2004 T H E
H O U S T O N
C H A L L E N G E
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.
Our vision is that Children will be learning at higher levels.
Teachers and staff will be well prepared to meet students’ individual educational needs.
The community will work together to support public schools.
Schools will be reorganized to use their size – including structure, resources, space and time – to create personalized learning environments.
Participating schools will become models and resources of systemic reform across districts.
HOUSTON A+ CHALLENGE ANNUAL REPORT
2004 was a year in which Houston A+ Challenge made great strides in its mission of promoting an academically rich and purposeful education for more of our children and demonstrating how such an education could become possible for all our children. As a not-for-profit public, private partnership, the
Personalization includes interaction between
Houston A+ Challenge directs and monitors some
our staff and educators, students, parents and
of the largest contributions of private money to
community leaders. We work with a broad array
promote school reform and higher academic
of groups from corporations…to community-based
achievement in the Houston area. At the end of
organizations...to museums and foundations.
fiscal year 2004, Houston A+ Challenge provided
With the support of Houston’s business and
grants, contributions and professional development
philanthropic communities, Houston A+ Challenge
services of more than $8.7 million to improve
has been working with its partners to develop
education. The work done by Houston A+
teachers, school administrators and other educators
Challenge is unique among non-profits. We are a
as leaders in their schools and community.
one-of-a-kind resource to channel funding,
Collaboration includes Houston A+ Challenge
expertise and training directly into the classroom to
working with teachers and educators in hundreds
improve student achievement. Our extremely low
of schools in nearly a dozen school districts and
administrative costs of three percent assures that
universities throughout the region. We custom
funding is directed to where it does the most good.
tailor a variety of solutions for schools and teachers
We also hold the schools accountable for the
in efforts to improve student performance. Good
funding they receive. In 2004, for example, we
teachers make successful schools. We learn first
redirected our grant funding after multiple
hand from teachers and school administrators
leadership changes and transitions at one school
about the challenges confronting them and then
interfered with the progress of the grant.
create and provide the training, support and
Our funding is specifically targeted to areas
technical assistance so they can best meet the
proven by comprehensive research to be “best
differing needs of every student.
practices.” The school’s progress is measured with
Quality Teaching and Learning in Houston A+
benchmarks for success directly relating to student
Challenge and its staff, programs, initiatives and
academic success and achievement.
partnerships influences the lives of our children
To most effectively use those dollars in improving
as they prepare themselves for the challenges of
education, Houston A+ Challenge relies on three
the future. Our organization prides itself on setting
principles to help achieve its mission. We rely
rigorous standards that measure the success of
on personalization, collaboration and quality
our work. We conduct annual reviews of all schools
teaching and learning, which we assess through
to ensure they are meeting the goals they set
for their work when we approved their funding.
The reviews are performed by committees of
students. Another excellent example of meeting
educators and community members who are
student needs was the opening of a new type of
knowledgeable about what makes a good school.
HISD high school – the only one of its kind in
Specific areas of Houston A+ Challenge focus in
Texas. This is a school where young people can
2004 and beyond include: Redesigning high schools
graduate in just five years with both a high school
to meet the needs of our students and communities;
diploma and a Houston Community College
preparing teachers and administrators for leadership
associate’s degree. The traditional process takes six
roles both within our schools and communities;
years – four years of “free” public high school and
integrating fine arts teaching with other core
two years of college classes for which one has to
subjects; improving teachers’ math skills; and
pay. Located on a Houston Community College
influencing the future of education by a
Campus, the Challenge Early College High School is
commitment to teacher education and preparation.
a small high school with personalized instruction.
In each of these areas, we measure success and the
Challenge Early College gives students the
impact of dollars spent. And, we hold both
knowledge and skill to succeed in college or the
ourselves and schools accountable.
workforce. This new school began operation in 2003 with the collaboration of Houston ISD, HCC
HIGH SCHOOL REDESIGN The year 2004 was one where Houston A+ Challenge continued its efforts to help redesign
and Houston A+ Challenge and represents a model for future schools emphasizing personalized attention with accelerated, cost effective learning.
area high schools to meet standards that will
This year, Aldine school district joined the Alief,
become a model for additional schools. For
Humble and Spring Branch districts in our Regional
example, in Houston ISD, based on progress we
High School network. These 14 schools created
saw the year before, we continued placing literacy
special small learning communities at each location
coaches and school improvement facilitators in
to improve student achievement….so essential to
23 high schools for the second year to improve
our vision of creating personalized learning
classroom instruction. We did this through the
Houston Schools for a New Society Initiative, which
We continued to enhance our close relationships
is funded in part by The Carnegie Corporation of
with teachers and students through ongoing
New York, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation,
programs like the Third Annual Houston A+
Annenberg Foundation and The Brown Foundation.
Challenge/Baylor Summer Science Internships from
Nearly 400 volunteers brought more than 100
Houston ISD’s Northwest District. In addition, we
former students back to school in the “Expectation
helped place high school teachers in special extern-
Graduation Reach Out to Dropouts Day” walk that
ships with corporate partners during the summer.
resulted from our collaboration with the Houston
This program shows teachers how their lessons
connect to the business world and shows business
Also in the year, the Asia Society approached
the challenges teachers face in the classroom.
Houston A + Challenge to be a partner in creation
We partnered with the Houston Chronicle
of a new Houston ISD school focused in
to connect journalism classrooms to the world
international studies. This school is scheduled to
open in 2006. This represents the second of three
Through a $10,000 joint grant from the American
new high schools being created by Houston ISD
Society of Newspaper Editors, Houston Chronicle
to meet the diverse and growing needs of area
and Houston A + Challenge, journalism students at
Milby High School received new computers, printers
Additionally, we awarded seven “Teacher as
and cameras. Houston Chronicle reporters, editors
Researcher” grants to help key educators research
and columnists worked “hands on” with students.
and publicize their specialty areas, lessons learned
We also sponsored development of a new web-
and best practices.
based system that enables school districts to
We also partnered with the JP Morgan Chase
transfer student records instantly. This Web
Foundation and the Public Education Network for
Enabled Student Transcript System (WEST)
a third year of awarding grants to selected middle
replaces the tedious and time consuming transfer
school teachers to create interactive, hands-on
of paper transcripts with instantaneous electronic
classroom lessons that will become models for
transmission. WEST has spread to more than 300
other teachers and other schools. We continue to
school districts and includes more than one million
work hands-on with teachers and administrators in
programs like this to reorganize schools and create
Each of these efforts represents a step forward in redesigning school systems in a way that is more responsive to students’ needs, facilitates the learning process and best uses available resources.
structure, resources, space and time to create personalized learning environments. Teachers and school administrators value and recognize Houston A+ Challenge for what we are: a tremendous resource for them in their role
BUILDING TEACHER AND ADMINISTRATOR LEADERSHIP Houston A+ Challenge continued providing
leadership strategies and tools to administrators
INTEGRATING FINE ARTS INTO THE TEACHING OF CORE SUBJECTS
and teachers through its Critical Friends Group.
In 2004, more than 200 teachers from the five
The Critical Friends Group is essential to our
participating schools were trained in “Learning
vision that teachers and staff be well prepared to
Through Art,” a Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
meet students’ individual educational needs. CFG
curriculum for integrating the arts into the content
protocols give coaches who work with teachers and
areas such as mathematics and science. In this
school administrators ways to improve key skills.
kindergarten through fifth-grade Fine Arts
As part of our partnership with Teach for America,
Initiative, that is a partnership with MFAH, teachers
Houston A + Challenge staff helped introduce the
and administrators of the fine art schools continue
Critical Friends Group training to Teach for
to meet after training to find ways to best integrate
America national representatives.
the arts with other subjects and measure success.
Our fourth New Visions in Leadership Academy
Other schools continue to join this network.
kicked off in the summer of 2004 with 37 school leaders from four school districts. The academy leaders meet for two years focusing on their role in improving student learning. Our grants help train teachers and administrators
IMPROVING STUDENT MATH SKILLS During 2004, Houston A+ Challenge in partnership with the ExxonMobil Foundation involved more than 10,000 area parents in a variety
and redesign school systems. In 2004, we awarded
of activities to help students achieve increased
14 grants to Houston and Humble ISDs to support
levels of achievements in mathematics. Fourteen
whole school reform and efforts to increase student
Houston ISD schools held parent outreach
achievement in math, literacy and fine arts.
programs such as Family Math Nights, Parent Math
Series and Family Adventure trips to the Children’s
College System, Texas Southern University,
Museum of Houston. Houston A+ Challenge co-
University of Houston, University of Houston-
sponsored a Family Math workshop with the
Downtown and University of St. Thomas.
Museum of Health and Medical Science. Houston A+ Challenge brought in a nationally
The Partnership for Quality Education redesigned coursework, trained teachers through our Critical
known mathematics consultant to work with
Friends Group and employed the latest technology
teachers in designing lesson plans for the best way
to help enhance the learning experience and create
to teach specific math topics and best analyze
a personalized learning environment. Houston A+
students’ work. Math specialists also received
created a Regional Faculty to bring together
advanced training and implemented a professional
outstanding educators to develop a P-16 and
development program for Houston ISD elementary
above system through higher education and school
teachers. Math training specialists also created a
district collaboration…helping fulfill our mission
special parent training course on geometry that
to promote an academically rich and purposeful
began its pilot program at the Halpin Early
education for more of our children and to
demonstrate how such and education could become
Houston A+ Challenge is using innovation, crea-
possible for all our children.
tivity and close collaboration with teachers to better prepare student math skills…so essential to success.
PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE: Transformation of Higher Education Through Teacher Preparation 2004 was the fourth year that Houston A+
THANK YOU FOR HELPING MAKE A DIFFERENCE Houston A+ continues to pursue our vision of children learning at higher levels through our collaboration with teachers, administrators, schools, parents and the community. Our efforts are leading to systematic reform across districts…creating a
Challenge participated in the Partnership for
personalized learning environment so essential to
Quality Education, a program to redesign teach
student success and achievement. Participating
preparation courses at five area colleges and
schools become models and resources for reform.
universities in cooperation with the school districts
We thank each and every donor, teacher and
of Alief, Aldine, Houston, Humble, North Forest
administrator. Your contributions and commitment
and Spring Branch. These higher education
make our work to improve the educational
institutions include: the Houston Community
Harry M.Reasoner Chairman of the Board
Michele Pola, Ed.D. Executive Director
What nobler employment, or more valuable than that person who instructs the rising generation? Cicero, 78 B.C.
HOUSTON A+ CHALLENGE 2003-2004 FOCUSED IMPACT GRANT Houston A+ created The Focused Impact Grant for original Lamplighter and Beacon schools that were not currently receiving funding from the Houston A+ Challenge. Eligible schools made initial applications for five-year grants, pending the successful annual completion of requirements and measurable progress toward stated goals and objectives.
Leadership By the end of 2003, New Visions in Leadership Academy, which began in 2000, had 115 graduates with 24 percent of those graduating receiving a promotion after completion of training. Thirty-six additional fellows graduated from the 2004 class of the leadership academy in June.
In the 2003-2004 school year, Houston A+ offered Critical Friends Group training twice to Houston-area educators. Seventeen educators participated in the spring seminar, and 73 educators participated in the summer seminar, both of which were facilitated by local coaches and Houston A+ staff. In the 2003-2004 (including the summer of 04) school year, Houston A+ Challenge has provided the Critical Friends Group new coach training to almost 700 educators.
Six clinics for new and experienced Critical Friend Group coaches were held during the 2003-2004 academic year. Houston A+ Challenge secured funding to offer the clinics at no cost to participants. One hundred and nineteen coaches and facilitators participated in these clinics. The Houston A+ Challenge awarded seven Teacher as Researcher Grants to Critical Friends Group coaches in May 2004. The grant supports this group with $10,000 over a two-year period.
8th Annual Fondren Reforming School Summer Institute More than 250 teachers, administrators, parents and community representatives participated in the institute to gather and share information concerning school reform. Participants rated the workshop sessions at a very high level and were particularly complimentary concerning sessions that introduced tools and processes that can be used to accelerate school reform. The majority of participants had never attended a conference focusing on school reform.
High School Reform / High School Redesign Initiative
Houston Schools for a New Society is working to restructure all 23 comprehensive Houston ISD high schools into more personalized learning environments to provide the skills and knowledge students need for the 21st century workplace. As of May 2004, Houston Schools for a New Society facilitated restructuring of 17 of 24 schools. Challenge Early College High School opened in August of 2003. Its principal, Anne McClellan, was chosen in part because she was principal of a Houston A+ Challenge Beacon school.
Empowerment College Prep was planned in 2003-2004 to open in Fall 2004. The Empowerment principal, Misha Lesley, was chosen in part because she previously worked as a school improvement facilitator as part of Houston Schools for a New Society. In the 2003-04 school year, the Alief, Humble and Spring Branch school districts applied to launch the Houston A+ Challenge Regional Network for High School Redesign. Literacy Coach training took place at the Neuhaus Education Center in 2003. This training was made possible by a $25,000 contribution from The Powell Foundation that trained 27 Literacy Coaches. The piloted teacher externship program allowed 12 teachers from Reagan High School to job shadow and receive mentoring to help them connect student coursework with the workplace. During the year, Houston A+ Challenge also partnered with the Houston Chronicle and Milby High School to give journalism students real-world experience. Summer Science Internship Program with the Baylor College of Medicine included students from three high schools and resulted in a year-round partnership to improve the quality of science education.
Kindergarten through 5th Grade Fine Arts In its first year of operation, the Fine Arts Initiative supported five participating schools to train 200 teachers in Learning Through Art, a program at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. Test Results Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills/K-5 Fine Arts (Percent of Students that met TAKS standards) 2004
Aldine Elementary Aldine ISD
READING 79.66% 87.22%
MATH 79.18% 88.22%
READING n/a 74.73%
MATH n/a 72.30%
Neff Elementary Houston ISD
Pineforest Elementary Humble ISD
Pine Shadows Spring Branch ISD
Cumulative for Schools
Cumulative for Districts
Kindergarten through 5th Grade Math As part of the K-5 Math Initiative, schools reported that 10,630 parents participated in a wide variety of activities offered by math specialists including Back Pack Math, which was used by 6,270 parents. Other activities included Childrenâ€™s Museum family math visits, Family Math Nights, math/literature fairs, Math Make and Take, Moms and Math, parent TAKS talks, math pot luck dinners, combined parent/coordinator/specialist programs and problem solving and measurement training.
The 15 math specialists presented 1,580 hours of professional development for Houston ISD elementary teachers both on and off their campuses and at two national conferences. This included 800 hours of teacher in-service seminars attended by 2,540 teachers and 780 hours of grade level meetings on campus. Specialists also facilitated at the Spring Math Summit, open to all elementary schools in Houston ISDâ€™s West Central and Southwest districts. Specialists also logged 3,160 hours in long and short term co-teaching sessions at the 14 initiative schools throughout the year. As of the 2003-2004 school year, 15 schools in the Southwest and West Central districts participated in the K-5 Math Initiative. In addition, the Northwest District began offering its teachers the same professional development used in the Initiative for math specialists. Test Results Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills/K-5 Math (Percent of Students Passing Math TAAS/TAKS Weighted Average) 2000
All Project Schools
Three-Year Schools: Anderson, Argyle, Elrod, Foerster, Fondren, Halpin, Milne, Red All Project Schools: the three-year schools and Benavidez, Rodriguez*, Shearn, Sutton, Tinsley* All Non-Project Schools: Bell, Braeburn, Condit, Cunningham, Gordon, Gross*, Herod, Horn, Kolter, Longfellow, Lovett, Parker, Sugar Grove, Valley West
Partnership for Quality Education Alief ISD saved an estimated $45,000 by hiring nine students as new teachers who had been trained by University of Houston-Downtown and the district through the Partnership for Quality Education initiative. Texas A&M used materials developed during the redesign of the political science courses by the Partnership for Quality Education design teams. Graduates of the Houston Community College Accelerated Certification Program have a 95 percent pass rate and 98 percent pass rate on the professional component and content component, respectively, of the state teachers certification exam. Houston Community College developed this program as part of the Partnership for Quality Education.
Houston A+ Challenge thanks all who made financial contributions between July 1, 2003 and June 30, 2004.
$999 and under
The Annenberg Foundation
Jeffrey and Tara Null Heimbinder Family Foundation Andy Snelson Enterprises, Inc. John W. Lodge III City of Houston Combined Municipal Campaign Jason and Lori Heuring Barbara R. Hurwitz Elizabeth D. Williams *J. W. Marriot Audrey T. MacLean Dr. and Mrs. Peter K. Thompson Harris and Eliza Kempner Fund Michaelann Kelley Nita Sane Roy M. Huffington TSC Engineering Company Nicole M. Buergers Margaret Lotterhos Smith Caroline and Thomas Peterson Col. L. B. Wilby
$2 Million and above Carnegie Corporation of New York/ Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation The Brown Foundation
$1 Million and above Houston Endowment Inc.
$100,000 to $150,000 ExxonMobil Foundation Cullen Foundation M.D. Anderson Foundation The Gordon and Mary Cain Foundation
$50,000 to $75,000 The Fondren Foundation U.S. Department of Education The Bank of America Foundation The Powell Foundation
$20,000 to $40,000 *WEDGE Group Inc. Public Education Network
$10,000 to $19,999 The Simmons Foundation Jenard and Gail Gross What Kids Can Do, Inc.
$1,000 to $5,000 *Houston Chronicle Education Commission of the States The Samuels Foundation Friedman Foundation Coca-Cola Bottling Companies The Newfield Foundation Wells Fargo William J. Hill
* Denotes in-kind contribution
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 A+ Challenge is a 501 (c)(3) tax-exempt charitable organization.
S TAT E M E N T S O F A C T I V I T I E S FISCAL YEARS ENDED JUNE 30, 2004 AND 2003
JUNE 30, 2004
JUNE 30, 2003
Grants and Contributions Donated Use of Facilities Interest Income Training Fees
$5,067,779 37,162 72,362 47,950
$10,399,843 68,360 74,887 58,802
Program Services Administration Fundraising
8,705,188 167,498 96,027
8,677,153 134,934 159,246
INterest income 1% Training Fees 1% Donated Use of Facilities 1%
Changes in Net Assets
Grants and Contributions 97%
S TAT E M E N T S O F F I N A N C I A L P O S I T I O N AS OF JUNE 30, 2004 AND 2003 $6,866,386 25,159,780 39,668
Grants Payable Other Payables
Total Liabilities Net Assets
Total Liabilities and Net Assets
Cash and Cash Equivalents $9,559,478 Grants Receivable 19,612,793 Other Assets 37,588
Program Services 97%
It is an axiom in political science that unless a people are educated and enlightened it is idle to expect the continuance of civil liberty or the capacity of self government. Texas Declaration of Independence, March 2, 1836
THE HOUSTON A+ CHALLENGE Board of Trustees Harry M. Reasoner, Chairman Partner, Vinson & Elkins L.L.P. Joe Foster, President Founder, Newfield Exploration Company Ann Friedman, Ph.D., Secretary Adjunct Professor, University of Houston Board Members Jack S. Blanton President, Eddy Refining Company Leonel J. Castillo City Hall, Mayorâ€™s Office Jonathan Day Managing Partner Andrews & Kurth, Mayor, Day, Caldwell & Keeton, L.L.P. David A. French Division Vice President & General Manager, Coca-Cola Enterprises, Inc. Roberto Gonzalez Vice President, Employment & Training Centers, Inc. H. Devon Graham, Jr. President, R.E. Smith Interests Jenard M. Gross President/Owner, Gross Investments Steven L. Miller Chairman & President, SLM Discovery Ventures Inc. Karol Musher, M.A., CCC-SLP Speech & Language Pathologist, Texas Childrenâ€™s Hospital Maconda Brown O'Connor, Ph.D. Chairman, The Brown Foundation, Inc. J. Victor Samuels Chairman, Victory Packaging, Inc. Yava D. Scott Community Volunteer H. Michael Tyson Vice Chairman (retired), Texas Commerce Bank Andrea White Community Volunteer Randa Duncan Williams President, Enterprise Products Company C r e d i t s: Editor Nan Powers Varoga Writer Keith Schmidt Designer Henry Hunt/New Pencil Design www.houstonaplus.org
Rosie Zamora President, Houston Wilderness, Inc. Executive Director Michele Pola, Ed.D.
2004 THE HOUSTON
formerly The Houston Annenberg Challenge
1415 LOUISIANA, BOX 9 HOUSTON, TX 77002 713.658.1881 / 713.739.0166 (FAX) WWW.HOUSTONAPLUS.ORG
Houston A+ Challenge's 2004 Annual Report