DALLAS (Sept. 3, 2009) – With a united mission to “make Dallas ISD students a top priority and advance them to an institution of higher learning,” Texas A&M University-Commerce and Dallas-based Education is Freedom announced last week an innovative $3.2-million partnership that focuses on mentoring, outreach and scholarship opportunities for Dallas ISD youth.
The five-year partnership, which begins this semester and continues through 2014, benefits students participating in the rigorous Education is Freedom college-readiness programs offered at three high schools and five middle schools. Targeting sixth-graders through graduating seniors, the partnership offers hands-on, creative ways to prepare students academically for college, giving them a chance to experience college life and insuring their success once they get to college. A key goal of the partnership is to recruit 50 students to A&M-Commerce every year for the next five years.
The participating high schools are James Madison High School, North Dallas High School and W.H. Adamson High School, and the five middle schools are Billy Earl Dade Middle School, Thomas A. Edison Middle School, Hector P. Garcia Middle School, Thomas J. Rusk Middle School and Alex W. Spence Middle School.
“This powerful partnership between Texas A&M-Commerce and Education is Freedom is going to make college a reality for many students who are first in their families to pursue education beyond high school,” said Dr. Marcus Martin, president/CEO of Education is Freedom. “The extra effort A&M-Commerce is making – from working with students as young as sixth graders, to continuing the connection with prep courses, onsite campus visits and scholarships – demonstrates their extraordinary commitment to Dallas youth.”
Attending the news conference at North Dallas High School were Dr. Dan Jones, president/CEO of Texas A&M University-Commerce; Michael Hinojosa, superintendent of schools, Dallas ISD; and Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert.
“The partnership between A&M-Commerce and Education is Freedom is a way of extending our mission to bright, ambitious, and highly capable students who might otherwise not have the chance to pursue their dream of a college degree,” said Dr. Jones. “A&M-Commerce is committed to access, opportunity, and success. By joining forces with EIF, we can offer even more students the tools they need to transform their lives and shape their futures through education.”
In addition, Dr. Jones said A&M-Commerce is committed to becoming a Hispanic Serving Institution within three years where 25 percent of the student population is Hispanic.
At the middle-school level, A&M-Commerce will participate in EIF roundtables and celebration events honoring high-achieving students. During the high school years, A&M-Commerce will step up their involvement by hosting SAT/ACT prep sessions, assisting with financial aid and scholarship applications, and conducting a variety of informational sessions in Spanish for parents and students at select schools.
A&M-Commerce also will provide a Camp College overnight experience where select students will stay in the dorms; participate in college prep sessions, student panel discussions and team building/leadership activities; and enjoy time at the Rec center and an evening social function.
Also, students will have the opportunity to earn up to $1,500 in scholarship funds by participating in a variety of A&M-Commerce on-campus activities, such as the Harvey Martin Classic football game in Dallas, athletic events in Commerce, SAT/ACT prep and financial aid sessions, and the campus’ annual recruitment day.
If students meet specific requirements, they can obtain four-year scholarships for tuition and fees at A&M-Commerce through the Pride Promise Guaranteed Tuition Program. EIF students will also get priority consideration for the Honors College.
Once students enroll in A&M-Commerce, the university will continue to mentor and provide academic support to make certain they reach their fullest potential and graduate from college.
“I salute A&M-Commerce and Education is Freedom for putting together a thoughtful, comprehensive partnership that not only plants the idea of college in the minds of our students at an early age, but also provides students with a game plan to get there,” said Superintendent of Schools Michael Hinojosa. “I also appreciate the insight Dr. Jones and his staff have shown to mentor and support the students through their college years. This partnership will have a monumental impact on the success of our students.”
Mayor Leppert, who has launched numerous education initiatives with Dallas ISD and has pledged his mayoral salary to education programs, also offered his congratulations.
“Texas A&M-Commerce and EIF understand that the most important investment we can make is in our young people,” said Mayor Leppert. “This partnership will be a game-changer in the lives of these students.”
About Education is Freedom
Education is Freedom is a national nonprofit organization designed to eliminate the barriers to higher education and promote equality of opportunity in college attendance. Its college access and college readiness program, EIF Dallas, prepares middle and high school students for college by requiring that they maintain a strong grade point averages, participate in Advanced Placement courses, minimize absences and participate in other preparatory activities. In return, students receive guidance, mentoring and help applying to college and finding financial support for their college careers. Currently, EIF Dallas is offered at three Dallas Independent School District (ISD) high schools: W.H. Adamson, North Dallas and James Madison High Schools, and five Dallas ISD middle schools. In addition, Education is Freedom plans to expand its program to an additional three Dallas ISD high schools and five additional Dallas ISD middle schools in the next several years. To learn more, go to www.educationisfreedom.org.
About Texas A&M University-Commerce
Founded in 1889, Texas A&M University-Commerce is a member of The Texas A&M University System. Located in Northeast Texas, A&M-Commerce is home to nearly 9,000 students, three academic colleges, a thriving graduate school, and more than 100 degree programs. As the region’s focal point of higher education, A&M-Commerce offers students facilities ranging from a world-class science building and new student center, to a fully equipped recreational facility and the soon-to-be completed music hall. The university also has convenient facilities in Corsicana, downtown Dallas, Mesquite, and Midlothian. To learn more, go to www.tamu-commerce.edu.