KUHF Conversations: HISD Superintendent Terry Grier On Apollo

HISD Superintendent Terry Grier [courtesy of HISD]
This year, students in Houston who struggle the most will continue to get extra help. It's called the Apollo program. It's how the Houston Independent School District is trying to turn around failing schools. The program is not without its critics, who say it does more harm than good. Apollo is also expensive. It’s cost more than $50 million over the last several years. Recently, the Houston school board asked for an external review of the program. HISD Superintendent Terry Grier recently talked about Apollo with KUHF Education Reporter Laura Isensee.

 

 

Interview highlights:

On why Apollo is the right program for turnaround schools:

“I don’t understand how anyone in education that knows anything at all about teaching and learning frankly could question any one of those strategies as being effective. “

On criticism that Apollo creates too much turnover among staff:

*I don’t think sometimes there’s enough churn in terms of the staff or the employees. If the employees are doing a great job, if the kids are learning, if they are, quite frankly, reading on grade level, doing math on grade level – the teacher matters, a good teacher matters. And if you have schools that are performing this low, I promise you that school is not full of outstanding teachers.”

On the HISD board’s request for an external review of Dr. Roland Fryer’s work on Apollo:

“I can tell you this without any hesitation or reservation, if at the end of year three, he basically were to say to us, this has made absolutely no difference in these kids, I would want to stop what we were doing immediately and I would want to start looking at trying to find something else that does.”

Bio photo of Laura Isensee

Laura Isensee

Education Reporter

Laura Isensee covers education for KUHF, including K-12 and higher education.

Previously, she was a staff reporter at The Miami Herald and regularly contributed to WLRN, the local NPR affiliate and Miami Herald news partner...