Houston Independent School District Superintendent Terry Grier will today lay out his vision for 2011 during his annual State of the Schools Address.
Grier will deliver his speech to an audience of about 2,000 educators, elected officials and business and community leaders in the fourth-floor ballroom of the Hilton Americas Hotel, 1600 Lamar, on Thursday at 11:30 a.m.
His speech will focus on HISD’s accomplishments of 2010, which include:
- Significant progress toward delivering on last year’s promise to give every student a quality teacher and a school lead by an excellent principal. HISD, in partnership with the New Teacher Project, has drafted a proposal to overhaul teacher evaluations to pay particular attention to student achievement. A new principal evaluation system also is in the works.
- The launch of the Apollo 20 school turnaround initiative. Education experts throughout the nation are watching HISD’s work to transform struggling schools through quality teaching and leadership, intensive tutoring, more instructional time, data-driven instruction, and a culture of high expectations. Though it’s too early to declare victory, the early indications are that math scores on the rise, attendance rates are up, and suspension rates are down at Apollo 20 schools.
- A major increase in the number of students enrolled in college-level Advanced Placement courses. Those students took 43 percent more AP exams last year and more than 6,000 of those exams were scored high enough to earn college credit – a 27 percent increase over the year before.
- The opening of 46 Grad Labs where 12,000 students are taking on-line credit recovery courses, and seven Twilight Schools, which have enrolled 300 students who are not able to attend school during daytime hours.
- Signing a compact with the College Board to offer at least 10 AP courses at every high school.
- Landing 16 schools on Newsweek magazine’s list of the best High School in America, 93 schools on the National Center for Education Achievement’s list of Higher Performing Schools and 22 schools on the Texas Business and Education Coalition’s Honor Roll.
Some of HISD’s 2011 goals include:
- Become just the third school district in America to offer the SAT exam for free, during class time, to all high school juniors
- Expand the Apollo 20 initiative to 11 elementary schools
- Partner with community colleges to design and implement a program that will offer seniors at select high schools a chance to earn a 2-year associate’s degree though online courses.