Teach Forward Houston fellows meet at UH Summer Bridge 

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A new cohort of Teach Forward Houston students just wrapped up Summer Bridge 2017 at University of Houston, where they lived in the dorms and attended orientation and classes for four days.

The week began with an opening ceremony with last year’s fellows, who will be sophomores this fall. Summer Bridge exposed the new UH students to Cougar Culture, best practices for studying, advice regarding health and wellness, and financial planning to ensure they survive college life. Summer Bridge 2017 ended with a celebratory lunch with family, HISD officials, and UH College of Education (UHCOE) representatives. 

“I am so happy to be sharing this great opportunity with such great people,” Heights High School graduate Carmen tweeted on the last day of Summer Bridge.

The 40 students will be studying and attending classes together in the College of Education this coming year. These HISD graduates are top scholars and leaders, but more importantly, they have a deep desire to give back to their community through teaching. Thanks to HISD, the Teach Forward Houston fellows (listed here) will receive free tuition at UH in exchange for committing to teach for four years in HISD after graduation. They will receive extra support from one another and last year’s fellows, as well the UHCOE and HISD. The program is in its second year.

On Thursday, July 27, the TFH fellows began the day with an ice breaker on the UH lawn near their dorm. This was followed by a session led by Katy Kasebier and Will Keaton from the UH Center for Student Involvement. The class began with students sharing an interesting fact about themselves: Brenda’s nickname is “Kim”; Anna plays the trumpet and has three dogs; Mary is half Salvadorian; and Lisette is the first in her family to attend UH.

For their first activity, the students took the True Colors personality test, in which the colors orange, gold, green, and blue are used to differentiate four different personality types. After determining their color, they shared their personality traits with the group.

“People can count on me, and I am always ready for tomorrow,” said Azka.

“I want to be important in other people’s lives,” said Christian, “and I like to express myself emotionally.”

The students divided into four groups by color and were instructed to plan a vacation together. One group decided to go to Japan, one planned a year-long trip around the world, and another planned to backpack throughout Europe.

“Summer Bridge allowed the new Teach Forward Houston Fellows to build a stronger sense of empowerment, trust, and confidence as they enter their freshmen year at the University of Houston’s College of Education,” said HISD Academics Program Manager Rick Rodriguez. “We look forward to seeing them grow as students and professionals through this process. The resources they will be provided will support their long-term success.”