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the houston

nnenberg challenge


Mission Established in 1997 with funding from the Annenberg Foundation and local matching contributions, The Houston Annenberg Challenge is a not-for-profit, public-private partnership dedicated to public school reform in the greater Houston area. Houston Annenberg develops and funds school programs, professional development and leadership institutes to promote higher academic achievement by all students.


As society moves toward an increasingly

In 1993, philanthropist Walter Annenberg dedicated

knowledge-based workforce, it is critical that $500 million to the nation to improve public school education. This generous donation resulted in 18

educators and business leaders work together

bequests to urban areas across the country, including Houston, Philadelphia and Los Angeles. The Houston

to retool public schools to produce graduates

Annenberg Challenge was founded in 1997 when Ambassador Annenberg awarded local educators

capable of solving complex problems and

and business leaders a $20 million matching grant for public school reform. The remaining monies for the

working in teams. Through a variety of

five-year, $60 million initiative are funded by grants from foundations such as the Brown Foundation and

initiatives, The Houston Annenberg Challenge

Houston Endowment Incorporated, which each pledged $10 million to The Houston Annenberg Challenge,

is working to ensure that these well-educated

as well as donations from individuals and corporations.

graduates grow to become the bright, young

entrepreneurs that will continue to fuel our

city’s economic growth and make it the best

place to live in the nation.

Dear Ambassador Annenberg, On behalf of the more than 76,000 students in the greater Houston area who are served by The Houston Annenberg Challenge and its partner schools, thank you for your commitment to the future of our children. Your vision for public school reform, as well as your generous financial contribution, has allowed us to provide more than $14.4 million in direct grants to area schools, enabling teachers and administrators to develop and implement programs aimed at improving student achievement. Your generosity started The Houston Annenberg Challenge down the road to public school reform, a road the local community has traveled enthusiastically with us. Houston Endowment Incorporated and the Brown Foundation were our first major partners on this journey. We are grateful for their support. A complete list of our other donors is included in this report. We are now in the third year of our efforts to improve the quality of education that children receive in public schools. The first phase of our programming is aimed at providing direct grants to area schools to enable them to develop and fund professional development programs, to reduce a school’s isolation and to create a personalized learning environment for students. As our partner schools have worked to achieve these goals, they have begun to produce plans and results that other schools—on both a local and national level—are using as models for their own reform efforts. We are confident that these efforts will continue to produce the types of models and results that other schools and school districts will find useful as they forge their own reform plans. In the second phase of our programming, we are moving to support teacher preparation programs in partnership with local universities, to restructure high schools to produce students for the New Economy and to create a Leadership Academy to enhance principals’ management styles. On the following pages, you will find some highlights from the past three years, as well as our plans for the future. I trust that you will be pleased with our progress. We look forward to an exciting future and thank you again for your generosity and vision. Sincerely,

Jonathan Day Chairman of the Board

Linda Clarke Executive Director

PHASE I During Phase I, which began in 1997, the Challenge has provided more than $14.4 million in direct grants to 88 schools in the greater Houston area. These schools encompass more than 4,500 teachers and approximately 76,600 students in six school districts: Aldine, Alief, Houston, Humble, North Forest and Spring Branch. With a major focus on reading, mathematics and science, campuses use the Annenberg funds to strengthen their chosen academic areas in one or more of the following ways: Encouraging and providing ongoing professional development programs for administrators and teachers. This professional development exposes educators to the latest research on effective teaching tools and methods and provides an effective means of sharing ideas with their peers. An example is Critical Friends Group, which pairs educators in small groups to examine student work and develop strategies to accelerate each child’s progress. Reducing a school’s isolation by helping educators develop partnerships with parents, businesses, universities and community organizations that help students learn tools and skills useful in the real world. Creating a personalized learning environment that forges the one-on-one relationships crucial to ensuring children stay in school by reducing class size and reorganizing classes into small groups. Houston Annenberg’s partner schools have made great strides toward achieving these goals; a number of their programs are now being replicated by other schools in the greater Houston area and even across Texas. These programs also are receiving national recognition as models for public school reform.

LAMPLIGHTER SCHOOLS are on the move toward whole school reform. They are working together to build professional learning communities with a common focus on academics. Lamplighter Schools

BEACON SCHOOLS are shining examples of principals, teachers, parents and students who have embraced and implemented the Annenberg philosophy of whole school change with great success. Grants provided by The Houston Annenberg Challenge have funded professional development activities at these schools, transforming them from one-shot workshops to daily learning embedded in the fabric of the school. The Beacon schools participate in a network of ongoing meetings, exchanges and visits and also share their learning experiences with the education community at large as both hosts and presenters at conferences and workshops. Beacon Schools Bethune Academy Browning Elementary School Drew Academy Eisenhower High School Helms Community Learning Center Kennedy Elementary School Lanier Middle School Poe Elementary School Quest High School Scott Elementary School Spring Shadows Elementary School

Albright Middle School Anderson Academy Anderson Elementary School Best Elementary School Briscoe Elementary School Cage Elementary School Carver High School Clifton Middle School Clinton Park Elementary School Condit Elementary School DeBakey High School DeZavala Elementary School Edison Middle School Elmore Middle School Fleming Middle School Furr High School Gallegos Elementary School Grantham Middle School Gregory-Lincoln (K-8) Hamilton Middle School R.P. Harris Elementary School Hartman Middle School Hilliard Elementary School Hoffman Middle School Hogg Middle School Holland Middle School Johnston Middle School J. Will Jones Elementary School KIPP Academy Lamar High School Lanier Middle School MacGregor Elementary School McReynolds Middle School

Neff Elementary School Oates Elementary School Olle Middle School Pershing Middle School Pine Shadows Elementary School Pleasantville Elementary School Poe Elementary School Port Houston Elementary School Project Chrysalis Raymond Elementary School Reagan High School Reece Academy Reed Intermediate Rees Elementary School Revere Middle School River Oaks Elementary School Roberts Elementary School Will Rogers Elementary School Scroggins Elementary School Sharpstown High School Sharpstown Middle School Spring Branch Elementary School Stovall Academy Thompson Elementary School Mark Twain Elementary School West University Elementary School Westbury High School Wharton Elementary School Whidby Elementary School Ed White Elementary School Whittier Elementary School Wilson Elementary School YES Middle School

Replicable Models The work of The Houston Annenberg Challenge and its partner schools continues to be recognized as some of the most successful and promising whole school reform efforts in the country. As Annenbergfunded schools make progress toward encouraging professional development, reducing isolation and creating a personalized learning environment, they are not only improving their own schools, they are creating proven models that others can use in building their own programs. A few of the most promising models include: The Dual Language Program at Helms Community Learning Center. In this program, native English- and Spanish- speaking children are included in the same classroom. The students learn both languages naturally amongst themselves, along with instruction by the teacher and teacher assistant. The Early Literacy Program at Poe Elementary. The program offers intensive, small group instruction that allows for individual teaching to enrich personal skills.

The Fine Arts Centered Model at Bethune Academy. The school incorporates music, art, drama, dance and creative writing into the basic subject curriculum. The After-School Program at Best Academy. This model extends the school day for students and offers Saturday classes. The Alternative Schedule Model at Kennedy Elementary. This captures time for teacher professional development each day. The Academy Model for teachers and students at Eisenhower High School. This model centers around professional development in technology, international studies and school-to-work experiences. The Educational Service Manager Model at Eisenhower merges the counselor and assistant principal role into one faculty member who follows a small group of students from 9th grade through graduation. The Nature Center and Gardens Project at Drew and Bethune academies and River Oaks and Browning elementary schools. The Critical Friends Study Group Model used in Beacon schools. This is spreading to Lamplighter campuses, as well as into the colleges of Education and Arts and Sciences at area universities. The Professional Development Model at Beacon schools. This is spreading throughout the six area districts that are partners with Annenberg. This model incorporates a resident staff member responsible for professional development on each campus and moves teacher learning from a one-shot workshop to training linked to continuous learning in subject content area. The Portfolio work of Beacon schools. This work is being used locally and nationally, with several of the schools making presentations to other schools and districts. These schools also have been approached to publish a book on their work.

FLOODLIGHT SCHOOLS are the result of The Houston Annenberg Challenge’s partnership with Houston I.S.D. In 1999, Houston Annenberg created a partnership with Project GRAD (Graduation Really Achieves Dreams) to enter four Houston ISD K-12 school groups, called feeder patterns, beginning with Wheatley High School. The Houston Annenberg Challenge is funding ongoing professional development in these schools. Floodlight Schools Atherton Elementary School Bruce Elementary School Concord Elementary School Crawford Elementary School Dogan Elementary School Eliot Elementary School Fleming Middle School N.Q. Henderson Elementary School Isaacs Elementary School Anson Jones Elementary School Martinez Elementary School McReynolds Middle School Pugh Elementary School Scott Elementary School Scroggins Elementary School E.O. Smith Elementary School E.O. Smith Middle School Wheatley High School

PHASE I I In Phase II, which began in early 2000, The Houston Annenberg Challenge is working to influence the external forces that shape the public school system, including: Partnering with area universities to restructure their curriculum for students majoring in education to include the tools they need to be effective teachers. Creating and operating a Leadership Academy that helps principals move to a distributed leadership style of management that supports the New Economy model of schooling. Working to restructure all 24 comprehensive high schools in Houston ISD to enhance learning for students, including the creation of a model high school at Houston ISD’s Reagan High School. Partnering with the ExxonMobil Foundation and Houston ISD to create a pilot project to identify, develop and place K-5 mathematics specialists in the classroom. Partnering with the Neuhaus Education Center to create literacy programs for the whole family. Developing a pilot after-school program to improve academic performance.




In September 2000, the ExxonMobil Foundation, Houston ISD and The Houston Annenberg Challenge launched a $1.3 million, three-year pilot project to identify, develop and place K-5 mathematics specialists in the classroom. The project, which is jointly funded by all three organizations, is working to improve student achievement in mathematics by strengthening teachers’ knowledge of mathematics and instructional methods. The first five specialists—selected from Houston ISD elementary teachers—have formed the first Annenberg Critical Friends Group focused on mathematics. They currently are working on the design and implementation of a more innovative approach to math instruction, to team teaching and to providing professional development activities. The project’s first year is targeting third-grade students in eight Houston ISD elementary schools. Future plans for the project include a mathematics specialist network for educators in Alief ISD, Fort Bend ISD and additional Houston ISD schools.

The single most important contribution to students’ achievement is the quality of their teachers. To ensure that teachers are adequately prepared and receive adequate support and ongoing professional development opportunities, The Houston Annenberg Challenge has formed a partnership with four Houston universities, six public school districts and the Houston Community College System. The goal of the partnership is four-fold: • To restructure teacher preparation so that there is a unified, seamless approach to developing skills and content knowledge for teachers beginning with their college classes and carrying through the first two years of teaching and beyond. • To create a regional faculty composed of outstanding educators, business partners and members of the community. • To integrate technology into teacher preparation. • To involve content specialists as equal partners in teachers’ preparation and professional development. This work is funded in part by a $5.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

Of the more than 28 million children whose parents work outside the home, the U.S. Department of Education estimates that at least five million of these are “latchkey” children who come home each day to empty houses. To address this problem, The Houston Annenberg Challenge created a pilot after-school program called “Passport to Success.” Not only is the program designed to keep children safe and out of trouble, it also provides an outstanding opportunity to improve the academic performance of participating children. From 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. each day, children participate in a variety of activities ranging from homework and computer labs to art projects, journal writing and leisure reading. Upon completion of their assignments, children receive a “stamp” in their passport book, with incentives provided for a completed book. The program, which is offered at eight area schools, also includes field trips each month, whole family retreats and parent classes.

SCHOOLS FOR A NEW SOCIET Y In June 2000, the Carnegie Corporation of New York awarded The Houston Annenberg Challenge and Houston ISD a $250,000 planning grant for high school reform. More than 20 cities were invited to apply for the highly competitive planning grant, with nine other cities also receiving funds for high school reform. The grant will allow The Houston Annenberg Challenge, which is already committing significant resources to developing a pilot program for high school reform at Houston ISD’s Reagan High School, and Houston ISD to focus on accelerating the change and improvement in the district’s 24 comprehensive high schools. A team of parents, students, teachers and other community organizations is already hard at work on the Carnegie project. Upon completion of the strategic planning phase, the 10 school districts selected for Phase I of the initiative will compete for an additional $40 million in grants from the Carnegie Corporation for implementation of their plans. LEADERSHIP ACADEMY Research shows that the principal, as the leader of the school, is either the key or the barrier to successful school reform. This two-year academy, created by Houston Annenberg, is working to assist principals in meeting the state of Texas Principal Certification Standards. The Academy provides a series of intensive institutes with

nationally recognized speakers on leadership skills and issues in school reform revolving around the Annenberg philosophy. Principals also meet monthly in small teams. Twentyeight principals entered the Academy’s first John P. McGovern M.D. class in June 2000. The second class starts its work beginning in summer 2001.

conduct an independent evaluation of its efforts to


reform public schools. The researchers, led by

Research suggests that home literacy, which takes advantage of everyday activities to develop the skills children need to become successful readers, is key to preparing them for school. As part of its Phase II efforts, The Houston Annenberg Challenge is working with the Neuhaus Education Center to create Family Literacy Programs at four elementary schools in Houston ISD. Funded in part by a $300,000 grant from the Cullen Foundation, the programs seek to improve student achievement by involving the entire family in literacy-based activities. The program is being piloted at R.P. Harris, Pleasantville, Oates and Whittier elementary schools. A school-based coordinator and a team of four teachers are being trained in a specially developed curriculum. A minimum of 10 families will participate in the initial program, which meets two days a week for at least four hours. While parents and older children attend the program, a childcare provider, who is also trained in family literacy activities, cares for younger siblings.

EVALUATION The Houston Annenberg Challenge is working with a team of 15 researchers from three universities to

Dr. Pedro Reyes from the University of Texas, include teams from the University of Houston, the University of Texas and Rice University. Their first evaluation report was completed in fall 1999 and shows that professional development has skyrocketed at schools funded by Houston Annenberg. The evaluators’ initial findings also show that academic achievement is up at most participating schools and a number of communities are working together for the first time. A complete copy of the report is available at the evaluators’ website. www.utexas.edu/projects/annenberg/index.html

MAJOR DONORS The Houston Annenberg Challenge was founded with a $20 million grant from philanthropist Walter Annenberg. Since that time, the generous contributions of local foundations, corporations and individuals have enabled The Houston Annenberg Challenge to continue its work. $20 million The Annenberg Foundation

$25,000 to $49,999 Ocean Energy

$10 million Brown Foundation Houston Endowment Incorporated

$10,000 to $24,999 Clayton Fund * Houston Chronicle Jack H. & William M. Light Charitable Trust Mr. Harry M. Reasoner Mr. J. Victor Samuels

$500,000 M. D. Anderson Foundation Gordon and Mary Cain Foundation ExxonMobil Foundation The Fondren Foundation $250,000 to $499,999 Carnegie Corporation Cullen Foundation The Powell Foundation $100,000 to $249,999 The Chase Texas Foundation Marion & Speros Martel Foundation John P. McGovern M.D. Foundation The Rockwell Foundation *Vinson & Elkins, LLP United Way of the Texas Gulf Coast $50,000 to $99,999 Joe B. Foster Foundation George and Mary Josephine Hamman Foundation Maconda Brown O’Connor, Ph.D. Shell Oil Company Foundation

Under $10,000 Mr. & Mrs. James Buescher Ms. Billye Callier/Sterling Academic Assessment Mr. Leonel Castillo Ms. Barbara Christopher Mr. & Mrs. Bruce A. Craig * Continental Airlines Mr. Jonathan Day Ms. Honora Diaz Ms. Lynne Marion Doolittle Ms. Janice Dupuy Employment & Training Centers, Inc. Ky & Almuth Ewing Mr. John & Ms. Jana Fedorko Ms. Ann Friedman, Ph.D. Mr. H. Devon Graham, Jr. Mr. Jenard Gross Greater Houston Community Foundation Hackett Family Foundation Hobby Family Foundation Mr. & Mrs. C.W. Hudspeth

Ms. Susan Jhin Ms. Burdine C. Johnson Ms. Michaelann Kelley Harris & Eliza Kempner Fund Kennedy-Wilson Properties Robert W. and Pearl Wallis Knox Foundation * The Kroger Co. Mr. William Gentry Lee Ralph M. & Clara P. Lewis Ms. Marion McCollam Ms. Elizabeth MacIntyre Mr. & Mrs. Jim MacIntyre Mr. & Mrs. William James Miller Ms. Karol Musher, M.A., CCC-SLP Ms. Joann Navratil The Gary & Lee Rosenthal Foundation Samuels Foundation of the Houston Jewish Community Foundation Ms. Carey C. Shuart Strake Foundation Ms. Nancy Thompson Dr. & Mrs. Peter Thompson Ms. Nellie Thorogood, Ph.D. Mr. H. Michael Tyson Ms. Angela Valenzuela Ms. Andrea White Ms. Isabel Brown Wilson Mrs. Rosie Zamora * denotes in-kind contribution

FINANCIAL REPORT The following information was extracted from financial statements that were audited by an independent accounting firm. A complete set of audited financial statements is available upon request. The Houston Annenberg Challenge is a 501 (c)(3) tax-exempt charitable organization. STATEMENT OF ACTIVITY––FISCAL YEARS ENDED JUNE 30,2000 AND 1999 JUNE 30,2000

JUNE 30,1999

Investments 5%


Donated Use of Facilities 1%


The Annenberg Foundation Grants and Contributions Donated Use of Facilities Investment Income Total Revenue

$3,525,882 2,395,209 43,940 281,161

$5,323,582 1,417,816 46,401 100,999



6,886,574 196,441 116,444

3,769,996 240,050 16,208

7,199,459 $(953,267)

4,026,254 $2,862,544

Grants and Contributions 38%


Program Services Administration Fund-Raising Total Expenses Changes in Net Assets

STATEMENTS OF FINANCIAL POSITIONS AS OF JUNE 30,2000 AND 1999 JUNE 30,2000 Cash & Cash Equivalents Grants Receivable

$3,161,495 8,097,315



Grants Payable Other Payables

5,344,233 174,363

3,990,000 61,607

Total Liabilities



Net Assets





Total Liabilities and Net Assets


Administration 3% Fund-Raising 2%

JUNE 30,1999

$5,905,726 5,866,806

Total Assets

The Annenberg Foundation 56%

Program Services 95%

THE HOUSTON ANNENBERG CHALLENGE BOARD OF TRUSTEES Jonathan Day, Chairman Managing Partner Mayor, Day, Caldwell & Keeton, LLP Andrea White, President Civic Volunteer Janice Dupuy, Secretary Consultant, NUCO

BOARD MEMBERS Leonel Castillo Education Liaison, Mayor’s Office Joe B. Foster Chairman, President & CEO Newfield Exploration Company Ann Friedman, Ph.D. Adjunct Professor, The University of Houston H. Devon Graham, Jr. R.E. Smith Interest Jenard Gross President, Gross Investments Linda P. Lay Real Estate Development Daniel Leff President & CEO, Enron Energy Services Karol Musher, M.A., CCC-SLP Speech, Language and Learning Disorders Texas Children’s Hospital Maconda Brown O’Connor, Ph.D. President, Brown Foundation Harry Reasoner Managing Partner, Vinson & Elkins, LLP J. Victor Samuels Chairman, Victory Packaging Nellie Carr Thorogood, Ph.D. Vice-Chancellor for Organizational Development & Institutional Renewal, North Harris Montgomery Community College District H. Michael Tyson Vice Chairman, Retired, Chase Bank Texas Rosie Zamora President, Telesurveys Research Associates


1001 Fannin, Suite 2210

Houston, Texas 77002-6709



fax 713-739-0166

Profile for Houston A+ Challenge

2000 Annual Report  

Houston A+ Challenge's 2000 Annual Report

2000 Annual Report  

Houston A+ Challenge's 2000 Annual Report