History and Background

Since 1997, Houston A+ Challenge has raised nearly $90 million to invest in schools across Houston-area school districts including Aldine, Alief, Cypress-Fairbanks, Goose Creek, Houston, Humble and Spring Branch.

1997


A+ Provides Teach For America with Critical Friends Group Training, 2002Houston Annenberg Challenge founded as one of 18 sites in The Annenberg Foundation's call to reform the nation’s public schools; investment from The Brown Foundation stimulates local matching funds; first direct grants totaling $1.4 million awarded to 11 Beacon Schools.



1998


First Reforming Schools Summer Institute; first Critical Friends Group training; direct grants of $1.55 million awarded to 65 schools in 20 Lamplighter Learning Communitie.

1999


Second round of $4.64 million in grants to Beacon, Lamplighter Schools; National Speaker Series begins.

Teacher and Students in the ExxonMobil/A+ Math Initiative2000



K-5 Math Specialists Initiative launched; Partnership for Quality Education team begins redesigning university-level teacher training in Houston.

2001


First class of principals graduates from New Visions in Leadership Academy; high school reform efforts with Houston Independent School District expanded through grants from the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

2002


Research shows achievement gap closing for Annenberg schools; Brown and Annenberg foundations commit additional funding to renamed Houston A+ Challenge.

2003


Graduates from Challenge Early College, 2006Houston A+, Houston ISD and Houston Community College co-create Challenge Early College High School, the state’s first campus where students can earn a high school diploma and a community college degree in five years; 16 campuses in four regional districts join A+’s high school redesign work.



2004



Houston A+ helps fund and develop the region’s first electronic system to track students across districts; A+, Houston ISD and City of Houston launch first “Reach Out To Dropouts Walk”.

2005


Number of teachers trained as Critical Friends Group coaches surpasses 1,000; principals trained through New Visions reaches 200.

Teacher Externship 20082006


More than 100 teachers participate in the fourth annual Teacher Externship; A+ hosts series of public forums on school finance; first small, internationally-themed high school opens in Houston ISD with support from Houston A+, Asia Society and HCC.

2007


ExxonMobil Foundation expands A+ Math Specialist Initiative into four Houston ISD middle schools; Preparing to Dream college access initiative launches in five local districts.

2008


10 schools and two districts awarded A+ grants totaling $487,000 to innovate and replicate promising practices in literacy, math and fine arts; A+ launches new academy to recruit, prepare and support new principals for the region’s struggling secondary schools.

2009


Houston A+ Challenge Board of Trustees approves new mission, vision and strategic plan to work in targeted schools and districts to improve student post-secondary readiness.

2010


Houston A+ Challenge partners with five local school districts, Region 4 and Communities In Schools to launch The Challenge Network, a new initiative aimed at significantly increasing the number of students who are not just "proficient", but who are truly on track to achieve post-secondary success. Teachers and school leaders in six schools begin their first year of this new pilot project.

Reflections on A+

"The A+ Network has been responsible for virtually every educational practice refinement and innovation that have benefitted the children of Humble ISD. For us, A+ helps us live the power of collaboration and a continuously improving focus on student learning.”

Dr. Guy Sconzo
Superintendent, Humble ISD

 

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