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Elementary and Primary Education
Houston Independent School District
News Release
Friday, August 12, 2011

HISD Superintendent to Visit Apollo 20 Secondary Schools for First Day of Class

Monday marks the start of year two for the ambitious Apollo 20 school turnaround program


Houston ISD Superintendent Dr. Terry Grier will visit three of the secondary Apollo 20 turnaround campuses on Monday, August 15, 2011 as those middle and high schools get an early start on the 2011-2012 school year.


The early start to the school year is one of the five tenets of the Apollo 20 program. Those tenets are:


·         An effective principal and effective teachers in every classroom


·         More instructional time


·         Use of data to drive instruction


·         In-school tutoring


·         A culture of high expectations


Although Apollo 20 is a three-year school turnaround program, students in the nine secondary schools that launched the program last school year showed tremendous academic gains. The gains were particularly strong in math, the subject for which all sixth- and ninth-grade Apollo 20 students received intensive tutoring. The percentage of Apollo 20 ninth-graders passing the TAKS math exam increased 16 points last school year, compared to a 2-point increase districtwide. Among sixth-graders, the increase in the TAKS math passing rate was 22 percentage points in Apollo 20 schools, compared to 2 points across the district.


HISD’s secondary Apollo 20 schools are Kashmere, Jones, Lee, and Sharpstown high schools; and Dowling, Ryan, Attucks, Fondren, and Key middle schools. Eleven elementary schools will join the program this school year, but they will begin the school year on August 22 along with the rest of the school district.


“We are excited about the results our Apollo 20 students delivered in their first year,” Dr. Grier said. “We know there is still much work to be done to get all of these schools turned around and all students back on the path toward college readiness. I have faith that HISD’s principals and teachers are up to the task.”


Dr. Grier will visit the following schools on Monday and reporters are welcome to come along.


8 a.m. – Arrive at Jones High School (7414 Lo Street) to visit the newly launched Academies of Biotechnology, Engineering and Architectural design. This is one of five new HISD magnet programs funded by an $11.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education.


9:30 a.m. – Arrive at Fondren Middle School (6333 South Braeswood) to visit the school’s emerging International Baccalaureate program.  Dr. Grier will visit the sixth-grade classroom of an English Language Arts Teacher.


11:10 a.m. – Arrive at Lee High School (6529 Beverly Hill) to visit a math classroom. Lee shed its “academically unacceptable” state rating this year and the school’s math scores showed the strongest growth among all Apollo 20 high schools.


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

Ocean Star

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