A Principal on the Core Elements of School Transformation – Podcast Episode 127 | Classnotes Podcast Episode 127

Classnotes Podcast (August 21, 2013) The Pharr-San Juan-Alamo school district is demonstrating dramatic school transformation. After looking at the data, the district wanted to bring back students who had dropped out, many of them in their senior year. But rather than bringing them back to something that hadn’t worked, the district created the College, Career and Technology Academy in partnership with South Texas College. The students were then encouraged to come back and finish high school and at the same time begin college coursework. The students responded.

In this second part of our interview, Linda Carrillo, principal at the district’s College, Career & Technology Academy, talks about expectations for staff, three core elements of the transformation that is happening at PSJA and parent engagement for students who are young adults.

Linda is interviewed by Hector Bojorquez, an IDRA education associate.

Show length: 17:10 min.

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Video interview with Dr. Daniel P. King, superintendent of the Pharr-San Juan-Alamo (PSJA) school district [04:46 min]
In 2007 PSJA had 500 students drop out each year, many in their senior year. In this interview, he describes how he and his district brought them back to a new environment not only to graduate but to do so with college credit.

Higher Education Success – Key System Strategies
María “Cuca” Robledo Montecel, Ph.D., IDRA Newsletter

Defining a Schoolwide College-Readiness Culture for All Students An Interview with Roland Toscano,
M.S., Principal at East Central High School in San Antonio, IDRA Newsletter

Describing the First-Year Experience for First-Time-in-College Students at Major Community College
Josie Danini Cortez, M.A., and Albert Cortez, Ph.D., IDRA Newsletter

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Show Notes

  • Linda talks about the high expectations she sets for her staff in engaging their students in learning, and the need for her to lead by example.

  • Linda recounts Dr. Daniel King’s initiative to tackle the district’s high dropout rate – “the silent epidemic” – early in his tenure as superintendent in 2007.

  • Linda explains how the College, Career and Technology Academy (CCTA) has served as a “learning lab” for other schools in the district.

  • Linda talks about the transformative new mindset that Dr. King ushered in to the district: “that every single student can go to college.”

  • Hector asks Linda how PSJA would sustain its recent success if the district were to lose one of its current educational leaders.

  • Linda outlines the three key components of the PSJA transformation: (1) College Ready, (2) College Connected, and (3) College Complete.

  • Linda talks about monthly workshops where CCTA passes on “college knowledge” to parents, so that they are more informed and in better position to support their students.