DiscoverU to host 4th Annual Alumni Summit, student leaders learn how to leverage their recent extended learning experiences; volunteers wanted

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Through strategic partnerships with youth-serving organizations, DiscoverU has sent over 1,500 students to extended learning programs around the world, equipping them with the grit and skills necessary to be effective self-advocates. The organization calls these extended learning programs “Fantastic Learning Opportunities” (FLO™), and works with students throughout each step of the FLO process, including: the application, scholarship searching and fundraising, fielding parent questions and concerns, arranging travel, and following up after the program is complete.

On Friday, September 29, DiscoverU will host its 4th Annual FLO Alumni Summit, a skills development conference for DiscoverU student participants designed to empower them to leverage their recent experiential learning opportunities into future success. This event is the culmination of year-long student efforts to access high-quality, rigorous college and career preparatory programs, and a celebration of their accomplishments.

Volunteers are needed in a variety of capacities, including: set-up, speed networking, career panel participation, session facilitation, and clean-up.

For more information about the event, visit You can also contact Judith Cruz at to volunteer and for additional details on DiscoverU.


Fly-In Programs Opening Soon, show top-tier colleges and universities that you are a competitive applicant

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Are you interested in attending a top-tier college or university? If so, consider participating in a fly-in program! Fly-ins involve a school flying potential students to campus for tours and events. They aim to recruit a diverse student body, and oftentimes, schools will pay for the plane flight, meals, and overnight expenses. Participating in a fly-in is an excellent way to not only demonstrate interest, but also experience all that a campus has to offer.

Fly-in programs are competitive— students must apply, and prove that they are academically-qualified to attend. The application process is almost like its own “mini college application.” Admissions representatives use this opportunity to meet students in-person, observing how they work and participate in a high academic profile group setting; it is an extended interview, and can be used as a deciding factor for admissions.

Fly-ins are an exciting opportunity for students to explore and experience new surroundings; students gain perspective on what being away from family for an extended period of time is like, as well as what being around like-minded, similar high academic profile students from around the world entails. In addition, it can be a reassuring experience for families, who may be hesitant to let their children attend college outside of Texas.

For additional details on fly-in programs, visit College Greenlight: College Fly-In and Diversity Programs. You can also contact the EMERGE-HISD team at

HISD Linked Learning To Present in Washington D.C. sharing best practices on  work-based learning, educator professional development, and student career exploration

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On Thursday, September 7th, HISD Linked Learning team members Lisa Harris (Assistant Superintendent) and Dana Carmouche (Manager) will present at the 2017 Personalized Learning Summit in Washington D.C. They will share best practices on work-based learning, educator professional development, and student career exploration. HISD is at the forefront of personalized CTE instruction. The district has integrated rigorous academics with career academics, emphasizing the application of content knowledge to build real-world technical skills. HISD’s Office of College & Career Readiness is leveraging its industry partnerships to provide students with quality work experiences, as related to their individual career clusters, to ensure a viable future workforce for the greater Houston area.

After their presentation, Linked Learning team member Lisa Sullivan (Grant Manager) will participate in a gallery walk, showcasing campus accomplishments and work-based learning projects from the district’s personalized CTE learning approach.

The 2017 Personalized Learning Summit, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education’s District Reform Support Network, is a collaborative gathering of stakeholders in both the private and public sectors. Participants and presenters will have the opportunity to learn effective practices, trends, and systems to inform decision-making.

Five Graduated HISD Seniors Awarded a $5,000 Carlos Beltran Scholarship

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In an effort to support aspiring Hispanic youth advance in their college studies, Carlos Beltran, outfielder for the Houston Astros, created the Carlos Beltran Scholarship. On Sunday, August 20th, 5 graduated HISD seniors were honored at his foundation’s fundraising gala, each awarded $5,000 for college! Below, you can see where the students will be going to school in the fall:

Lorena Gantiva (Westside HS) UT-Austin
Ever Menendez (Jane Long Academy) UT-Austin
Caitelyn Sanchez (Lamar HS) UT-San Antonio
David Saracho (Bellaire HS) University of May Hardin—Baylor
Daniel Valenzuela (Barbara Jordan HS) University of Houston (Main Campus)

Carlos Beltran’s “A Night in Old San Juan” fundraising gala is a Latin-themed event aimed at benefitting the Carlos Beltran Foundation. The evening was a complete culinary experience, featuring authentic Puerto Rican music. David Saracho, scholarship recipient, had this to say:

Today was amazing! Due to my finances, I planned on attending community college. But now, because of this opportunity, I am now able to attend a four-year school!

Congratulations to our HISD students on this marked success, and good luck on your first day!

Energy Institute HS Teacher Wins First Place at Richard A. Tapia PBL Camp against 33 other teachers

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July 22nd concluded a high-impact Project-Based Learning (PBL) Camp at Rice University’s Richard A. Tapia Center. The week-long camp provided teachers and students with professional development centered around PBL, specifically as it relates to Computer Science, during its sixth week-long session of the summer.

33 teachers and over 40 students from across Texas attended this camp. Each teacher was asked to join one team tasked with designing and presenting an oral PBL project, and a second team tasked with completing a graphic PBL project.

After one week of collaboration and refinement, the presentations were judged and scored. Ralph Hamilton, CATE instructor at Energy Institute HS, finished 1st place in the oral presentation category, and attributes this win to Energy Institute’s committed Project-Based Learning approach.

For more on Rice University’s Richard A. Tapia camps, visit

Washington HS Hosts Construction Science Academy with Texas A&M University, students awarded $1,000 scholarships

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Over the summer, Jeremy Huckeba, CTE Construction teacher at Booker T. Washington HS, hosted a Construction Science Academy in partnership with Texas A&M University, Urban Oaks Builders, Marek, and several other construction sponsors.  The goal of the program was to assist students interested in the field of architecture and construction expand their knowledge. The four-day summer program was offered twice (July 17-20 and July 24-27), and suffice it to say, students took full-advantage!

On the first day, parents and students were invited to a “meet and greet” at Booker T. Washington HS. The sponsors then trained participating students on the safety components and regulations at various job sites on the second day.  On the third day, students were taken to the Plaza Hotel to observe a construction project that was underway; students also enjoyed a complete tour of the facility. On the last day of the academy,  students visited Texas A&M University for a campus tour, where all who attended the Summer Construction Science Academy were awarded a $1,000 scholarship to Texas A&M University!

Get To Know Us! CCR Spotlight Felicia Lara

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Meet Felicia Lara, passionate, lifelong educator and Linked Learning Manager for the HISD Office of College & Career Readiness. Felicia has 14+ years of experience as a secondary and collegiate instructor. Prior to this role, she served as a Special Education Department Chair for HISD. Felicia works hard to ensure that there is equity in the quality of education each HISD student receives, coupled with access to viable opportunities.

I want every HISD student to become a lifelong learner, leaving with the skills needed to effectively engage in a global society.

Felicia supports Linked Learning efforts at 14 different high school campuses. She facilitates Community of Practice meetings and PLCs, establishes and sustains school to business partnerships, and ensures that personalized learning environments are designed to meet student/teacher needs.

Felicia received her undergraduate degree from the University of Houston-Downtown in Interdisciplinary Studies. She also earned a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Lamar University.