Premont Independent School District has partnered with the Rural Schools Innovation Zone (RSIZ) to develop the Leaders in Future Technology (LIFT) Capstone and serve students in RSIZ Career Academies. This partnership serves a population of 25 students in 11th and 12th grades throughout each year of the Rural Tech Project. The students participating in the LIFT Capstone are representative of Premont ISD’s demographics — 70% are economically disadvantaged, 10% qualify for special education services, and many reside in remote areas with no access to internet or broadband. In fact, the RSIZ campus provides the sole source of reliable internet for much of the community. There is a pressing need to provide technology education at no additional cost to the students; to meet this need, RSIZ’s program is providing all resources (including laptops, internet, transportation, and mentoring) to participating students free of charge.
RSIZ has developed a Rural Tech Project program that aims to achieve three key goals. First, this program will boost student participation and representation by ensuring capstone students will accurately reflect enrollment from all three school district partners, including gender, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. Second, it aims to secure more student outcomes and opportunities, ensuring 100% of capstone alumni are enrolled in postsecondary education, employed in a high-wage occupation, or enlisted in the military. RSIZ will work to help these students earn an industry-based certification and participate in at least two work-based learning activities related to technology applications within their career academy field of study. Third, it hopes to improve the facilitation and engagement from educators to ensure student engagement and successful completion of the capstone courses and activities.
The RSIZ LIFT Tech Startup Incubator has launched with the implementation of Phase 2. Students are developing technology-enabled solutions to address challenges in their community, with the end goal of pitching solutions to a judging panel at the year’s end. The program has selected 25 students, with five from each RSIZ Career Academy. Students are enrolling in CTE courses and meeting daily with course facilitators, including professors from the program’s partner, Del Mar College. From August to April, each Academy Team will develop a technology-enabled solution to help solve a community-wide challenge faced by its academy’s industry. These student teams are being coached and mentored by technology advisors, who will help students understand how their capstone project applies to real careers and workplace settings.
How to get in touch:
- Community Engagement Managers: Lauren Dwiggins and Shane Thomas
- Team Lead: Michael Gonzalez
Learn about Premont:
Premont in the news: Premont ISD named national finalist for Rural Tech Project