AVANCE - Houston, Inc.
Description of the Organization: AVANCE has served at-risk,
predominantly Hispanic parents and children since its founding
in San Antonio in 1973 and its replication in Houston in 1988.
AVANCE-Houston, Inc. serves over 4,000 children and parents
annually through an extensive array of privately and publicly funded
parent and child education programs and through more than
60 collaboration agreements with school districts, higher education,
church, and non-profit organizations. Houston is the largest
of twelve chapters within AVANCE, Inc., the national organization.
AVANCE employs an innovative model in which children receive
proper cultivation during their developmental ages–birth to three. AVANCE's Parent and Child program is the centerpiece of a
holistic approach comprised of components that impact the
entire family including Early Head Start, Head Start, Fatherhood,
Healthy Marriage, and Adult Education. This nine-month program
teaches parents how to become engaged with the child during the
first 36 months and thereby disrupt the cycle of poverty.
Families are served through substantive programs that require
formal enrollment and intensive time commitment from both adults
and children. Each of the family support programs (Healthy Marriage,
Fatherhood, GED® on the Move , and Adult and Computer
Literacy) requires approximately 50 hours of time from adults,
while Head Start and Early Head Start meet the school year
requirements. AVANCE employs approximately 445 very highly
qualified teaching staff and experienced service administrators
spread over 19 centers –17 of which are in Houston, and the
remaining two are in San Juan and Del Rio, Texas, serving the "Colonias" along the U.S.-Mexico border.
AVANCE's programs are precisely matched to Houston's Hispanic
and African American at-risk families who are accelerating the
demographic revolution and have the lowest educational attainment.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas states that "in 2000,
more than half the Hispanic population in Texas did not have a
high school diploma." (Petersen and Assanie, 2005). Annie E.
Casey Foundation's Kids Count Report for Houston notes that
approximately 40% of low income children live in households with
less than a GED® Credential.
AVANCE wants to create a college-going culture with all of its program participants. This will require extensive planning during the next year. Initially, AVANCE has created a GED® on the Move program model in collaboration with Houston Community College (HCC). The program goal is to increase the number of GED® Credential completers and transition them into post-secondary education or training. This model requires a strict four-day a week attendance and has embedded in it HCC credit offerings, business volunteer mentors and privately funded scholarships.
It begins by identifying parents who are likely to succeed in a GED® Preparation program. Since AVANCE provides the child care, parents have the flexibility to attend and attain a GED® Credential and enroll in post-secondary education or training. GED® on the Move has five components:
- College Readiness – Students can earn a scholarship by attending four College Readiness Workshops. Workshop subjects include FAFSA, Career Plan, Campus Tours, Financial Literacy and counseling services.
- C-P.A.L.S. Mentors – Corporate Partners for Adult Literacy Success is the volunteer-based mentor program. AVANCE will match corporate-sponsored mentors with students and assist them in meeting the College Readiness program requirements.
- A.C.E.L.A. Lab – The Accelerated College Entrance Learning Academy Lab is one of three computer-equipped centers where students will receive tutors to assist them with additional math, science, and writing skills.
- English as a Second Language (ESL) / Adult Basic English (ABE) and Computer Literacy – Students who score below fifth-grade level will be referred to ESL, ABE, or Computer Literacy.
- Post-Secondary Options – Through the AVANCE and HCC collaboration students can enroll in the Child Development Associate Certificate offered on AVANCE's premises and equates to nine HCC certificate credit hours. Students are also encouraged to enroll in HCC dual credit GED®/College certificate courses or pursue skills training through SER an organization with a 46-year history that provides multiple job training services and access an extensive inventory of workforce development programs.
GED® on the Move is housed at AVANCE's model site, the Mangum Education Center. This former retail center was converted into a comprehensive classroom site, to house AVANCE's programs and Southwest Schools a K- 5, charter school.
To strengthen the college-bound culture, AVANCE programs will
incorporate family literacy into its curriculum. Head Start fosters
parental involvement through the Policy Council and Parent
Councils, and college bound education toolkits will be offered to
parents. The Fatherhood and Healthy Marriage programs also
include discussions and will easily incorporate college-bound and
financial preparation workshops.
Goals and Objectives:
For the first-year goal, AVANCE will recruit 15 mentors to match them with mentees and enroll 25 students in the advance math, science and writing course. With adequate funding, the GED® on the Move projects that 20 of the 40 students will complete their GED® Credential in the first year and 15 will enroll in a post-secondary or job training program. AVANCE will partner with HCC to transition its GED® Preparation students into community college support programs.
All programs are expected to meet and show outcomes measures. For this program, the AVANCE participant's pre/post questionnaire will be expanded to ask about career intentions, knowledge of post-secondary goals, and functioning grade level. AVANCE will measure its success rate by quantifying the outcome data and seeking significant progress toward goal attainment in 80% of the GED® Preparation students.
Petersen, D. and Assanie, L. (October 2005). The Changing Face of Texas: Population Projections and Implications. Retrieved February 15, 2012 from http://dallasfed.org/research/pubs/fotexas/fotexas.pdf.
About the Author
Nilia Loalis Jimenez is a hands-on Senior Level Executive with proven ability to provide proactive leadership in developing and fostering of collaborative partnerships essential to public relations and community relations growth. An Education Manager and team-centered professional demonstrating broad based competencies in: Education and Family Support Services, Staff Management & Development, Organization Building, Strategic Planning, Community Expansion & Image Development, Crisis Management, Operations Management, Government Relations, and Outcomes Reporting.