HB 5 Brings K-12 & Higher Ed Partnerships

October 14, 2014 |

This is the fifth of six in our fall blog series, House Bill 5: Past, Present and Future. HB 5 is the landmark accountability and assessment legislation passed during the 83rd Texas Legislative Session (2013). We have explored what the bill did, how it came about, how it empowers Texas students, and what it means for parents.

Each blog in this series features an introductory video by HD Chambers, Superintendent of Alief ISD and pioneer for the HB 5 movement, followed by information about one of the many ways HB 5 impacts education, business, and communities across Texas.

The Need for Collaboration

As Mr. Chambers mentioned, House Bill 5 changed the way students progress through the K-12 system, giving them options upon graduation – go on to higher education or pursue a career directly after high school. The bill requires a concerted effort from both high schools and community colleges to ensure students are qualified and ready to play a vital role in the Texas workforce.

This collaboration unfolds in many ways. Some high schools and community colleges work together to develop specialized curriculum in their local area, like Midland ISD’s “petroleum academy.” Such programs allow students to receive specialized training in high school, which benefits students who elect to join the workforce upon graduation.

Other programs may allow students to receive college credit, through dual enrollment programs and partnerships with community colleges, while in high school. This provides students who otherwise would not be able to attend higher education with the opportunity to work toward a degree; and it also enables students who do attend higher ed to reduce the amount of time and money they spend at four year universities.

A School District & Higher Ed Partnership Model

Corpus Christi ISD’s partnership with Del Mar College is on the cutting edge of what public schools and higher education institutions can achieve with collaboration. Their high school tech prep programs allow students to earn up to 16 semester hours of college credit in a technical area before graduation. Del Mar offers high-demand courses to prepare high school students for the local workforce. After consulting their counselor, students may enroll in the courses listed below.

HB5 Courses

Collegiate High School, located on the Del Mar College campus, is another coordinated partnership with CCISD. Collegiate is comprised of at-risk, low-income students and English language learners attending grades 9-12. Students can complete an associate’s degree or acquire two years of transferable college-level credits toward a bachelor’s degree within four years at no cost to them or their families.

The Corpus Christi Prefreshmen Engineering Program (CCPREP) provides an educational enrichment opportunity for middle and high school students interested in pursuing science-based careers. This specialty program emphasizes study and research in mathematics, computer science, and engineering. Participants may earn college credit for each summer program completed.

To learn more about these programs and partnerships, click here.

Innovative Efforts Statewide

Corpus Christi ISD is just one example of the many innovative programs statewide aimed at serving all students with all postsecondary goals – university, community college, and career. Many districts are just beginning to take advantage of the new opportunities to collaborate afforded by House Bill 5’s flexible graduation paths and expanded course options.

The Last Piece of the HB 5 Puzzle

Next week’s blog will focus on how districts are working directly with Texas industry and business officials to create targeted courses and programs to adequately prepare the workforce of the 21st century. More than ever before, our public schools are focused on graduating students who are equipped for the challenges and opportunities of today’s global economy.

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