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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

April 14, 2014

Commissioner Williams to appoint Beaumont ISD Board of Managers

  Texas Commissioner of Education Michael Williams today announced his decision to appoint a board of managers to oversee the management of the Beaumont Independent School District (BISD). The Commissioner also announced his intent to name a new superintendent for the district.

April 11, 2014

Proclamation 2016 to include ethnic studies materials

 The State Board of Education Friday broadened its call for new textbooks for Special Topics in Social Studies to include but not be limited to, Mexican American Studies, African American Studies, Native American Studies and Asian American Studies.

April 10, 2014

2013 Snapshot: School District Profiles now available on TEA website

 Commissioner of Education Michael Williams announced that the 2013 Snapshot: School District Profiles is available on the Texas Education Agency website. 

April 07, 2014

SBOE now accepting nominations for outstanding school volunteers

The State Board of Education is now accepting nominations for the 2014 Heroes for Children Award.This annual award recognizes public school volunteers who have been strong advocates for Texas schoolchildren.