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Mission Statement Established in January 1997 with funding from the Annenberg Foundation and local matching contributions, The Houston Annenberg Challenge is an independent, public-private partnership that develops and funds urban public school programs, professional development and leadership institutes to promote higher academic achievement by all students.

CREDITS AND ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Special thanks to Ms. Luzmarie Alvarez’s classes at Helms Community Learning Center. All artwork appearing in the 2001 Houston Annenberg Challenge Annual Report is the work of the students enrolled in the arts-infused, dual language curriculum of this Annenberg Beacon School in Houston ISD.

“…With Annenberg, a whole new doorway was opened for us. We can be a voice, go places and present what we know works…” Elaine Wilkins, visual literacy teacher and fine arts coordinator, Bethune Academy, Aldine ISD

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At The Houston Annenberg Challenge, we have the distinct privilege of looking into the eyes of our country’s future every day as we work with the children and youth of our city. Without a doubt, we like what we see. These past four years have been a growing, learning experience for the teachers, administrators, parents, students and members of the community in our six partner school districts. And they’ve been a very rewarding experience for us. We are proud to have played a role in fostering these successful school reform efforts, and we look forward to watching our partners take continued ownership of the programs that have benefited so many local students. We also look forward with great anticipation to what the future holds for The Houston Annenberg Challenge. We are currently hard at work revamping teacher preparation programs at the university level, transforming Houston high schools into 21st century learning centers and replicating models of the most successful programs begun during our first phase. As always, we thank our partners and financial supporters for their dedication to this work. Their leadership and commitment have played a pivotal role in moving our schools forward on both a local and national level. Thanks to all of you, the future looks bright.


Linda Clarke Executive Director

Jonathan Day Chairman of the Board


The Whole School Reform efforts of The Houston Annenberg Challenge are changing the landscape of local public schools for the better, according to the latest independent report from a 15-member research team. Key findings from the University of Texas, University of Houston and Rice University researchers include: 1. ACHIEVEMENT IS UP. “…The Houston Annenberg theory of action begins with the teacher (and) includes all stakeholders to achieve consensus about educating children. In general, our Year Two research finds that this theory of action is indeed transforming the schools in the Houston Annenberg network from the ground up. Annenberg-funded schools have made progress – in the case of Beacon schools quite considerable progress – raising academic achievement levels for their students.”

2. THE ACHIEVEMENT GAP IS CLOSING. “Looking at the data more closely reveals a significant trend with broad implications for Houston urban public schools with high concentrations of students who are economically disadvantaged or non-native English speakers. Many of the Houston Annenberg schools are closing the achievement gap. Students of all backgrounds are achieving well, often at the mastery level, both in reading and mathematics.”

3. TEACHING PRACTICES ARE UNDERGOING PROFOUND CHANGES FOR THE BETTER. “Collectively, the documented benefits of the Annenberg investment in professional development reveal these schools are creating highly effective learning environments, in contrast to traditional classrooms where teachers lecture and students memorize. This research suggests that when public schools invest in high-quality professional development and resource-rich instructional materials, the result will be well-trained teachers who engage in excellent teaching practices and students who are committed to in-depth academic study.”

E Evaluation Report

The bottom line, according to the 24-page report, which analyzed work during the 2000-2001 school year, is that students are learning more. “Ultimately, our research in Houston Annenberg schools confirms that this array of teaching and learning strategies is leading students to deeper levels of understanding and is raising their academic achievement. “Perhaps more importantly for those interested in the long-term effects of reform, the Annenberg network has united teachers, administrators, students, and families to provide excellent education for all children. We have evidence that teachers have become learners themselves. This evidence provides hope for the future of public schools in the Houston metropolitan area.”

During the 2000-2001 school year, The Houston Annenberg Challenge began work on a five-year project to rewrite the curriculum in the colleges of Education and Arts & Sciences at five local colleges and universities. Design teams are composed of representatives from the Houston Community College System, Texas Southern University, University of Houston, University of Houston-Downtown and the University of St. Thomas, as well as schools in Aldine, Alief, Houston, Humble, North Forest and Spring Branch ISDs. Their first task was to select and rewrite the initial series of pilot courses for the project. After careful planning and discussion, the teams picked two courses: one in entry-level English literature and composition and the other a core course in the teacher preparation program. The goal? To model effective teaching techniques and to use technology as a teaching tool.

Partnership for Quality Education

Preparing Future Teachers to Enter 21st Century Learning Centers

As the teams prepared to launch this first round of courses at the beginning of the 2001-2002 school year, work also began to systematically rewrite, pilot, evaluate and revise courses in one discipline at a time until each school within both colleges has been revamped. Simultaneously, the design teams are also hard at work on examining and revamping the entire teacher preparation program, including embedding technology and introducing the Critical Friends Group protocol to future teachers. The entire process, which is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education and matching contributions from the partners, is expected to take five years and is one of the most creative collaborations between higher education institutions and school districts in the country. The effort also will eventually include a Regional Faculty composed of education, business and community leaders whose responsibility will be to provide advice and input in the project.

H High School Reform

Creating 21st Century Learning Centers

Just before the start of the 2000-2001 school year, the Carnegie Corporation of New York awarded The Houston Annenberg Challenge and Houston ISD a highly competitive $250,000 planning grant. Already hard at work on a pilot that could be used to transform Houston high schools into 21st century learning centers, the grant allowed the planning team to accelerate the work being done at Houston ISD’s Reagan High School and apply lessons learned from the model at the district’s remaining 23 comprehensive high school campuses. Throughout the year, teams of parents, students, teachers and other community organizations worked to create a school-within-a-school model at Reagan. This more personalized learning environment is already showing signs of success in improving student achievement and lowering the dropout rate.

Based on the work done with the original planning grant, the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation named Houston ISD and The Houston Annenberg Challenge as one of only seven partnerships nationwide to receive a grant for high school reform efforts. Houston Annenberg received a $12 million grant with the remaining cities receiving $8 million each as part of the Carnegie Corporation’s Schools for a New Society initiative. The project will restructure the district’s large high schools into smaller learning communities of no more than 300 students apiece where each student has an advisor who knows him or her well and follows that student closely through all four years of schooling. These smaller, reorganized, more personal schools will focus on literacy and require students to take a rigorous core academic curriculum with teachers who will stay with them for at least two years. Another Houston Annenberg funded school, Quest High School in Humble ISD, also has been successful at creating a personalized learning environment for students. Created from the ground up in 1994, the school is intended to be an alternative for students who attend the district’s large 3,000-plus high schools. A small school of 165 students, with a capacity for 400, Quest is a community of learners built around three components: personalized learning, integrated curriculum and Service Learning. Although vastly different in history and size, Reagan and Quest are taking giant steps toward the same goal—creating a 21st century learning center where none of the kids slip through the cracks and all of them master the subjects they study.


In June 2001, the first class of John P. McGovern, M.D. Fellows graduated from The Houston Annenberg Challenge Leadership Academy. This two-year Academy aims to provide principals with the opportunity to develop skills that support the leadership talents necessary for being an effective principal in the 21st century school. Modeled after the prestigious Harvard Graduate School of Education Principals’ Center, the first year of the program requires Fellows to attend monthly meetings and special seminars, to develop a personal professional development plan and to demonstrate evidence of their progress. The principals also work with consultants at Accenture. The consultants show the administrators how to successfully lead their schools through change, how to integrate technology throughout the campus and how to build productive teams. A number of Fellows have moved up in their districts and now head larger schools. During the program’s second year, Fellows continue to meet and serve as mentors for newly enrolled Fellows. Also in June 2001, the second class of principals and assistant

Leadership Academy

principals joined the Leadership Academy. The group meets monthly with principals who serve as coaches to develop leadership plans to incorporate professional community at the school level. Principals have attended several special seminars, including a luncheon to work with nationally recognized educator and author Roland Barth. His latest book, Learning with Heart, is being used in the Academy for continued study.

Other program highlights include: Representatives from the Harvard Business School Alumni Association are serving as mentors to several of the 2000-2001 Fellows. Principals from the Houston Annenberg/Houston ISD High School Reform Initiative are being included in the Leadership retreat. Houston Annenberg in partnership with the American Leadership Forum (ALF) and Houston ISD ’s Northwest District developed a community engagement ‘Future Search’ event that engaged the 17 schools and their surrounding communities in building a collaborative vision for the northwest district schools. This is a pilot project that can be replicated for the high school reform initiative.

C Critical Friends Group

At the heart of the Critical Friends Group concept is one simple idea: providing deliberate time and structures to promote teachers’ professional growth that is directly linked to student learning. Since instituting the Critical Friends Group program in 1998, Houston Annenberg has trained more than 360 coaches to work with hundreds of additional administrators and teachers across the greater Houston area. These team members work together in small groups to examine student work and to develop strategies to accelerate each child’s progress. Houston Annenberg Challenge is the only center of activity on the Gulf Coast recognized by the National School Reform Faculty.

Critical Friends Group also has played a significant role in the work of the teams involved in Annenberg’s Partnership for Quality Education initiative. Faculty from the universities and schools involved in the PQE project have attended Critical Friends Training, resulting in:

Design team members from Alief ISD decided to set up CFGs at Alexander Elementary School for new teachers and student teachers. Arts and Sciences design teams decided to integrate CFG methods into core and major courses. A faculty member at Texas Southern University is introducing CFG to South Africa. She has made a preliminary trip and will return for planning and implementation.

During the 2000-2001 school year, The Houston Annenberg Challenge, Houston ISD and the ExxonMobil Foundation teamed up to launch a $1.3 million, three-year project to identify, develop and place mathematics specialists in K-5 classrooms. The project’s first year targeted thirdgrade students in eight Houston ISD schools, including Anderson, Argyle, Elrod, Foerster, Fondren, Halpin, Milne and Red elementary schools. In the fall of 2001, several additional schools, including Sutton, Benavidez, Shearn, Rodriguez and Tinsley, joined the program. The goal of the program is to improve students’ ability to understand and apply math concepts in a variety of situations. The math specialists involved in the project are former classroom teachers selected for the specialist role because of their comfort level with mathematics and their interest in working with teachers and students. In the program, each math specialist works with teachers and administrators at participating schools to provide leadership and expertise in mathematics based on nationally recognized, research-based professional development. Specialists are in classrooms on a daily basis, coteaching and developing math lessons alongside classroom teachers.

ExxonMobil Mathematics Initiative

Specialists also play a key role in the development of family programs such as Family Math Nights, which are designed to enhance parents’ own math skills, to teach them the process their children undertake when learning mathematics and to share with them specific lessons their children are learning. Houston ISD’s math specialists are part of a national network of specialists supported by the ExxonMobil Foundation. Since 1988, the K-5 mathematics specialist program has been a centerpiece for the foundation’s interest in improving students’ and teachers’ understanding of mathematics. During this time, K-5 mathematics specialist projects have been funded in 119 school districts in the United States, as well as the Netherlands. During the 2001-2002 school year, the specialists network will be expanded to Alief and Fort Bend ISDs.


E Emerging Models

Replicating Successful Models on a Local and National Level In addition to the model created for local high schools— which is being used as an example for other schools across the country—the work of The Houston Annenberg Challenge and its partner schools continues to produce results that are among the most successful and promising in the nation. Some efforts of note include: The Dual Language Program at Helms Community Learning Center, which is being replicated at Hamilton Middle School. The Early Literacy Program at Poe Elementary, which is being used as a model for similar programs throughout Houston ISD. The Fine Arts Centered Model at Bethune Academy, which is being used as a model at Gregory-Lincoln Education Center and in the Texarkana school district. The After-School Program at Best Academy, which was modeled after Annenberg’s Passport to Success program and is being replicated in schools across the greater Houston area. The Alternative Schedule Model at Kennedy Elementary, which is spreading to other campuses including Poe Elementary, Lanier Middle School and Browning Elementary. The Academy Model for teachers and students, as well as the Educational Service Manager Model, at Eisenhower High School, which are both playing a role in the ongoing efforts to reform local high schools. The Nature Center and Gardens Project at Drew and Bethune academies and River Oaks and Browning elementary schools, which is similar to an award-winning program at Johnston Middle School. The Critical Friends Study Group used at Beacon schools is continuing to spread to Lamplighter campuses and is also playing a key role in the efforts of the Partnership for Quality Education. The Professional Development Model at Beacon schools continues to grow and has spread through Annenberg’s six partner school districts. The Portfolio Work of Beacon schools continues to be used by other schools and districts across the country as a shining example of what works best in school reform efforts. The Charter School Model at KIPP Academy and YES College Preparatory School is being replicated in Houston ISD.

During the 2000-2001 school year, The Houston Annenberg Challenge awarded $4.78 million in direct grants to 88 schools in six local school districts. These grants were used to fund Whole School Reform efforts aimed at meeting at least one of three Annenberg imperatives: personalizing the learning environment, reducing isolation and providing ongoing professional teacher development opportunities in content areas.

Since its inception, The Houston Annenberg Challenge has provided more than $19 million in direct grants to these schools in Alief, Aldine, Houston, Humble, North Forest and Spring Branch ISDs. More than 90 percent of these funds have been used by the schools to ensure teachers get the latest research on effective teaching tools and methods aimed at improving and measuring student learning. As planned, the funding provided during the 2001-2002 school year will be the fourth and final round of grants provided to the schools.

Direct School Funding

After the current school year, each school and its district will be responsible for sustaining the funding for the programs and initiatives begun through their work with Annenberg. Beginning in January 2003, The Houston Annenberg Challenge will transition to a new phase of work focusing on restructuring local high schools, revamping university-level teacher preparation programs and replicating models created by the schools during the project’s first phase of grants.

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. This experience has translated into several emerging models of Annenberg-funded programs discussed earlier in this report that other schools across the city and state are beginning to use as models for their own school reform efforts. 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

FLOODLIGHT SCHOOLS are the result of The Houston Annenberg Challenge’s partnership with Houston ISD. 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

Annenberg Funded 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

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 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 Education Center 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 College Preparatory School


Houston Annenberg believes that measuring the growth and change occurring in students, teachers, administrators and schools as campuses undertake Whole School Reform is a critical component of the work. Thus, Houston Annenberg utilizes three levels of accountability to determine whether its projects are successful:

State of Texas Accountability System. Houston Annenberg looks for progress toward mastery of the material tested by the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills (TAAS) for the schools it funds. Mastery is defined as a Texas Learning Index score of 85 or greater on TAAS. A passing score is 70.

Peer Review Process. Achievement test scores produce a one-day snapshot of a school’s performance. To understand the whole picture, Houston Annenberg created a Peer Review process that assesses the school’s progress toward reducing isolation, instilling quality teacher professional development and building bridges to its community, to other schools and even other districts. A team of Peer Reviewers visits each school or community of schools and scores the campuses’ progress.

Outside Evaluators. Each year, Dr. Pedro Reyes of the University of Texas at Austin leads a team of 15 researchers from three universities in evaluating all aspects of the Houston Annenberg Challenge project. Conclusions from his latest report can be found in the Evaluation Report section of this annual report.


$20 million The Annenberg Foundation $12 million Carnegie Corporation/ Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation $10 million The Brown Foundation Houston Endowment Incorporated $500,000 to $1,000,000 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 U.S. Department of Education $50,000 to $99,999 Jenard and Gail Gross Joe B. Foster Foundation George & Mary Josephine Hamman Foundation *Houston Chronicle Maconda Brown O’Connor Shell Oil Company Foundation

Ms. Barbara Christopher Mr. Bruce A. & Dr. Cheryl J. Craig Ms. Honora Diaz Ms. Lynne Marion Doolittle Mr. John & Ms. Jana Fedorko Mr. H.D. Graham, Jr. Mr. & Mrs. C.W. Hudspeth Ms. Susan Jhin Ms. Burdine Johnson Ms. Michaelann Kelley Harris and Eliza Kempner Fund Mr. William Gentry Lee Ralph M. & Clara P. Lewis Mr. J.W. II, M.D., & Ms. Nancy R. Lomax Ms. Marion McCollam Ms. Elizabeth MacIntyre Mr. & Mrs. William James Miller Ms. Karol Musher, M.A., CCC-SLP Ms. Joann Navratil The Gary & Lee Rosenthal Foundation *Sam’s Club Ms. Carey C. Shuart Super Summers, Inc. Ms. Nancy Thompson Dr. & Mrs. Peter K. Thompson, M.D. Mr. H. Michael Tyson Ms. Angela Valenzuela Ms. Isabel Brown Wilson Ms. Rosie Zamora *denotes in-kind contribution

$25,000 to $49,999 Clayton Fund Marvy Finger Family Foundation The George Foundation Ocean Energy $10,000 to $24,999 Ray C. Fish Foundation Greater Houston Community Foundation Jack H. and William M. Light Charitable Trust Public Education Network/ JP Morgan Chase Foundation Mr. Harry M. Reasoner Mr. J. Victor Samuels $500 to $9,999 *Continental Airlines Mr. Jonathan Day Ms. Janice Dupuy Employment & Training Centers, Inc. Ky & Almuth Ewing Fiesta Mart, Inc. J. Kent and Ann L. Friedman Hackett Family Foundation *Harris County Department of Education Heimbinder Family Foundation Hobby Foundation David A. Johnson KPRC/Channel 2 Kennedy/Wilson Properties Robert W. & Pearl Wallis Knox Foundation The Kroger Co. *Mama Ninfa’s Catering *Region IV Education Service Center Roundtable Samuels Foundation of the Houston Jewish Community Foundation Strake Foundation Ms. Nellie Thorogood, Ph.D. Mr. & Mrs. Robert Tudor Ms. Andrea White $499 and under Mr. & Mrs. James Buescher Ms. Billye Callier/Sterling Academic Assessment Leonel Castillo



F Financials

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. Houston Annenberg Challenge is a 501 (c)(3) tax-exempt charitable organization.


JUNE 30, 2000

$ 4,889,940 1,598,983 43,940 375,436 237,164

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



Program Services Administration Fund-Raising

6,877,557 209,975 62,436

6,886,574 196,441 116,444

Total Expenses




$ (953,267)

REVENUE The Annenberg Foundation Grants and Contributions Donated Use of Facilities Investments Training Fees Total Revenue EXPENSES

Changes in Net Assets



JUNE 30, 2000

Cash & Cash Equivalents Grants Receivable

$ 6,300,452 3,886,437

$ 5,905,726 5,866,806

Total Assets



Grants Payable Other Payables

$ 3,790,277 147,181

$ 5,344,233 174,363

Total Liabilities Net Assets

3,937,458 6,249,431

5,518,596 6,253,936



Total Liabilities and Net Assets

THE HOUSTON ANNENBERG CHALLENGE BOARD OF TRUSTEES Jonathan Day, Chairman Managing Partner Andrews & Kurth, 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 Interests Jenard Gross President, Gross Investments Linda P. Lay Real Estate Development Daniel Leff Chief Operating Officer, 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

Board of Trustees

1415 Louisiana, Box 9

Houston, Texas 77002-6709



fax 713-739-0166

Profile for Houston A+ Challenge

2001 Annual Report  

Houston A+ Challenge's 2001 Annual Report

2001 Annual Report  

Houston A+ Challenge's 2001 Annual Report