Texas Southmost College’s dual enrollment team came together to host its inaugural symposium to welcome secondary school partners to campus to go over operations and address concerns for the academic year.

The event was a morning of updates, improvements and ways to accomplish shared goals to serve students earning college credits while still in high school.

Melissa De La Torre is the Early College High School and Dual Lead Teacher for Brownsville ISD.

“It’s nice to have a formal sit down and get to meet each other,” De La Torre said. “We get to network with the different departments at TSC and see the staff here to talk about what goals that we have that are mutual so that we can help our students succeed.”

The purpose of the symposium was to bring partners together in one place to review changes within the institution that were designed to streamline, simplify and improve the processes that make dual enrollment an integral part of TSC’s mission.

The event took place on Wednesday, Sept. 28 on the Second Floor of the Oliveira Student Services Building. Counselors and representatives on hand were served breakfast before breaking out into sessions that will help them throughout the academic year.

Two departments at TSC focus on dual enrollment and they took the morning to show their partners that, in reality, there is one Scorpion team focused on a holistic approach to serving secondary school partners.

High School Programs and Services handles MOUs, faculty credentials and more, while College Transition Services connects with counselors and even students in need of assistance.

Dulce Martinez serves as the Director of College Transition Services. She talked about how the teamwork between TSC departments allows for specialized support to the partner schools.

“The two departments; The Office of Transition Services and High School Programs and Services coming together is just a way for us to create a stronger and more well-rounded experience,” Martinez said. “These changes benefit not only counselors on the high school campus but also the students and their parents. Everyone involved in dual enrollment is going to get a stronger and stronger experience.”

What are the changes that TSC is so proud to bring to their dual partners? More hands-on guidance and less manual paperwork for administrators highlight the improvements.

Martinez oversees a team of six transition coaches that primary role is to guide students, parents, teachers and counselors through the dual enrollment process.

These coaches oversee meetings with partners across Cameron and Willacy Counties. In total, Texas Southmost College works with 15 secondary school partners that have students enrolled as TSC Scorpions.

“One of the things we are the proudest of is hosting meetings with each of the dual enrollment students,” Martinez said. “We will be providing them with a degree audit session so the student can understand what dual enrollment is going to mean toward their college career and earning a degree.”

Texas Southmost College has worked hard behind the scenes to make the process of dual enrollment easier for students as well at staff both the high school and college side of the important partnership.

Jose Arambul is the Executive Director of High School Programs and Services. His team continues the partnership with schools around the Rio Grande Valley and ensures MOUs and guidelines are followed on the administrative level.

“We collaboratively work together to give the ins and outs of what has and hasn’t worked in the past,” Jose Arambul, Executive Director of High School Programs and Service said. “We’re putting our brains together to ensure that our partnering schools are happy. Even though we work directly with counselors what we do at TSC impacts these students’ future education.”

La Feria Early College High School Director, Yolanda Chamberlain, applauded the transparency and openness of TSC’s dual enrollment staff.

“I love that TSC opens their doors to the school partners, it’s very welcoming,” Chamberlain said. “It’s like family—as a matter of fact—one of my former students is a student worker. We learn about the successes of the college on a bigger spectrum at these events, not just on the La Feria ISD scope. It’s good to see the entire county and the work that TSC is doing in the community.”

In total 63 representatives from school partners were in attendance on Wednesday.

Dulce Martinez can be reached at 956-295-3756 or via e-mail at [email protected]

Jose Arambul can be reached at 956-295-3515 or via e-mail at [email protected].