Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Exito Hispano at Cross Timbers Middle School

In order for GCISD to reach its goal of being the best school system in the state, and to prepare all our students for the challenges of College and other post-graduation education opportunities, we need to significantly improve the performance of our Hispanic students at our secondary schools. With that in mind, the Cross Timbers Middle School has launched a new program called "Exito Hispano at CTMS", which focuses on increasing Hispanic parents' involvement in the education of their kids.

Our first presentation took place on September 7th. During the meeting, we discuss the achievement gap between the general population and our Hispanic students, and the high ratio of in-school-suspensions (ISS) among that group. We also discussed the parent contract that all of us signed at the beginning of the school year, and how important it is to follow the commitments stated in that document: make sure students arrive on time to school, support CTMS in its discipline efforts, establish a set time for homework at home, motivate students and be available to answer questions to school personnel, stay aware of student performance and provide time for kids to read.

We discussed the risks of continuing the status quo, including the possible decline of our education system, and with that, the negative effect that could have in our great cities of Grapevine and Colleyville. With the Hispanic students being the fastest growing group in our district (and state), it is critical that we act now. Even if we continue to improve our efforts at the schools to satisfy the needs of these students, we will not succeed without a strong partnership with their parents.

We also had meetings during the months of October, November and December, where we discussed the issue of student discipline, the GCISD Family Access tool (to review student grades online) and the course paths (regular, pre-AP, GT/AP) at the middle and high school levels. During all our meetings, we encouraged parents to come to the school if there is an issue with their students, either academic or behavioral.

We are planning monthly meetings in 2012, were we will discuss topics of interest, including the Career Tech options at our high schools, importance of a College education, College admission and financial aid, etc. We will also expand the program to include both high schools and Grapevine Middle School.