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Youth and Education

Action Plan

How can the City of Houston, HISD, civic associations, businesses, churches, residents and others help achieve Sunnyside's goals?


  • Provide access to counseling and social services to help at-risk students succeed.

  • Incorporate additional instructional and supplemental instructional support to close grade deficiency gaps.

  • Offer certifications and college credit through ancillary programs.

  • Use housing and economic development programs to increase child stability and reduce student turnover.

  • Encourage and provide resources to schools to incorporate extended learning and enrichment opportunities inside and outside of class.

  • Make daycare and pre-school available for all families in Sunnyside.

  • Organize listening sessions to learn what students are interested in, what their needs are and how they would like to improve their schools.

  • Provide specific and ongoing opportunities for parents to be partners in education and community members to continue to support their schools.

  • Foster a relationship with youth by offering opportunities for youth to get involved in the community.

  • Provide neighborhood services in schools, utilizing schools as community centers.

  • Perform an assessment of school deficiencies and a strategy to improve failing schools.

  • Grant writers available to Sunnyside schools find funds for additional programs/services.

  • Promote a school staffing structure that cultivates cultural competency, collaboration and high expectations.

  • Implement a well-rounded, culturally-relevant curriculum that prepares students for college and careers.


Sunnyside's Vision: In 15 years, Sunnyside will have schools that raise the bar for neighborhood students, empathetic teachers with the resources to teach students of all learning styles, and ancillary programs and activities that expose students to new ideas and new people. 


1. Sunnyside schools are high-quality, leading students on a path to success in careers and higher education
2. Sunnyside schools thrive from parent and community support
3. Schools and HISD are held accountable for the success and failure of Sunnyside schools

The Issues:

Two-thirds of the approximately 6,000 children in Sunnyside attend neighborhood public schools. But five out of the seven Sunnyside schools are not meeting the standards set by the Texas Education Agency, while the other two are only one notch above failure. Two neighborhood schools have been closed in recent years.


  • 82 percent of Sunnyside students are African-American and 92 percent are economically disadvantaged.

  • Just 36 percent are enrolled in AP, Pre-AP or IB courses. More than half of all HISD students take such classes.

  • Sunnyside schools have a dropout rate of 16 percent, five points higher than HISD's average.


Four-year dropout rates are increasing for Sunnyside students while four-year graduation rates and attendance rates are decreasing. Limited funding for counselors, college readiness programs and other academic resources exacerbates the problem.


Sunnyside youth must also deal with the school-to-prison pipeline. Minority students are much more likely to face school discipline, especially from a young age, that increases the risk of criminalization. In 2014 and 2015, 70 percent of Houston's disciplinary incidents in pre-kindergarten through second grade involved African-American students. At three Sunnyside schools, there are more disciplinary incidents than total enrolled students. 


Many Sunnyside students face challenges that make it difficult to excel in school, such as food and housing insecurity, drugs and violence, and lack of medical and mental health assistance. In order to improve Sunnyside's schools, the lives of students outside of school must be considered.









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