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Tyler ISD families begin 'Road to College'

TYLER, January 13, 2014-- The Tyler Area Business Education Council is partnering with Tyler ISD to pilot a college readiness program designed for fifth-grade students and their parents in the Hispanic community or who are economically disadvantaged.

“Recent studies show that only 19 percent of area students are earning a post-secondary credential, defined broadly as a certificate, associate’s, bachelor’s or graduate degree,” states Christi Khalaf, executive director of the Business Education Council. “For economically disadvantaged students, this number is less than 10 percent. The earlier we equip students and their families with information and tools to successfully plan for education beyond high school, the better our community will become, both socially and economically. The Road to College Program has proven great success in parental engagement and college and career readiness strategies. The Council is excited to be a part of this effort.” 

The Road to College Program, sponsored and facilitated by the Café Con Leche organization, has produced effective results in other districts of similar size, such as Abilene, Texas and Wichita Falls, Texas. The eight-week program seeks to encourage parents to set high expectations for their children and to help them understand what it takes to navigate the education process in order to earn a post-secondary credential.

Twenty-six families from Douglas Elementary School have been selected by the campus principal and counselor to participate in the program. These families will meet Monday evenings Jan. 13 – March 3 to engage in topics such as understanding educational barriers, creating high expectations at home, strategies for academic growth, keeping students on track academically and socially and vital information regarding college readiness. The ultimate goal set by the Business Education Council is to expand the program to other Tyler ISD campuses in the future.

“The Road to College Program will potentially provide families with opportunities to begin to promote college awareness in their home at an early age,” said Douglas Principal Christina Roach. “In this day and age anything is possible, knowledge is power. For many of the families involved these students could be, and would be, first generation college graduates. Go class of 2025!”

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