Venture School – 2005 Winner

Ron Houston has been a teacher for 35 years.  During his career, he has taught second, fourth, fifth and sixth grades, been a reading specialist for grades 1-6, served as the summer school principal for elementary and high school programs and is currently teaching at the Venture School in San Ramon.  The Venture School, which serves 600 students, offers independent study as an alternative strategy for students to access the district and state-mandated curriculum.  Many of Mr. Houston’s students are involved in the Venture School because they have been unable to cope with the demands of ordinary school life, due either to depression, family difficulties, academic problems or social challenges.  To motivate them, he designs special individualized courses of study, creates classes for them and individually arranges for them to get involved in volunteer work, clubs and group activities.  Mr. Houston spearheaded that school’s year-and-a-half-long process to achieve accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and took the helm in the planning of the new Venture School, which is to be completed in 2007.  His watchword is “to display kindness, patience and a concern for all.”