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A Community System for Education in the 21st Century

Presented by: Michele Pola, Ed.D. Executive Director Houston A+ Challenge

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October 21, 2006 Houston Community College System All College Conference 1

Houston A+ Challenge

Who We Are

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Walter Annenberg Largest non-profit, public-private partnership dedicated to public school improvement in the Houston area Develops and funds programs in schools, leadership and higher education to promote higher academic achievement by all students Invested $116 million since 1997 in Houston area schools Aldine, Alief, Houston, Humble, North Forest, Spring Branch ISDs (c) 2006 Houston A+ Challenge 3

Mission Empower urban schools to change from within to prepare students to be successful in college or the workforce.

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Imperatives Increase student achievement through: 

Quality professional development for teachers 

Bringing community into education 

Hands-on experience

Business, corporate, universities

Making classrooms/schools more personal for students

Community-based teachers (c) 2006 Houston A+ Challenge 


Why Change Education

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“The world our kids are going to live in is changing four times faster than our schools.� - Dr. Willard Daggett Director International Center for Leadership and Education

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Understanding the Global Context 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Changes in the workplace Changes in quantity of information Changes in our understanding of the learning process Changes in the requirements of citizenship, critical thinking, civic engagement, civility Changes in students’ life circumstances

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© Copyright 2003 Tony Wagner, Harvard University; Alvin Toffler, “Communications Revolution Just Waiting to Happen”.


Understanding the Local Context In Texas, Hispanic and black children are about three times more likely to live in poverty than Anglos. They also are more likely to lag in educational achievement, a key indicator of potential income. (Houston Chronicle, 10-17-06) Unless Texas closes gaps in education, income, health and adapting to culture, the children expected to make up the bulk of the state's future labor force will likely be poorer and less economically competitive than young people across the nation. (Houston Chronicle 10-17-06) (c) 2006 Houston A+ Challenge 9

"If we don't educate our population, we won't be able to attract and retain the jobs that we want, that we need, for people to buy homes, to be taxed, to produce public goods and services we need to sustain the state." -Professor Robert Stein

Rice University Houston Chronicle 10/17/06

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What To Change

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Creating Community Capacity Sharing knowledge and skills Setting up the conditions, culture and competencies Houston has great resources     

Diversity Wisdom Wealth Passion Mayor’s commitment

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Creating Capacity (cont.) Transform from isolation to collaboration Long term  Purposeful  Multiple players  Use data  Awareness of workforce needs 

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What are the Knowledge and Skills? Graduate Profile        

Culturally aware in global world Effective communicator Proficient problem-solver Knowledgeable of worldwide issues Cooperative team member Efficient technology user Responsible citizen Self-directed worker and thinker

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Evolving Community Capacity

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Examples Convocation on Public Education - American Leadership Forum “Reach Out to Dropouts” Walk – Houston and Aldine ISDs Teacher Externships - Greater Houston Partnership Summer Science Externships - Baylor Medical School High school journalism partnership - Houston Chronicle New high schools – HCC, Asia Society Give Kids Good Schools campaign

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HCC Partnerships P-16 Council Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board - field specialists International Studies College Connections Achieving the Dream

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Visionary Leadership “only when people dream of a better tomorrow, decide they truly want to make it happen, and then act to turn their dreams into reality….” -Burt Nanus Visionary Leadership (c) 2006 Houston A+ Challenge 18

1415 Louisiana, Box 9 Houston, TX 77002

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A Community System for Education in the 21st Century