On Thursday, HISD Superintendent Terry Grier was given the 2014 Green-Garner Award for outstanding contributions in public education. This award is presented annually by the Council of Great City Schools to a superintendent or school board member from a Council school district; there are 67 member districts, and Grier was one of 5 finalists this year.
The Green-Garner award is a great honor for the superintendent and for HISD. Moreover, it comes with a $10,000 scholarship which Grier may present to “a deserving high school graduate” from HISD.
This is not the first time in recent memory that HISD has been recognized at the national level for excellence. Just last year, the district was awarded the Broad Prize for Urban Education for the second time, having also won it in 2002. The Broad Prize recognizes both overall academic performance and reduction of the achievement gap for low-income and minority students.
This is also not the first time that Grier’s particular contributions to HISD have been honored: he is also currently a finalist for the National Superintendent of the Year Award, given by the American Association of School Administrators.
Since Grier became superintendent in 2009, HISD has marked a number of accomplishments. The dropout rate is down 44%, and graduates are more prepared for college than ever before. The proportion of HISD students passing AP exams is up 74%, and the class of 2014 was offered $254 million in scholarships, an all-time high for the district. Grier and the board have courted private donors to raise money to help the district’s lowest-performing schools in the Apollo 20 program and to create new STEM magnets, and the 2012 bond brought in $1.89 billion from public sources to fund the renovation or reconstruction of 40 district schools and to upgrade school computer facilities. Additionally, the PowerUp Initiative is on track to provide a laptop to every HISD high school student by 2016.
Grier’s term as superintendent has also seen the creation and expansion of the EMERGE program, in which “talented HISD students from underserved communities” are given access to the resources they need to attend and succeed at prestigious universities.
The full HISD press release on the Green-Garner Award can be found here.