Homeschoolers at the College
By Tammy M. Cardwell
On July 22, homeschoolers and college administrators gathered
at San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas. The college's expressed
intent in inviting homeschoolers to this meeting was to explore
ways in which it can open its doors to us. After serving us an excellent
lunch and sharing a few of their thoughts and ideas, college representatives
handed each table enormous pads of paper and markers (on easels,
to make it convenient), encouraging us to list anything and everything
the college could offer that would be of benefit to homeschoolers.
Needless to say the markers flew, and when each group shared its
list at the end of the brainstorming session, we found we had many
desires in common and heard some excellent suggestions that few
had thought to include. With these lists in hand, and volunteers
from the ranks of those who attended this luncheon, the college
will create a task force that will work toward implementing many
of the ideas generated that day.
I left the college brimming with enthusiasm, looking forward
to seeing the results of this groundbreaking meeting. Not content
to wait for news, however, I pulled up an email window almost immediately.
I dashed off a note to Steve Lestarjette, associate vice chancellor
of marketing and enrollment management (Whew!), otherwise known
as 'the man in charge,' and asked him a few questions just for the
record. I knew I would be sharing his answers with you, of course.
What was the purpose of the July 22 meeting?
San Jacinto College is aware of a large and growing number
of homeschool students in its service area. We believe that the
needs of these students and the mission of San Jacinto College make
a partnership highly desirable -- a natural match!
Our July 22 meeting was intended to tell homeschool parents
that the college is genuinely interested in helping them in their
homeschool efforts, and to hear what parents had to say about their
needs and experiences. We believe that partnerships are best created
when all parties have ownership.
So, July 22 was a red-letter day in the history of San Jacinto
College and the homeschool movement in Houston. From it were born
the seeds of cooperation which will help a public institution with
a $77 million budget make its facilities, services and resources
available to a valued community ally -- homeschool educators and
Who will comprise this task force?
I am most optimistic for the future. Our next step is to
convene a meeting to divide those ideas listed as priorities into
short-term and long-term goals, and begin drafting responses to
each of them. My intention is to host a follow-up meeting with the
full task force in late September or early October, and begin implementing
the plan by January, the start of our spring academic semester.
The task force is comprised of homeschool parents and San
Jacinto College administrators. Parents are now "signing-up"
via an evaluation form they were giving at the luncheon. The San
Jacinto College team includes many individuals who presented at
the luncheon. As administrators responsible for important areas
of the college, they are in advantageous position to give quality
direction to the process, making certain that our recommendations
conform to state laws and codes, and do not create unforeseen conflict
with existing San Jacinto College policies.
Just how closely will the college be working with these
Each member of the San Jacinto College team is a supporter
of homeschool education, and sees the potential good to be gained
for both students and college. We are here to open doors! Just how
close the college works with homeschoolers will be determined by
the counsel of parents themselves! We intend to implement the great
majority of their recommendations; if students make use of the classes,
facilities and services, and the relationship is positive for all
concerned, I believe we have opportunity to create
a model relationship for every college in the country to follow.
What were your initial impressions of the meeting?
The meeting, I must say, was a very pleasant experience
for all of us at San Jacinto College. Many suggestions raised by
parents confirmed our assessment of homeschool needs, but there
were quite a few surprises as well! I appreciated the fact that
parents took our sincerity at face value. The comments and recommendations
expressed a very knowledgeable view of education, a high degree
of resourcefulness, outstanding organizational abilities, and an
admirable sense of purpose and mission. I came away from the meeting
fully assured that our original assessment and desire to partner
with homeschoolers were well founded. Many of my colleagues who
attended the meeting have called to state the same opinion.
What were some of the most popular suggestions made?
These "statements" represent the highest priorities
identified by parents at the July 22 luncheon:
|| Expand dual credit opportunities
|| Provide a variety of Continuing
Education courses and labs for high school level homeschoolers,
especially courses in math, science and literature.
|| Maintain a high moral content
of required literature and courses.
|| Provide college facilities
as needed for sports teams, meetings, extracurricular activities
|| Place a counselor on each
campus who has specific and broad knowledge of homeschool needs.
|| Provide a student activity
card which will allow homeschoolers to attend sports events,
plays and concerts, as well as use the college library.
There were many other suggestions, as well.
What is San Jacinto College already offering homeschoolers?
The college has scheduled its first Continuing Education
courses for homeschoolers at our South campus this fall. Courses
|| Advanced Math
|| Algebra 1 (a)
|| Algebra 2 (a)
|| Biology Lab (a)
|| Chemistry Lab (a)
For further information about courses time, cost or curriculum,
call the college at 281-922-3440.
The San Jacinto College Foundation announced on July 22
the creation of a scholarship for a homeschool student in the name
of Laura Kaye Smithers. The college is committed to funding this
scholarship, but will turn to homeschoolers to help endow the scholarship
as a perpetual memorial to Laura. We will ask input from the Smithers
family and homeschool parents to write criteria for the scholarship
in the hope that a deserving recipient can be announced by the end
of the current academic year.
How can homeschoolers (and maybe other colleges?) find out
more about what San Jacinto is doing? For any question about San
Jacinto College and the Homeschool Advisory Task Force, call Steve
Lestarjette, associate vice chancellor of marketing and enrollment
management, at 281-998-6150, or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you, Leslie, for letting us know about this important update.
At the SETHSA Conference, Mr. Lestarjette told us that there
is a planned meeting with the leaders of the North Harris Montgomery
Community College District at the end of June. This is GREAT news
for those of us on the north side of Houston !!!
Copyright © 1997 Eclectic Homeschool Association