Category Archives: EMERGE

HISD student to be honored as U.S. Presidential Scholar in Washington, D.C.

Student also one of 16 HISD students to win National Merit Scholarship

A Houston Independent School District high school student hopes to have the opportunity to meet President Barack Obama this summer after being selected as a U.S. Presidential Scholar.

Liana Wang

Liana Wang

Liana Wang of Bellaire High School is among only 160 high school seniors from across the country to be recognized in the 52nd class of U.S. Presidential Scholars for her leadership, academic accomplishments, and service to the community.

“I am pretty excited to be a part of an amazing group of scholars, and I’ve heard that sometimes presidential scholars get to meet the president,” Wang said. “I would love to intern at the White House and work in the state department one day to help contribute to the culture of an administration and its policy decisions.”

The U.S. Presidential Scholars will be recognized and presented with a Presidential Scholar Medallion during a special ceremony held June 19 in Washington, D.C. Continue reading

Rick Cruz selected to serve as HISD’s new Chief of Major Projects

Richard (Rick) Cruz poses for a photograph, January 6, 2016.

Richard (Rick) Cruz poses for a photograph, January 6, 2016.

Houston Independent School District Major Projects Officer Rick Cruz has been selected to lead his division, replacing outgoing Chief Don Hare, who is retiring.

Cruz, a former fifth-grade teacher who was tapped to serve in the HISD administration after launching the district’s successful EMERGE program more than five years ago, will officially assume his new role on Jan. 25.

In his new position, he will be tasked with managing the College Readiness and Counseling and Guidance departments, as well as major initiatives designed to transform education in the district, such as the EMERGE and Futures Academy programs, and Linked Learning.

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Students make the most of Top-Tier College Night

HISD hosted its annual Top-Tier College Night on Oct. 6, and hundreds of students and their families came out to learn more about what Ivy League and other high-profile institutions have to offer, as well as what qualities they are looking for in applicants.

“Some of our students have amazing grades, and some don’t,” explained Justin Segal, a representative from the University of Pennsylvania. “But comparing yourself to others is not really fair, because grades don’t tell the whole story. We’re more focused on if your application is consistent with your stated interests. Because if you’re applying to business school, but all you’ve done so far is arts and theatre, there’s a bit of a disconnect there.” Continue reading

EMERGE program now accepting applications from Class of 2018

HISD’s ground-breaking EMERGE program is expanding to all high school campuses this year, and motivated members of the Class of 2018 (currently sophomores) are encouraged to apply.

EMERGE connects high-performing students from underserved backgrounds with the resources needed to apply, attend, and graduate from the nation’s top-tier colleges and universities, which provide high levels of support as well as competitive financial aid and scholarships. Students who are selected to be in EMERGE receive after-school advising at their schools on the college preparation and financial aid application processes, a full-length SAT preparation course, and an out-of-state summer experience at a top-tier university. Continue reading

Class of 2015 beats previous year’s scholarship offers by $10 million

Several HISD schools saw significant increases in the amount of scholarship and financial aid offers their seniors received this year. Recent HAIS graduates Karina Barbosa (left) and Rynique Lucas received more than $1.7M between them.

Several HISD schools saw significant increases in the amount of scholarship and financial aid offers their seniors received this year. Recent HAIS graduates Karina Barbosa (left) and Rynique Lucas received more than $1.7M in scholarship and financial aid offers between them.

The numbers are in, and HISD’s Class of 2015 has received almost $265 million in scholarship and financial aid offers.

At $10 million more than the Class of 2014, Director of College Readiness David Johnston called the figure “a testament to the district’s college readiness efforts.” A handful of campuses have also seen significant increases in the amount of money their seniors have been offered from last year to this one.

College Success Manager Pamela Joyce Williams attributes Washington High School’s jump from about $2,360,000 in 2014 to more than $7,223,000 in 2015 to a year-long outreach campaign, in which she sent students and their parents regular progress reports and email reminders about deadlines through Naviance. Continue reading

California trip provides EMERGE students glimpse of tier-one college life

Rising juniors from schools throughout HISD tour seven colleges in five days

More than 75 rising juniors from high schools throughout HISD traveled to California during the week of June 15 to tour several tier-one colleges and universities, and learn more about the college application process. The group of students from HISD’s EMERGE program toured seven colleges in five days including the University of Southern California, Occidental College, and the Claremont Consortium, which is a cluster of private colleges that specializes in liberal arts, sciences, and engineering. Read below to learn more from several EMERGE students who were on the trip.

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Summer Bridge program preparing Futures Academy students for success

Rising sophomores get tips from former Futures Academy students and EMERGE fellows

The journey from high school to college to a career can be challenging, but HISD’s Futures Academy is helping students develop the skills they’ll need to get there.

The Summer Bridge Program is arming rising high school sophomores with critical knowledge in the areas of time management, team building, communication, and money management. Four sessions are scheduled for June and feature classes taught by Futures Academy and EMERGE alumni.

“One way we thought this message would resonate with students is by having former HISD Futures Academy and EMERGE students returning from their first year in college lead the sessions,” said Michael Love, assistant superintendent of the Futures Academy. “This allows the students to learn directly from peers who recently walked the same hallways as them.”

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HISD highlighted in Politico Magazine’s ‘What Works’ series

HISD is known for being one of the most innovative school districts in the country—and that visionary spirit is what has earned it a feature in an edition of Politico Magazine.

The district is the subject of a May 21 article in the magazine’s “What Works” series, which is designed to highlight innovative practices and how they spread across America.  Continue reading

Upcoming EMERGE college tours include Brandeis, Claremont colleges

In the next few months, some of HISD’s brightest young scholars will be visiting the nation’s top colleges and universities as part of the EMERGE program’s summer college tours. The EMERGE program was designed to help low-income, first-generation minority students get into top-notch colleges. Last year, EMERGE helped launch 99 scholars from 24 high schools to colleges and universities such as Stanford, Harvard, and MIT. Five were accepted to Yale University, while three chose to attend Tufts. This summer, students will get to participate in discussions, tour the campuses, and check out dorm rooms and cafeterias as part of the following EMERGE tours:

  • Brandeis College tour (78 students)
  • Claremont College tour (76 students)

Graduating EMERGE scholars have been awarded more than $20 million in scholarships and financial aid this past year, with the majority of students receiving individual financial packages totaling upwards of $40,000 per year.