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Elementary and Primary Education
Houston Independent School District
News Release
Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Target Donates $200,000 to Support Literacy at Apollo 20 Elementary Schools


The HISD Foundation has received a $200,000 grant from Target to provide added support to the literacy programs at HISD’s Apollo 20 elementary schools.


"Target is dedicated to provide resources to help bring learning to life to ensure more students are reading proficiently by the end of third grade, and in turn, graduating from high school on time," said Laysha Ward, president of Target Community Relations.  "We're proud to partner with the Houston Independent School District Foundation as part of our ongoing commitment to invest in innovative education programs that help keep children on the path to graduation."


Apollo 20 launched in 2010 with nine secondary schools and expanded this academic year to include 11 elementary schools (Blackshear, Davila, Frost, Highland Heights, Isaacs, Kelso, Robinson, Scarborough, Tinsley, Walnut Bend, and Young). These elementary students will receive more instructional time in reading and math, but without adding more time to the school day.


The purpose of the Apollo 20 program is to turn around struggling schools using strategies and best practices from successful charter schools across the nation.  These strategies include placing an effective teacher in every classroom and an effective principal at every school, more instructional time, data-driven instruction, in-school tutoring and a culture of high expectations.


This donation will provide 187 Target Book Nooks at the elementary schools in the Apollo 20 program to enhance the classroom libraries.  These Target Book Nooks are areas in the classrooms where students can sit in a red bean bag chair and read books provided by Target.


“We thank Target for their generous support of HISD’s Apollo 20 elementary schools.  Target is a national leader in its support of education and specifically early childhood literacy,” said Tina Medlin, president of the HISD Foundation.  “We are grateful for their support as well as the sincere vote of confidence it represents.”


The Apollo 20 concept was developed in partnership with Harvard University economist Dr. Roland Fryer and Harvard EdLabs.


Dr. Fryer will be presenting the first-year results from Apollo 20 secondary schools during the Board of Education meeting on Thursday, October 6 at 1:30p.m. at Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center, 4400 W. 18th Street. The meeting will be broadcast live on HISD-TV (Comcast 18) and online at


About Target: Minneapolis-based Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) serves guests at 1,762 stores in 49 states nationwide and at In addition, the company operates a credit card segment that offers branded proprietary credit card products. Since 1946, Target has given 5 percent of its income through community grants and programs; today, that giving equals more than $3 million a week. For more information about Target’s commitment to corporate responsibility, 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


The Houston Independent School District is the largest school district in Texas and the seventh-largest in the United States with 281 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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