By Renee De Haro
In an effort to help keep students in school throughout college and on track to graduate, the High School to College Completion Program (HSCCP) was introduced to assist high school seniors.
Funded by a three-year grant given to El Paso Community College, the HSCCP College
Transition Coordinators keep track of what the seniors do to their transition to college, their
GPA, homework and financial aid payments.
The program is also designed to help a collegegoing culture from the low-to moderate income Hispanic
community by expanding the awareness of college pathways.
Staci Gass/ Tejano Tribune
Mass Communication instructor Elvira Carrizal-Dukes and student Yvonne
Del Rio in a scene from the short film submitted to Michelle Obama.
El Paso’s three largest school districts, the El Paso ISD, Socorro ISD and Ysleta ISD, each have a hired
Transition Specialist for the HSCCP.
Maricruz Muro, who represents the El Paso ISD, said the program is set to follow students after they graduate high school and assist them throughout their college life.
“Many high schools prepare the students to go in [to college] and that’s it,” Muro said. “This program is for us [transition specialist] to follow the high school senior students for three years and check up on them, like being a mom in college.
We tell them, ‘Hey, remember to do financial aid’ or ‘Hey, your GPA is not that high right now you have to improve it for next semester in order for you to get financial aid.’”
Other transition specialists are John Marinstein, who represents the Socorro ISD, and Maria Dominguez, who represents the Ysleta ISD.
The grant funding will be used to pay for the salary and personnel-related costs of the transition coordinators.
The program will end on August 31, 2016, but if it continues to fulfill everything that is required for the grant, Muro said it will get extended.
Requirements include progress made by the program and timeline in achievements.
“This grant is for the community college, but when we go out there to the schools,
we’re not just promoting EPCC,” Muro said. “We’re promoting higher education.
So we go out and say if they [students] want more information for St. Mary’s or Texas Tech or wherever, then we’ll find information for them or refer them to a person that knows what’s going on in the college.”
She said they aim to heighten the level of students going to college.
“It is set to ‘up’ the grades of retention of students because the students do graduate, they go to school the first semester and then they drop,” Muro said.
“What this program wants to do is higher those numbers and keep those students here at the college or university or wherever they go and finish a degree.”