The public schools that serve 9 out of 10 students in our region by building the skills and networks of educators and school leaders.


The traditional school model – rethinking everything from the time and space where learning takes place to the roles of teachers, students, and families – to prepare students for the 21st century.


Teachers, administrators, families, community & business leaders, policy makers, and top education thinkers – reducing isolation and fortifying the network of stakeholders who can make schools great.

We strengthen, innovate and connect Houston schools
through the following STRATEGIES:


We work with public schools to strengthen instruction and leadership through consulting, on-campus coaching, leadership academies, professional development workshops, and more.

about what A+ can do for your school


We test ideas and pilot models with the potential to revolutionize public education. Our latest pilot, A+UP, explores the unlimited potential of personalized learning.

about A+UP


We convene educators and thought leaders to learn from peers and experts through our publications and events, including our free, public speaker series.

about the speaker series


We know what works in classrooms.  Why aren’t we doing it?

The effectiveness of teachers has a greater impact on students’ academic performance than any other factor – including poverty. Building stronger teachers and school leaders is our nation’s biggest challenge. 

 We know what works in classrooms.  Get kids interested in books, and they’ll improve their reading comprehension.  Get them talking about math, and they’ll improve their problem-solving skills. Yet too many broad reforms have focused on everything from tweaking class size to lengthening the day to purchasing technology – with little academic gain to show for it.  Even as their worksheets and whiteboards change year to year, teachers and leaders are left to follow outdated practices.

Houston A+ Challenge has a long history of supporting teachers and leaders to strengthen their skills and get results. Our unique perspective – with one eye on schools and the other eye on the school reform horizon – brings a steady stream of research-based innovative practices to schools, serving not only as a catalyst for change but also as an implementation partner.

How does Houston A+ Challenge STRENGTHEN schools?

My coach has helped me to create the environment in the classroom.  The language we’re using, the strategies I’m showing, it’s a lot of things, all of it empowering the students to lead their own learning.

–Katy Richardson, Math Teacher, A+ Partner School


Workplaces and homes have changed dramatically over the past 150 years.  Why haven’t schools?

Despite the influx of smart boards, laptops and tablets,  schools are fundamentally the same as they were 150 years ago: students grouped by age, rather than skills; learning shaped to fit a schedule, not the other way around; curriculum built around canonical texts and traditional formulas, instead of the skills and knowledge students need to thrive in the 21st century. As technology changes the way we work, live , and think, our schools – and students – are being left behind.

Launched by Houston A+ Challenge in 2013, A+ Unlimited Potential – Houston’s first mobile middle school – combines the best of community resources, education technology, engaged families, expert teachers and empowered students to offer an education unlike any other. And through partnerships with Neighborhood Centers and the University of Houston, we are exploring how A+UP innovations can be replicated and scaled in traditional schools.

Piloting innovative models like A+UP is in our DNA at Houston A+ Challenge.  Over nearly 20 years in Houston, we have helped launch the region’s first early college and public international high schools, as well as dozens of initiatives to improve everything from parent engagement to dropout rates to faculty meetings.

How does Houston A+ Challenge INNOVATE in schools?

The strategies blew my mind, and sparked my creative side. I love coming up with new an innovative solutions, and this workshop allowed me to brainstorm and ask questions.

–Workshop Participant


To make schools better for every student, education stakeholders – from students to policymakers – must work and learn together.

In everything that we do, A+ connects education stakeholders – teachers, administrators, community leaders, families and students – with peers, mentors, ideas and resources. It is through these connections that strengthening and innovating take place.

We believe that a well-informed public is the terra firma on which great public schools are built. Together with Chevron, we bring the best ideas in education to a series of free, public lectures through our annual speaker series. Our Gulf Coast PASS initiative connects high schools and community colleges to strengthen the college-going pipeline, ensuring that more students are prepared for, matriculate to, and graduate from post-secondary education. And we work to put actionable information in the hands of policymakers by developing policy recommendations synthesized from the best available research as well as our experience in classrooms.

How does Houston A+ Challenge CONNECT the education community?

I know that when my coach is out there working with my teachers, she’s working from a vision that we created together.  And I trust that because she’s built the relationships, she can have those harder conversations about content.

–Samyka Leaston Pinkey, ELA Specialist, A+ Partner School