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About Our Areas of Work
We organize our work into three areas to help low-income youth & adults:

College Success for All: How the Hidalgo Independent School District Is Adopting Early College as a Districtwide Strategy

Thad Nodine

The Hidalgo Independent School District in Texas has raised the bar on what it means for a school system to focus on college readiness. College Success for All tells the story of how Hidalgo ISD, located in one of the most economically depressed metropolitan areas with one of the lowest number of college-educated adults, is preparing all of its students to earn college credits while in high school.

Hidalgo's story is especially remarkable since its student body is 99.5 percent Hispanic, 90 percent economically disadvantaged, and 53 percent limited English proficient. Preliminary data shows enviable results:  This past June, more than 95 percent of the Class of 2010 graduated with college credits.  Two-thirds of the graduating seniors had earned at least a full semester of credit for a college degree.

College Success for All describes how Hidalgo took the early college concept and adopted it as a districtwide strategy: By embedding a college and career culture and focus in everyday activities, from elementary school through middle school and into high school, the school system now motivates and prepares all of its students for success in higher education.

This strategy, combined with the establishment of strong postsecondary partnerships with South Texas College,Texas State Technical College, and University of Texas-Pan American, more rigorous course sequencing, and high-quality career pathways has been a recipe for success.

How do we create more Hidalgos? Strong state policy can help. JFF has also produced a “how to” guide for state policymakers and district leaders, which draws together the lessons JFF and its partners have learned about the power of providing substantial college-level work in high school to young people who might not otherwise consider a postsecondary credential. The webinar below also provides further information.