Goose Creek Consolidated Independent School District identified a number of needs in its initial Preparing to Dream inventory: too many parents and students were not aware of even the basic steps for college applications and entrance; too many students were not academically prepared for college level work; and the district had limited capacity to monitor and track student preparation and post-secondary outcomes.
Goose Creek’s PTD plan focused on addressing these shortcomings systemically, to fulfill a vision of a supportive community environment which ensures each student is prepared for and understands how to access postsecondary education. Steps toward building this environment included creating a comprehensive campaign to promote a college-going culture, providing entrance exam support to students, and increasing college and financial aid awareness for students and parents, even prior to high school. The district implemented a system to track student and parent participation in these programs and activities and to strengthen their partnership with local post-secondary institutions.
- 3,647 parents and students attended College Access workshops
- 395 students enrolled in SAT/ACT test prep
- 4,021 middle school students participated in the Kids2College program
- 5,500 high school students utilized the College “GO” Centers
- College Night attendance has grown from 500 parents and students to 1,200 parents and students.
- Approximately 4,500 students took part in 25 field trips to colleges and universities including Lee College, University of Texas, Texas A&M University, Baylor University, Lamar University and Prairie View A&M University.
Building a “college-going culture” has become a priority for the district. Over the span of the PTD project, the district has fully embraced student post-secondary success as THE goal. At the request of the Superintendent, a district-wide committee of school and community members has been meeting this year to identify key elements and strategies for the district to reach this vision. This is a direct extension of the PTD activities. Efforts, such as College Week, have moved from being a high school-only event to including all the schools in the district. The 6th grade Social Studies includes the Kids 2 College program with district-developed curriculum extensions for grades 7 and 8. More students are visiting college campuses than ever before. Post-secondary success is a key lens for the district’s strategic planning.
An increase in dual credit courses has opened greater opportunities for students, especially for those who would be the first in their family to go to college. The district has expanded the dual credit offerings within the comprehensive high schools and has opened an Early College High School where students can earn an associate’s degree along with a high school diploma. There has been a significant rise in the number of students participating over the course of the grant. This has fostered a closer relationship between the district and Lee College.
Students and families have access to more information, resources, and direct support on the college application process. The district increased the parent training opportunities on topics such as college finance, FAFSA, and scholarships. By offering the sessions in community locations, in English and Spanish, and by providing child care, the district had higher participation of under-represented parents. Hundreds of high school students accessed college and scholarship materials, FAFSA support, and college counseling at “Go Centers” on the three high school campuses, in partnership with Lee College. More students are taking advantage of the free SAT and ACT preparation expanded course offerings. The district has become an active partner with students and families to help them find success in the college application process.
Goose Creek’s work in this area has resulted in some unique opportunities:
- The district was chosen as one of 20 across the country to pilot a real-time FAFSA reporting system for the Department of Education.
- Goose Creek’s Lee High School was chosen as one of two sites for the Houston region expansion of College Forward, a highly regarded college access and retention program that was started in Austin.
- Hispanic students deemed “college-ready” almost doubled from 22% for the Class of 2006 to 42% for the Class of 2009, outpacing the state’s growth rate.
- “College-ready” economically disadvantaged students increased from 19% in 2006 to 35% in 2009.
- More African American and Hispanic students are taking Advanced and Dual Credit courses.
- Graduates completing the Recommended High School Program increased from 73.4% to 86.7%, outpacing growth in both the state and the region.
Preparing to Dream Results
- See preliminary outcome highlights from the entire project
- Preparing to Dream: Learning, Outcomes and Results