GC Pass_optWhat does it mean for a student to be ready for success after high school?  And what must schools on both ends of the pipeline do to ensure that each student achieves his or her full potential? With nearly 20 local school districts and community colleges participating, Gulf Coast Partners Achieving Student Success, or GC PASS – now in its third year – helps hundreds of Houston-area educators answer those critical questions, by working together to implement strategies that prepare thousands of Houston-area students for post-secondary success. Nearly 200 Houston-area educators attended the 2013 GC PASS Fall Convening, which took place on October 9 at the Hilton University of Houston and featured an expert panel discussing the implications of House Bill 5 on the high school-to-college transition. Supported by the Houston Endowment’s largest single grant and advised by the University of Texas, Austin, Gulf Coast PASS engages school districts and community colleges to work in tandem to propel students toward success in college.  Early testing, summer bridge programs, and student success courses are a few of the strategies they may offer, with each high school and college tailoring its program to the needs of its community. Travis Fanning, a high school principal in Cypress-Fairbanks ISD, says he values the partnership with Lone Star Community College System that Gulf Coast PASS helped initiate.  One benefit, he says , is that a representative from Lone Star now comes to his high school campus to meet with students and advise them about their college options. Treva Brown-Askey, who teaches a student success class at Lee College that was created as part of the initiative, says she appreciates the opportunity to exchange ideas with colleagues in the Houston area doing similar work.  “Every time I attend a convening,” she says , “I hear a lot of great ideas about what other colleges are doing.” Betsy Broyles Breier, a Houston A+ Challenge program coordinator for GC PASS, notes that addressing contemporary issues in education in the context of college readiness work – in this case, the passage of House Bill 5 – is an important goal of the thrice-annual convenings.  Perhaps the most powerful outcome, though, is the opportunity to work together in teams away from campus, reflecting and planning in a way that is difficult in the midst of everyday work. Learn more about GC PASS
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