Key Accomplishments

Houston A+ Challenge initiatives are designed and led by members of the A+ staff, working in collaboration with teachers, principals, district administrators, consultants and education experts.

Since 1997, we have:

  • Raised more than $90 million to promote literacy, mathematics and fine arts initiatives, effective school leadership, and whole-campus reform at 172 A+ network schools, impacting nearly 9,600 teachers and 151,000 students. Houston A+ staff provides program support, evaluation and financial oversight.
  • Improved student learning, narrowed the achievement gap between minority and non-minority students, and sparked widespread adoption of research-based teaching strategies and professional learning communities, according to independent evaluations.[1]
  • Trained more than 1,500 teachers and school leaders as Critical Friends, a movement University of Texas researchers identified as the key to guiding the “messy, professional conversations” that are vital to school improvement.
  • Demonstrated through our literacy and math initiatives that on-site skills coaching from a handful of content experts can improve instruction for hundreds of teachers, and significantly raise achievement levels for thousands of low-income students. Houston ISD built upon this model to expand the math and literacy coaches networks districtwide, to benefit students throughout the district.
  • Strengthened the knowledge and skills of more than 350 principals, assistant principals and aspiring principals through our multi-year Principal Leadership Academies.
  • Exposed more than 500 classroom teachers to the needs and expectations of Houston’s 21st Century workforce through our annual Teacher Externship Program. Teachers have developed workforce-relevant classroom lessons impacting more than 75,000 students.
  • Co-created four new, small high schools in Houston ISD, including two international schools and the first early college high school in the state of Texas. Challenge Early College has served as a model for many other high schools statewide, and was named among the Houston region's Top 10 High Schools in a 2009 study by the nonprofit Children at Risk.
  • Exposed more than 3,000 Houston-area educators to national speakers, researchers and best practices through cross-district conferences, hands-on workshops, and other National Speaker Series events.
  • Partnered with 11 Houston-area universities and school districts on a five-year project to redesign university-level teacher training in Houston.
  • Helped fund and develop the region’s first electronic system to track students across districts; the state of Texas has since adopted similar technology to identify dropouts.

The Power of the Network: Voices from A+

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About Houston A+ Challenge

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honoring Founding Board Member
Maconda Brown O'Connor
and Founding Board Chair
Andrea White