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2007 ANNUAL REPORT

BUILDING LEADERS, CHANGING LIVES

CELEBRATING

TEN YEARS of

+ PERSONALIZATION + COLLABORATION + QUALITY TEACHING + AND LEARNING


The mission of The Houston A+ Challenge is to promote an academically rich and purposeful education for more of our children and to demonstrate how such an education could become possible for all our children.

Houston A+ Challenge was founded ten years ago with an ambitious mission, as part of a citywide and nationwide call to action: to put our money, our attention and our hearts into transforming our public school systems. Since 1997, we have served as the Houston region’s nonprofit advocate for public school improvement, providing an engine for systemic change and a galvanizing force for private and corporate investment in Houston-area schools. This year, 95 percent of our annual budget went to providing leadership training, collaborative networks, literacy and numeracy initiatives, model program development and whole-school reform. A common theme running through all of these efforts has been a commitment to developing leaders at all levels – teacher leaders, principal leaders, district leaders and community leaders – with the knowledge and capacity to improve student achievement. Our 2007 Annual Report uses this lens to chronicle the recent progress of our initiatives, and also features a few of the many outstanding school leaders whose work, every day, is changing student lives. Indeed, reflecting on lessons learned and our strengths as an organization, we believe that educational leadership is the most effective leverage point for moving our public school systems farther along the path toward excellence.

“Once you’ve been touched by Houston A+ and the Annenberg work, the impact is lasting. I’ve been taught to convene, to challenge appropriately, to take apart what is and what could be. I’ve been taught how to communicate, how to collaborate, and I’ve taken this knowledge everywhere I go.”

In our next decade and beyond, we will expand and accelerate our efforts to strengthen principal leadership in the Greater Houston area, especially at our most challenged middle and high schools. You will see our other initiatives shift in ways that support this drive. Our board is committed to this vision, and it is with great enthusiasm that we embark upon this journey. There is still much work to be done, and we hope that you will join us.

» ANNE McCLELLAN Former principal of Poe Elementary, a Houston Annenberg Challenge Beacon School, and founding principal of Challenge Early College High School. Anne is now Chief Strategic Growth Officer for YES Prep Public Schools.

CELEBRATING TEN YEARS OF PERSONALIZATION + COLLABORATION + QUALITY TEACHING AND LEARNING

Joe B. Foster Chairman, Board of Trustees

Scott Van Beck Executive Director

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LEADERS AT ALL LEVELS:

BUILDING A FOUNDATION FOR CHANGE

Critical Friends Groups really help promote informal leaders – your

true leaders of school culture, who directly impact what happens in the classroom. If you can get teachers working together, looking at their

practice and focusing on how it affects students – that’s a powerful

experience.

» MICHAELANN KELLEY Art teacher, Eisenhower High School (Aldine ISD), whose decade-strong Critical Friends Group is the recipient of a 2007 CFG as Research Team grant.

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CRITICAL FRIENDS GROUP TRAINING Research shows that school improvement work is most effective when educators at all levels are committed to a shared vision, have time to plan and reflect collaboratively, and prioritize student success above all else. Houston A+ Challenge helps provide ground-up support for this work in schools and districts through Critical Friends Group (CFG) training, developed by the National School Reform Faculty. Since 1998, more than 900 local teachers, principals and district administrators have learned to lead and participate in CFGs – professional learning communities that meet regularly to examine and refine teaching practices, look at student work to check for learning, and plan for whole-school or even district-wide change. 2006-07 HIGHLIGHTS • An independent University of Texas evaluation of high school reform efforts in Houston ISD identified Critical Friends Group processes as the key to allowing reformers to engage in “messy, professional conversations” that are vital to the success of school improvement efforts. • More than 150 local educators from 59 schools completed the 40-hour training to become Critical Friends Group coaches through Houston A+ Challenge. • Ten teams of educators were awarded Critical Friends Group as Research Team grants in 2007, to help document the impact of these professional learning communities on schools and students. Projects and grantees are listed online at: www.houstonaplus.org/news/2007-06-20-CARTgrants.html.

CELEBRATING TEN YEARS OF PERSONALIZATION + COLLABORATION + QUALITY TEACHING AND LEARNING

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2006-07 HIGHLIGHTS

BUILDING TEACHER LEADERS

• At participating schools, the percentage of economically disadvantaged students meeting the standard on the state’s TAKS test has grown by an average of 22 points since 2003.

Classroom teachers have the strongest and most direct impact on student learning. Expert teachers and content coaches co-teach lessons, provide cross-discipline perspectives and help colleagues stay current on their subjects. A common understanding of “excellent” teaching can help raise the performance level of an entire school’s teaching staff.

• Math specialists logged nearly 2,000 hours of coaching with 50 teachers and administrators at 20 elementary schools in Houston ISD’s West Region. During Family Math Nights, math specialists taught more than 500 parents how to help their children understand math concepts at home. • Math specialists were hired for four West Region middle schools serving more than 5,000 students, thanks to additional support from the ExxonMobil Foundation.

MATHEMATICS SPECIALISTS In Houston ISD’s West Region, mathematics specialists are helping teachers develop skills to move students beyond rote memorization and toward a deeper understanding of math concepts, through “finding all the ways” to solve problems, writing narratives to explain solutions and other researchbased strategies. Since 2000, the ExxonMobil Foundation has provided generous funding for this initiative to increase student achievement in math by strengthening classroom instruction.

2003

Source: Texas Education Agency * Sample size too small in 2007

2007

• 2007 also marked the first year of Houston A+ Challenge’s partnership with Reasoning Mind, an innovative, computer-based math curriculum that allows students to self-pace their learning. Results from other RM pilot studies are online at: www.reasoningmind.org.

The ExxonMobil Math Initiative planted ideas in 2000 that have blossomed and spread to

90 80 70 60 50

impact the entire district

40 30 20 10

White

Walnut Bend

Tinsley

Sutton

Shearn

Shadowbriar

Sands Point

Rodriguez

Piney Point

Neff

Mine

McNamara

Longfellow

Herod*

Gross

Elrod

Braeburn

Bonham

Benavidez

Askew

0

INITIATIVE ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS

today. Students are more confident in their ability to solve mathematics problems accurately,

efficiently and flexibly. » LANCE MENSTER Math Manager for Houston ISD’s 183 elementary schools, and former math initiative coordinator for Houston A+ Challenge.

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PERCENTAGE OF STUDENTS MEETING PANEL-RECOMMENDED STANDARD

TAKS MATH SCORES OF ECONOMICALLY DISADVANTAGED STUDENTS 100

• In September 2007, Houston ISD held its second district-wide Mathematics Summit, based on models provided in the West Region. Nearly 600 teachers, math specialists and administrators participated. The Rockwell Fund provided generous support.

CELEBRATING TEN YEARS OF PERSONALIZATION + COLLABORATION + QUALITY TEACHING AND LEARNING

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LITERACY COACHES

BUILDING TEACHER LEADERS

As part of the Houston Schools for a New Society initiative to redesign and personalize high school education for students, Houston A+ Challenge has provided funding and support for literacy coaches at Houston ISD’s comprehensive high schools since 2004. During this time, the district has sharpened its focus on student literacy by adopting and promoting a district-wide set of strategies to infuse literacy across the curriculum.

It’s not just art for art’s sake. Yes, we believe

This partnership with Houston ISD is funded through grants from The Annenberg Foundation, The Brown Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York and The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. A final, summative report on the initiative is online at: http://www.edb.utexas.edu/hsns/

in that – but we also have a

2006-07 HIGHLIGHTS

curricular basis for what we’re doing. » PABLO OCAÑAS

• Literacy coaches devoted more than 17,000 hours co-teaching, modeling and coaching individual teachers on how to infuse literacy-building skills across the curriculum. To keep their own skills current, coaches received 30 days of training throughout the school year.

Music specialist at Pine Shadows Elementary, where every classroom received visits from an artist-inresidence in 2007 through a Fine Arts Initiative grant.

• The percentage of ninth grade students meeting the state standard for reading has risen across the district – from 71.4 percent in 2003 to 77 percent in 2007.

FINE ARTS INTEGRATION Research demonstrates that for many students, the arts are a key to unlocking motivation, learning and higher levels of academic performance. More than 100 elementary school teachers are creating high-quality lessons that integrate art, music, dance and theater into the core subjects of math, reading, history and science lessons at elementary schools in the Houston region, through a model schools initiative sponsored by Houston A+ Challenge.

More than 3,000 students benefit from the programs at Aldine Academy (Aldine ISD), Neff Elementary (Houston ISD), Pine Forest Elementary (Humble ISD) and Pine Shadows Elementary (Spring Branch ISD). Since the program began in 2003, schools also have partnered with the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH), to provide 80 percent of teachers with Learning Through the Arts training and student exhibits – including “Art for All People” on display at MFAH for nine months starting in June 2007.

STUDENT TAKS SCORES AT FINE ARTS INITIATIVE SCHOOLS, 2006-07

• An independent evaluation by the University of Texas concluded that “schools with a consistent and attentive literacy coach made a great deal of progress in changing the practices of teaching and learning,” and that “on a district level, these reforms have been institutionalized.”

TAKS READING SCORES FOR NINTH GRADERS High School

2002-03

2006-07

Change

Austin

63

76

13

Bellaire

89

88

-1

Chavez

73

82

9

Davis

70

73

3

Furr

73

77

4

Houston

69

73

4

Jones

59

66

7

Kashmere

60

75

15

Lamar

88

93

5

Lee

60

67

7

Madison

81

73

-8

Milby

70

76

6

Reagan

74

76

2

Scarborough

71

82

11

Sharpstown

66

71

5

Sterling

65

77

12

Waltrip

76

80

4

Washington

77

78

1

Westbury

74

76

2

Westside

81

85

4

Reading

Mathematics

Overall Rating

Wheatley

60

77

17

Aldine Academy

90

84

Recognized

Worthing

75

74

-1

Neff

87

83

Acceptable

Yates

69

76

7

Pine Forest

93

93

Recognized

AVERAGE

71.4

77

5.6

Pine Shadows

89

81

Acceptable

School

Source: Houston ISD

Source: Texas Education Agency

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BUILDING TEACHER LEADERS SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT FACILITATORS Using student data to drive decision-making at every level has been another key component of the Houston Schools for a New Society initiative. School Improvement Facilitators helped to lead this charge at 23 Houston ISD high schools in 2006-07. Since 2003, Houston A+ Challenge has provided training and financial support for these campus-based leadership positions. 2006-07 HIGHLIGHTS • School Improvement Facilitators devoted more than 16,000 hours to participating on principals’ leadership teams, assisting in the development of school improvement plans, and helping teachers analyze and use student data to improve instruction and plan interventions.

• Proving their value to their schools, more than half of School Improvement Facilitators are now 50 percent funded through campus budgets.

It takes a lot of guts to do this work, because we’re the change agents. I think of myself as the sand in the oyster that’s trying to get at that pearl – it’s agitating, and it doesn’t

happen overnight.

But our high schools are losing a lot of kids –

so it’s worth the fight. » CYNTHIA CONWELL

School Improvement Facilitator at Waltrip High School in Houston ISD.

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SUMMER SCIENCE INTERNSHIP

TEACHER EXTERNSHIPS

Nine teachers, 12 high school students and a Houston Community College student spent six weeks as lab partners, conducting biomedical research alongside scientists at Baylor College of Medicine’s Discovery Lab, through the 2007 Summer Science Internship.

As classroom teachers strive to prepare Houston’s future workforce, an understanding of the changing needs of the workplace and the expectations of local employers is vital. Houston A+ Challenge’s annual Teacher Externship immerses secondary school teachers in oneweek job-shadowing experiences, and supports teachers as they use these experiences to create work-relevant classroom lessons for students.

Founded in 2002, the Internship is aimed at sparking low-income students’ interest in science-related careers and developing classroom teachers’ understanding of current biomedical research practices and advancements. Science teachers bring their new skills and enthusiasm back to the classroom each fall, impacting hundreds more students.

NATIONAL BOARD CERTIFICATION FOR TEACHERS To help build career pathways and financial incentives for highly skilled teachers to remain in the classroom, Houston A+ Challenge, in partnership with the University of Houston-Clear Lake, began the Houston area’s first National Board Certified Teacher program in January 2007. Our first cohort of 22 teachers impacts more than 2,000 students. Of these candidates, more than half teach in high-need schools that serve mostly low-income students.

In June 2007, the program matched 100 middle and high school teachers from eight Houston-area districts with 35 local companies representing aerospace, energy, government, communications, and technology industries and more. Back in their classrooms, these teachers impact approximately 15,000 students. In fact, 80 percent of 2007 teacher externs surveyed reported that their experience impacted their students’ learning, and 88 percent reported that students were more engaged when they taught lessons created through the program. Shell Oil Company was a major sponsor in 2007, and its continued support will allow 200 teachers to participate in 2008.

Certification is a rigorous process that can take up to 400 hours to achieve, and includes evaluations of classroom skill and student impact. Candidates meet monthly as a group with coaches and mentors who provide feedback and guidance. Since the program’s inception, one area district, Humble ISD, has implemented incentive pay for certified teachers.

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Today’s principals must be leaders in business, human resources, and instruction who motivate teachers and students to new levels of success. Beyond traditional training programs offered by universities and school districts, Houston A+ Challenge offers a unique blend of leadership development that focuses on building and sustaining support for whole-school improvement. NEW VISIONS IN LEADERSHIP ACADEMY More than 200 seated school leaders from Houston-area K-12 districts have graduated from Houston A+ Challenge’s two-year New Visions in Leadership Academy since 1999 – including 29 in 2007. Sitting principals and vice principals meet in groups to develop their leadership styles, discuss common problems and solutions in change management, and learn new techniques for helping teachers reach and inspire today’s students. Also during the 2006-07 school year, 41 school leaders began their Academy training with a

three-day summer institute emphasizing team building and visioning. Participants utilize 360 evaluations to develop and implement leadership improvement plans, meet monthly as a cohort with leadership coaches and participate in four more multi-day leadership retreats over two years. Fellows also attend small-group seminars with Academy alumni and national recognized authors and speakers; in 2006-07, these included Tony Wagner (co-director of Harvard University’s Change Leadership Group), Michael Fullan (renowned author of Turnaround Leadership) and Grant Wiggins (author of Understanding by Design).

Houston A+ has provided me with something that I can’t quantify or explain – it’s a different way of thinking. Out of all the things that I have done to improve myself as a leader, this has been the most valuable.

» PAUL CASTRO

Principal of Westside High School (Houston ISD) and a 2004 graduate of New Visions in Leadership Academy.

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Student data speaks very loudly, and principals

DEVELOPING PRINCIPAL LEADERS

need to know how to not just regurgitate it, but how

to use it to put better

systems into place. » SAM SARABIA New Visions in Leadership Academy coach and Executive Principal for 15 school leaders in Houston ISD’s East Region.

LEADERSHIP ACADEMY FOR NEW PRINCIPALS An estimated 160 principal vacancies need to be filled across the Houston region each year, and more than one-fourth of all principal positions turn over each year in some districts, including Houston ISD. Turnover among assistant principals leaves hundreds more vacancies per year, and this trend will increase as many current school leaders approach retirement age. Such high turnover results in school instability that has a direct and negative effect on children and their experience in the classroom. To address this urgent need, Houston A+ Challenge began laying the groundwork in 2007 for a leadership academy designed to prepare aspiring principals to lead the Houston region’s most challenged middle and high schools. Houston Endowment provided an initial planning grant for the Academy, and in December 2007 invested $3 million toward the program’s first two cohorts.

The Academy also aims to help school systems and state policy makers develop new models for leadership succession planning, by drawing on Houston A+ Challenge’s decade of work in building teacher leaders and central administration support. Through a partnership with Rice University, Houston A+ Challenge also will provide coaching support for aspiring principals in the Jones Graduate School of Management’s new MBA for Educational Entrepreneurs program.

EXECUTIVE PRINCIPALS To help principals create professional learning communities on their campuses and to align school improvement work across each feeder pattern, Houston ISD created the role of Executive Principal in 2004. Since then, Houston A+ Challenge has partnered with the American Leadership Forum to provide training for these individuals – including 60 hours of full- and halfday sessions in 2006-07.

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Improving education for all of Houston’s children isn’t the job of any one school district – it’s everyone’s job. That’s why improving collaboration across districts is a core imperative for Houston A+ Challenge. PREPARING TO DREAM Seventy-seven percent of Houstonians agree that a high school education is not enough to get a good job in today’s economy. At the same time, the state of Texas needs to enroll 630,000 more college and university students by the year 2015, just to close the gap between Texas and other states.

four-year, Houston Endowment-funded initiative aimed at helping more low-income students and first-generation college-goers realize their dream of attending and succeeding in college. In November 2007, teams of teachers, administrators, students and parents from participating districts – Aldine, CypressFairbanks, Goose Creek, Houston and Spring Branch – started their work. Over the next four years, teams will develop and implement pilot projects based on analysis of student data, current programs and successful models from across the country.

To help Houston-area school districts address these issues, Houston A+ Challenge has partnered with the National College Access Network (NCAN) for Preparing to Dream – a

Once you have a

critical mass of leaders who are willing to take risks, and who are willing to change their structures and practices – then learning

becomes more authentic and relevant for students and for adults.

Networking across districts helps our focus become broader – it’s not just tied to Alief or any specific district, it’s asking ‘What am I doing

STRENGTHENING DISTRICT LEADERSHIP

to impact children everywhere?’ » SUE PAGE

Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Education at Alief ISD and a Houston A+ Challenge Regional Senior Fellow.

REGIONAL SENIOR FELLOWS More than 40 central office leaders from eight area districts are meeting regularly to make meaningful connections through Houston A+ Challenge’s Regional Senior Fellows network. In 2006-07, Fellows focused their discussions on “Coaching to Change Mediocrity.” Aldine, Alief, Fort Bend, Goose Creek, Houston, Humble and Spring Branch districts participate in this network led by Dr. Mary Neuman, a national consultant on school reform. Fellows overwhelmingly reported that their learning in these meetings positively impacts their school visits and their dialogue with principals.

» CECILIA HAWKINS Deputy Superintendent Humble ISD and a Houston A+ Challenge Regional Senior Fellow.

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LEADING WHOLE SCHOOL CHANGE

MODEL SMALL HIGH SCHOOLS

Through direct grants to schools, Houston A+ Challenge provides campus leaders with much-needed resources and support for ongoing school improvement work, including high school redesign, fine arts integration and new model programs. Schools participate in network meetings, conferences, peer reviews of their progress, and on-site coaching visits from Houston A+ Challenge staff. HIGH SCHOOL REDESIGN Since 2002, Houston A+ Challenge and an array of partners have worked to transform the Houston region’s large, comprehensive high schools into student-focused learning centers that prepare graduates for the 21st century workforce. In addition to Houston ISD’s Schools for a New Society initiative, the Regional High School network supports 16 campuses in Aldine, Alief, Humble and Spring Branch as they reconfigure their campuses into small learning communities and careerthemed academies.

2006-07 HIGHLIGHTS • Houston Academy for International Studies (HAIS) opened in August 2006 with its first class of 100 freshmen and a global curriculum, through a partnership with Houston ISD, Houston A+ Challenge, Asia Society and Houston Community College. In August 2007, Sharpstown International High School opened with 100 Houston ISD students, through funding and support from the same partners. • HAIS and Empowerment College Preparatory were selected by the Texas Education Agency in 2007 to serve as success and sustainability models among Early Colleges in the state.

• Challenge Early College in 2007 was named as a bronze medalist in U.S. News & World Report’s list of America’s Best High Schools. Challenge also made Texas Monthly’s 2007 list of best high schools in the state.

• University of Texas researchers noted in their final, summative 2006-07 report that since the start of the five-year Houston Schools for a New Society initiative, Houston ISD students are scoring higher on many of the short- and long-term indicators for college and career success, through the major efforts of literacy and personalization. • Atascocita High School in Humble opened its new campus in 2006-07 with three “communities” and two “houses” of 400 students each — each house with its own principal/ counselor team. Humble ISD as a district has committed to the physical transformation of all of its new and existing high schools to support small learning communities. • Spring Branch ISD’s five-year strategic plan, unveiled in February 2007, prioritizes curriculum that engages students, promotes critical thinking, and utilizes technology in the classroom. Accountability measures have been put in place at the district level to support high schools in their efforts. • In 2006-07, Aldine Ninth Grade Center and Aldine Senior High entered their respective second and fifth years with students divided into small learning communities and teams of teachers planning collaborative, cross-disciplinary lessons — contributing to higher test scores and lower dropout rates. In a multi-university study, Aldine ISD was rated as the second best large school district in Texas for educating African-American students and the third best for educating Latino students. • Alief ISD approved a change to its master calendar for middle and high schools, to allow teachers and staff regular time one afternoon per week to meet in professional learning communities in order to encourage cross-discipline collaboration, student data analysis and team intervention planning.

REGIONAL HIGH SCHOOL COLLABORATIVE NETWORK Aldine ISD

Alief ISD

Humble ISD

Spring Branch ISD

Aldine HS Aldine 9th Grade

Taylor HS Elsik HS Elsik 9th Grade Hastings HS Hastings 9th Grade Kerr HS

Atascocita HS Humble HS Kingwood HS Kingwood Park HS

Spring Woods HS Memorial HS Stratford HS Northbrook HS

Kids have to feel valued, they have to understand that somebody cares. If you’re going to ask them to step up, you have to be there to say, ‘If you don’t believe in yourself, I’m here – you know me, and

2006-07 HIGHLIGHTS

14

Houston ISD, Houston A+ Challenge and partners also have established a portfolio of new, small high schools that emphasize personalization and a college-going culture.

I believe in you.’ » JUSTIN FUENTES

Principal of Challenge Early College, one of four new, small high schools created by Houston A+ Challenge and Houston ISD.

CELEBRATING TEN YEARS OF PERSONALIZATION + COLLABORATION + QUALITY TEACHING AND LEARNING

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LEADING WHOLE SCHOOL CHANGE FOCUSED IMPACT AWARDS Twenty schools received funding in 2006-07 for their efforts to increase student achievement by implementing model programs in literacy, mathematics or fine arts integration. Schools were selected from the original Beacon and Lamplighter schools that Houston A+ Challenge supported from 1997 to 2002. Since the first year of funding in 2004, student TAKS scores have risen significantly in both reading and math at 18 out of 20 Focused Impact Award campuses. ALDINE ISD Anderson Academy Bethune EL Hoffman MS Reed Academy Stovall Academy

HOUSTON ISD Browning EL Debakey HS Helms Learning Center Johnston MS Lanier MS McReynolds MS

Pershing MS Port Houston EL Roberts EL Scott EL Sharpstown EL Twain EL Whidby EL

HUMBLE ISD Quest HS SPRING BRANCH ISD Spring Branch EL

The success of the child depends upon the motivation of the teacher. What they see you do in the classroom is profound.

REFORMING SCHOOLS SUMMER INSTITUTE More than 400 teachers, administrators, university faculty, parents, students, business and community members participated in Houston A+ Challenge’s eleventh annual Reforming Schools Summer Institute — our largest Institute to date. Many schools attended in teams, and used the two days of sessions as a springboard for planning for the 2007-08 school year. The Institute also provided a powerful showcase for the change strategies now being used in schools and learning communities throughout the Houston region, during 14 breakout sessions hosted by schools that have received funding and technical support from Houston A+ Challenge. International education researcher Michael Fullan, author of “Turnaround Leadership,” provided a keynote address on how to move our schools from adequate to excellent — and how to sustain that change over time.

» GINA RIGSBY Principal of Reed Academy (Aldine ISD), a Focused Impact Grant award school, and New Visions in Leadership Academy alumna and coach.

STUDENT TAKS GAINS FOR FOCUSED IMPACT AWARD SCHOOLS

Reading 2003

2007

Elementary

70.2

89.3

Middle

73.2

High

89.0

Change

Mathematics

Change

2003

2007

19.2

68.6

86.3

17.8

85.7

12.5

49.2

73.5

24.3

82.5

-6.5

72.5

96.0

23.5

Source: Texas Education Agency

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TOWN HALLS ON THE DROPOUT RATE

COMMUNITY LEADERSHIP Engaging community members in the ongoing work of public school improvement is a key contributor to driving school reform and sustaining the progress made on campuses throughout our region. Working across multiple districts, Houston A+ Challenge provides forums and opportunities for public involvement in public education. NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND HEARING In March 2007, Houston A+ Challenge convened more than 250 parents, students, educators, business leaders and community members for a statewide public hearing on No Child Left Behind (NCLB), the landmark education law up for reauthorization by the U.S. Congress. Houston A+ Challenge documented opinions and suggestions from the three-hour Houston hearing through facilitated table discussions, report-outs to the entire audience, and individual videotaped interviews. Key recommendations from the Houston hearing were submitted to Washington lawmakers by the Public Education Network, through testimony before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and a synopsis report from across the country.

More than 140 teenagers from four school districts were persuaded to return to school on September 8, 2007, during the fourth annual Reach Out to Dropouts walk. More than 1,800 community volunteers knocked on nearly 3,800 doors, to make personal appeals to students and families from Aldine, Alief, Houston and Spring Branch ISDs. Houston Mayor Bill White’s office and Houston A+ Challenge provide technical support and outreach for the event, and were honored alongside founding partner Houston ISD in 2007 with a commendation by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Alief and Spring Branch schools participated for the first time in 2007, and received coaching from walk veterans in Houston and Aldine ISD.

REACH OUT TO DROPOUTS Students Recovered

Homes Visited

Conversations

Volunteers

Participating High Schools

Aldine

15

900

600

300

5

Alief

49

957

186

251

5

Houston

60

1,741

686

1,200

23

Spring Branch

18

168

121

106

2

142

3,766

1,593

1,857

35

Total

Improving communication – between schools and families, and between students and adults – was a main theme at all three events. The Metropolitan Organization has held follow-up meetings with parents, districts and school officials, through support from Houston A+ Challenge and the United Way of Greater Houston.

GIVE KIDS GOOD SCHOOLS CAMPUS VISITS

REACH OUT TO DROPOUTS

District

To focus citywide attention on finding ways to lower the student dropout rate, Houston A+ Challenge convened parents, students, educators and community members for town hall forums at Aldine, Austin and Wheatley high schools in February and March 2007. Through moderated panel discussions, facilitated small group meetings and videotaped interviews, more than 400 individuals shared their ideas with district officials and made commitments to staying involved with their campuses and students.

During national Give Kids Good Schools Week (Oct. 15-21, 2007), Houston A+ Challenge and partner schools hosted campus visits to showcase some of the elements of high-quality public schools. More than 160 business leaders, parents, community members and educators participated in the events, which included classroom visits and student demonstrations.

GIVE KIDS GOOD SCHOOLS CAMPUS VISITS Literacy Across the Curriculum

Milby High School, Houston ISD

The Power of Small Learning Communities

Atascocita High School, Humble ISD

Personalizing Middle Schools to Reach Students

McReynolds Middle School, Houston ISD

Transformation Through Shared Leadership

Stovall Academy, Aldine ISD

Integrating Fine Arts Across the Curriculum

Pine Shadows Elementary, Spring Branch ISD

Anatomy of a High-Performing High School

Eastwood Academy, Houston ISD

Learn more at http://www.houstonaplus.org/givekidsgoodschools

Source: Participating school districts

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REVENUE, 2006-07

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 on request. Houston A+ Challenge is a 501(c)(3) taxexempt charitable organization. STATEMENT OF FINANCIAL POSITION

Cash and cash equivalents Grants receivable Other assets

TOTAL ASSETS LIABILITIES AND NET ASSETS

2% Training Fees

86% Contributions

As of June 30, 2006 and 2007

ASSETS

12% Interest Income

2006

2007

11,342,299 8,028,184 41,451 19,411,934

13,191,977 2,690,734 61,386 15,944,097

2006

2007

4,308,128 306,244 4,614,372 14,797,562 19,411,934

3,148,391 226,330 3,374,721 12,569,376 15,944,097

2006

2007

2,129,258 425,926 21,600 2,576,784

4,042,078 554,965 78,914 4,675,957

EXPENSES, 2006-07 1% Fundraising

4% Management & General

LIABILITIES: Grants Payable Other Payables TOTAL LIABILITIES NET ASSETS

TOTAL LIABILITIES AND NET ASSETS REVENUE Contributions Interest Income Training Fees

TOTAL REVENUE EXPENSES

95% Program Expenses

EXPENSES, 2006-07 45% – High School Reform (includes Literacy Coaches, School Improvement Facilitators, and grants to model schools, low-performing schools and Regional High School Network) 29% – Challenge Network (includes Math Specialists, Fine Arts Schools, Focused Impact Grants, Replication/Innovation Grants, Teacher Externship and Summer Science Internship)

2006

2007

High School Reform Challenge Network Leadership and Professional Development Public Engagement Higher Education Total Program Expenses Management and General Fundraising

4,427,921 1,693,407 458,014 409,483 196,016 7,184,841 167,565 103,504

3,099,540 2,019,989 880,114 474,222 113,429 6,587,294 246,758 70,091

7% – Public Engagement (includes NCLB Hearings, Town Halls, Reach Out to Dropouts, Reforming Schools Summer Institute and Give Kids Good Schools)

TOTAL EXPENSES CHANGES IN NET ASSETS

7,455,910

6,904,143

2% – Higher Education

-4,879,126

-2,228,186

13%– Leadership (includes Critical Friends Group, New Visions in Leadership Academy, Regional Principal Leadership Academy, Regional Senior Fellows, and National Board Teachers)

4% – Management and General 1% – Fundraising

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CELEBRATING TEN YEARS OF PERSONALIZATION + COLLABORATION + QUALITY TEACHING AND LEARNING

21


DONORS, 2006-07

BOARD OF TRUSTEES, AS OF DECEMBER 2007

$4 Million

$1,000 to $9,000

The Annenberg Foundation

Aiken Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP El Paso Corporate Foundation Ann & J. Kent Friedman Foundation Jenard M. and Gail Gross Halliburton Harry M. & Macey H. Reasoner Texas Children’s Hospital United Way of the Texas Gulf Coast UPS Foundation, Inc.

$2.3 Million Carnegie Corporation of New York

$2 Million The Brown Foundation, Inc.

$300,000 ExxonMobil Foundation

$100,000 to $299,000 The Bank of America Foundation Shell Oil Company

$50,000 to $99,000 Asia Society Coalition of Essential Schools John P. McGovern Foundation Public Education Network Rockwell Fund, Inc. The Wedge Group *

$25,000 to $49,000 Houston Independent School District University of Houston Washington Mutual Bank

$10,000 to $24,000 Baylor College of Medicine CenterPoint Energy, Inc. Houston Community College System National Board for Professional Teaching Standards The Powell Foundation

$999 and below Dale W. & Susan T. Abbott Bank of America Susan Bischoff & Jim B. Barlow Marie Sharpe Blaine Compass Bank Brit C. & Melissa M. Davis Epstein Becker Green Wickliff & Hall P.C. Houston Building Owners & Managers Association, Inc. Ben Tecumseh DeSoto * Houston Endowment Michaelann Kelley Harris & Eliza Kempner Fund Ladies Auxiliary to Houston Engineering & Scientific Society Robert H. and Anita Q. Lawe Foundation Mrs. William C. Liedtke, Jr. James W. & Nancy R. Lomax Audrey T. Maclean Suzanne K. & S.I. Morris Daniel M. and Karol K.Musher Donna J. & Robert D. Reid Schlumberger Margaret Lotterhos Smith Peter K. Thompson VJ Jr. & Phyllis Turner Vinson & Elkins LLP Whispering Oaks Women’s Club Mayor William H. & Andrea White Elizabeth D. Williams Rosie Zamora * Denotes In Kind Donation

Joe B. Foster, Chairman

Steve L. Miller

Founder Newfield Exploration Company

Chairman & President SLM Discovery Ventures, Inc

Ann Friedman, Ph. D., President

Karol Musher, M.A., CCC-SLP

Community Volunteer

Speech-Language Pathologist Texas Children’s Hospital

Michael Dee, Secretary Investment Banker

Maconda Brown O’Connor, Ph.D.

Susan A. Bischoff

Chairman The Brown Foundation

President Houston Public Library Foundation

Harry M. Reasoner

Bill Crouch

Partner Vinson & Elkins LLP

Managing Director Human Resources Information Systems Continental Airlines, Inc.

Jonathan Day

J. Victor Samuels Chairman Victory Packaging, Inc.

Of Counsel Andrews & Kurth, LLP

Yava D. Scott

Thomas L. Elsenbrook

VJ Turner, Jr.

Managing Director Alvarez & Marsal Business Consulting, LLC

Roberto Gonzalez Vice President Employment & Training Centers, Inc.

H. Devon Graham, Jr. President R. E. Smith Interests, Inc.

Jenard M. Gross President/Owner Gross Investments

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Michele Pola, through August 2007 Suzanne Sutherland, interim

Community Volunteer

Manager ExxonMobil Corporation

Andrea White Community Volunteer

Rosie Zamora President Houston Wilderness, Inc.

Leonel Castillo, Director Emeritus Mayor’s Office City Hall (Retired)

ANNUAL REPORT CREDITS Melissa Milios Davis Writer & Editor

Cole Schweikhardt/Squidz Ink Designer

Scott Van Beck, as of December 2007

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CELEBRATING TEN YEARS OF PERSONALIZATION + COLLABORATION + QUALITY TEACHING AND LEARNING

23


CELEBRATING

TEN YEARS of + PERSONALIZATION + COLLABORATION + QUALITY TEACHING + AND LEARNING

www.houstonaplus.org Tel: (713) 658-1881 Fax: (713) 739-0166

2007 Annual Report  

Houston A+ Challenge's 2007 Annual Report

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