Strengthening Schools & Educators

Houston A+ Challenge offers Houston-area teachers & school leaders a wide range of professional learning opportunities that strengthen instruction, school culture, family engagement, technology integration, and more.



Professional learning workshops that help teachers, coaches & specialists drive gains through research-supported best practices.

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Monthly working groups that create space for netoworking & problem-solving with peers from around Greater Houston.

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On-site coaching, workshops, & more – customized support for real academic growth.

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Stronger Educators, Stronger Students


schools have partnered with A+ this year for customized, onsite coaching & workshops


educators participated in A+ professional learning in 2013-14


of participants agree that A+ workshops will change their work for the better

A History of Results

Houston A+ Challenge is among the most respected school consultants in greater Houston. Nearly 20 years of experience working with Houston educators, incubating innovative ideas, and learning from experts informs our work.  A+ engages teachers and leaders as partners, coaching shoulder-to-shoulder to get results.  An independent analysis by researchers at the University of Houston confirms that, through A+ coaching, teachers and leaders “increase their knowledge, change skill sets, and gain understandings about students and their needs” – and that “educators are changing as a result of coaching.”

“Educators are changing as a result of coaching.”

-Independent analysis of A+ professional development data, 2010-14, by University of Houston

Melissa Ford, Olle Middle School, Alief ISD

Gwynne Grohmann, A+ Coach

“They love reading so much, they’re not doing their chores. They get in trouble for reading. How awesome is that??”

Melissa’s Story

Sean Plaskett,, Math Teacher, KIPP Polaris Academy

Sean Plaskett, KIPP Polaris Academy

Dana Vontoure, A+ Coach

“Students deserve a teacher who knows how to teach everything, not just the stuff he’s good at.”

Sean’s Story

Shelby and Jen

Shelby Powers, KIPP Spirit College Prep

Jen Maschek, A+ Coach

“It’s not ‘This is what you need to do.’ It’s ‘What can we work on together?'”

Shelby’s Story

Meet Jen, and the rest of the A+ coaching team at our Staff Page. Go

Smarter and Stronger 

Education is always and only about getting smarter and stronger. This single Houston A+ Challenge imperative serves as our guide and aspiration in all our work.

Our pursuit through each strategy ensures all learners grow smarter and stronger intellectually and emotionally daily to prepare themselves for successful endeavors now and in the future.  Through our Strengthen and Connect strategies we approach the teaching and learning profession by focusing on the following:

  • Building community in classrooms and schools is crucial for the success of students
  • Empower stakeholders and students through access, voice and choice
  • Apply tools to encourage process learning
  • Develop strategies for student success across disciplines to grow learners.

Learner perspectives and examples are taken from three different lenses as we approach education.

Empower parents to have a voice for their students.
Inform parents of educational topics/issues ways to communicate and partner with schools.
Teach parents how to advocate for their kids through the questions they ask.
Provide parents and community members a forum for discussion and debate regarding important topics related to education.

We hold a laser-like focus on the whole child.
Our work builds through relationships and focuses on growth.
Students own their learning through analysis of data.  Develop habits of mind, metacognitive skills, mindset and academic discipline behaviors.
Learning develops through student discourse.

Improving craft knowledge through side by side coaching, action research and job embedded professional development.
Build respectful and professional relationships with students and colleagues.
Expand toolkits to teach to responsibilities associated with student academic growth and social growth.