DiscoverU has increased the number of partnerships it has with HISD schools to seven for the current school year, allowing even more students to expand their horizons through foreign travel, college campus residencies, business internships, and more.
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Thanks to DiscoverU, many economically disadvantaged students will experience what the nonprofit organization refers to as FLOs (Fantastic Learning Opportunities) during the school year or the summer.
“Each FLO I attended helped me gain leadership experience, speak up for myself, and learn how to be more independent,” said Sofia Nuñez, who participated in the Woods Project Geology Program at Yellowstone National Park. “It made me lose the fear of flying and being away from home. There is no class that I could have taken that would have given me the same experience as a FLO.”
HISD schools participating this year are Energy Institute, Furr High School, Houston Academy for International Studies, and Leland College Preparatory Academy for Young Men. They join last year’s partners, Davis High School, Sharpstown High School, and Eastwood Academy. FLO coordinators on each campus support students from recruitment to participation in a wide variety of educational programs.
“Students gain intangible skills like self-confidence and responsibility that will help them in their journey toward higher education and careers,” said HISD College Success Advisor Aaron Rodriguez.
More than 200 HISD students took advantage of learning opportunities in the past year that included the U.S. Dept. of State’s American Youth Leadership Program in Ecuador and programs at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center that focused on genetics and health-care technology.
FLO coordinators recruit on HISD campuses year-round, since deadlines vary. They also inform students about the opportunities through class presentations, school announcements, newsletters, flyers, and informational lunch sessions. This year, past participants (known as FLO Fellows) are helping recruit students and offering application support.
DiscoverU programs are available for students in grades 9–12, with the majority of opportunities for eleventh-graders. There are more than 100 programs with varying requirements, so students should check with their counselors for complete details. For more information, see DiscoverU’s website and a related story here.