As the seventh largest district in America, Houston Independent School District (HISD) serves more than 200,000 students, more than eighty percent of whom are economically disadvantaged. Houston Independent School District is miraculously able to provide the kind of individualized attention to their students and teachers you would see in smaller districts, but also able to utilize the resources of a large metropolis to create a combination of excellent teaching practices bolstered by a robust technology network.
The thread through the needle in all of HISD’s success stories is their extremely detailed commitment to planning. Their vast initiatives such as PowerUp and the Apollo 20 Program (a turn-around program designed to incorporate the best strategic practices of schools across the country to make students college-ready) are not being created or executed in isolation. Houston is taking the time to go around the country to different school districts and to different research institutions to find out what practices are actually improving student achievement, and more importantly, what practices are not working.