Category Archives: College Readiness

Northside HS senior receives first HISD Superintendent and Board of Education Scholar Award 

Northside senior Sofia Flores got a big surprise in class Tuesday morning when she was named the first-ever recipient of the HISD Superintendent and Board of Education Scholar Awards.

The scholarships, which will be distributed to one senior at every high school through next week, recognizes students who have exemplified great character and resilience.

HISD Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan, with District I Trustee Elizabeth Santos, had the honor of presenting Sofia with an oversized $5,000 check. Lathan highlighted the importance of the scholarships and helping students who had overcome significant obstacles to pursue their dream of going to college.

“We want to help them in their endeavors as they embark on the next leg of their journey,” she said.

Sofia has flourished in her studies despite losing her younger brother, Josue Flores, who was killed as he was walking home from his school. Just days ago marked the two-year anniversary of his murder, which remains unsolved.

Sofia was her younger brother’s personal tutor, guiding him to academic success and nurturing his love of math and science. It was in her interactions with him that inspired her to go to the University of Texas and study education. She hopes to one day return to HISD as a teacher.

“I am actually honored to get this scholarship,” Sofia said. “Helping him inspired me to be a teacher, and everything I do, I do for him.”

 

 

 

HISD announces new college and career readiness initiatives

The Houston Independent School District on Thursday announced the creation of new programs to expand college and career readiness opportunities for students across the district:  Launch HISD and Project Explore.

The new programs are under the newly established Office of Strategy and Innovation led by EMERGE founder Rick Cruz.

Launch HISD is a comprehensive college and career readiness and advising program. The program will serve students at every middle and high school campus in the district, expanding advising and college and career exploration for larger groups of students. The Launch HISD curriculum will incorporate college visits and career exploration, and will include a capstone college or career readiness project that every middle school participant will have to complete to develop their personalized graduation plan.

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Worthing HS students lead Bastian ES scholars on School to College Pipeline

Students from both campuses participate in five college tours

College-bound students from Worthing High School are reaching back to the elementary students coming behind them to cultivate a college-bound culture throughout the entire Worthing feeder pattern.

“We want the older kids to mentor the young students so they understand credits, extracurriculars, volunteer work, and that you need to perform well on SATs,” said Worthing High School Principal Khalilah Campbell. “We also want our program to grow and for relationships to keep growing so students who will eventually attend Worthing will be focused on college before they even walk through our doors.” Continue reading

HISD names EMERGE founder Rick Cruz chief of strategy and innovation

Rick Cruz, the founder of the successful EMERGE program and HISD’s officer of college and career readiness, has been named as HISD’s new chief of strategy and innovation.

“In his 10 years at HISD, Dr. Cruz has proven his commitment to helping students from underserved communities succeed through his work with the EMERGE program and college and career readiness,” said HISD Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan. “He is the right person to lead our strategic and innovative thinking about supporting our underserved communities.”

Cruz left a career at Baker Botts in 2008 to join HISD as a bilingual fifth-grade teacher at Moreno Elementary School, where he was twice named Teacher of the Year. He joined HISD’s central leadership team in 2013 as an assistant superintendent over expansion of the EMERGE program, which he founded in 2010, and he also served as officer and chief officer of major projects before his current role as officer of college and career readiness. In all of these roles, Dr. Cruz has implemented districtwide initiatives focused on ensuring that all students graduate college and career ready. Continue reading

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.”

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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