A+ Dinner Unites Attendees Around Improving Public Education
Generous Houstonians made the first-ever "Power of the Network" dinner, benefiting Houston A+ Challenge, a sold-out event on October 13. At the event, founding Board Members Maconda B. O'Connor and Andrea White (pictured below) accepted the first A+ Awards for Excellence in Public Education.
- See photos from the event
- Watch a video about our founders and A+'s impact
- Watch a video of reflections from superintendents, school board members, teachers and principals
In future years, Houston A+ Challenge will award the Maconda Brown O’Connor Award for Leadership in Public Education to outstanding public school teachers, principals and district leaders, and the Andrea White Award for Service to Public Education will be awarded to individual community members, corporation and foundations who go above and beyond to support the Houston region's public schools.
Special thanks to our event chairs, Lesha and Tom Elsenbrook and Nancy and Bryan Ruez, and to the entire A+ Board of Trustees for making the evening a success!
Spend Seven Minutes with A+ National Speakers
To share our learning with the wider community, Houston A+ Challenge has begun compiling a video library featuring brief interviews with national speakers who have recently spent time with our principal and teacher networks.
Let us know what you think about these new video clips:
- Lorraine Monroe, author and founding principal of Harlem's Frederick Douglass Academy, on the importance of instructional leadership.
- Kent Peterson, Professor of Education Leadership & Policy Analysis at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, on the practical importance of building positive school culture.
- Michael Fullan, internationally renowned education researcher and author, on the value of 'collaborative competition' in public schools.
Help Create an Agenda for Change in Houston's Public Schools
On November 11, please join Houston A+ Challenge, Children at Risk, Project Grad and other community organizations for a one-day conference on the "Big Ideas, Big Reforms" that are making an impact in public schools in Houston, in Texas, and across the country.
Speakers will include Dr. Joseph Johnson, Executive Director of the National Center for Urban School Transformation; Susan Dawson, President of Austin's E3 (Education Equals Economics) Alliance; statewide political organizer Johnson Sabo; and others.
New Research on the Revolving Door of the Principalship
High school principals in Texas stay on the job an average of just 3.38 years, while middle and elementary school principals last only slightly longer -- an average tenure of 4.48 years and 4.96 years, respectively. "We think the job has outgrown the ability of one person to handle it," University of Texas researcher Ed Fuller told Education Week. "Nobody is staying long enough to make connections or shepherd a reform through." Read the article or read the full study.
Study Finds 40 Percent of Teachers 'Disheartened'
Two out of five of America's 4 million K-12 teachers are disheartened and disappointed about their jobs -- but nearly as many (37 percent) are contented, and a good portion (23 percent) are classified as idealists -- according to a new nationwide study by Public Agenda and Learning Point Associates. "Teaching for a Living: How Teachers See the Profession Today," offers a comprehensive and nuanced look at the attitudes and motivations of the nation's teacher corps, and researchers provide notable implications for how to identify, retain, and support the most effective teachers. Read more
Getting It Wrong: Surprising Tips on How to Learn
Scientific American reports on new research that makes the case for hard tests, and suggests an unusual technique that anyone can use to learn. Read more
Transformative School Leaders Focus on Priorities
The best school leaders create a sense of community and collaboration while keeping their focus on teaching and learning, writes Marge Scherer, editor-in-chief for Educational Leadership magazine. Their October issue spotlights the development of school leaders. Read more
More School News
As one of 19 aspiring principals in last year's Regional Principal Leadership Academy cohort, Ellen Winstead spent her internship year working closely with other YES Prep directors to plan the opening of the newest YES site, located in West Houston. She was engaged in all aspects of new school development including: recruiting students and staff, organizing the physical plant, ordering materials, and being the cheerleader for the school's success.
Will classroom instruction and children’s learning improve through the infusion of the arts into the core curricula?
That's exactly what a team from Anderson Academy in Aldine ISD spent the last two years researching, with the support of a Critical Friends Group As Research Team Grant from the Houston A+ Challenge.
Nestled in the Acres Homes community in northwest Houston, Anderson Academy is a 1st through 3rd grade magnet school for fine arts, Montessori and Direct Instruction. Although Anderson has a proud tradition of exposing students to the arts through ancillary classes in drama, art, dance, and violin, the Anderson faculty wanted to explore how they could take their focus on arts from simple enrichment to full-scale infusion in math, science, social studies, and language arts.
In Why School: Reclaiming Education for All of Us, award-winning author Mike Rose draws on forty years of teaching and research, from primary school to adult education and workplace training, to reflect on the big questions related to public schooling in America: What does it mean to be educated? What is intelligence? How should we think about intelligence, education, and opportunity in an open society?
Visit http://www.houstonaplus.org/resources/bookshelf for more recommended books.
Grants and Opportunities
Houston A+ Challenge is pleased to provide a listing of education-related grants, offered by institutions across the city, state and nation. Please contact the grant provider named in each listing for more information about these opportunities.
- Bob Costas Grants for Innovative Teachers
- Fund For Teachers Grants
- Awards for Future High School Physics Teachers
- Ntl Center for Women in Technology Student Grants
Visit http://www.houstonaplus.org/resources/grants for additional grant opportunities.
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