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Students Help Create College-Going Culture in Region

The students are spearheading a new statewide initiative called Generation Texas.

Written by Patrick Gonzales

South Plains Generation Texas is working with 13 partnering school districts, which represent 70 percent of the student population in the region.

South Plains Generation Texas is working with 13 partnering school districts, which represent 70 percent of the student population in the region.

Texas Tech students are doing their part to create a college-going culture in the South Plains region, and their efforts will culminate with a one-of-a-kind event in May.

The students are participating in Generation Texas, a statewide initiative of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) aimed at clarifying the steps students need to take on the path to college and career education.

Earlier this year Texas Tech’s College of Education, in collaboration with the South Plains Closing the Gaps P-20 Council, was awarded a $200,000 grant from the THECB to implement this region’s version of the initiative. The result is South Plains Generation Texas, which is being spearheaded by the P-20 Council, an area coalition of higher education institutions, Region 17 Education Service Center school districts, businesses and community organizations.

Overall, South Plains Generation Texas is working with 13 partnering school districts, which represent 70 percent of the total student population in the region, or about 53,000 students, 60 percent of whom are Hispanic. The program hopes to improve on the region’s college-going rate of 52.5 percent.

Generation Texas is being spearheaded by the P-20 Council, an  area coalition of higher education institutions, Region 17 Education Service Center school districts, businesses and community organizations.

Generation Texas is being spearheaded by the P-20 Council, an area coalition of higher education institutions, Region 17 Education Service Center school districts, businesses and community organizations.

“The South Plains Generation Texas campaign is not only reaching out to students and parents to promote college and career readiness, it is also involving businesses in this initiative like United Supermarkets and Covenant Health System,” said Janie Landin Ramirez, executive director of the South Plains Closing the Gaps P-20 Council and outreach programs administrator for the Texas Tech College of Education.

What makes the initiative unique is that college students are being used to deliver the South Plains Generation Texas message. Texas Tech students are serving as work-study interns to conduct on-site mentoring services at 16 area high schools. They assist students and parents by clarifying the steps they need to get to college and career education, from taking the right classes and tests, to applying to colleges, to finding the money to pay for school.

The efforts of South Plains Generation Texas will be celebrated from 10 a.m.-noon May 4 when its hosts College Signing Day at the City Bank Coliseum. High school students are invited to sign their commitment letters to college at the event, and school districts are encouraged to bring juniors and seniors. College Signing Day also will include motivational speakers, entertainment by Page 9, a college and career fair featuring alumni groups and recognition of the scholarship recipients.

Other South Plains Generation Texas events:

April 17: The South Plains Closing the Gaps P-20 Council will host a Generation Texas Chambers of Commerce luncheon for chambers of the South Plains region at 11:30 a.m. at the Spirit Ranch, 701 Regis St., Lubbock. An introduction to the South Plains Generation Texas program will be the focus of the event. Please RSVP to janie.ramirez@ttu.edu.

April 19: The South Plains Closing the Gaps P-20 Council will host a Superintendent Generation Texas luncheon at 11:30 a.m. at the Spirit Ranch for all the superintendents of the Region 17 Education Service Center area. An introduction to the South Plains Generation Texas program will be the focus of the event.

April 23: The South Plains Closing the Gaps P-20 Council, featuring Texas Tech President Guy Bailey, will conduct a news conference at 10 a.m. in the McKenzie-Merket Alumni Center on the Texas Tech campus to announce activities planned for Generation Texas Day (May 4).

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The Texas Tech College of Education

The College of Education at Texas Tech University offers a full range of programs, including eight doctoral degrees, 12 master's degrees and two bachelor's degrees with numerous specializations leading to careers in public or private education as teachers, professors, administrators, counselors and diagnosticians.

Programs in the college are housed in two departments. The Department of Curriculum and Instruction offers undergraduate programs leading to initial teaching certificates and graduate programs in bilingual education, curriculum and instruction, elementary education, language literacy and secondary education.

The Department of Educational Psychology and Leadership offers graduate programs in counselor education, educational leadership, educational psychology, higher education, instructional technology and special education.

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