Collaborations with Wider Horizons

The grant-funded projects in this annual report exemplify the powerful and deeply collaborative work occurring in rural communities across the Texas landscape.

Part of what makes these rural projects so potent is that they also support other priorities in the foundation’s strategic plan: Student Supports; Transfer, Transition, and Advising; Math for Success; and Innovation. This cross-pollination of strategy means greater success and more opportunities for the 700,000+ rural students in Texas.

Student Supports

Several grantees are using data to build robust student supports in their communities.

The Texas Impact Network, a joint venture of Educate Texas and The Commit Partnership, was awarded a $250,000 grant for their Rural Accelerator Program to establish a cohort of 20 rural school districts seeking to maximize funding resources from House Bill 3 (HB3). HB3 allows for funding to ISDs based on student outcomes in College, Career, and Military Readiness (CCMR) standards met upon graduation.

The Texas Impact Network works alongside rural districts to support data collection and to set rigorous goals for college and career readiness. With better reporting to demonstrate how students are meeting state readiness standards, the districts can maximize their funding from HB3. That additional funding provides more counseling and advising, work-based learning, advanced academics, and college prep courses, which translates into more students finding success in college and career.

The GTF investment has the potential to unlock up to $13 million in funding each year for all 20 participating school districts.

Learn about the success of one of the participants, Rio Hondo ISD. Watch the video.

Amarillo College is partnering with Amarillo Independent School District and using data to understand the gaps between college-ready and college-successful. With a $181,695 grant, the two educational systems are building an integrated data sharing system to ensure alignment between college-ready indicators and community college outcomes. The team uses shared data to find better ways to prepare high school students to transition to college and provide targeted support services once they get there. They are also monitoring where graduates enter the workforce after graduation and whether they are able to attain greater earnings based on completing a degree or professional certificate. Both institutions and their students benefit from the data-informed feedback loop.

West Texas A&M’s Rural Resilience and Opportunity on the High Plains project provides support services designed to help students be successful and to foster homegrown talent that will keep their rural west Texas community thriving in the future. With a $786,360 grant, they provide mentoring, advising, academic success coaching, financial aid and financial literacy workshops, career and academic planning to high school, dual enrollment, and adult students.


Transfer, Transition and Advising

Some grants in our rural portfolio also directly address the foundation’s goal to create clear, efficient, and affordable pathways for Texas students. At Northeast Texas Community College, the Work4College program is supported by a $470,000 grant. High school students in the program can choose between 12 different learning areas and get placed in corresponding summer jobs. Half their earnings are paid to students as wages and the other half are placed in an account with the college so students earn their tuition before they enroll. While at NTCC, students complete internships and community service alongside their studies to ensure they graduate career-ready and without college debt. As a result, they build the soft skills sought by employers, like time management, communication, and teamwork.

While at NTCC, students complete internships and community service alongside their studies to ensure they graduate career-ready and without college debt.

Collegiate Edu-Nation is implementing their education and economic partnership model across 12 new sites with their $1.2 million grant. Participating schools set high educational and career aspirations with students to create a college-going culture while working with employers to ensure students can tie learning to careers in their hometowns. This approach, pioneered in Roscoe Collegiate ISD, is featured in our recent video. With a $729,150 grant to Texas A&M University, Brazos Valley Teach supports student pathways and helps meet the demand for teachers in East Central Texas. This rural collaboration includes Bryan, Caldwell and Hearne ISDs, Region Six Education Services Center, Texas A&M University, and Blinn College and trains students to work as teaching assistants or go on to earn a teaching degree. Read more about this program in Texas A&M’s Spirit Magazine.

Math for Success

The Charles A. Dana Center at The University of Texas-Austin enables more rural students of color to have the math preparation necessary to successfully transition into postsecondary programs that lead to high-wage, high-demand jobs in the Texas economy. With a $487,000 grant from Greater Texas Foundation, the Dana Center will take a two-strand approach. They will first conduct a statewide analysis of equitable access to and success in math at transition points from middle school to high school and high school to postsecondary education. Then they will build and support a network of rural districts in the Coastal Bend and South Texas that primarily serve students of color to develop solutions that improve these transition points.

All of these rural collaborations make statewide impact possible, not just in their communities, but in urban and suburban communities across the state.

Learn More in our Resource Library