EMERGE Students See Significant Gains in SAT Scores

Although HISD will not receive SAT results from the College Board until later this year, individual seniors who retook the SAT in October after attending the EMERGE SAT Boot Camp in July are getting their scores and seeing significant improvement – more than 300 out of 2,400 possible points in some cases.

“We are very pleased with the results,” said Assistant Superintendent for College Readiness Richard Cruz, who launched EMERGE in 2011 and continues to oversee it. “We are about to expand the program from 100 to 300 students.” EMERGE is a districtwide initiative aimed at getting high-achieving HISD students in underserved communities into Ivy League and other Tier 1 schools.

Eastwood Academy seniors Erick Alvarez and José Chávez-Carballo improved their SAT scores by more than 300 points each, earning a score of 2020 and 1900 respectively. This places them in the 90-plus percentile nationwide for their demographic.

“Our scores were posted on the College Board website at 5 a.m.,” said Erick, “but I didn’t know until my friends started texting me. I was surprised and excited to break into the 2,000-point range.”

EMERGE program managers, who oversee the initiative at 14 HISD high schools, wrote and taught the curriculum at the SAT boot camp last July at Eastwood Academy, Chávez High School, and Sharpstown High School. Students met six hours a day, four days a week, and completed several hours of homework nightly, including vocabulary and practice SATs. During the course, attendees completed six SAT practice exams.

“When I took the test the first time, I didn’t really study, because I didn’t know how or what to study,” said Alvarez. “After boot camp, I felt super-confident. I even knew the score I needed for my school of choice.”

Both students are applying for early decisions to their top choices – for Chávez-Carballo, it’s Rice University, and for Alvarez, it’s the University of Pennsylvania. Alvarez was interested before he went on the EMERGE summer trip to visit Ivy League colleges, but seeing the campus cemented his decision.