Why is Post-Secondary Education Important?

More than three out of four Houstonians believe that a high school education is not enough to get a good job. More than half of all new jobs created through 2014 will require at least some college experience.

Over the past 30 years, the demographics of the Houston region have changed dramatically.

Increasing numbers of our region's youth come from families that are economically disadvantaged, just as college tuitions continue to rise. For many, the barriers to postsecondary education seem daunting.

Community colleges provide a vital gateway to success for many low-income students. Yet the state of Texas needs to enroll 630,000 more college and university students by the year 2015, just to close the gap between Texas and other states.

Creating a College-Bound Culture for All

Preparing to Dream was a four-year initiative that concluded in 2011. The project aimed to improve post-secondary access and success among all of the Houston region's students, but especially among low-income students and those who are the first generation in their family to pursue post-secondary education.

The National College Access Network, Houston A+ Challenge and teams from five Houston-area public school districts collaborated on the initiative, which was made possible through generous support from Houston Endowment and TG.

Read more in Program Elements.

A Focus on Students Spurs New Ideas

To start the initiative, public school districts assembled teams consisting of district officials, principals, teachers, parents and students to analyze student achievement data, college-going rates and trends, district demographics and current college access programs.

Teams were assisted by nationally recognized data coaches and core team coaches of Texas educational leaders. Data was used to identify problems, establish priorities, and develop implementation plans for three-year initiatives aimed at improving student outcomes and transforming district culture.

Read more in Preparing to Dream District Profiles




Reflections: Preparing to Dream

“This is the first time that the entire community (parents, students and schools) has come together to create a comprehensive program that will remove barriers from students accessing post-secondary education.”

LeRonda Smith-Lockhart
Goose Creek CISD


"I was afraid about the thought of going to college, but now I am ready after the summer college trip and being a part of the Dream Team."

Olivia Wiley
Student, Aldine High School