*Sponsored post*

You have probably heard a lot about the expansion of Dallas ISD’s collegiate academy initiative. It is one that has created a lot of buzz and, rightfully, so. Through the collegiate academy initiative, first generation college students will have the opportunity to earn associate degrees and high school diplomas, simultaneously. And the best part? Students will not have to rack up any college debt to participate.

To have a competitive edge in today’s global society, students will be required to have postsecondary degrees to increase their marketability in the workforce. However, the cost of college is prohibitive for many students, taking college off the table as a realistic option. In Dallas ISD, there are many students who, given the opportunity, could be first generation college students, if it weren’t for the cost of college tuition. As a trustee, I am dedicated to devising innovative ways to make college an option for every student who wants to attend.

The district’s collegiate academy initiative is doing just that. Thomas Jefferson High School opened its collegiate academy this fall, one of eight new programs that provides students an opportunity to earn up to 60 hours of college credit before they graduate from high school. The district’s collegiate academy initiative is a life-changing move that helps students chart their own path to success.

To continue this momentum and make college an option to more students, the district will launch 10 additional collegiate academies in fall 2017, one of which will be the W.T. White Collegiate Academy. In partnership with Brookhaven College, students in the program will focus on business accounting and early childhood education, taking classes at the W.T. White campus through their sophomore year. During junior year, students will begin taking classes at Brookhaven.

It is the best of both worlds. Students can learn to excel in the nurturing environment of their high school campus along with other students enrolled in the program, preparing for the rigors of college life and move on to a college setting as they get closer to high school graduation.

This initiative is making college a real possibility for students, and it is one that can make a significant difference in their lives.

The application period is now open for those students interested in applying for one of the district’s collegiate academies, magnets, choice schools and two-way dual language schools. The deadline to apply is Jan. 31. Visit the district website to apply.

Other District 1 news:

Congratulations to the Marsh Middle School Varsity band members who earned a place in the All-City Bands: Valeria Garcia (top middle school flute player in the district), Nicholas Davidson, Nicole Vuong, Trevor Patton, Sebastian Pizano, Eduardo Villegas, Eric Horta, David Delgado, Cesar Martinez, Adrian Lopez, Marcos Hernandez, Alex Flores, and Jake Smith. The All-City band concert will be held on Jan. 28, 2017 at Molina High School.

Schools are observing early release days for the holidays: Secondary students: Dec. 20, 21 and 22; elementary students: Dec. 22. Please check with your child’s school for exact times.

Winter break begins Friday, Dec. 23 through Jan. 6 for district staff and through Jan. 9 for students. Have a safe and happy holiday season!

Edwin Flores

Edwin Flores

—Edwin Flores is the District 1 representative on the Dallas ISD Board of Trustees. 

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