Here To Make An Impact
Meeting face to face for the first time since 2019, leadership from South Texas College and Valley school districts say the goal remains to making a difference in students’ lives.
STC President Dr. Ricardo J. Solis addressed leadership from more than 16 school districts who were in attendance at STC Dual Credit Program’s annual Superintendents Leadership Meeting Sept. 9. Dual Credit outlined its priorities for the coming school year at the meeting.
Pledging to do everything in their collective power to reach college-bound students, even while combatting a global pandemic, leadership from South Texas College and Valley school districts say they remain committed to making a difference in students’ lives.
Meeting in-person as a group for the first time in two years, leadership with STC and school districts from across the region outlined their priorities at a recent Superintendents Leadership Meeting held at Pecan Campus Sept. 9.
The event was held as a roundtable-style meeting with STC administrators and Valley leaders from collaborating school districts to prepare for the school year ahead.
The meeting included representatives from 16 total school districts including Donna, Edinburg, Edcouch-Elsa, Hidalgo, La Joya, La Villa, McAllen, Mission, Monte Alto, Progreso, PSJA, Sharyland, South Texas ISD, Vanguard Academy, Rio Grande City Grulla ISD, and Roma.
STC President Dr. Ricardo J. Solis gave the opening address, and the roughly two-hour meeting was moderated by Dr. Anahid Petrosian, Interim Vice President of Academic Affairs at South Texas College.
“Through our collaboration with our school district partners, we have been able to strengthen each other to leverage our funding, workforce, and production of countless educational opportunities for our students. This is what makes the Rio Grande Valley distinct from other regions in Texas,” Solis said at the leadership meeting. “Together, we have made a difference in the lives of our students by continuously adapting and changing to emerging challenges, such as the one we face today with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The key point to remember is we cannot face any challenge alone,” Dr. Solis said. “We have to face them together, and this is the basis of our partnership with our partnering school districts. We have made the decision to work united and find the best solutions for everyone.”
“These are very exciting times, and for us even though the pandemic came, STC stood strong in their partnership with us, and continues to offer these opportunities for our students."
Since 2000, STC has served over 118,000 dual credit students tuition free. The Dual Credit Programs currently serves two counties, 21 school districts, 70 high school sites and includes over 12,000 students, 1,500 courses, and more than 570 faculty.
Topics at the meeting included a review of the state of the Dual Credit Programs as well as the most recent student performance data, and revisions to the Interlocal Agreement for the new fiscal year. The roundtable discussion also offered a rundown of the Texas Pathways Project aligning high school endorsements with STC meta-majors, as well as the major accomplishments achieved through the partnership between the college and school districts.
“I believe our strong partnerships, which have been established over the past 20 years is a testament to how we will continue moving forward in providing dual credit opportunities within our community,” said Dr. Rebecca De Leon, Dean of Dual Credit Programs and School District Partnerships. “We are so fortunate to have our partners join us today, our superintendents and their executive leadership teams, as it truly demonstrates their commitment to make an impact with our students and determine how we can support them.
“Our College’s Dual Credit Programs will continue to support our students as we always have to ensure that they earn college credit while in high school as they work towards earning their degrees, which provides them a better quality of life,” De Leon said.
STC awarded degrees and certificates to 1,521 dual credit students in May 2021. In a first for Texas, South Texas College Dual Credit Programs also became the sole recipient of a prestigious accreditation by the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (NACEP) in May 2020.
Despite the impact of a global pandemic, the annual meeting in 2020 was held virtually. Leadership from local school districts say working with the college on behalf of students is one of the most positive achievements that has developed from the ordeal.
“These are very exciting times, and for us even though the pandemic came, STC stood strong in their partnership with us, and continues to offer these opportunities for our students,” said Mission CISD superintendent Dr. Carol Perez. “As I have been talking to our board and providing a listing of our presentations and so forth, they just applauded the partnership.
“This is a strong partnership, and we look forward to an explosion, especially when it comes to health science professions,” Perez said.