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Elementary and Primary Education
Houston Independent School District
News Release
Thursday, August 18, 2011

Bank of America Invests $500,000 in HISD’s Apollo 20 Program
Brings Bank of America’s investment to $600,000


The HISD Foundation has received a $500,000 grant from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation in support of HISD’s Apollo 20 program.

“At Bank of America we feel it is important to give every child the opportunity to excel in school. The grant we are announcing today ensures that HISD’s pioneering Apollo 20 program will continue to prepare middle and high school students for the transition to higher education for workforce success,” said Kim Ruth, Bank of America’s Houston market and Texas state president. “We must invest in programs like Apollo 20 that will transform children’s lives through increased education attainment and provide Houston the talented workforce it needs to keep the region competitive.”

Apollo 20 is a three-year program launched in the fall of 2010 with the purpose of turning around struggling schools.  Apollo schools use strategies and best practices from successful public and charter schools across the nation.  Those strategies are:

·         Effective teachers in every classroom and an effective principal at every school

·         More instructional time

·         Use of data-driven instruction

·         In-school tutoring

·         A culture of high expectations

The program began during the 2010-2011 school year with five middle schools (Key, Ryan, Dowling, Fondren, and Attucks) and four high schools (Lee, Kashmere, Sharpstown, and Jones).

“We are extremely grateful for the support from Bank of America.  This will further help HISD achieve its goal of bringing all of our schools to an exemplary level and preparing all students for success in college and the workplace,” said Dr. Terry Grier, HISD superintendent.

The Bank of America grant brings the total amount of private money secured in support of the Apollo 20 program to $13,170,000 in a little over one year.

The Apollo 20 concept was developed in partnership with renowned economist Dr. Roland Fryer and Harvard EdLabs.  Bank of America was an original investor in the Apollo 20 program, having provided a $100,000 grant during the 2010-2011 academic year.

“Bank of America’s commitment to education and workforce development in this country is evident by their strong support of HISD’s nationally significant Apollo 20 Program,” said James Calaway, chairman of the HISD Foundation and the Apollo Fund Oversight Committee.

The Apollo 20 program is expanding to include 11 elementary schools (Blackshear, Davila, Frost, Highland Heights, Isaacs, Kelso, Robinson, Scarborough, Tinsley, Walnut Bend, and Young) this academic year.  These elementary students will receive more instructional time in reading and math, but without adding more time to the school day.

Within just one year of its inception, Apollo 20 students have already demonstrated significant academic improvements.  These gains were particularly strong in math, the subject for which all sixth- and ninth-grade students received daily tutoring from Math Fellows who worked with two students each for the entire year. 

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.


About Bank of America:

Building on a long-standing tradition of investing in the communities it serves, Bank of America is delivering on a 10-year goal to donate $2 billion to nonprofit organizations engaged in improving the health and vitality of their neighborhoods. Funded by Bank of America, the Bank of America Charitable Foundation gave more than $200 million in 2010, making the bank one of the largest corporate cash donors in the United States.  For more information about Bank of America Corporate Philanthropy, please visit


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

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