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ERIC Number: ED537838
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Apr
Pages: 41
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
Houston A+ Challenge: An Organizational Review
Farr, Beverly; Medrich, Elliott
MPR Associates, Inc.
The purpose of this organizational review, undertaken by MPR Associates, Inc. at the request of Houston A+ Challenge (HA+C), is to enable the organization to take stock of its contribution to school reform in the Houston area after a decade of work and to examine its weaknesses and strengths as it makes plans for the future. To do this, MPR staff visited Houston A+ sites, examined relevant documents, and interviewed staff, Board members, and clients. They found that HA+C: (1) Has had a recognized and highly positive effect in the Houston-area education community; (2) Is known for being responsive, disseminating research, facilitating networks, and providing learning opportunities for students, teachers and administrators otherwise unavailable to them; (3) Operates according to a current mission and imperatives that are overly broad and not aligned; (4) Allows its mission to be defined by its activities rather than vice versa; (5) Has acquired a large, diverse portfolio of programs and initiatives that can be difficult to sustain; (6) Does not have a strong accountability system; and (7) Does not communicate its purposes or activities well, both internally and externally. To address these issues and position the organization for the future, the MPR staff suggest that HA+C: (1) Redefine its mission and focus to reflect its priorities clearly; (2) Develop a strong accountability system and a "culture of evidence" among staff and Board; (3)Implement a regular strategic planning process, including the use of accountability data, for making funding and programmatic decisions; (4) Consider documenting its work, planning to scale-up successful efforts, and terminating unsuccessful ones or those not congruent with the redefined mission; (5) Develop a plan to communicate its redefined mission and priorities to staff, Board, clients, funders, and the community at large; and (6) Examine the skills and expertise needed by staff and Board members as the organization moves ahead. Information about the methods used to conduct this research is available in the appendix. (Contains 1 figure and 3 footnotes.
MPR Associates, Inc. 2150 Shattuck Avenue Suite 800, Berkeley, CA 94704. Tel: 510-849-4942; Fax: 510-849-0794; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: MPR Associates, Inc.