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Elementary and Primary Education
Houston Independent School District
News Release
Thursday, June 30, 2011

El Paso Corporation Gives HISD $100,000 to Support Apollo 20 Project


The HISD Foundation has received a $100,000 gift from El Paso Corporation in support of HISD’s Apollo 20 Project.


“El Paso Corporation is proud to support the Apollo 20 program, which brings the best lessons learned from successful charter school models to HISD,” said Doug Foshee, chairman, president and chief executive officer of El Paso Corporation.  “This innovative program represents an important component of El Paso's commitment to education, particularly math and science education, for all students.”


Apollo 20 is a three-year program launched in the fall of 2010 with the purpose of turning around struggling schools by providing a longer school year, longer days and intensive 2-on-1 math tutoring.


“On behalf of the HISD Foundation, I want to thank the executive leadership of El Paso Corporation for their generous support of Apollo 20. El Paso’s support of this nationally important endeavor further demonstrates their commitment to education as well as their commitment to the future of Houston and the State of Texas,” said James Calaway, chairman of the HISD Foundation and the Apollo Fund Oversight Committee.


Apollo 20 began with five middle schools and four high schools during the 2010-2011 school year. Developed in partnership with renowned economist Dr. Roland Fryer and Harvard EdLabs, this program relies on concepts that have proven effective in the nation’s top-performing charter schools.


Within just one year of its inception, students in this program have already demonstrated significant academic improvements, particularly in math.


Sixth-grade students who were enrolled at Apollo 20 schools for the entire school year posted an 85 percent passing rate on the TAKS math exam, 22 points higher than the previous year. Their “commended” rate is now 30 percent, an 18-point jump from last year.


Apollo 20 ninth graders enrolled the entire school year also made great strides with the help of the math fellows. These freshmen produced a 72 percent passing rate in math, a 16-point increase from the previous freshman class. Their “commended” rate is now 20 percent, 8 points higher than 2010.


Apollo 20 students also showed significant progress in science and social studies.


The program will expand to 11 elementary schools this fall.  Apollo 20 elementary students will receive more instructional time in reading and math, but without adding more time to the school.


About the HISD Foundation: The HISD Foundation partners with the district to raise private support, manage funds and provide donor accountability. Funds raised by the HISD Foundation and district leaders provide resources to advance the core initiatives of the district’s Strategic Direction. The Foundation’s fundraising efforts focus on institutional priorities set by the superintendent of schools and board of education. A separate 501 (C) (3) nonprofit, the Foundation is governed by a volunteer board of business, community and philanthropic leaders. The Foundation’s programming is aligned with the district’s five core initiatives: Effective Teacher in Every Classroom; Effective Principal in Every Classroom; Rigorous Instructional Standards & Supports; Data-Driven Accountability; Culture of Trust through Action. For more information about the HISD Foundation please visit


The Houston Independent School District is the largest school district in Texas and the seventh-largest in the United States with 298 schools and more than 200,000 students. The 301-square-mile district is one of the largest employers in the Houston metropolitan area with nearly 30,000 employees.


For more information, visit the HISD Web site at

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