The three-year program was launched in four high schools and five middle schools at the start of the 2010-2011 school year, and it was later expanded to include eleven elementary schools. Apollo 20 is now in its fifth year. The program works because our community supported the initiative with an initial $16.8 million in funds.
As of now, test scores are up while dropout rates are declining. More importantly, schools across the district are now benefiting from the lessons we've learned in these Apollo schools. Tutors are being hired to help students during the school day and efforts to retain the best teachers are intensifying.
These schools use strategies and best practices from successful public and charter schools across the nation. Five strategies have been identified by Harvard University’s Education Innovation Laboratory, HISD’s partner in the Apollo 20 program. Those strategies include:
KPRC Local 2 General Manager Jerry Martin says the Apollo 20 program is on track to eliminate the achievement gap in some HISD elementary schools in the next three years.
HISD’s efforts to get dropouts back in class was the focus of a special report on Sept. 25 by the award-winning Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) television show Frontline.