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February 12th, 2009
Partners expand program to prepare San Marcos students for college

SUBMITTED REPORT

Texas State University and its educational partners have expanded the “College Bound” initiatives for the San Marcos Consolidated Independent School District.

Locally, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board has awarded $164,000 to SOAR for its Community Partnership Program. The “College Bound,” initiative evolved from P-16 effort that brought many diverse partnerships together to develop what is known as SOAR. SOAR’s Educational Partners consist of members representing Texas State University, San Marcos Area Chamber of Commerce, San Marcos Consolidated Independent School District, the City of San Marcos, San Marcos Hispanic Chamber, Austin Community College, San Marcos Education Foundation, and United Way of Hays County.

With this funding, “College Bound” will provide pre-college services for area students by establishing a community satellite Go-Centers which encourage high school students to apply for college. During the cycle of the grant, we will be providing campus wide outreach information and services to the greater San Marcos Community,” said Dr. Michelle Pope, Director of P-16 Initiatives at Texas State University. In addition the grant will provide intensive services to 60 current and upcoming seniors. The seniors selected for intensive services will consist of high school students who will be the first in their family to go to college and who come from low economic backgrounds.

Sonya Lopez, grant manager and co-investigator on the grant stated, “We will begin a series of community and district activities this spring and summer that will target parents and students of first generation families. It is our hope that students and parents will know as much as possible about college life, financial aid, and possible barriers and pitfalls to avoid.”

Chamber of Commerce President, Phyllis Snodgrass, shared that the project is key to achieving the educational attainment goals in San Marcos . Per Mrs. Snodgrass, “The Chamber of Commerce is very invested in the educational attainment of all San Marcos students. We believe that educational attainment is a key component of our community’s economic future.”

Superintendent Patty Shafer reiterated the importance of the grant, “We are excited about the many possibilities of this grant to our students. It will provide another opportunity for SMCISD to close the gaps in educational achievement for all children in our district.”

For information about this initiative or the newly funded “College Bound” grant individuals are encouraged to contact Sonya Lopez at 512-245-3838.

— FROM THE SAN MARCOS CHAMBER/ERIC BONAR

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