HISD has nearly 160,000 students living at or near the poverty level, and most are minorities. Too many don’t graduate, and too few of those who do graduate think they can go to college. That’s what HISD set out to change two years ago, by creating a “college-bound culture,” in which students believe they can go to college and succeed. Spokesman Terry Abbott says creating that dream has to start in the students’ homes.
“So we’re going out into elementary school homes with a special bus with college material in it, and saying come on out, talk to us. Let’s start talking with your fifth grader, with your sixth grader, with your seventh grader, right now, about the dream of going to college. And let us help you understand that you can do this.”
Abbott says the other half of this equation is in the classrooms, where students are expected to work harder.
“We’ve ratcheted up substantially the rigor of the curriculum. We’re pushing more and more kids now into advanced placement courses, which are college level courses, when they get to high school. And we’ve got now a lot of kids coming out of high school who already have college credit in hand when they enroll in college.”
Abbott says the program is paying off for the students who need it the most. The percentages of minority and economically disadvantaged students meeting college readiness standards have nearly doubled after two years. The school superintendent is to present a full report on the college-bound culture program to the school board at its meeting today. Jim Bell, Houston Public Radio News.