Award Year: 2020

Houston Elementary School

310 S Sherman
Houston, MN, 55943-8653

(507) 896-5323

Mr. Richard Bartz, Principal at time of Nomination

Houston Public School District

School Website


Our school's mission is to discover, develop and achieve the potential within all learners in order to achieve our district vision of leading in learning.

Student Demographics
  • Black/African American: 2%
  • White: 95%
  • Hispanic: 1%
  • Two or more races: 2%
Houston Elementary School students arriving at school.

Houston Elementary School students arriving at school.

The FORCE is strong at Houston Elementary School - that is the FORCE for good: both striving to be positive in the present and developing positive attitudes and behaviors that will last a lifetime. FORCE, an acronym that stands for "Focus Ourselves on Respect for Community Excellence," is the mnemonic device that aids the students in remembering the framework of positive behavioral interventions and supports that serve as the vision for students and staff at Houston Elementary School.

Excellence has become the tradition at Houston Elementary School, but this excellence was not always the case. In the late 1990s, the achievement gap between the economically advantaged and disadvantaged students was at least a 43 percent discrepancy in both mathematics and reading. Since over 40 percent of the student body qualified for free- or reduced-price lunch, this achievement gap was glaring and pernicious. The staff developed multiple supports for all students, including built-in intervention and tutoring time during the day since many of the families did not have the time or resources to provide this support in the evening. These interventions have continued and have been continually improved, which helped the school close the gap to well under 10 percent in both academic areas. Striving for excellence in academics, in respectful treatment of others, in being helpful and generous, and in working to be a positive citizen in the school and community is now the mission of the students at Houston Elementary School. The students know the FORCE is with them.