2013-14 School Partnerships - Initiative Overview

In 2013-14, Houston A+ Challenge partnered with 18 middle schools across the Houston area to provide on-campus coaching & leadership support to improve teaching and learning through our Challenge Network initiative.

The Challenge Network has four main goals for these partnerships:

  • Increase the achievement and college readiness of students in targeted middle school classrooms (~150 students per school)
  • Improve teacher practice and capacity through hands-on coaching and targeted, customized professional development for teachers and principals
  • Increase student achievement for all students in the targeted cohort grades (~400 students per grade per school)
  • Sustain gains at each campus beyond the first two years of engagement

At each Challenge Network school, A+ works with school leaders to identify the teachers most ready to participate in rigorous coaching that will refine their practice and boost the performance of students at all levels. Each week, A+ Performance Coaches visit these target classrooms to drive the implementation of best practices and also meet with content specialists at each campus to build their capacity as coaches. A+ Executive Coaches work with school leaders to create conditions for success for all teachers, including strong school culture and effective analysis of student data.
All schools in the Challenge Network implement four common program components:

Teacher and Students in the Challenge Network

Performance Coaching to Improve Teaching and Learning

Students benefit when teachers work continuously to improve their craft and have adequate support for doing so. A+ Performance Coaches work alongside teachers in classrooms to implement the best lessons, assessments, and interventions for students.

Collaboration With Content Specialists

A+ Performance Coaches work with content specialists on school campuses to build their capacity as coaches in their content areas, increasing the school's ability to support all teachers and to continue Challenge Network strategies beyond the time frame of the program.

Executive Coaching for School Leaders

Expert Executive Coaches with extensive school leadership experience coach school leaders in the Challenge Network to create conditions that support the necessary work in the classrooms.  Participants analyze data, study exemplars of best practice, and develop plans to create a cohesive school culture with a focus on post-secondary options.

Collaboration Across Districts

Using assessment results and curriculum resources, teachers and school leaders from across the Network  identify patterns of school needs and strategies, sharing ideas for improving practice. 

A+ Scholars Campout

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