Full-day pre-K ‘crucial,’ Saavedra says
In his annual address, the HISD chief emphasizes readying the poor to go to college
— reported by the Houston Chronicle
Houston ISD Superintendent Abelardo Saavedra’s plan for creating a “college-bound culture” starts with enrolling all of the city’s youngest pupils from poor families in daylong pre-kindergarten classes, he announced at Tuesday’s annual State of the Schools address.
That $5 million plan is among several of Saavedra’s new initiatives aimed at preparing the Houston Independent School District’s 210,000 students for higher education.
The cornerstone to creating that college-bound culture will be extending full-day pre-kindergarten to all 15,821 low-income 4-year-olds who qualify for the program. Currently, 6,800 of those children are in half-day classes.
HISD expects to pay for the extra classtime with federal money earmarked for helping students from low-income families catch up with their peers. It was not clear Tuesday whether other programs currently funded with that money — such as after-school tutoring — might have to be cut.
HISD will also launch a program that will require middle school pupils to develop long-term plans to help them make the transition to college. Parents of young children will be trained on how to prepare them for college, and high school seniors will be taught college preparatory skills.
Saavedra also announced the creation of a science lab school at which elementary teachers can sharpen their skills and a fine-arts fundraising effort to increase the offerings in the arts.
HISD will expand its teachers incentive-pay program to add bonuses for high-performing math and science teachers who agree to broadcast their lessons to students at other Houston schools via the Internet and other technology.