One of the best parts of my job is having the opportunity to witness the many graduation ceremonies which honor young men and women who have met the requirements of high school and are embarking on the next chapter of their lives.
We do all that we can to ensure that they leave us with the tools they will need to achieve all of their goals. College readiness is not only a priority, it’s a nonnegotiable part of what we do. We are proud of our Wylie ISD graduates, and we look forward to watching them excel. Their success defines our success. It’s the reason we do what we do.
You may have heard that Collin College is set to build a campus in Wylie. They will break ground in October of this year. When the doors open in 2020, the facility will accommodate more than seven thousand students. When a higher education facility becomes part of a community, it is an earmark of success. Colleges choose to build campuses in thriving cities with strong school systems. We see this as a fantastic opportunity for our students, and we are proud to be a partner in helping to grow the Collin College system.
A big part of our Wylie ISD mission revolves around preparing every student for a prosperous life. This includes graduating from high school, graduating from college, and finding a meaningful career. Did you know that 95% of all newly created jobs since 2009 require a post-secondary certificate or college diploma? This statistic fuels our desire to guarantee that we are lighting the way for our students. When they leave us, we want them to be ready for whatever comes their way.
In order to achieve our goals, we need staff members and teachers who are able to help kids identify their passions and determine roadmaps which will guide them to prosperity. We are blessed to have amazing high school teachers who do just that. In fact, these teachers and principals are ramping up for the arrival of Collin College and are helping many of our students in Wylie ISD to take college courses before they graduate with their high school diplomas. These advantages will help to better serve our students and will set them up for success. I am so proud of the work they’re doing.
Last year, Wylie ISD students took one thousand, eight hundred and fifty-one advanced placement exams. This year, Wylie ISD students registered for two thousand, one hundred and one exams. That’s an increase of two hundred and fifty tests! If students score high enough, they can earn college credit. This opportunity allows students to save both time and money, and it’s become a sought-after option for kids.
Instead of advanced placement classes, some students would rather take dual credit classes. This experience allows students to enroll in college courses and obtain high school credit at the same time. Most school districts offer the courses, and college professors come to the campuses to teach the classes. Wylie ISD offers what is called embedded faculty. Our Wylie ISD teachers serve as the dual credit professors. Dr. Kim Spicer, Wylie ISD deputy superintendent, explains that embedded faculty offers accessibility for students for tutorials outside of their regularly scheduled class time, nurtures strong student/teacher relationships, and allows kids to participate in the full high school experience without fears of negative consequences. Dual credit has served our students well, and we consider ourselves lucky to have the opportunity to offer it to our students. It is just one more way that we are making a difference.
Three years ago, we had one embedded faculty member. Today, we have nine embedded faculty members; and, we are training more every year. Our kids love this model—we have doubled dual credit enrollment. Even with the increase in student enrollment, we still maintain a high passing rate. More than 98% of dual credit courses taken in Wylie ISD are mastered. That makes us the most successful dual credit school district in Collin County. Pretty awesome, right?
Career and Technology Courses
While a majority of our students graduate high school with plans of moving on to a four-year university, we know there are also students who do not plan to follow that course. We have plans in place to support those students, too. Our agriculture, welding, and medical technology courses (for example) are full of students who wish to follow other paths. These kids are earning incredible certifications towards high paying jobs. Wylie East Senior, Madison Phelps, recently informed me that she passed her test and is now a certified patient care technician. This is due to the education she received in Wylie ISD. She is going to college in the fall, she will have a great part time job, and she will already know a LOT about the medical field. She is ready to take charge of her future as a nurse. Mrs. Angela Tower helped her to achieve this goal. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate teachers like Mrs. Tower for turning these dreams into realities.
The Wylie Way is built on standards which serve students both educationally and emotionally. When kids enter our schools each day, we want them to feel as if they’re worthy and as if they’re capable. By working on their core values and learning from teachers who genuinely care about them, they develop the competency to move on to become happy and successful members of society. We have fantastic and hardworking students and staff members who don’t take the easy way out. On the contrary, they show grit and determination to reach their highest potential. This is what makes us great. This is what makes us who we are.
Our high school teachers allow our kids to shoot for the stars. Regardless of the class or the program, they show up each day and pour their souls into their students. And on graduation day, they stand tall knowing that they had a hand in lighting the way for the future. We are blessed to have high school teachers who help our kids to learn and grow. Because of them, our graduates will never forget what it means to be Wylie ISD students.
They will never forget what it means to be the Wylie Way.