in high school a little longer! And some things do change. We are answering to the best of our ability, but of course, the school itself should have the final word on anything. Updated 9/14/23.***
There have been a lot of questions about whether students will receive schedules at Pup Camp. The short answer is no. Pup Camp is held fairly early in August and typically the schedules are not ready by that time (creating schedules for over 2,400 students is an involved process). Pup Camp will involve a more general orientation to the school. And, while kids will not be able to walk their exact schedule, they will get a sense of the general layout of the campus. We promise that when school starts, there will be plenty of people around to help guide new students to the right place.
So how will they get their schedules? They will be distributed in multiple ways. Your kid’s schedule will likely be in PowerSchool before school starts. They will also be sent via email. What if you don’t receive it via mail? No worries! They will also receive a copy on the first day of school.
How do you know when your student’s schedule is in PowerSchool? To be honest, your kid is going to know before you do. That sort of information runs rampant on social media, and it has been known to go out on social media before the school is even finished with them. Your student may see an incomplete schedule, a schedule that is generated by the system before an administrator has even had a chance to review your student’s particular course requests, or a schedule that has the correct classes but has not been put into the correct course periods yet. All of the above has happened in years past. HISD has gotten better about shutting things down until schedules are ready, but it may still happen.
Please do not email counselors with request, and please note that the counselor will send a pass for the student if a change is made. If it cannot be done, a message will be sent to the student as well. Please keep in mind that for grades 10 – 12, schedule changes will be made if there was an error or the classes are not in line with a student’s IEP or graduation plan. Schedule changes will not be considered for a change in teacher or change in period. Please keep in mind that schedule changes will not happen overnight.
So, here’s our advice: If your student sees a schedule online that is incomplete or incorrect, please tell them not to panic!
Students and parents will be notified when schedules are finalized. When counselors return to duty their priority will be to ensure all students are scheduled and classes are balanced. Please do not email them about a schedule change until you receive notice that student scheduling is complete.
If the change of schedule cannot be done, a message will be sent to the student as well. Please keep in mind that for grades 10-12, schedule changes will be made if there was an error, or the classes are not in line with a student's IEP or graduation plan. Schedule changes will not be considered for a change in teacher or change in period. Please keep in mind that schedule changes will not happen overnight.
You probably know that HISD supplies *all* high schoolers with their own laptop. Most of their work will be done on the laptop. There will be several days in August announced for 10-12th grade students to pick up laptops before school starts. We will post on social media when we know dates. The 9th graders usually receive their laptops after school starts. There will be a contract to sign by both students and parents, and there is a small fee (which can be paid online via Schoolpay or in person during pickup). TechTown is the place for all things having to do with the laptop. Students will need to learn to charge their laptops overnight. There is insurance if they are lost or stolen, but you have to file a police report, so keeping up with them is greatly preferable!
The district provides software to lock down other screens (such as when students are taking a test online) and filtering software is included. However, it is always a challenge to keep up with in today's world. It's always good to talk with your student about keeping focus on the classwork at hand!
HISD Connect (Parent Portal/PowerSchool)
An online service launched by HISD in August 2020, allows registered users (i.e., parents and students) to log in to access a variety of student information, see class assignments and school calendars. Users can also choose to have an e-mail or text message sent if a child's grades drop below a selected average or is absent or tardy to class. Information that Parent Portal provides access to includes:
- Period and Daily Attendance
- Class Schedules and Assignments
- Progress Reports
- Report Cards
- Parent and Student Resources
To get started, log in at www.houstonisd.org/psc. Parents will need the following information to complete registration:
- Student ID number (HISD)
- Student date of birth
- Last five digits of student’s Social Security number if on file with HISD. If not on file, use the last five digits of the “S-Number” provided to your child by HISD. If you need assistance setting up and HISD Connect account, please contact the administrative assistant in your grade level office.
Please note, parents will need to register each child separately. If you have difficulty registering, be sure that the information you are entering is the exact same data that is on file with your child's school. If you still have difficulty, contact the HISD Service Desk (713-892-7378; ServiceDesk@houstonisd.org). Service Desk hours of operation are 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
School supplies are fairly simple in high school. Most assignments are online. Some teachers may have additional items they require, which students will find out when class starts. But in our experience, such requirements were not nearly as extensive as in middle school. Make sure your student has pencils, pens, and paper. Those plus their laptop should be good to start unless you hear otherwise from someone at the school.
There are no specific requirements for backpacks. You will want to make sure to get one that can hold a laptop and charger plus a few other items.
Heights does not have a uniform requirement however there is a dress code. The dress code will be posted on the school website. Currently, the 2022-23 dress code is posted (look under Frequently Requested). While it will be replaced before school starts with the 2023-24 version, Ms. Hampton has confirmed that there are no substantive changes.
What is it and how does it work? Canvas is HISD's online portal for students. How does it work? We don't really know, ask a student!!! HA! No, really, if your student was in an HISD middle school, chances are very good that they already know about Canvas and how to work it. 90% of what your kid does in high school will be online. If your student does not know how to use Canvas, they will learn *very* quickly. Is there a parent version? No but there is a way for you to be an “observer” on your students' account. Instructions from HISD are available here.
These are usually 6 days during the school year where all the clubs and organizations are allowed to fundraise by selling food & drinks during the Bulldog Hour Lunch. Think of a mini-carnival atmosphere! Once we have the schedule we will share. You can support the clubs and organizations by helping/donating to your student’s club or by sending your student with cash to purchase items.
** HHS will continue to host Waiver Days, Go Texan Day, and other incentives for students. The following students get to participate in Heights Incentives:
- Students who are on time to class 90% of the time (yes we will calculate it) in a grading period.
- Students with 3 or fewer dress code violations in a grading period (they can get more than one in a day)
- Students with 3 or few ID badge violations (in a grading period
2023-2024: Friday 10/6/23 (B), Thursday 11/16/23 (A), Friday 1/12/24 (A), Friday 2/23/24 (B)
The form to take a second athletics or fine arts class pass/fail (not for a grade) is *usually* available on the school website under Frequently Requested. The deadline to select the pass/fail option for the fall semester is *usually* at the end of September. Per HISD policy, all students must take their first PE credit and their first fine arts credit for a grade. Other PE and fine arts credits (up to 4 credits or 2 years) may be taken pass/fail. This HISD policy allows students who typically take a majority of advanced classes on a 5.0 scale to continue with these electives without adding additional 4.0 classes to their GPA. If you are unsure whether your student should take advantage of this option, they should see their counselor. Note, since the first PE credit and the first fine arts credit are not eligible for this reason, this would almost never apply to a freshman.
Heights HS is a 6A high school and has a lot of sports. So many that the PTO cannot pretend to know the ins and outs of all of them. Many of these sports have an actual class period, which counts as the student's PE credit. A few do not. If your student is interested in playing a sport, ask during course selections whether there is a class for that sport and request that class. And ask for contact information for the coach, because your student may also need coach approval to be in the class. And then, have your student contact the coach. Can you contact the coach as a parent instead? Sure. But your student is in high school now, and it is a better idea for them to do it. If there is not a class, tell your student to listen to announcements and keep an eye out for information about tryouts or sign ups next year.
Most (but not quite all) sports will have multiple levels--i.e., varsity and one or more sub-varsity (JV). Some sports, especially baseball and softball, also have non-school-affiliated fall teams for a fee (this has to do with UIL rules–school coaches are not involved and the teams are generally run by booster clubs). So depending on the sport there is a fairly good opportunity to be involved somewhere. It is also possible to play multiple sports, but not as easy as it is in middle school, especially when seasons overlap. But it depends on the sport, so check with the coaches.
All athletes will need a sports physical and will have to fill out paperwork online; check HISD Athletics page for more details on submitting online forms.
Over the summer, they usually have a strength and conditioning camp (there is a fee for entering freshmen). This is a great way for new students to get familiar with the school and some of the coaches. The camp is for all athletes of all sports, but depending on coach availability some sports may have sport-specific workouts after camp.
A word about fall sports: football, volleyball, and cross country. Those start practicing BEFORE school starts. Yes, that means in the summer. So it is especially important for those athletes to make contact with the coaches during the summer.
Several of the coaches or specific booster clubs also have social media accounts, so if you are into that sort of thing, go look them up! As always, feel free to ask here too. If we don’t know the answer, there is probably a parent on here who does. Go Bulldogs!
Students can begin picking up a parking permit for the student lot once they get approved; they would need to present a license and proof of insurance. This usually takes places across from the main office in the reception area by Principal on date communicated by the school.
OFF CAMPUS LUNCH FOR 11-12 GRADES
These Off Campus Lunch forms usually need to be turned it before the end of the first two weeks of the semester. The school will communicate with the applicable students and send them the form to get approved. Students turn the forms into the two grade level offices.
You may be wondering, how am I supposed to be getting information from Heights HS? We will give you the good, the bad, and the ugly below.
Ms. Hampton sends out emails and occasional callouts via HISD’s communications system. That’s the good news. The bad news is that in HISD’s communications system, a student is attached to only one school at a time--where they are currently enrolled--which means that an incoming student is not attached to Heights HS until shortly before school starts. There is some ability to reach parents of students who applied through HISD’s school choice system, but that doesn’t reach everyone. HISD also doesn’t always have correct contact information, but that is an issue that seems to be improving.
Another thing to know is that now that your student is a high schooler, the school will send communications to HISD student email addresses. You may be wondering, do students really check email? No, they don’t (just being honest here). But that’s where parents can help. Because they SHOULD get in the habit of doing so. (Fun Fact: Colleges communicate by email, too, and they typically don’t communicate with parents.) Next year you can remind them, often, to check their email. Maybe by college application time they’ll be in the habit.
In addition, each grade level has a Remind group. You are probably already familiar with Remind, but if not, it is an app that you can download from the App Store or Google Play and receive communications via the app, text, or email. You can find the Remind codes on the PTO or school’s website. Not every single thing will come through Remind, and you should still check other channels and encourage your kid to check email. But Remind is a nice backup, especially for the important things. Once your student starts at Heights, you will find that several teachers and sports also use Remind.
Currently, there is also a lot of information for students on Canvas–again, once your student starts high school.
Those are all of the official communication channels. We will also plug a few unofficial ones. The PTO has multiple volunteers who help with communication. We cannot pretend to know everything that is going on at a comprehensive high school like Heights, but we try to pass on most of the important information. We have a website and a weekly newsletter that you can sign up for at Heights HS PTO Newsletter. We have our website, Facebook page, Twitter account, Instagram and a WhatsApp en Español! And we have a Facebook group for each Class (encourage friends to join–but they MUST answer the questions or they will be denied).
Speaking of Twitter and Instagram, there are a plethora of Heights organizations on those platforms, too. It’s worth checking out. Start with following both the PTO and @ghostofheights, and you’ll start seeing them. Quite a few of the accounts are run by students, so they come and go, but they can be great sources of information! Bonus – kids are usually likely to utilize those communication forms as well.