Presidio Independent School District
The small town of Presidio is one of the most remote and oldest communities in Texas. Presidio is located on the Texas-Mexico border, just west of the Big Bend area of Texas. It is isolated not only from most of Texas, but from most of Mexico. Presidio is the fourth poorest school district in Texas. Presidio ISD superintendent Dennis McEntire and his school board were instrumental in partnering with UTPB to establish a first of its kind, remote Early College High School (ECHS). Students who participate in the program enroll in online college courses, during the progression of each academic semester students visit UTPB to receive face-to-face instruction from their college professors, and visit the Student Success Center to receive help from tutors and Supplemental Instructors. UTPB faculty and staff also visit Presidio and other Early College High School partners throughout the school year. While on campus, all school district participants have access to the facilities and resources available to traditional students and also get the opportunity to use the library. The library offers access to a diverse collection of print, microform, media and electronic collections. It is particularly rich in electronic journals, having well over 40,040 electronic journals available to faculty, students, and staff. Some of the strongest features of the library are its knowledgeable, experienced staff; a rich website; ample study space and generous electronic resources available to UTPB students 24/7.
Balmorhea Independent School District
Balmorhea is in Reeves County and is approximately 100 miles southwest of Odessa. Located just off I-10, Balmorhea is known by many travelers as the home of a state park featuring clear natural springs. Balmorhea has a population of about 479 people, according to the 2010 U.S. Census. Balmorhea has committed to building a robust instructional program that incorporates Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) strategies, by helping student develop critical thinking and problem solving skills, receive peer and college-based tutorials, and enrichment and motivational activities that will promote college readiness. Balmorhea students and schools have achieved TEA ratings of Exemplary, Recognized, and in 2013 met standards with distinction in Math.
Marfa Independent School District
Marfa is a well-known community, located west of Alpine and approximately 65 miles north of Presidio. Known for its fine arts community, the Chinati Foundation, the Marfa Lights Festival and the site for the filming of the movie “Giant” in the 1950’s, Marfa has struggled academically until recently. Marfa ISD has been serving its students since 1901. Marfa is located in Presidio County which is ranked the 30th poorest county in the U.S. and the 4th poorest county in Texas. Most Marfa ISD students are from low income families and are first generation high school graduates. Historically, only about 25% of Marfa’s graduating high school students enroll in a college or university after high school graduation; through the ECHS partnership Marfa shares with UTPB,student outcomes have improved.
Wink-Loving Independent School District
Wink is located 56 miles from Odessa, with a population of about 1,006 people. Wink was founded in 1926 after oil had been discovered. Wink continues to be impacted by the oil booms and busts; however, the school district leadership has partnered with UTPB to make postsecondary education accessible to Wink-Loving high school students. Wink has set in place rigorous instructional practices to help students to meet the challenges of college coursework. School district leaders work collaboratively and closely with UTPB ECHS/Dual Credit staff to insure ongoing student success.
Rankin Independent School District
Rankin is located approximately 60 miles southeast of Odessa, and is the county seat of Upton County about ten miles west of the Reagan County line. Initially Rankin was founded around the farming and ranching industry; however, its economy has significantly been impacted by the oil booms and busts of West Texas. Rankin is in its fourth year of partnering with UTPB. Rankin has redesigned portions of its high school to create a college going culture. Many effective strategies have been made to establish routines and procedures to assist students with completing their college work while still participating in extracurricular activities.
Slaton Independent School District
Slaton is approximately 16 miles southeast of Lubbock, located on the plains of Llano Estacado. Slaton gets its name from Oscar L. Slaton, Sr. a rancher and banker who encouraged railroad construction during Slaton’s early days. Slaton’s economy has changed since then. Based on Slaton’s 2010 Demographic Profile, about 6,121 people live in Slaton, 70.8% of the population attained a high school diploma or higher, and 25% of the population live below the poverty line. In spite of the its demographics, Slaton ISD superintendent Julee Becker has worked collaboratively with UTPB to build a robust ECHS/Dual Credit program that enrolled almost 100 students in its first semester of implementation.
Ector County Independent School District (ECISD)
The ECISD Falcon ECHS is located in the UTPB Founders Building on the campus of UTPB. Students began taking their first college course fall 2015. Of all partnerships, ECISD is the largest, being a 6A school district. The students utilize the UTPB most recently built science labs in the Science and Technology building. The UTPB Lab Director works closely with the Falcon High School teacher to make sure students receive a high quality lab experience each week. The Falcon ECHS/Dual Credit students have the same privileges traditional students have while on campus.
Kermit Independent School District
Kermit located in Winkler county, was established in 1887. The city of Kermit is located just under the southeast corner of New Mexico at the intersection of state highways 18, 115, and 302, approximately 46 miles west of Odessa. Kermit is in its second year of partnering with UTPB. School district leaders work collaboratively and closely with UTPB ECHS/ Dual Credit staff.
UT System - Chancellor William H. McRavens Vision and Quantum Leaps
On November 5, 2015, Chancellor McRaven laid out a bold and sweeping path forward for the University of Texas System. One theme that ran through every aspect of his presentation was the need to use the System’s size, talent and diversity to collaborate in ways never done before. He harkened back to his experiences over the past 14 years in combat and how the Special Operations community built a “Team of Teams” to tackle complex problems.
Chancellor McRaven laid out the Strategic Assessment, his view of the terrain –both as it exists today and as it will exist five, ten, twenty years from now. He outlined some bold initiatives, some “Quantum Leaps” in the System’s ability to provide the citizens of Texas the very best in higher education, research and health care.
Quantum Leap One - The Texas Prospect Initiative
Through unprecedented collaboration and new partnerships, the System will work aggressively to increase the number of students entering the college pipeline who are prepared for success in college and beyond.
The System will address the under-preparation of students, raise expectations, and strengthen the culture of education in Texas through a multi-pronged approach that includes: positioning more—and more diverse—students for success though high-quality dual credit programs; improving academic preparation through regional and local alignment of middle, high-school, college and university curricula; rethinking teacher education so that today’s teachers are successful in educating students for tomorrow’s challenges; and mobilizing advanced computer analytics and big data to impact student learning and outcomes.
Quantum Leaps for University of Texas
Information about the Early College High School Program
The University of Texas of the Permian Basin has lowered the cost of tuition for dual credit students, from $879.01 per course to $200. The Meadows foundation has provided funding to cover the cost of tuition and Texas Success Initiative testing fees.
Students enrolled in the ECHS Program may earn 60 college credit hours transferrable to any public college or university in Texas. Students enroll into the Dual Credit Academy. They receive instruction from university professors. Students are encouraged to pursue degrees in high-demand fields like Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Computer Science. Partner school districts and UTPB have developed course cross walks with the Texas Education Agency that guide high school students toward college credit hours making it possible for high school students to graduate with up to 60 hours applicable to student's major and a high school diploma. UTPB offers other programs in mechanical, nuclear, petroleum, and aerospace engineering, as well as biology, chemistry, nursing, and other health related areas. During campus visits, the Director of the Career, Planning, and Placement Office has ECHS students take the My Plan assessment, a web-based career exploration program that helps students focus on career goals. Students received blended online and face-to-face Dual Credit instruction. They visit UTPB six times each academic year.
UTPB facilitates a Summer Bridge Camp that offers high quality academic instruction from certified teachers, based on College and Career. UTPB has consistently helped 50% or more of its Summer Bridge Camp students with passing the Reading and Writing portions of the TSI. Students who meet the minimum passing standard on the TSI in the areas of Reading and Writing are eligible to take appropriate college courses at UTPB. The Summer Bridge program prepares dual credit students for success in their coursework.
UTPB provides periodic feedback with grade reports to school district partners while also providing students the opportunity to meet with tutors and supplemental instructors during required campus visits. Students have access to online Smart Thinking tutors and the Online Writing Lab that assist students with writing assignments. UTPB ECHS staff and school district leaders meet to discuss student needs and also set in place strategies for student success. UTPB also partners with Texas State Technical College (TSTC) and Odessa College (OC) which provide additional educational options to students by preparing them for technical/vocational workforce careers upon high school graduation. Using the remote West Texas Virtual Early College High School model, UTPB has seen the following outcomes:
- College access has expanded to at-risk or first generation college goers in remote West Texas. In fall 2014, 61% of the UTPB student population were at-risk college goers.
- First generation college student enrollment in postsecondary education has increased. Fall of 2014, 43% of the UTPB student population were first generation college goers.
- The number of career and educational pathways available to remote West Texas high school students through enrollment in both 2- and 4-year institutions of higher education has increased. Fall 2015,120 ECHS students were enrolled in CTE courses with TSTC and 188 students were enrolled in college courses with UTPB.
- Baccalaureate degree attainment for students who are predominately Hispanic, first-generation college goers, or identified as low socioeconomic status has increased. Fall of 2015, 371 or 38% of UTPB’s Hispanics students attained a baccalaureate degree.
UTPB’s innovations in online education and creative partnerships with area school districts have made secondary and postsecondary education a real possibility for students whose location and circumstances would have previously precluded such an opportunity. For students who consider finishing at UTPB, 52 undergraduate degree plans are available.