Asked Questions

What is the Harris County Department of Education (HCDE)?

Harris County Department of Education is a service provider for educators and students throughout Harris County. It provides critical services under the direction of a seven-member, elected Board of Trustees responsible to the citizens of our nation’s third largest county. HCDE’s broad-based programs, developed in conjunction with 25 school districts, are tailored to meet specific needs that education professionals of these districts have identified as being critical to their success.

What is the CASE for Kids?

HCDE’s Center for Afterschool, Summer and Enrichment for Kids, or CASE for Kids, helps working families with engaging programs that keep kids on track for success. CASE for Kids believes every child deserves access to quality expanded learning time opportunities. A lack of meaningful adult supervision increases truancy, risk-taking behavior, poor grades and substance abuse. Kids need safe, stimulating places to go after school. However, working parents with extended commutes leave thousands of Houston’s young people unsupervised each day.

What is the Education Foundation of Harris County (EFHC)?

Inspiring a passion for learning, Education Foundation of Harris County funds learning programs that inspire discovery, promote creativity and problem solving, build confidence, and encourage each child to reach for the stars and envision a future beyond the classroom.

What are the benefits of the competition for students?

Ecobot builds confidence in a very pronounced manner (kids become impressed with their ability to accomplish daunting tasks), instills hands-on awareness of the usefulness, applicability and validity of school and school-based learning in relation to one's own dreams, hope and plans, trains students in effective teamwork and productive group process. Student teams will try 1000 times over several months to get it right prior to Challenge Day; in the process, they cause themselves to learn physics and math that is otherwise withheld from them until they are much older. Ecobot thereby drives higher order learning into the lives of elementary and middle school students, sparking enormous short & long term benefits!

What are the benefits of the competition for parents?

Parents report being shocked at seeing how powerfully intelligent, inquisitive and able their children really are!  Ecobot breaks down barriers and creates new avenues for growing important, constructive parent-child relationships.

What are the benefits of the competition for teachers and principals?

Teachers and Principals report that Ecobot changes students' consciousness, spawns an appreciation of educational opportunity, increases their self-control and discipline and that grades and scores at school improve across the board in almost every discipline. The Ecobot Challenge can change how students think about life at a stage in their lives when such changes hurtle them in positive directions and far away from the dangers of boredom, frustration and fear of learning.

For more information, contact