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The purpose of the High Schools That Work (HSTW) and Making Middle Grades Work (MMGW) programs is to engage stakeholders in partnerships to raise student achievement in high school and the middle grades by creating an environment that both motivates and supports students to master rigorous academic and career/technical studies.

The Texas High Schools that Work Network grants support eligible high schools in the use of the following HSTW design principles: 

  • Creating a challenging curriculum
    • Four years of English and mathematics 
    • Four years each of social studies and science 
    • At least four credits in a career/technical or academic concentration area
  • Implementing school-wide literacy goals across the curriculum
  • Using intervention strategies for under-prepared students
  • Focusing on the ninth grade failure rate 
  • Establishing meaningful links to postsecondary career and educational opportunities 
  • Supporting feeder middle schools implementation of key conditions of the MMGW framework 
  • Developing a clear, functional mission statement 
  • Providing statewide technical assistance and professional development in the area of guidance and counseling

Proven Dropout Prevention Strategies

The Texas Education Agency focuses state and federal resources on identifying and replicating proven strategies for dropout prevention and recovery. Texas High Schools That Work encourages rigorous and relevant instruction to better engage students in learning academic and social skills necessary to complete high school and to prepare them for postsecondary success.  


School districts or open enrollment charter schools are eligible to apply on behalf of a high school campus serving students in at least three of the grades 9-12 or 10-12, if they meet one of the following criteria: 

  • The school district or open enrollment charter school district is in a stage 3 or 4 intervention level for Career and Technical Education under the TEA Performance Based Monitoring Analysis System. 
  • The high school campus was rated Academically Unacceptable in 2009 under the state’s standard accountability rating system.
  • The high school campus or open enrollment charter school enrolled at least 55% of students who were identified as economically disadvantaged in each of the past three school years AND at least 45% of students who were identified as being “at risk” of dropping out of school in the 2008-2009 school year.


Grantees: 47 schools

  • 38 HSTW campuses 
  • 9 MMGW campuses

Students served: 60,345

Ten Key Practices:

  • High expectations
  • Program of study 
  • Academic studies 
  • Career/technical studies 
  • Work-based learning 
  • Teachers working together 
  • Students actively engaged 
  • Guidance 
  • Extra help 
  • Culture of continuous improvement

An interim report from the multi-year longitudinal evaluation of the THSP will be available Fall 2010.

Funding Information

Funding for FY2011 was eliminated as a result of the five percent biennial reduction.

  • FY2008 - Cycle 1 and 2 Cont. (May 1, 2009 - February 28, 2011) - $1,415,293
  • FY2009 - Cycle 3 (July 1, 2009 - February 28, 2011) - $834,293 
  • FY2010 - Cycle 4 (May 1, 2010 - April 30, 2012) - $918,500 


Laws and Rules 



Department of State Initiatives
Program Manager: Dale Fowler

July 23, 2014

Commissioner Williams seeks extension of ESEA waiver and extends teacher, principal evaluation and support systems pilot

  Commissioner of Education Michael Williams has sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan seeking an extension of the state’s waiver from the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). In the letter, he also notified Secretary Duncan that the state would be adding an additional year to the pilot program for the new teacher and principal evaluation and support systems. 

July 18, 2014

TEA launches federal grant flexibility initiative

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) has launched a federal grant flexibility initiative aimed at providing increased flexibility to grantees, including school districts, charter schools, education service centers, colleges and universities and non-profit entities that receive certain federal education grants administered through TEA.

July 14, 2014

Commissioner Williams names Beaumont ISD Board of Managers

  Commissioner of Education Michael Williams today announced his appointments to a seven-member board of managers for the Beaumont Independent School District (BISD). The board of managers will be responsible for overseeing the management of the BISD, including oversight of the district’s efforts to address and correct identified deficiencies and to implement effective, structural and procedural improvement strategies for long-term, positive change. 

June 24, 2014

TEA advises districts of Community and Student Engagement deadline

The Texas Education Agency has advised all school districts and charters of the summer deadlines to submit locally-assigned performance ratings. Under House Bill 5 passed last year by the 83rd Texas Legislature, all districts are required to evaluate the district’s performance and the performance of each campus in regard to community and student engagement.