Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Band and Choir students perform at Dickens on the Strand

Under the direction of Mrs. Mary Allums, the Band and Choir students of Galveston Early College High School and College Prep performed at Dickens on the Strand on Saturday, December 4.

The performance took place on the stage of the Island ETC and featured carols of the season. Students will again perform at the Fine Arts Holiday Extravaganza, Wednesday, December 8, at 6:30 p.m., in the Scott Gym along with drama students performing A Christmas Carol.

To comment on this post, please visit the official GECHS blog site.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Honoring Veterans

In conjunction with the City of Galveston and the Nation, Galveston Early College High School and College Prep recognized Veterans Day with a moment of silence at 11:00 this morning, the eleventh day of the eleventh month. Principal Owens asked students and teachers to pause and reflect on the sacrifice of soldiers. She gave a statement about the meaning of Veterans Day, played the moving song of Taps, then read the following poem entitled, Heros, by Jared Jenkins:

In war, there are lives risked and lives taken
Men and women giving their best to defend what they love
They defend their country
Their honor
Their people

Some call them soldiers
Others call them heroes

Our veterans have risked their lives for us
They have lived through hell and fought with honor
Many have killed
And regret doing so

For every life, there is a soul
For every soul, there is a life

For those who have died, we show great appreciation and remembrance
For those who live, along with them live the horrific memories of battle
Some, memories of defeat
Some, memories of victory

Our veterans were more than soldiers
They were, and still are heroes

To comment on this post, please visit the official GECHS blog site.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Help GECHS win Gallery Furniture's Teachers' Lounge contest

Galveston Early College High School entered the Gallery Furniture's second annual contest to win one of 20 $5,000 teachers' lounge makeovers. And you and your family and friends can help GECHS win by voting online once per day until the contest ends midnight November 14.

Participation is open to all fans/friends of the Gallery Furniture Facebook page. To become a fan/friend, all you have to do is click the like button on the Gallery Furniture Facebook page.

You are also encouraged to post more photos and tell us about your great teachers to help support your school.

The 20 winning schools will be selected out of all schools entered by obtaining the most votes during the voting period.

The 20 winning schools will be notified during the week of November 15-19, 2010. The prizes will begin being delivered in December 2010.

To comment on this blog post, please visit the official GECHS blog site.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Weekly Wave: GECHS Starts Running Club with Support of Fit 2 Run

Members of the GEC Running Club with their new shoes provided by Fit 2 Run

Students at Galveston Early College have started the GECHS Running Club. Leanna Pickens, Instructional Specialist/Intervention Specialist at GEC gathered 50 kids, three teachers, and six parents running in practice each Monday and Friday from 4 p.m.-5 p.m. Fit 2 Run generously sponsored the club and has gathered community members to donate and pay for $100 pairs of shoes for each student. Students received the shoes on Friday, Oct. 29

On Saturday, Oct. 30, the group will run in the D’Feet Breast Cancer Run starting at Moody Gardens. The runners each collected pledges of $25 or more to enter. Each member will be at the start line sporting “GECHS Roadrunners...running towards our future!” t -shirts, ready to run three miles.

To comment on this blog post, please go to the official GECHS site.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Weekly Wave: GECHS Students Share Their Artwork With The World

From exhibit "O'Keeffe-inspired pastels"
by Justin7624
From the October 23, 2010 Weekly Wave:

Move over famous artists: Galveston Early College High School artists are taking over the spotlight. Theresa Pacheco, the school's Art Teacher, has teamed up with Artsonia, -- the world's largest online kid's art museum -- to display the students' artwork.

Anyone can view the school gallery online. Visitors can browse the school gallery by grade level, or by specific exhibits. Galveston Early College High School students join thousands of students from over 100 countries whose artwork is showcased on Artsonia. "This program is a wonderful way to get parents and family members more involved in Art Education," said Mrs. Pacheco.

All of Artsonia's artwork (nearly 10 million and counting!) is viewable online, and any teacher or parent can create an online art gallery for their child or school. Artsonia provides several online features such as fan clubs and personal guestbooks, as a way for families to encourage the creativity and imaginations of their young artists. In addition, family members can purchase keepsakes imprinted with the child's artwork, with Artsonia donating 15 percent of their annual product revenue back to school art programs.

To comment on this blog post, please visit the official GECHS blog site.

Friday, October 22, 2010 Where students can get ahead of the class

Editor's note: The following article appeared in The Santa Clara Valley Signal October 14, 2010.

Education: Students at local high school earn college credits and diploma

Vivean Muna, 17, enrolled at Valencia High school about two years ago after moving to Valencia from Georgia.

“It was such a big school,” the Kenyan-born student said. “It was so easy for people to get lost in the crowd.”

She soon applied and was accepted to Academy of the Canyons, the William S. Hart Union High School District’s early college high school. The opportunity meant Muna had a chance to study in a small-school environment and take classes at College of the Canyons.

“I enjoy school more now,” the Academy of the Canyons senior said. “It’s so small. So you get to know everybody, and you get to know your teachers a lot more.”

A growing demand
Unlike typical Hart district high schools that have more than 2,000 students each, Academy of the Canyons has about 400 students.

The school merged with Early College High School in 2009 and is in its second year of serving students in grades 9-12, Principal Jill Shenberger said.

While many of the students come from the Hart district’s comprehensive high schools, Academy of the Canyons includes students who were once homeschooled or attended local private schools, Shenberger said.

“One size doesn’t fit all,” Shenberger said. “For some kids, they just need a different path.”

Students must go through an application and interview process to attend Academy of the Canyons. The school typically tries to seek out students who are among the first in their families to attend college, are socioeconomically disadvantaged, underrepresented on college campuses or show high potential but are considered “at-risk,” she said.

College students in high school
Students at Academy of the Canyons are able to enroll in college classes at College of the Canyons, where they can potentially earn up to 60 college credits before graduating high school, Shenberger said.

Students earn anywhere from 24 to 44 credits, which still puts them past the number of credits they need for the first year of college, she said.

It’s an experience that Muna looks forward to when she comes to school on her campus located at the Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook University Center on the COC Valencia campus.

“I at least get a taste of what it’ll be like when I go to college,” said Muna, who hopes to graduate with about 40 college credits. “Who can say that when they were in high school, they were also in college?”

She hopes to graduate high school this year, attend a university in the northeast and eventually become a doctor for the United Nations, she said.

Science teacher Michele Siner said Academy of the Canyons students graduate with four years of college experience. “I think it ensures them success in college,” Siner said.

Siner, who has spent 15 years teaching, finds that her students are unique.

“They’re driven, and they care about where they’re going in life,” she said.

The dedication shows when it comes to state testing.

For the last two years, students have earned a 100-percent pass rate on the annual high school exit exam.

The school’s Academic Performance Index score, which takes into account a number of state tests, is 930 of a maximum 1,000.

Although the school doesn’t have its own sports teams, Academy of the Canyons has several student clubs, serving interests like American Sign Language and knitting. The school’s student-government program is thriving, and students even have a yearbook class.

Students have found a way to make the school their own.

“It’s all about your individualism,” said senior Cristian Cardenas. “Being able to be who you are and not be confined by tradition.”

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Galveston Daily News: On the move to get kids running

The following was published in the Galveston County Daily News October 15, 2010

People sometimes talk about running from their past, but the local running community gets a chance to run for the future Thursday in the Harvest Moon and Margarita Fun 5k.

The event, which takes place along the Galveston seawall on a moonlit evening, benefits Kids on the Move and two initiatives to produce a new generation of runners and exercisers.

“We’re committed to helping any kids involved in a running program to get the shoes they need so they can stay active,” Kim Bachmeier, organizer of the Harvest Moon and Margarita 5K, said.
“One of the teachers at GISD’s Early College High School, Leana Pickens, has developed a training program, but among the 55 kids who are running, more than 20 can’t afford real running shoes. The run will raise money for Kids on the Move to provide running shoes to the ones in desperate need.”
The 5K begins and ends at Salsa’s Restaurant, 4604 Seawall Blvd., and travels east along the south (beach) side of the seawall to the turnaround point beyond the Flagship Pier. Walkers and younger participants can shorten the distance by turning around anywhere. “This is family friendly,” Bachmeier said. “Last year, there were many children in addition to adults, and everyone seemed to have a great time.”

The fun on the 5K course will be complemented by a post-race Mexican buffet and margaritas (adult participants receive a drink ticket at registration), door prizes and a pre-race howl at the moon. Registered participants also receive a towel and water bottle with the event’s logo. Registration opens at 5 p.m. on-site, with the race beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Bachmeier is creating other ways for runners to support and encourage children to be active.

“We’re looking for ‘Running Angels’ who will sponsor one child for one pair of running shoes,” she said. “New Balance makes it possible to do this for $49 per child.”

Kids on the Move also is developing a “Running Buddy” program to pair adult mentors with kids who want to run.

More information on the Harvest Moon and Margarita 5K is available online at

To comment on this blog post, please visit the official GECHS blog site.

Sunday, October 17, 2010 Funding Early College High Schools

Editor's Note: The following post was written by Steve Bowen and published on The target revenue (amount the District receives from the State) per student in GISD is approximately $5,400.

In my most recent column for the Bangor Daily News, I discussed Paul LePage’s early college high school idea, describing it as the most compelling school reform idea put forward by any of Maine’s gubernatorial candidates.

A number readers who posted comments on the BDN’s website wanted to know how such a program would be paid for, with some suggesting that it might prove to be very costly.

Here’s why.

According to the Maine Department of Education, average per pupil spending by Maine’s schools is little over $11,000. Generally speaking, about 60% of that spending is instructional in nature, while 40% is devoted to non-instructional spending such as administrative, facilities, and transportation costs.

So the average Maine school spends about $6,600 providing instruction to students. At $6,600 per year, can students be provided with enough college-level courses that they could receive an Associate’s Degree in five years of high school as LePage proposes?

Well, according to the Maine Community College System, it can provide courses to students for $84 per credit hour, which amounts to $252 per three-credit course. Twenty courses, which would get you to an Associate’s Degree, would cost $5,020 per student, which is less than what the average K-12 school spends per-pupil on instruction in a single year. Spread those courses out over 2 or 3 years and they could easily be done within existing resources.

Where would the savings come from?

Making senior year matter. Any parent of a high school senior will tell you that far too much of 12th grade is simply wasted. For instance, having fulfilled most graduation requirements already, seniors often end up taking electives that are largely meaningless. The time and money being consumed by these elective courses could be redirected into college-level courses that result in transferable credit.

Cutting the number of remedial courses colleges are forced to offer.  According to a recent report in Education Week, 3 out of every 5 Community College students nationwide “need at least one remedial course.” That means that taxpayers are paying twice for the same course – once in high school and once at the college level. Early college high schools, though, have modified curriculums that begin preparing students for college-level work as early as middle school. Since students in these schools are better prepared for college-level work, the remedial courses so many students need to take today can be replaced with courses that actually move them closer to a degree.

Cutting non-instructional costs. While 40 percent of K-12 spending is non-instructional in nature, the non-instructional share of total spending at the college level is closer to 60 percent.  That was what we found, anyway, when we used federally-reported data to calculate instructional and non-instructional spending at the schools of the University of Maine and the Maine Community College System. Having college-level courses available in Maine’s high schools would cut down on the need for many of the non-instructional programs and services at the college level, and those savings could be put back into course development and support.

According to the Legislature’s Office of Fiscal and Program review, Maine’s K-12, Community College, and University systems will spend $1.3 billion taxpayer dollars this fiscal year. It simply can’t be that in all that spending, there are no places to find savings that can redirected toward an initiative as innovative and potentially transformative as this one.

For more on the early college high school concept, visit, which is a great source of information about early college programs across the country.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Weekly Wave: GISD Wins Clash of the Cans vs. Texas City ISD

Students from Galveston Early College High School pass cans of food to Ball High School from their campus

Galveston Independent School District won the Clash of the Cans food drive against Texas City ISD. The results were announced at the Ball High-Texas City football game on the night of Oct. 1. Community members and students donated over 10,000 pounds of food to the cause.

The Ball High Student Council received a huge trophy as well as a $1,000 scholarship for their efforts. The trophy will travel to each of the GISD schools that participated over the next several weeks.

One of the major highlights of the food drive was the creation of a human chain consisting of students from the Galveston Early College High School and Fifth Grade College Prep programs at Scott Campus that stretched all the way to Ball High's food bank. Over 300 students participated in the event.

"We couldn’t have done it without you," said Student Council sponsor, Lisa Schweitzer. "Thank you for all of your continued support. It's great to be in a district that works together!"

To comment on this blog post, please visit the official GECHS blog site.

Friday, October 1, 2010

GECHS/EC lends a hand to support Ball's Clash of the Cans

Hand over hand, can over can, Galveston Early College High School and College Prep students delivered the food they collected to support Ball High School's Clash of the Cans food drive competition against football rival Texas City. The line of 300-plus students cast long, early morning shadows as it stretched from the entrance of the Scott Campus, through the parking lots, across the street, and to the doors of Ball High.

To comment on this blog post, please visit the official GECHS blog site.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Weekly Wave: Scott Campus Re-Opening Featured on Channel 39

The Scott family attended the re-opening of the school named after their husband, father, and grandfather

Congratulations goes to GECHS and College Prep, who not only had a great re-opening ceremony last week at Charles B. Scott campus, but they were also featured on Channel 39 in this great news piece by Marci Izard. Two GECHS students, Joseph Hugger and Isabella Chapa, the PTO president Veronica Hugger, and Mr. Scott's wife Grace were featured in the piece.

Click here to check out the Channel 39 news piece

To comment on this blog post, please visit the official GECHS blog site.

Friday, September 17, 2010

TV Coverage of Scott Re-opening

We made the news! See the Channel 39 coverage of the Re-Opening of the Scott Campus 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Quest Early College High School embraces new beginnings

From The Atascocita Observer News

For incoming Quest Early College High School student Sanchex Barber, this is the educational opportunity he was looking for to help his family and plan for the future.

Barber’s story is very similar to the stories and experiences of numerous other freshmen who are a part of the first year at the Quest Early College High School and are excited to be part of a new educational venture for the Humble Independent School District.

“If you put your mind to it and think ahead to the future, you can do anything,” Barber said.

“We are not one of the richest families but there are other students who have gone through the same experiences and serve as mentors. I plan to take full advantage of this program.”

Though this is the first year, the concept of an Early College High School in Humble ISD was discussed at length as the district wanted to find a way to reach students who are underrepresented.

To be labeled and classified as an ECHS, the Texas Education Agency has specific parameters for the school and must give the school a designation before it can be run as such.

This opportunity is also possible through a partnership between Humble ISD and Lone Star College-Kingwood.

“Quest Early College High School gives students the opportunity to earn an associate degree or 60 hours of transferable credit while simultaneously earning their high school diploma,” Kim Klepcyk, Quest Early College High School principal, said.

Quest Early College High School is one of the six designations handed out by the TEA this year to bring the total to 47 across the state of Texas with the closest being the Splendora Early College High School.

Students who are sophomores, juniors and seniors at the school will continue what is considered “Quest Classic,” which is the program they have been involved with since they started at Quest. The freshman class and every class after that will be a part of the Early College High School program.

“There are some people who will hear Early College High School and think we want the best students who are at the top of their class,” Klepcyk said.

“It is different; the purpose is to focus on and allow students who are underrepresented and least likely to attend college. This program gives them the chance to succeed and attend college with credits or an associate degree. They are the most capable but sometimes do not have the resources.”

At Quest Early College High School, the students will learn organization strategies and how to take notes adequately, which is the framework for the courses they will take. Also, the skills and knowledge they build will help make the transition seamless from high school to college.

“We give these students the resources and skills to be successful since often they are the first in their family to attend college,” Klepcyk said. “When we started to look at the model for Quest, we realized we already had steps in place to make an Early College High School successful such as the rigor, service learning and curriculum. This is our 15th year and we are very excited for this journey of change.”

The school did receive a grant to help establish the school and curriculum. Currently, this program is housed in Summer Creek High School, but the students will ultimately attend classes at the new satellite campus of Lone Star College-Kingwood in Atascocita.

The excitement and the opportunities are what Alyssa Sanchez, a new student at the Quest Early College High School, is truly the most excited about this school year.

“They started out with some tough educational courses at the beginning but the teachers are here to help us with problems and help us to succeed,” Sanchez said. “Being a part of a program where I can earn an associate degree is amazing because it brings me closer to my dreams, and I know there is nothing that can stop me.”

Fellow student Sarah Bayless echoed Sanchez’s excitement and is looking forward to the challenges she will face this year.

“At my middle school, I did not feel challenged enough, so my mom and I saw the advertisement for Quest Early College High School and we knew it would be a perfect fit. I am excited to see how the school year goes,” Bayless said.

To add to the sentiments, Barber is also excited about the school year and is looking forward to achieving commended scores on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills test.

For more information about Quest Early College High School, log on to

To comment on this blog post, please visit the official GECHS blog site.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Early College High School earns exemplary rating!

Congratulations to all of last year's hard-working students and teachers! GEC was one of three GISD campuses to earn anexemplary rating in this year’s Texas Education Agency assessments. Our students, all sixth-graders, earned the exemplary rating for achieving a 99 percent pass rate in reading/English-language-arts TAKS tests and a boosted rate of 93 percent in math. Read more in this front-page article in the Galveston County Daily News.

To comment on this blog post, please visit the official GECHS blog site.