Strategic Priority #3 - Connect High School to Career and College

Strategic Priority Guide #3 Connect High School to Career and College 

Strategic Priority Guide #3 offers activity-focused spending guidance to LEAs for initiatives connecting high school to postsecondary education and workforce credential programs for all students. It offers recommended initiatives, best practices, and summary information on ESSA funds available to support the priority.

Recommended Uses of ESSA Funds for Strategic Priority #3

TEA offers Recommended Uses of ESSA Funds resource pages on effective career and college-ready school models and expanding access to advanced coursework. Each Recommended Use of ESSA Funds resource page offers LEAs a sound research-base for the recommendation, links to other resources, and contact information for TEA staff that can support the LEA’s implementation.

College and Career-Ready School Models

By 2020, 65% of all jobs will require postsecondary education and training beyond high school (35% will require at least a bachelor’s degree; 30% will require some college or an associate’s degree). Job openings in healthcare, community services, and STEM will grow the fastest among occupational clusters. The Early College High School, Texas Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Academy (T-STEM), and Industry Cluster Innovative Academy models included in this resource guide focus on college/career readiness in unique ways that can be tailored to fit regional workplace demand and postsecondary opportunities.

Advanced Placement (AP) \ International Baccalaureate (IB) Exam Reimbursement Programs

The Texas AP/IB Incentive Program has historically funded exam subsidies for low-income students who take AP or IB exams each school year. State subsidies have historically been $30 for each AP or IB exam taken by an eligible public school student, which had been augmented by the US Department of Education AP Test Fee Grant Program.

With the passage of the ESSA, the AP Test Fee Grant Program was not renewed, which means districts and schools will need to find other funds to offset the prior federal exam subsidy, if they choose to continue to reimburse exam fees as they do now.

Communities In Schools (CIS)

Approximately 23% of Texans living in poverty are under the age of 18 and are at greater risk of dropping out of school than their peers from homes with income above the federal poverty threshold. Homelessness, chronic absenteeism, high mobility rates, food insecurity, and lack of transportation, medical care, school supplies, or parent/family involvement are challenges that potentially affect the educational outcomes of children in poverty. The mission of CIS is to surround students most at-risk of dropping out with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school, graduate, and achieve their career and college goals. CIS partners with educators and families to assess the needs of at-risk students and deliver customized supports. This Recommended Use of ESSA Funds guidance document offers LEAs resources for collaborating with CIS organizations in Texas to serve at-risk students.