New Center to Provide Endless Options

  • Center for Talent Development front entrance rendering

    The Center for Talent Development, opening in January 2021, will provide flexible spaces for teachers’ professional learning sessions and contain an assembly room to host banquets, large training sessions and fine arts performances.


    Alief ISD Center for Talent Development Opening in January 2021

    Those driving along Highway 6 near Westheimer may have noticed the large Alief ISD Center for Talent Development sign and construction on the structure formerly known as the Burlington Coat Factory. This project, located at 14411 Westheimer is part of the successful 2015 Bond Campaign.

    When completed, the 78,000 square-foot facility will house the entire Alief ISD professional development team and host professional development sessions for employees year-round. The new facility will allow all professional development sessions to be held in one location. This is a welcome change as those sessions are now spread out through multiple facilities, including the Administration Building, the upstairs rooms in the Tom Gerber Athletic Offices at Crump Stadium and the Alief Support Facility on Bellaire.

    “The Center for Talent Development will provide flexible spaces for teachers’ professional learning sessions. Specialized settings include computer labs and areas for engaging in art and science activities. Teachers will be able to collaborate strategically in small and large group settings with the support of mobile furniture. We want the Center to be an environment of exciting, continuous learning that will positively impact classroom instruction,” said Janine Hoke, director of professional growth and development.

    Alief ISD is well-known for its strong professional development program as all new teachers are entered into the Alief U program, a robust three-year plan of professional development. Teachers continue their development long after their three-year commitment to Alief U is completed.

    The Center for Talent Development will provide a multitude of flexible options for staff development sessions. There are 14 classrooms, four computer classrooms and six conference/breakout rooms in the new facility. Each room is equipped with the latest technology to give presenters the necessary tools to present the most challenging and informative sessions.

    The main assembly room is more than 11,000 square feet and it can hold more than 600 people in a banquet style setting and can hold up to 700 people for one large training session or be configured to host multiple smaller sessions. It also features a stage that may be used by fine arts groups in the future.

    “I can remember our excitement the day after the bond passed, and we realized we would be able to have a facility like this for professional learning in Alief. We have a strong professional learning program and this facility will take it to the next level. When we can provide teachers with the exact learning they need at the exact time they need it, the benefits to our students increase exponentially. Even with us going 100 percent virtual for professional learning this year, we are excited to be opening this facility at this time. The large spaces will allow us to accommodate social distancing at meetings and workshops once we are able to meet in person again. The space is modern and flexible in every way so the possibilities are endless,” said Tracee Grigsby-Turner, coordinator of professional development.

    The Center for Talent Development will open in January 2021, and the final cost will be lower than the $23.8 million budgeted in the 2015 Bond Referendum. The new facility also features 490 parking spaces, outdoor break areas as well as an employee break room with vending machines. Thanks to the foresight of the 2015 Bond Committee, Alief ISD teachers will be utilizing this new facility for decades to come.