Dear Alief ISD Key Communicator,
While we try to use every day to prepare students for college and career, this past week was college week in Alief ISD. If you visited any of our campuses, you may have seen our staff members or students in their college t-shirts or noticed some of the different activities promoting college and career readiness a little more than usual.
One of the highlights of college week is our annual College Night activity in which representatives from colleges and universities from throughout Texas and the nation have the opportunity to talk directly to students and parents. This year’s event at Taylor High School attracted almost 2,000 participants to visit with more than 140 representatives from post-secondary institutions, as well as provided students with junior college, military and other vocational and career opportunities.
College and Career Readiness is a foremost priority in Alief ISD. We realize this is a monumental task and takes a collaborative effort. In additional to our typical efforts, AISD has developed a College and Career Readiness Task Force (CCR) devoted to brainstorming, planning and synchronizing their efforts to ensure students’ success at a college and career level. The CCR Task Force is comprised of various staff members and is charged with setting expectations for high academic achievement, increasing the level of rigor in coursework, and improving the core and soft skills that students must possess and promote in order to achieve their post-secondary goals. We strive to have every student prepared for success in college-level coursework or in their chosen career field.
We begin at an early age, focusing on career awareness and college introduction in elementary school where students participate in career sessions, receive instruction on career clusters and take college field trips. At the intermediate school level, students are taught the concept of College and Career Readiness and the importance of setting academic goals and staying focused. Even at this age, we begin introducing our College Word of the Day (daily district SAT words) to all students. The intent is to make college and career ready a consistent part of a student’s mind-set and vocabulary.
In middle school, students begin planning for high school and post-secondary success by developing a six-year plan that acts as a roadmap towards achieving their future academic and career goals. They complete career assessments, which lead to more informed choices about courses that align directly with relevant career aspirations. They also have the opportunity to take high school level, advanced coursework.
Our high school students re-assess their goals and adjust their plan to reflect changes in school and career ambitions. They can take a variety of advanced and college credit courses that increase their opportunities for post-secondary success while simultaneously earning college and high school credits. They can also take a coherent sequence of courses through our Career and Technology Education program which produces licensed and certified professionals ready to successfully enter the workforce. Several years ago, we created senior centers at each campus where students can get information about college admissions, financial aid and scholarships, and vocational and military opportunities. Last year’s graduates received more than $40 million in scholarships and grants.
We are especially proud of our Alief Early College High School (AECHS). Located on the Houston Community College Alief campus, it gives prospective first-generation college students and others typically underrepresented in higher education the opportunity to earn a distinguished achievement high school diploma and college hours toward an Associate’s Degree. The Class of 2013 will be the first graduating class and 100 percent of the students will graduate college ready. Sixty percent are expected to earn an Associate of Arts or Science degree from Houston Community College, while the rest of the senior class will have earned substantial college credit hours transferable to the universities of their choice.
Thank you for your continued support and interest in the Alief Independent School District by serving as a Key Communicator. Please let me know if there are any topics that you would like me to address in future messages.
Alief ISD Superintendent of Schools