Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD high school students are taking advantage of the early college opportunities provided by the school district even after the regular school year is over. A little over 1,200 students enrolled in PSJA’s Dual Enrollment Summer Sessions held at PSJA Early College High School. PSJA ISD decided to host its own summer sessions at one of its campuses to assist the growing demand of students wanting to continue their college coursework during the summer.
Over 40 sections ranging from Chemistry and Pre-Cal to Speech and Computer Science were offered at the site at no charge to the students, including free textbooks. Incoming freshmen to seniors from all PSJA high schools took advantage of this opportunity by attending the four-week summer sessions, for Summer I and II.
“When we started our early college program over five years ago, we would get a handful of requests from students wanting to take summer college courses, but the last couple of years we have had hundreds request this opportunity,” Dr. Daniel King, PSJA ISD Superintendent said. “This speaks volumes of the college culture at our schools.”
In order to accommodate the growing demand, district officials set forth in hosting the summer sessions at a PSJA campus with the assistance of South Texas College. This location helps students in need of transportation to be transported to and from their homes by the school district and for parents dropping off their children; they have less of a commute.
For these sessions, about 60 percent of faculty were PSJA master level teachers that have met credential standards set forth by STC, with 40 percent being STC professors.
“It takes a lot of planning and the great and supportive partnership we have with STC to make this happen,” Dr. King said. “We are also privileged to have such talented and credentialed faculty with master degrees in their content area, which facilitates the expansion of the early college program within our school district as they are able to teach dual enrollment classes that give students both high school and college credits.”
For incoming PSJA Memorial Early College High School Senior Yurisa Garcia this opportunity will help her get a head start toward her college degree. She took Government 2306 during PSJA’s Dual Enrollment Summer I Session.
“What made me decide to join the Early College program was the thought of getting advanced in my college career and having a better experience with college courses, so I can be more confident when I actually go to college,” she said. “It’s been really great. We have great professors. I recommend for everybody to take advantage of this opportunity.”
At the end of the summer, approximately 1,200 PSJA students will have at least three additional hours of college coursework.