GC working to boost public image

Goose Creek CISD is taking a strategic approach to improving both student achievement and its image and strengthening its partnership with the City of Baytown in the “Here, We Grow Giants” campaign, Superintendent Randal O’Brien told members of the Baytown Rotary Club Wednesday.

As the meeting was held at IMPACT Early College High School, O’Brien started his presentation by introducing the organization to the facility and the early college high school program.

IMPACT is one of two early college high schools operated by GCCISD. The other, newer, program is the Stuart Career Tech High School. Early college high schools, as defined by the Texas Education Agency, “are innovative high schools that allow students least likely to attend 

college an opportunity to earn a high school diploma and 60 college credit hours.”

O’Brien said, “We’re basically trying to change and shift a culture within our community of students that have never even considered college or what they might do after high school. We’re trying to shift that mindset not only of the student but also of the parents to think about what’s next beyond just getting through high school.”

He continued by outlining some of the district’s accomplishments.

Next year, the Stuart Career Tech High School will have its first graduating class. When building improvements are complete, it will have a capacity of about 800 to 900 students, O’Brien said.

In another accomplishment, O’Brien said that GCCISD graduates earned more than $17 million in scholarships this year.

Assisting O’Brien with the presentation was Matt Bolinger, executive director of strategic planning and innovation.

 O’Brien said that several years ago, then-mayor Steve DonCarlos challenged him to let more people know about the good things happening in the school district. 

“With that in mind, he invited the school district to partner with the city in some advertising opportunities,” O’Brien said.

That led to the “Here, We Grow Giants” advertising campaign. He said it has developed into aligning the vision of the city and the school district into an understanding that strong schools build strong communities.

As that advertising seeks to improve perception of the district, Bolinger also works to advance the district’s strategic plan.

Bolinger said the strategic plan has five elements.

The first, he said, is to increase academic achievements. That includes improving college, career and military readiness, closing achievement gaps, improving attendance and getting more accomplished or distinguished ratings for campuses.

The second, Bolinger said, is to strengthen community partnerships. That includes programs such as Partners in Education and relationships with community organizations.

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