STC, Dual Credit Partners outline their priorities for year ahead
Dual Credit Program staff at South Texas College say that Guided Pathways and accreditation will be the top priorities as they look ahead to a dynamic year collaborating with partnering school districts across the Valley.
STC held its annual Superintendents Leadership Academy on Monday Aug. 14. The event was a roundtable-style meeting with STC administrators and Valley leaders from partnering school districts to prepare for the school year ahead.
Superintendents at the leadership meeting included Mission CISD Superintendent of Schools Dr. Carol Perez, Hidalgo ISD Superintendent Xavier Salinas, Edcouch Elsa ISD Superintendent Ronaldo J. Cavazos, Donna ISD Superintendent Dr. Hafedh Azaiez, and Mercedes ISD Superintendent Dr. Daniel Trevino. Representatives from McAllen ISD, PSJA ISD and Weslaco ISD were also in attendance.
STC President Dr. Shirley A. Reed 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.
“Your partnership is what makes this program work. We just could not do it without you,” Dr. Reed told district leaders in attendance. “We are learning every day more and more about the successes of this program and we truly are the pioneers of dual credit here in the Valley.”
“Your partnership is what makes this program work. We just could not do it without you. We are learning every day more and more about the successes of this program and we truly are the pioneers of dual credit here in the Valley.”
Since 2000, STC has served over 98,000 dual credit students tuition free. The Dual Credit program currently serves two counties, 23 school districts, 78 high school sites and includes over 12,000 students, 1,400 courses, and more than 500 faculty.
“We have the biggest program in the state and in the country,” Dr. Reed said. “We have learned so much through our partnerships and our experiences, and our Guided Pathways Initiative is our effort to help students get on a pathway and help them stay on a pathway. It is about encouraging them to stay on a pathway so they can get through the higher-ed pipeline and into the workforce or graduate school, whatever their aspirations might be. We are really quite proud of the accomplishments of our dual credit students.”
Topics at Monday’s meeting included discussions on the college’s dual credit programs, the statewide Guided Pathways Project, and a review of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between South Texas College and local partnering school districts, which outlines the roles for dual credit schools for the upcoming school year beginning Aug. 27.
The MOU is the agreement that encompasses all dual credit programs, including early college high schools and academy programs as required by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.
At issue for the upcoming school year is the Guided Pathways Project and working towards accreditation by the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (NACEP). Accreditation by NACEP is a rigorous two-year process that will enable STC to become a model for all dual credit programs across the nation.
“Dual Credit Programs is supporting the Guided Pathways initiative, as we have been working to provide our students with the opportunity to align their high school endorsement with our meta-majors,” said Dr. Rebecca De Leon, Interim Dean for Dual Credit Programs and School District Partnerships. “As far as accreditation, NACEP is a national recognition which we are currently seeking as a college to apply for our program.
“No institution in the state of Texas has yet been awarded,” Dr. De Leon said. “We will document the process throughout the upcoming academic year, which provides us the opportunity to show that we are meeting the standards that are required for dual credit.”
Mercedes Superintendent Dr. Daniel Treviño says he is looking forward to the 2018-2019 school year because the coming year marks the first time STC will have professors on his district campuses, allowing students to sit in a college environment.
“This works with our schedule a little more efficiently,” Dr. Treviño said. “It’s very important for our students to be sitting in a college environment as we implement our new initiatives.
“It’s always a pleasure to visit with South Texas College. We have a tremendous partnership,” he said. “Our goal in Mercedes is to give our students as many opportunities as we can at our district, and post-secondary as well. We are always interested in seeing how we can run these programs a little more efficiently.”