June 1, 2007

K-5 Math Initiative Expands Into Middle Schools

Math Initiative
Long Middle School sixth graders Jacqueline Martinez and Rashad Tate solve an algebra problem, using toy bugs as hands-on learning tools. Photo by Johnny Hanson for ExxonMobil

Building on the successful K-5 Math Initiative, the ExxonMobil Foundation has once again partnered with the Houston A+ Challenge and the Houston Independent School District (HISD) to expand the elementary math program into four HISD West Region middle schools. The ExxonMobil Foundation has contributed $840,000 to develop and launch the Houston A+ Challenge/ExxonMobil Middle School Math Initiative. The newly expanded program is expected to reach more than 5,000 middle school students each year.
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| Initiative featured on HISD Connect | Listen to KUHF Coverage

Help Houston A+ Challenge Improve
In order to better serve our community, Houston A+ Challenge is seeking feedback on its publications – the biannual newsletter, SchoolWorks, and the monthly electronic newsletter, eNotes. Your responses are appreciated, and will be kept anonymous. Thank you for devoting five minutes to complete this survey!

Spend a Week This Summer with Critical Friends
June 1 is the last day to apply for Critical Friends Group New Coach Training during our 2007 summer session. The New Coach Seminar is designed to help new coaches develop and practice the necessary skills for leading Critical Friends Group work. During the five days of seminars, June 11-15, the new coaches will create among themselves the kind of professional learning community that they will establish within their own schools, in order to improve student learning. Three additional follow-up coaches clinics will be scheduled. To apply, visit our website.

New Edition of SchoolWorks Available
Keep an eye on your mailboxes for the latest edition of Houston A+ Challenge's printed newsletter, SchoolWorks. This edition features stories about the Houston No Child Left Behind hearings and a summary of input from the Town Hall forums on dropouts, among others. If you didn't receive a hard copy of SchoolWorks, you can download a .pdf file from our website. To join our mailing list, visit our website.

Hundreds Will Attend RSSI XI
The 2007 session of the Reforming Schools Summer Institute, "Mobilizing the Forces of Change," featuring keynote speaker Michael Fullan, is now at full capacity, with more than 300 registrants. The annual Houston A+ Institute brings together teachers, administrators, university faculty, parents, students, business and community members to share their successful strategies for making sustainable change in Houston's schools and learning communities. We look forward to the active participation of so many school teams in July.

Aldine ISD to Build 12 New Schools

Aldine voters approved a $365 million bond proposal in May, which will fund the construction of 12 new schools: four early childhood/pre-K centers, two elementary schools, two intermediate schools, two middle schools, one ninth grade school and one high school. Additionally, the bond referendum will provide for the construction of a school bus transportation facility; renovation of several magnet schools, cafeterias, science labs, music halls and art classrooms; replacing air conditioner chillers, roofs and cabinets; purchasing air-conditioned buses; and more than $7.1 million in safety and security improvements. “We are elated with these results because now we will have the resources to address our future growth issues and to plan for the next 10 years,” said Aldine ISD Superintendent Nadine Kujawa.

River Oaks Elementary Students Win World Championship
The River Oaks Elementary "I'm Only Thinking Of You!" team in Division I of the 28th Odyssey of the Mind World Finals won first place at this year's International competition. Two teams traveled from River Oaks to Michigan to compete against teams from around the world. The second River Oaks team took fifth place in the "Around the World in Eight Minutes" division, a great result. River Oaks was one of Houston A+ Challenge's original Lamplighter Schools. Congratulations, Roadrunners!

Congratulations, Claudia
Claudia Villia, a participant in last year's Houston A+ Challenge Summer Science Internship, was named valedictorian for the 2007 graduating class of Eastwood Academy. She will be attending the University of Houston to study business management in the fall. Villia also received honors for Top Academic Student, Perfect Attendance, Citizenship and Honor Roll.

The Future of our Children Conference
Children at Risk invites you to attend the second annual "Future of Our Children" conference on Thursday, June 7 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the United Way Community Resource Center (50 Waugh Dr, Houston, 77007). Dr. Peter Bishop from the University of Houston, who specializes in Studies of the Future, will facilitate the conference and encourage participants to think about change, previous and current trends, and the impact of these possibilities on the future of Houston's children. To register, please contact Children at Risk at (713) 869-7740 or visit their website.

Grants to Help Principals Engage Communities
The National Association of Elementary School Principals/MetLife Foundation Sharing the Dream Grant enables principals to test ideas on how to involve and engage their communities to build greater ownership for the work of the school by sharing leadership and decision-making, by keeping all stakeholders informed about all school news -- good and bad -- and by creating a school climate that fosters open communication, safety and security, and respect for every individual.
Maximum Award: $3,000
Eligibility: Elementary school principals from around the country
Deadline: June 8, 2007

Youth Prize for Excellence in International Education
The Asia Society and the 2007 Goldman Sachs Foundation Youth Prize for Excellence in International Education asks students to select a problem or challenge that affects their local community and a community outside the United States; to create an in-depth written, audio, video, or animated feature that compares and contrasts how these two communities have addressed the issue; to explain why these approaches reflect the different cultural backgrounds of those involved; and to analyze what lessons the different communities could learn from each other.
Maximum Award: $10,000
Eligibility: High school students in the 2006-07 school year
Deadline: June 11, 2007

Helping Latino Students Graduate from High School
Youth Venture and MTV Tr3s Voces Tu Voz My Venture will support the creation of 50 teams of young people to create ventures that help Latino students graduate from high school and prepare for college or work. The top five teams will also be awarded a team scholarship, and one team will be featured in a news segment on MTV Tr3s.
Maximum Award: $5,000
Eligibility: Young people ages 13-20
Deadline: June 29, 2007

Honoring Schools as Centers of Community
KnowledgeWorks Foundation and The American Architectural Foundation seek submissions for the Richard Riley Award. This award recognizes design and educational excellence in "schools as centers of community"-- those that provide an array of social, civic, recreational and artistic opportunities to the broader community and to students, often clustering educational and municipal buildings together.
Maximum Award: $10,000
Eligibility: All existing elementary and secondary public schools; applications are being accepted now
Deadline: July 9, 2007

Grants to Spread Literacy & Love of Learning
The Ezra Jack Keats Minigrant Program for Public Schools and Public Libraries supports educators, parents and children in their efforts to spread literacy and a love of learning.
Maximum Award: $500
Eligibility: Public schools and libraries anywhere in the United States and its protectorates
Deadline: September 15, 2007

June 4-8
Teacher Externship Week

July 24-25
Reforming Schools Summer Institute (RSSI)
University of Houston Hilton

September 8
Reach Out to Dropouts Walk, Houston ISD

Statistic of the Month
Seventy-nine percent of schools in Texas report that more than half of their fourth grader's parents participated in parent-teacher conferences in 2006.

Fourty-six percent of schools in Texas report that more than half of their eighth grader's parents participated in parent-teacher conferences in 2006.

Source: National Center for Education Statistics

Changes at Houston A+ Challenge
In May, Houston A+ Challenge welcomed three new members to our Board of Directors and said goodbye to two members of our team. Joining the Board are: Bill Crouch, Managing Director of Human Resources Information Systems at Continental Airlines; Thomas L. Elsenbrook, Managing Director at Alvarez & Marsal Buisness Consulting LLC; and VJ Turner, Jr., Manager at ExxonMobil Corporation. Leaving the Houston A+ team this month are Tish Stringer, Public Affairs Assistant, and High School Intern
Suzanne Rodriguez, whom we congratulate on her graduation!
Houston A+ Challenge
1415 Louisiana, Box 9
Houston, TX 77002

Board of Trustees
Joe B. Foster
Ann Friedman, Ph. D.

Leonel Castillo
Susan A. Bischoff
Bill Crouch
Jonathan Day
Michael Dee
Thomas L. Elsenbrook
Roberto Gonzalez
H. Devon Graham, Jr.
Jenard M. Gross
Steve L. Miller
Karol Musher, M.A., CCC-SLP
Maconda Brown O’Connor, Ph.D.
J. Victor Samuels
Harry Reasoner
Yava D. Scott
VJ Turner, Jr.
Andrea White
Rosie Zamora

Staff List
Michele Pola, Ed.D.
Executive Director
Suzanne Sutherland
Associate Director/
Director of Programs
Catherine Reed
Director, Finance
Melissa Milios
Director, Public Affairs

Program Coordinators
Brandi Allen
Tim Martindell
Angela Prince
Mike Webster

Alejandro Morúa

Terrie Roberts
Event Coordinator
Administrative Assistants
Imelda Cardoza
Benedicta Forson
Joan Zuniga
Tish Stringer, Ph.D.
Public Affairs / Webmaster
Suzanne Rodriguez
High School Intern

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Public Education Network

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Partners in Education

Texas Coalition for Quality Arts Education

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