Grant Announcement: Rural Digital Early College High School Initiative

Greater Texas Foundation announces a grant in the amount of $207,120 to The University of Texas of the Permian Basin (UTPB) in support of its project: Rural Digital Early College High School Initiative (RDESCHSI).

The rural West Texas region currently has the lowest high school graduation rate in the state and low rates of college enrollment. To combat some of the region’s unique challenges, UTPB established the RDESCHSI partnerships with rural school districts and Texas State Technical College (TSTC). RDECHSI offers early college high school (ECHS) students blended online and face-to-face instruction with university professors.  GTF’s support will help prepare RDECHSI students for college-level courses by making two- and four-year colleges and universities accessible to students prior to high school graduation and ensure that effective practices are in place to help students persist and complete a baccalaureate degree from UTPB.

UTPB has nine ECHS school district partners: Presidio, Balmorhea, Marfa, Rankin, Wink-Loving, Kermit, Pecos-Barstow-Toyah, Slaton and Ector County. The grant from GTF will support a transition coach to build positive relationships with ECHS students and parents prior to high school graduation by conducting informational meetings and assisting students and parents with college entry expectations and deadlines. When ECHS students matriculate to UTPB, the transition coach will continue the relationship by providing social and emotional support to students while they pursue their postsecondary education at UTPB. Further, UTPB will offer partner school district personnel professional development designed to increase districts’ capacity to implement high-performing ECHS models.  Finally, grant funds will be used to cover tuition and textbook costs for students who take classes at Texas State Technical College (TSTC).

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