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How one nonprofit is tackling the education crisis

Jan 31, 2022

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In 2016, a group of visionaries, which included leaders from the Houston Endowment, the Kinder Foundation, and the Greater Houston Partnership, responded to the overwhelming community need to dramatically improve the quality of education for each and every child.

This group of individuals looked around the country and learned that cities making the fastest progress had created a central nonprofit to set a city-wide vision and coordinate efforts toward reaching that vision. From this idea, Good Reason Houston was created.

Each year since then, Good Reason Houston has launched and implemented unique supports that Houston school districts have identified to help them address gaps. This custom approach means tackling charter- and district-specific challenges in different ways, depending on partners’ needs.

Take a look back at Good Reason Houston’s early journey to establish an organization and build capacities to accelerate progress for Houston students. Some examples of our impact to-date include:

 

YEAR 1

 

  • Launched a region-wide FAFSA campaign to raise awareness and share important information about the financial aid process for college-bound students in order to increase the number of seniors completing their FAFSA. FAFSA completion is one of the most accurate indicators of whether a high school senior will matriculate to college.
  • Powered TeachforHouston.org, a resource for anyone wanting to become a teacher or searching for high-quality teacher preparation programs.
  • Led small-scale pre-K enrollment campaign. This campaign would eventually evolve into a broad, region-wide community campaign, including 10 local school districts and various nonprofit organizations, all participating to raise awareness around the benefits of pre-K. More than 25 school districts aligned around a common enrollment period beginning in April, easing the burden for parents and uniting external messaging around registration.

 

 

YEAR 2

 

  • Built a team of 25 full-time education experts and expanded the Board of Directors to ensure a cross-section of Houston leadership are deeply invested in our success.

  • Made a clear commitment to the City of Houston and all the districts that operate schools within the city limits.

  • Established a deep partnership with Aldine ISD and their courageous leadership to drive transformational change for their students.
  • Partnered with Aldine ISD to launch the Accelerating Campus Excellence (ACE) initiative in two challenged elementary schools. Worsham and Goodman Elementary Schools have both raised scores based on internal district assessments since this support began.
  • Harnessed the power of experts such as Instruction Partners and TNTP to support strong instruction practices and curriculum in all Aldine ISD schools.
  • Deployed comprehensive survey to better understand how families in Houston were engaging and making decisions about public school. The findings are captured here.

 

 

YEAR 3

 

  • Published an online Data Dashboard that allows visitors to see the latest district and campus data in order to make informed decisions for their family and community. This tool offers parents and concerned citizens the ability to sort TEA and other education data by various demographics and geographies and eliminates barriers to reliable data.
  • Released report on critical learning loss and the implications for the region.
  • Guided districts through COVID re-entry planning. During an unprecedented time, Good Reason Houston orchestrated resources around school districts to supercharge their existing infrastructure and capabilities.
  • Led a district-wide effort in Aldine ISD focus on improving Black student outcomes. This work continues as Aldine ISD makes strategic changes to address equity gaps for Black students in the district.
  • Led a New School Leaders Fellowship to guide community leaders with a vision for a new school model through the state application process.
  • Launched Opportunity Culture initiative in Aldine ISD and Klein ISD. This program leverages high-performing teachers within schools to grow the instructional skills of others and helps recruit and retain top talent.
  • Led a Community Design Fellowship for leaders in education to work on improvements to the learning opportunities and experiences of vulnerable students populations and develop solutions to long-standing educational problems.

 

 

As Good Reason Houston continues to pursue improved outcomes for students in Houston, we look forward to reporting on our Year 4 accomplishments next winter.

Good Reason Houston begins all our initiatives by gathering perspectives from students, parents, and educators, analyzing student achievement data, consulting national research, and studying outcomes from evidence-based practices. If you would like to learn more about our services, email info@goodreasonhouston.org.