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Elementary and Primary Education
Houston Independent School District
News Release
Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Texas High School Project Fund Donates $100,000 to Support HISD’s Apollo 20 Program


The HISD Foundation has received a $100,000 pledge over three years from the Texas High School Project Fund to support the district’s Apollo 20 high schools.


“The support from the Texas High School Project Fund demonstrates their trust in our effort to help students in these struggling schools through the Apollo 20 turnaround program,” said HISD Superintendent Dr. Terry Grier. “THSPF knows that Apollo 20 offers real hope to communities not just in Houston, but across the nation, that are desperate for a school turnaround model that can be replicated anywhere.”


The Apollo 20 program began with four high schools (Lee, Kashmere, Sharpstown, and Jones) and five middle schools (Key, Ryan, Dowling, Fondren, and Attucks) in the fall of 2010 with the purpose of turning around struggling schools using strategies and best practices from successful charter schools across the nation. This year the program expanded to 11 elementary schools (Blackshear, Davila, Frost, Highland Heights, Isaacs, Kelso, Robinson, Scarborough, Tinsley, Walnut Bend and Young).


“We are grateful to the Texas High School Project Fund of the Communities Foundation of Texas for their generous support,” said Tina Medlin, president of the HISD Foundation.  “They recognize HISD’s tremendous dedication and commitment to ensure that all students have a chance to succeed academically.”


The Texas High School Project Fund donation brings the total amount of money donated to the Apollo 20 program to nearly $14.5 million.


The strategies used in the three-year Apollo 20 program, developed in partnership with Harvard University economist Dr. Roland Fryer and Harvard EdLabs, 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


After just one year in the Apollo 20 program, students showed math gains that are on par with their peers in America’s top-performing charter schools. Fryer’s early research shows that the return on investment using the Apollo 20 method is higher than other popular interventions, such as lowering class sizes, paying teachers incentives to work in low-achieving schools, or early childhood programs.


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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