The Brown Schools Will Continue to Provide Educational Services for Houston-Area
Media Contact: Howard Falkenberg
(May 15, 2003) Houston, TX, – The Harris County Juvenile Justice Board has voted unanimously (Monday, May 12) to award a contract to The Brown Schools Education Corporation to provide educational services to students enrolled in the Harris County Juvenile Justice Charter Schools (HC-JJCS) and the Excel Academy Juvenile Justice Alternative Education Program (JJAEP).
“We are honored to continue applying our 60 years of experience working with troubled youth to address the unique learning needs of students throughout Houston and Harris County,” said Bob Naples, acting chief executive officer of The Brown Schools.
The company has managed the two education programs for Harris County since 1998. The estimated value of services to be provided under the new contract is approximately $4.8 million per year for the charter schools and $4 million annually for Excel Academy. The initial contract is for a one-year period (August 1, 2003 through July 31, 2004) with up to four one-year renewal options.
The charter schools serve 10- to 17-year-old youths who have been arrested and are being detained while awaiting a hearing or who have been adjudicated and are detained in a longer-term facility. The program serves more than 600 students every day in six diverse settings. It is one of the largest education privatization initiatives within any juvenile justice jurisdiction.
“We are proud of the progress the HC-JJCS students have achieved,” said
Dr. Jerry Vlasak, director of Texas Public Education Programs for The Brown Schools. “For example, at 71 percent the GED completion rate of the Harris County charter school students is among the highest in Texas and the nation.”
The Texas Education Agency conducted an in-depth compliance review of the charter schools program in Harris County earlier in May. Following the one-week site visit, only two minor concerns were noted. In addition, of approximately 1,500 items reviewed within the special education program of the HC-JJCS, not a single discrepancy was identified.
The second Harris County program, Excel Academy, serves youths who have been released from detention or who have been expelled by their home school district but have not necessarily been in trouble with law enforcement agencies. A total of 24 school districts use the program for educational services as needed.
“Our goal with Excel Academy is a total commitment to helping youth succeed where they typically have not enjoyed much success – in the classroom,” said Vlasak. “Through creative learning challenges, strong attention to remedial education and an environment that is safe and secure, students truly can focus on learning.”
Since 1999, Excel Academy’s student enrollment has climbed from an average of 100 students to a high of 700 students. Following evaluations of the 2000-2001 and 2001-2002 school years, the Texas Juvenile Probation Commission described the program as “outstanding.”
Additional information may be obtained from these sources:
Melanie Wood or Kendall Mayfield
Public Information Office
Harris County Juvenile Probation Department
Office: 713-512-4176 or 713-512-4132
Dr. Jerry Vlasak
Director, Texas Public Education Programs
The Brown Schools