Children at Risk President Bob Sanborn is used to calling out the same names year-after-year when he announces his list of top Houston schools.
"When we came up with this methodology seven years ago, we started with the premise: if I were a parent and I wanted to know where my kids should go to school, what should I do?"
Sanborn says the schools that make the list have a number of things in common that lead to their success.
"We know what makes for those good schools. We know that schools that have really high expectations of their students are schools that do well. We know that schools that have teachers with a missionary zeal, those schools are going to do well."
The top three elementary schools are T. H Rogers, Lyons and River Oaks elementary. The top three middle schools are T.H Rogers, Chrysalis and Energized for Excellence Middle School.
One very important thing most of the top schools have in common is that they’re either a magnet or a charter school. This means the school’s student body is mostly likely full of kids who want to be there and are also likely to have strong parental involvement.
That’s why Children at Risk also recognizes your average neighborhood. Schools like Pilgrim Academy near the Galleria, where Diana Castillo is the principal.
"I think it’s everyone’s commitment and attitude. You know we have a very positive attitude."
The top three high schools this year are perennial winner, DeBakey high for health professions, Carnegie Vanguard and Eastwood Academy.
State Senator Dan Patrick of North Houston reminds everyone that all students should have access to a good education regardless of where they live.
"You know what education really is, it gives you options, options in life. Without options, without an education, you can’t dream. You can’t achieve the American dream or the Texas dream."