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Friday, September 30, 2022

Academics & Research

New fellowship provides high school graduates with free tuition to UH

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HISD’s Teach Forward Houston program aims to offer students the opportunity to serve their community and close the education gap. | File photo/The Cougar

One hundred Houston Independent School District high school graduates will begin their college careers at UH next fall with free tuition toward a Bachelor of Science in Teaching and Learning degree through the Teach Forward Houston program.

The new fellowship offers students free tuition on the grounds that they will return to their HISD classrooms to teach for a minimum of four years.

“This program is going to have far-reaching effects,” HISD Superintendent Terry Grier said in a news release.

“Our graduating seniors won’t just have the opportunity to get free college tuition, they’ll have the opportunity to come back and make a difference in the lives of countless children across the district.”

Data from HISD human resources showed that UH teachers persisted in the profession, with 95 percent of those graduates choosing to stay in the Greater Houston area. College of Education Dean Robert McPherson said this data proves UH has a pipeline of students available to HISD and its innovative program.

“The College of Education is committed to making a difference in the community we serve, so to be selected to partner with HISD on this project is tremendous,” McPherson said.

“We are eager to co-construct curriculum for this program that will meet the needs of the students in HISD.”

The applicants must have a minimum GPA of 3.5 or higher, a minimum SAT critical reading and math score of 1100, as well as be involved with their communities through volunteering efforts or clubs. While these are all critical to being selected, there is still one more thing applicants should do.

“Share your story when you’re completing these applications and going through the interview, share your background and really what’s driving you to become an educator in HISD,” Rick Rodriguez, leading recruiter for Teach Forward Houston said.

“That’s really the most powerful thing that’s going to compel us as a recruitment team; that’s when we are really going to see who shines, who’s really committed and who really believes in what we are trying to accomplish.”

HISD’s recruitment team will review upwards of 500 applications over the next few months.   Potential recipients will go through in-person interviews in March and offers will be made by mid-April.

“We are working closely with UH admissions to ensure that we have the best candidates on board,” Rodriguez said. “And to ensure they have the grit and perseverance to really follow through with their four years of their college (education) and have that grit and perseverance to come back to HISD as our educators.”

Rodriguez said the ultimate goal of the program is to change the conversation and stereotype of what an urban school district looks like and to close the education gap that hinders so many students that “fall through the cracks.”

“The program itself is really aimed to drive a nail into that gap and ensure that we are closing that gap slowly by giving those same students the opportunity to continue their education and in turn come back and serve in their community,” Rodriguez said.

CORRECTION: The headline was changed to “New fellowship provides high school graduates with free tuition to UH” from “New fellowship provides high school graduates with full ride to UH”

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