Great strides in education are being made in our city, thanks in part to Good Reason Houston, an organization established with the belief that every child in every neighborhood deserves access to a high-quality education and a future filled with opportunity.
There are 900,000 children who call Harris County home. In August, our schools will receive letter grades from the Texas Education Agency. Assuming no significant changes, more than 300,000 students across Houston’s urban core will be learning in schools rated C, D or F. Knowing that we must do better for our students, Kinder Foundation, along with leaders from Houston Endowment, Greater Houston Partnership and H-E-B set out to change this.
With initial funding of $4.2 million each from Houston Endowment and Kinder Foundation, Good Reason Houston was established in 2018 with a mission to increase the number of students excelling in great schools today and thriving in the workforce tomorrow. It was founded to be a consistent civic leader that partners with school district leaders, families, and educators and champions a long-term vision for education transformation in our region.
Good Reason Houston focuses its efforts in four key areas: engaging parents and families in order to design solutions and strategies that best fit families’ needs; driving system innovation to improve existing schools and create new school models within districts; developing educator talent by increasing the talent pipeline and bolstering support for current educators; and advancing equitable access to high-quality educational opportunities from early childhood through college. The organization has set an ambitious goal to increase the number of students learning in A or B-rated schools by 60,000 by the end of the 2025-26 school year.
To propel Good Reason Houston toward this goal, Kinder Foundation and Houston Endowment recently announced gifts of $10 million each to support Phase I, aimed at delivering 10,000 more students in high-performing schools by the end of the 2020-21 school year.
The Kinder Foundation believes deeply that every Houston student should be equipped with a quality education that serves them both now and long after they graduate. Today, Good Reason Houston is working toward that goal through a number of initiatives including:
- A campaign to encourage parents to enroll their children in pre-K. This spring, Good Reason Houston aligned 25 area school districts around a common pre-K enrollment period. The public awareness campaign included an informational website (org), billboards, radio ads, and a PSA filmed by H-E-B featuring Astros players George Springer and Carlos Correa.
- Its inaugural Connecting the Dots scorecard, published in March 2019, which details the urgent need for action in Harris County.
- A partnership with Aldine ISD in the 2019-20 school to launch the ACE model (Accelerating Campus Excellence). ACE Demonstration Schools will bring the most accomplished educators and a “whole child” approach to two of the district’s most struggling schools. The program’s model is based on five pillars that, when implemented with fidelity, dramatically improve student outcomes.
- FAFSA Houston, a region-wide campaign aimed at increasing the number of high school seniors completing the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). The campaign includes resources and a toolkit for school districts, in addition to events that support students and parents with FAFSA completion.