Category Archives: College Readiness

Lamar HS senior’s story of 20 college acceptances goes viral 

Micheal Brown received his first college acceptance in November, and after that, they just kept rolling in—20 in all, including all eight Ivy League schools and 12 other top-tier universities across the country.

When word got out that not only did Brown get accepted, but he got a full ride to all of them, the story went viral. The New York Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe, CNN, Houston Chronicle, Dallas Morning News, local TV stations, and news outlets in Atlanta, San Diego, and Seattle are just a few that ran the story. Lamar Principal James McSwain said that for the past few days, he has been Brown’s press agent, fielding calls and even holding a press conference at the high school.

Brown leaves in a few days for Stanford University, which has been his top pick since middle school. Now, however, he is not so sure, so he is going to try to visit his top seven schools before making a final decision by May 1. The Lamar senior’s mother, Berthinia Rutledge-Brown, hopes he picks Stanford, but she will support him no matter what, just as she has his entire life. Brown is her only child, so it will be bittersweet when he leaves for college.   Continue reading

Personal stories exemplify how HISD is rebuilding, reimagining education

‘We could be anywhere, and we would still be Robinson’

If anyone could find a silver lining amid the devastation wrought by Hurricane Harvey, it’s Robinson Elementary School Principal Paige Fernandez-Hohos. After being flooded with more than a foot of water, Robinson was relocated and students split between two adjacent campuses. Though not ideal, the situation made Fernandez-Hohos determined to give students a sense of normalcy. Vacant rooms and hallways sprung to life with decorations. Auditorium and gym spaces were transformed into cozy classrooms to accommodate more students. Fernandez-Hohos trekked back and forth between the two campuses. If she started the day welcoming students at one school, she ended it saying goodbye to students at the other. It was important, she said, that every class see her every day. Robinson students returned to their home campus in January, but Fernandez-Hohos said the storm taught her a valuable lesson about the spirit of her school: “When everything else is stripped away, all you’re left with is the bond between teachers and students. We could be anywhere, and we would still be Robinson.”

Continue reading

HISD announces winners of Elementary College Week 

Over the past week, elementary schools throughout HISD were challenged to showcase their campus’ college knowledge.

In partnership with Counseling & Student Support, HISD’s Office of College & Career Readiness hosted the district’s first Elementary College Week! More than 70 schools actively competed for the chance to win a trip to UT-Austin, as well as classroom pizza and ice cream parties.

Each day, students answered essential college questions, such as “What is college?” or “Who can go to college?” As part of the competition, teachers and other school personnel were encouraged to post pictures and videos of Elementary College Week Activities on Twitter and Facebook, using #HISDElem2College.  Continue reading

Third annual Dream Summit draws record crowd with college, financial aid resources 

HISD’s third annual Dream Summit, held Saturday at Hattie Mae White, drew more than 200 students eager to collect resources and information about college applications and financial aid – about double the attendance over last year.

The HISD Office of College and Career Readiness and Multilingual Programs event is held each year to offer assistance to HISD DREAMers, DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipients, visa holders, permanent residents, refugees, and asylum grantees, along with their families.

Assistant Superintendent of Multilingual Programs Gracie Guerrero said the goal of the event is twofold.

“It shows students who may think that they have no options to pursue anything beyond high school that there are specific resources for them. And it also brings together resources that we have in the district in one place to make it accessible,” Guerrero said. Continue reading

Eastwood Academy and Austin HS learn about college readiness from UHD president

Students attend forums to learn about post-high school options

University of Houston-Downtown President Juan Munoz on Thursday visited with upperclassmen at Austin High School and Eastwood Academy, discussing the limitless opportunities of higher education – and bringing some exciting news to a few seniors.

Located less than five miles from UHD and only a six-minute walk between the two high school campuses, both Eastwood Academy and Austin High School are represented by HISD District VIII Board of Trustee Diana Davila, who joined Munoz on the college-readiness tour.

“It’s important for HISD to have forums like today that introduce another college option and allows for our students to interact with the decision-makers of a university,” Davila said. “Hopefully today, the students realize that there are people who care and are working hard to provide resources they need as they continue their education beyond high school.”  Continue reading

HISD named to College Board’s AP District Honor Roll for gains in student access, success

District, placed on list for first time, is among 447 across U.S. and Canada to earn distinction

The Houston Independent School District is one of 447 school districts in the U.S. and Canada being honored by the College Board with placement on the 8th Annual AP District Honor Roll, a first for the district.

To be included on the 8th Annual Honor Roll, HISD had to increase the number of students participating in AP since 2015 while also increasing or maintaining the percentage of students earning AP Exam scores of 3 or higher. The district has more than doubled that number since 2007. Reaching these goals shows that HISD is successfully identifying motivated, academically prepared students who are ready for AP.

“I am very proud of our students and staff for achieving this distinction,” Superintendent Richard Carranza said. “This honor is yet another example of the district’s commitment to offering rigorous options to all our students that we believe prepare them for their next level of education.” Continue reading

Learn about Advanced Placement courses during AP Parent Night on Nov. 14 

Over the next few months, HISD’s Advanced Academics Department will be hosting multiple parent information sessions on Advanced Placement courses.

The fall parent information session will be held from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 14 at the Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center (4400 W. 18th St., 77092).

HISD offers students the chance to earn college credit while still in middle and high school by taking advantage of AP courses. Last year, HISD students took 28,236 AP exams, which resulted in more than $9 million in college savings for students and their families.   Continue reading

HISD College & Career Ready Day to be held at Austin HS 

Students in grades 6-12 and their parents are invited to the HISD College & Career Ready Day on Saturday, Nov. 11 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Austin High School.

During this high-impact event, parents and students will explore different career opportunities in the greater Houston region, learn about HISD programs and resources, and connect with higher education and industry representatives.

Two lucky students will win a $500 scholarship for college. Transportation from other campuses to Austin High School will be provided, as well as breakfast for all participating parents and students.

Six informative college and career sessions will be led by Teach for America alumni and HISD staff. Participants can attend up to three of their choice, including:  Continue reading

Carnegie Vanguard HS senior aces SAT, ACT, and AP exams 

Carnegie Vanguard High School Ramon Moss (left) and HISD College Readiness Senior Manager Jennifer Ertel present senior An Nguyen with a certificate of achievement.

Meet An Nguyen, the Houston Independent School District student who earned perfect scores on the School Day SAT, the ACT, and the 11 Advanced Placement (AP) exams she has taken throughout high school. Nguyen is now part of an elite, high academic profile club.

According to the CollegeBoard, 1.7 million students took the SAT in 2017, with a mean score of 1060. In Texas, 204,409 students took the SAT, with a mean score of 1020.

The SAT and ACT are both college entrance exams, assessing skills in reading, math, and writing.

Increasing access to college entrance exams is a key focus for HISD— all high school juniors take the SAT for free at their home campus during regular school hours. Houston ISD also offers the PSAT to students in grades 8-11 for free. HISD is dedicated to preparing students test college-ready in math and reading before graduation. Continue reading

HISD to host Dream Summit for students on Dec. 9

Event to help students apply for college, financial aid

The HISD Office of College and Career Readiness and Multilingual Programs departments will be hosting the third-annual Dream Summit to assist students with the college application and financial aid processes on Saturday, Dec. 9, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center, 4400 W. 18th St., Houston 77092.

High school students and their families are encouraged to attend the free event. Students should contact their campus college-access coordinator, counselor, or college-success adviser regarding transportation. Five seniors will have a chance to win $500 scholarships for college.

The event aims to help HISD DREAMers, DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipients, visa holders, permanent residents, refugees, and asylum grantees, along with their families. Students will have the opportunity to speak with district representatives who will help them learn more about financial aid requirements and guide them through the application process.   Continue reading