Furr HS Students in School Garden
Green Schools On the Move

Furr HS Leverages EE to Beat the Odds & Win $10 Million Grant

The schools in the East end of Houston, TX, serve some of the most at-risk students in the Houston Independent School District. Many of the families in the neighborhood are below the poverty line. The combination of urban pollution and generally poor diet have led to an epidemic of diabetes, obesity and other illnesses in the East End.

There’s cause for hope though: With funding from NUCFAC (National Urban & Community Advisory Council) and help from Project Learning Tree (PLT) and its partners from 2014 to 2015, students from 11 elementary, middle, and high schools in the East End set ambitious goals to improve their neighborhood.

Participating schools integrated the use of PLT environmental education materials into their curriculum, and formed Green Teams to investigate their school site, using the PLT GreenSchools program. From their investigation results, they developed and implemented action plans to transform their community from a food desert to a food producer that can supply fresh, natural foods to the 100,000 residents of the East End, while also providing nourishment and shelter for wildlife and pollinators.

Read more about this story "From Food Desert to Food Forest".

The success of this project laid the foundation for Furr HS in 2016 to be among 10 winners nationwide, standing out among nearly 700 applicants, to receive a $10 million grant through a new national contest sponsored by Lauren Powell Jobs, the widow of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. The competition, called XQ: The Super School Project, launched in 2015 with a pitch to school leaders to join with students, staff and community members to develop plans to reinvent their high school.

Read more about Furr High School and all 10 Super Schools awarded $10 Million for rethinking high school.

Posted by James Riley McGirt

Manager of PLT GreenSchools Program &

Co-Moderator NAAEE eePro Green Schools