Texas School District Proves College for All is Possible
The Hidalgo Independent School District in Texas has raised the bar on what it means for a school system to focus on college readiness. College Success for All, a new Jobs for the Future (JFF) report by Thad Nodine, tells the story of how Hidalgo ISD, located in one of the most economically depressed metropolitan areas with one of the lowest number of college-educated adults, is preparing all of its students to earn college credits while in high school.
Preliminary Data June, 2010
- More than 95%of the Class of 2010 graduated with college credits.
- Two-thirds of the graduating seniors had earned at least a full semester of credit for a college degree.
Hidalgo Early College High School
College Success for All began with the creation of the Hidalgo Early College High School in 2005. The partnership now includes:
- University of Texas-Pan American
- South Texas College
- Communities Foundation of Texas/Texas High School Project
- Texas Education Agency
- Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The early college design provides traditionally underserved students with an opportunity to earn up to 60 hours of college credits along with a high school diploma.
While early college schools typically serve less than 400 students, Hidalgo ISD was committed to serving all of its 900+ high schoolers. The superintendent of Hidalgo ISD at the time, Dr. Daniel P. King reflects, “I can’t see taking half of the kids and leaving the other half out. Why not do it for all the kids?”
District-wide strategy to motivate and prepare all students for success in higher education:
- Embed a college and career culture and focus in everyday activities, from elementary school through high school
- Establish strong postsecondary partnerships
- Develop rigorous course sequencing
- Provide high-quality career pathways
Replicating the Model
Though preliminary, Hidalgo’s results are inspiring. However, Hidalgo is not done yet. “The starting line is right behind our heels,” says Edward Blaha, the current superintendent of schools. “There’s miles to go, but we know we’ve stepped onto the right track, because this is good for kids.”
College Success for All was supported by the Region One Education Service Center High School Redesign Project (HSRP) through a grant funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Department of State Initiatives
Early College High School Program Manager: Kelty Garbee