Education leaders tour Apollo 20 campuses to see how HISD is incorporating technology

Some of America’s most innovative education leaders gathered at the Houston Independent School District’s headquarters on March 19 for the second meeting of the League of Innovative Schools.

Fondren Middle School Principal Charles Foust (far left) explains to members of the League of Innovative Schools how his campus is using technology to drive instruction.

Designed to give educators a chance to dramatically increase student achievement through the wise use of technology, the league was launched by President Barack Obama in 2011 in tandem with Digital Promise, a new national education center created by the Congress and the U.S. Department of Education.

Superintendents from across the country attended the Houston meeting, where they—along with dozens of respected researchers and entrepreneurs—adopted the league’s membership charter, took part in break-out sessions on various topics, and toured one of five Apollo 20 campuses to see how HISD is using technology to drive instruction.

“Mr. McNairy, one of our history teachers, can get instant assessments and download data to his grade book immediately using the Classroom Performance System,” explained Fondren Middle School Principal Charles Foust, “while Ms. Perry can be anywhere in the classroom and her writing will appear on the SMART Board up front.”

“The bottom line is that we’re transitioning from a print-based to a digital learning environment,” said Dr. Eric Williams, who serves as the superintendent of schools in York County, Virginia.

“It’s all about making smart investments that get children across the finish line,” added Dr. Steve Webb, superintendent of Vancouver Public Schools in Washington.

Before the school tours began, HISD Superintendent Terry Grier also noted the district’s efforts to “transform vocational education in Houston” by working closely with local community colleges through the HILZ initiative. The first meeting of the league took place on November 29, 2011, in Mooresville, NC.