School & District Management Video

Preparing All Students for College - Meet a 2017 Leader to Learn From

January 5, 2017 3:02

Three miles from the Pharr International Bridge in Texas—a major point of entry into the United States from Mexico—the prekindergarten students at the IDEA Pharr Academy arrive with virtually no English-language skills. By the time they graduate, though, most will be headed for a four-year college or university with at least 11 AP course credits on their transcripts. The lead architect of that trajectory is Dolores Gonzalez, the chief program officer at IDEA Public Schools, a charter school network that serves 30,000 students, most of them in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley. Motivated by “devastating” feedback from IDEA graduates who said they felt unprepared for college-level coursework, Gonzalez is leading an Advanced Placement for All initiative that, along with a new pre-K program, starts building the path to higher education in the earliest years. “We want to be the largest producer of low-income college graduates,” Gonzalez says. “I feel a big sense of responsibility to provide this robust academic program for kids along this whole spectrum.” This video was produced as part of Education Week’s Leaders To Learn From project, recognizing outstanding school district leaders from around the country.

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