Houston Pathways Initiative Overview

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) hosted a P-16 Institute in Austin, Texas on February 12, in which over a hundred high school and Higher-Education educators that form the P-16 Regional teams attended. At the P-16 Institute, Dr. Pam Campbell, Assistant Vice President for Educational Learning at San Jacinto College shared with the attendees The Houston Pathways Initiative, which is authored by herself and Dr. Catherine H. O'Brien, Associate Vice Chancellor for
Learning at San Jacinto College.

Houston Pathways Initiative (HPI) was formed to help prepare local students to be college and career ready. Many of the initiative's activities have served as a catalyst for partnerships between secondary and postsecondary faculty - creating a backbone of support that will continue to exist in the future.

The initiative was formed by San Jacinto College and is funded by Houston Endowment, with Houston Community College acting as a fiscal agent. Its partners are the THECB; the Deer Park, Pasadena and Galena Park Independent School Districts and the University of Houston-Clear Lake (UHCL). Another statewide supporter includes the California Partnership for Achieving
Student Success (Cal-PASS), which provided guidance for the initiative.

The initiative planned four main activities to help educators be better prepared to develop college and career ready students:

  • Develop Faculty Vertical Alignment Teams that support the four main content areas of mathematics, natural sciences, English/language arts and social science
  • Create a system that contains accurate student data
  • Create within the student data system the ability for secondary and postsecondary educators to be able to access this data
  • Create within the student data system ways to track and use information pertaining to associate's degrees

One major step that the HPI made toward improving College Readiness was identifying the appropriate secondary courses that correspond directly to entry-level college courses. The authors also knew that in order for the initiative to be successful, there would need to be specific point-of-contact people dedicated to communicating information to secondary faculty and assisting with barriers that might occur. Two point-of-contacts were chosen from each school district, and three college faculty members were chosen for each of the content areas.

One of the main benefits since the establishment of the Faculty Vertical Alignment Teams is the beginning of tightening of gaps between secondary and postsecondary educators. During discussions between the four groups of faculty teams, several gaps between what was being taught in high school and what is required to enter college were identified.