Working groups for working leaders

Challenge Academies

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2014-15 Academies

"We have more in common than anyone would have guessed.  
I need to spend more time with this group."

All professionals need opportunities to improve their practice and "work on the work" – but too often, professional development for school and district leaders is limited to new leader trainings and policy rollouts.

Challenge Academies are monthly working groups that create space for learning through peer networking, problem-solving, and real-world action research.

Participants learn and collaborate in small cohorts with educators from across the Houston area. Schools and students benefit, too, as participants pursue a yearlong, results-focused project of their choice with the support of peers, A+ coaches, and district leaders.

Houston A+ Challenge has nearly 20 years of experience as a convener of education professionals. Our expert facilitators are seasoned school leaders skilled in coaching educators to reach personal, team, and school goals.

A+ Academies are driven by you and your work, and provide the flexible support you need.

The Power of the Network

Challenge Academies are made up of educators from schools and districts across the Houston region. 

Together, these educators reflect on professional challenges, share common school dilemmas, gain insight from current research and fellow practitioners, set goals, and test solutions to improve outcomes for students.

Coherence & Best Practices

All A+ Academies are grounded in a similar set of ideas and tools so that -- regardless of role -- participants speak a common language. 

Houston A+ Challenge's approach to professional learning is aligned with Robert Marzano's School Leadership Evaluation Model and ISLCC standards. Participants set goals and work toward outcomes in accordance with these models.

Ideas at Work

While knowledge is important to a practitioner, skill development and practice are critical.

Academy participants not only learn about best practices -- they put them into practice. Educators use time within their cohort to "work on the work" that is critical to their responsibilities in their schools.

Designing Innovative Solutions

Participant-selected Challenge Projects give each Academy a framework for moving learning and innovative ideas into action.

Design thinking empowers and challenges educators through a structured approach to creative problem-solving, experimentation and evolution.