College and Career Readiness

College- and career-ready high school graduates have the skills, knowledge and abilities needed to succeed in life, whether they plan to attend college (two- or four-year, or technical school) or start a job. This means that, since childhood, the students have been academically prepared and provided with the skills they will need to plan their careers and live their lives with success.

As the 21st century continues to unfold, the educational experience needs to keep pace with the demands of the increasingly competitive, knowledge-based and technologically driven society.

Educate Texas understands the urgency of transforming Texas classrooms and schools to meet the needs of 21st century students. By partnering with state agencies, school districts and funders, Educate Texas is piloting new programs and implementing outcome-proven strategies to prepare students for college and the workforce.

Programs

As an extension of the Early College High School (ECHS) model, the Industry Cluster Innovative Academies (ICIA) initiative leverages partnerships among ECHS campuses, regional industries and institutions of higher learning to help students at risk of dropping out to earn credentials, degrees and certificates in high-demand workforce pathways specific to their regions.

The Investing in Innovation grant funded the Early College Expansion Partnership, a five year initiative which began in 2012 with two goals: 1) to scale up designs of early college programs through systemwide secondary school improvement and college readiness strategies for all students, and 2) to position early college designs to continue and expand after the funding period ended.

In 2011, faced with research showing that Texas high school students rank higher for college and career readiness when they receive science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) training, Educate Texas and partner TI Foundation identified Lancaster Independent School District (LISD) as an ideal district to receive a grant to partner in implementing a district wide STEM project.

The Texas Pathways to Prosperity network is a partnership of agencies and organizations that seeks to ensure that more youth complete high school and attain college degrees or credentials for high-demand occupations throughout the state of Texas. The initiative focuses on creating coherent programs of activities from grades 9-14+ leading to post-secondary credentials or degrees by leveraging the existing structures, requirement, and resources of key partners.

Across the state, schools facing poor or stagnant test scores and student performance gaps are realizing that one size does not fit all when it comes to instructional strategies. Educate Texas is investing in multiple efforts to understand the impact of “blended learning” — an approach that combines face-to-face teaching methods with engaging online learning components that allow instructors and students to personalize the pace and path of instruction. By funding five Raising Blended Learners demonstration sites throughout the state, Educate Texas is helping our partners at Raise Your Hand Texas to provide a more personalized learning experience in school districts with achievement challenges.

The Texas Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (T-STEM) initiative is a foundational approach for strengthening leaders, empowering teachers and inspiring students in STEM studies. T-STEM Academies are designated and funded by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) as demonstration schools and learning labs. Educate Texas supports the T-STEM Network through coaching, professional development and technical assistance to support academic outcomes for students, and uses the T-STEM Academies Design Blueprint to serve as a basis for assessing academies’ plans.

The Texas Urban Council of Superintendents is the pre-eminent voice for traditional urban public schools. The Council meets regularly, focusing on governmental relations, governance, school turnaround, leadership development, human capital management, college access for urban youth, second language learning and many other shared interests.