Education is Freedom places Higher Education Advisors in traditionally underserved middle schools to foster post-secondary awareness and consideration among students and their families and help decrease the ninth grade dropout rate. These advisors have their own classroom equipped with computers where they provide expert knowledge to assist students with high school transition, course options for academic endorsement selection, and overall academic support and recognition.
Texas House Bill 5
House Bill 5 (or HB5), passed in 2013, established an endorsement requirement for high school graduation. Students entering ninth grade must select an endorsement in one of the following categories and complete the required coursework to graduate high school: STEM, Business & Industry, Public Services, Arts & Humanities, and Multidisciplinary.
Helping students to explore these options as they prepare for high school is a large part of EIF’s middle school curriculum. For more information on HB5, click here.
Who are Higher Education Advisors?
Higher Education Advisors (HEAs) come from a variety of college backgrounds, with degrees ranging from Bachelors to Doctorate. Many are near-peer, meaning they are recent college graduates, and they mirror the school’s student demographics (including multi-lingual capabilities) and possess a wealth of cultural acumen. HEAs go through intensive training before and during each school year to ensure they are fully equipped with the tools they need to assist students as they explore college and career options after graduation. They serve as college advisors, mentors and role models to EIF students whose parents and peers may not understand the value of a formal education or have limited knowledge of what it takes to enter and succeed in college.
What do Higher Education Advisors do?
Full-time HEAs are each dedicated to one campus for the entire school year and are in their classroom throughout the school day to assist all students with activities related to their future education. In middle schools, this includes:
- Equipping students for the transition to high school in order to decrease dropout rates
- Educating students on post-secondary options and exposing them to college campuses in the area
- Mentoring students and families through customized curriculum tailored to meet the Texas Essential Knowledge Skills requirements
- Providing students with the guidance needed to enroll in appropriate high school courses/HB5 endorsements
- Recognizing students for their exemplary academic achievements