About the Mayor’s Office of Education (MOE)
Public education is a human right, the great social equalizer, and a key to a prosperous community. Mayor Sylvester Turner believes that each generation of children should be assured a better life and education. The Mayor’s Office of Education (MOE) strives to ensure this goal for all families in Houston by promoting access to equitable education opportunities. MOE focuses on three key strategies: collaboration, communication, and coordination.
- Prioritize collective impact collaboratives that allow us to develop city-wide educational goals
- Analyze data within collaboratives in order to identify and support best practices as well as align policies and resources across sectors and government entities
- Communicate and promote educational opportunities to all communities.
- Maintain relationships with educational entities within and outside of the city, including: institutions of early childhood, K-12 systems, higher learning, out-of-school/after-school programs and nonprofit/community based organizations
- Create city-wide clearinghouse of quality resources and programs.
- Support all of the city’s internal educational programs
- Develop a system to ensure all associated programs are high quality and constantly improving
There is a growing deficit in meaningful summer employment opportunities for youth, preventing youth from gaining the skills to take advantage of Houston’s dynamic economy. Hire Houston Youth (HHY) is an initiative that connects youth ages 16-24 with internships, jobs, and other opportunities throughout the Houston area. When Mayor Turner first came into office, the city offered only 450 summer jobs to youth. Beginning in 2015, MOE significantly expanded this program in collaboration with private and nonprofit entities. In the summer of 2019, Hire Houston Youth secured over 10,000 jobs for youth all over the city and will work hard to increase employment opportunities every year.
To apply for a job, become a partner, donate, or learn more about this initiative, visit https://hirehoustonyouth.org.
Our Office has a notable ambition: to ensure that each generation is assured quality and equitable education. Though the Office is only four years old, we have been able to create, oversee, and support many programs that are aligned with our mission. We work with and support several mayoral initiatives, such as Complete Communities, the Climate Action Plan, the Resiliency Plan, International Affairs, and many more. A summary of the various initiatives we are involved in are below:
Out 2 Learn
Problem: Youth spend 80% of their awake time out of school. However, in Harris County, there is currently funding for 94% of slots for children in out-of-school time (OST) programs.
Vision: We want to ensure that all children in the Greater Houston region will have access to high quality OST opportunities.
Solution: Out 2 Learn will expand access to high quality OST services to all families in the Greater Houston region through a coordinated, youth-centered approach to professional development, community investment, and community awareness of the importance of quality services and youth voice. Our Office is on the Coordinating Council of. We serve as participating members of the Connections workgroup, the Access workgroup, and the Quality workgroup. Within these roles, we make strategic investments into quality educational programing in historically underserved communities, facilitate access to various resources, and offer providers free training on how to assess and improve the quality of their programs.
Problem: Too many students attend and live in under-resourced, underserved, and segregated schools and communities. These inhibit students’ ability to thrive academically, socially, and emotionally.
Vision: All families in the 10 Complete Communities will have increased access to equitable education opportunities. These communities are: Second Ward, Third Ward, Acres Home, Gulfton, Sunnyside, Near Northside, Kashmere Gardens, Magnolia Park – Manchester, Alief, and Fort Bend Houston.
Solution: MOE aids in implementing and supporting community schools in all campuses within Mayor’s Complete Communities. The City works in a concentrated manner with stakeholders in each area and partners across Houston to create more complete neighborhoods with enhanced access to quality affordable homes, jobs, well-maintained parks and greenspace, improved streets and sidewalks, grocery stores and other retail, good schools and transit options.
“Complete Communities is about improving neighborhoods so that all of Houston’s residents and business owners can have access to quality services and amenities. It’s about working closely with the residents of communities that have not reached their full potential, understanding their strengths and opportunities, and collaborating with partners across the city to strengthen them. We must also work to ensure existing residents can stay in homes that remain affordable.”
– Mayor Turner
College & Career Readiness
Problem: Students across Houston are facing structural barriers to successfully graduating high schools and being college and career ready.
Vision: All students in Houston will have access to the necessary resources to plan for high school graduation, college, and careers.
Solution: MOE helps organize programs, events, and conferences to provide students and families with these resources.
Tapia-Turner Healthcare Scholars (TTHS) was a 7-Day intensive program at Rice University that connected youth in the Houston area with the resources and knowledge needed to manifest their dreams in healthcare. Twenty Scholars were immersed in the world of healthcare through a combination of educational and hands-on experiences. They learned from leading professors and experts, visited hospitals and academic institutions in the Texas Medical Center, had the chance to earn their CPR certification, and debated medical malpractice cases.
We also partnered with Lone Star College to support a fast-track CNA certification for 13 students. Using funding from an outside grant, we were able to fund transportation, childcare, supplies, books, career coaches, and an instructor for the students.
MOE’s various responses to Hurricane Harvey
Problem: Hurricane Harvey had significant and long-lasting mental, emotional, and intellectual tolls on children and youth across the city.
Vision: To ameliorate and attempt to repair the damage caused by Hurricane Harvey and implement strategies meant to reduce future harm.
Solution: In the weeks and months following Hurricane Harvey in 2017, we worked primarily with UNICEF USA, Mental Health America of Greater Houston, the Baker Institute, Texas Children’s Hospital, and Harris Health System to address the mental, emotional, and intellectual tolls the storm had across the city. Namely, we organized, provided, and promoted trauma, mindfulness, and mental health training for K-12 educators, Baker Institute training for early childhood educators and parents, and Kognito At-Risk online trauma training for educators. We partnered with the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund to purchase and distribute “After the Storm” books to children to offset the missed in-class instruction. To mitigate the emotional and mental trauma of the storm, displacement, and loss, we coordinated with the Trauma and Grief Center, Journey of Hope, and FEMA to organize Harris Center Crisis Counselors, Save the Children, Trauma and Grief Component Therapy, and mobile therapy units.
In the fall of 2018, the Center for School Behavioral Health at Mental Health America of Greater Houston, in collaboration with UNICEF USA and the Mayor’s Office of Education, held a series of community conversations in each of Houston’s City Council Districts to learn about the social and emotional challenges preventing youth from succeeding in the classroom post-Harvey. We used the information and experiences gathered at these 11 community meetings to make policy recommendations during the 2019 Legislative Session.
Please click one of the links below to access programs, opportunities, resources, or
services in each of the below categories.
“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is
serious learning. Play is really the work of Childhood .” — Fred Rogers
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more
places you’ll go.” — Dr. Seuss, I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!
“Education is learning what you didn’t even know you didn’t know.” — Daniel J. Boorstin
“Often when you think you’re at the end of something, you’re at the beginning of something
else.” — Fred Rogers
Out of School
Make Houston your school without walls! Find free, fun and educational activities here!
Literacy is for everyone, regardless of age!
“I have found the best way to give advice to your children is to find out what they want and then
advise them to do it.” — Harry S. Truman
There is a lot of free technology that students of all ages can use to learn, stay organized, check
out free books, connect to universities, listen to speeches, and take free classes, anywhere and
There are many free adult education programs all over Houston to help you continue your
education, learn more about your finances, or get the job you are seeking.
People With Disabilities
Local Districts and Universities
Nature & Outdoor Educational Resources
Encourage youth to explore nature and environment through these programs and educational resources!
Want your link featured on this page?
If there are programs, opportunities, resources, or services that are aligned with the mission of the Mayor’s Office of Education but that are not featured here, please let us
know. Fill out this form to add a link to a service (such as a program, resource, or
organization) to our website. Filling out this form does not guarantee approval and changes to the website may take weeks to occur.
Services will be added if they are relevant to the mission of Mayor Turner’s Office of Education and the City of Houston. We are especially looking for services that are free, based in Houston, or target inequality, though we are open to considering services that do not fit these characteristics. We have the right to decline any submission, and please be aware that we only include working links on our website.
Cities Connecting Children to Nature
“Just imagine…when you upgrade local neighborhoods parks, then you really have cities connecting children with nature. You’re getting them out of their homes, out and about, getting them to establish a very kinetic city where people are moving. It’s not just about recreation. It’s about good health as well. When people are moving and getting around, riding their bikes, walking, it changes things on so many levels.” – Mayor Sylvester Turner
Mayor Sylvester Turner envisions a future where all of Houston’s kids reach their full potential.
Increasing children’s connections to nature can help achieve this vision. Regular time spent playing and learning outside enhances children’s physical and mental health, social emotional skills, and academic outcomes—and inspires environmental stewardship.
The National League of Cities and the Children & Nature Network selected Houston as one of 18 US cities to join the Cities Connecting Children to Nature (CCCN) initiative. CCCN helps cities increase equitable access to nature to improve the wellbeing of children.
Houston, through the CCCN initiative, receives technical assistance, grants and peer learning designed to help implement nature connection strategies so that Houston’s children experience the many benefits of nature. When cities reimagine themselves as places to connect with nature, as neighborhoods become more vibrant, and as natural places become meaningful community assets, children and families will thrive.
The CCCN-Houston core team comprises a diverse set of advocates from multiple organizations, including Mayor’s Office of Education, The Nature Conservancy, Student Conservation Association, Houston Parks and Recreation, and Houston Public Library among others. The team works together to advance partnerships, track and implement best practices, and develop policies that increase nature access and environmental education for the community. The core team has three task forces working to provide equitable access, including:
Green Career Exposure
It’s important that children have the ability to imagine themselves in professions that nurture the planet. The Mayor’s Office of Education works to increase accessibility to green careers for summer interns through the Hire Houston Youth program. By providing opportunities for career exploration, training, mentorship, and networking, we can further cultivate a sustainability-minded workforce.
Park Activation & Nature-Smart Libraries
Learning does not only take place indoors. Our goal is to enhance learning and exploring by offering programs through collaborative efforts provided by Houston Parks and Recreation Department and Houston Public Library. Working together, we can activate the utilization of nature spaces and encourage children to take reading and STEM outside.
Resilient School Communities
Our goal is to ensure that schools are nourishing environments in which students can thrive. We aim to convene partners who can help schools become more resilient, from infusing school buildings with more plants and light to developing schoolyards as resilient green spaces. Schools should function as living laboratories which boost academic achievement, student engagement, and overall health.
For more information, please contact us at [email protected]