DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Selling success and asking for support.
As part of the run-up to the new school year, DISD today is highlighting its 23 early college high schools. District leaders are also thanking the industry partners that support them, and talking about the proposed tax hike that they say is needed to keep the innovation going.
“We believe we’ve delivered results,” says DISD Supt. Michael Hinojosa, “and so are going to ask the community to support us.”
Supt. Hinojosa says the proposed .13 Tax Ratification Election (TRE) will give the board an additional $120 million dollars annually to fund initiatives like the collegiate academies.
“Now we bit the bullet on college academies, and we cut other things to get these launched: $15 million dollars a year; but, now, they’re imbedded in what we do. But, to maintain these kinds of programs, we need those additional resources and we’re going to ask the board to ask the community for that support.”
On the so called ‘PTech'(Pathways to Technology) campuses, industry partners like IBM and Fort Worth based American Airlines provide mentors and summer internships.
“It really just brings tears to yours eyes because several of these students, their parents didn’t have an opportunity to graduate high school, let alone go to college,” says Angela Harris with IBM. “So for them, the ability to earn an associates degree at no charge, while they’re going to high school, the doors that are open to them are amazing.”
Seagoville Junior Isaac Alvarez got his first taste of workplace success this summer.
“It trains you and enables you with skills that companies are looking for, so you’re almost kind of guaranteed a job after you graduate,” says Alvarez who would be the first in his family to graduate college. Meanwhile, those industry partners say they benefit from the school relationships as well.
“They’re like a greenfield, right? Of ideas for us to mine,” says Janette Zabransky, American Airlines. “They’re very open to new ideas, open to new technology and we need young people who can bring us forward from a technology perspective and really make a difference to our customers.”
And supporters say they are seeing the pathways work.
“We’ve seen a tremendous amount of quality in these students,” says Harris. “They really are coming out very well ready for the workforce. PTech isn’t just about academics and technology, it’s also about workplace professionalism and being able to have those workplace skills.”
“I guess I can say I’m not afraid to go into the real world now,” says Alvarez. “I feel prepared. And secured.”
DISD’s board will vote on the proposed tax hike at next Thursday’s meeting. Until then, several community meetings are planned to provide information on what’s involved. The first meeting was Tuesday night at Thomas Jefferson High School.