On September 4th, The White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics (Initiative) began the Texas Back-to-School Tour in south and west Texas. After 9 stops in 7 cities over 3 days, the Initiative connected with students, parents, educators, administrators and community leaders, heard inspiring stories and saw first-hand the great work being done at the local level. The town hall sessions, roundtable discussions and site visits held in Corpus Christi, Brownsville, McAllen, Edinburg, Laredo, Eagle Pass, and El Paso, highlighted the value of and need for continued investments in quality education for Hispanics.
Corpus Christi: The Tour began bright and early in Corpus Christi where the Initiative joined the United Way of the Coastal Bend at the Wesley Community Center to learn about early education efforts by the Center and the Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) program. “It is important to start working with kids from birth to get them ready to enter school,” said one organizer. The community is helping parents make early education possible for their children.
Brownsville: The Brownsville Independent School District (ISD) welcomed the Initiative for a roundtable discussion at Daniel Breeden Elementary School. At Brownsville ISD, helping their students succeed begins with helping them believe in themselves. “Teach a child to succeed and I guarantee you, they will succeed. They will succeed no matter what,” noted one administrator. One creative way of engaging and helping students excel is through the game of chess. Through chess, students acquire skills that are applicable to their daily lives: they learn to think strategically and proactively, to feel confident and to believe they are capable of success.
McAllen: In McAllen, the Initiative held a site visit and parent roundtable at the IDEA Public Schools McAllen campus which focuses on innovation and high expectations for students. “College for all children. No excuses.” is the IDEA Public Schools motto. With this in mind, they are working with K-12 students to close the achievement gap and prepare them for college and bright futures.