SAN JUAN – With plans to take its innovative Early College Program to the next level, Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD (PSJA ISD) welcomed leaders from its main higher education partner South Texas College (STC) to tour the new PSJA College & University Center on Feb. 14.

Visitors included STC President Dr. Shirley Reed and several STC Vice Presidents and Deans who got an inside look at the newly remodeled facility and areas currently under renovation including the Engineering & Manufacturing Building, Health Sciences, Technology, Communications, and Automotive.

Located in what was PSJA High School from the early 1960s to the late 90s, the PSJA College & University Center houses the PSJA Collegiate High School Program and the PSJA Academies, which consist of the School of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, or STEM; the School of Business and Industry; School of Public Service and Health Service; and the School of Arts and Humanities.

"This building is a very important part of the history of PSJA ISD," said Superintendent Dr. Daniel King. "It is only fitting that it becomes the central location for PSJA's College Ready, College Connected and College Complete initiative, which prepares students to finish college, enjoy rewarding careers and/or continue on to postgraduate studies. None of this work could be possible without the involvement and support of our higher education partners."

The renovated space was planned and designed with PSJA's college, university and business partners to ensure classrooms and areas of work met higher education and industry standards.

As part of the PSJA Academies, students are provided with additional hands-on learning in various specific fields of study as they work to obtain a Certificate or an Associate Degree from South Texas College. Through a cohort approach, they build positive relationships, receive rigorous instruction; as well as receive academic, emotional and social support to successfully complete the coursework.

"With a head start in high school and college level dual credit, students will have a competitive advantage for the high-skill high-wage jobs coming to the region," said Dr. Reed. "Kudos, it is a fabulous facility."

Students enrolled in the PSJA Academies continue to attend their PSJA ISD high school of choice, and travel to the PSJA College & University Center for designated hours for academy coursework.

Current sophomores interested in being part of this innovative program, may now enroll for next year's cohorts by completing a sign-up form at www.psjaisd.us/academies.

"At PSJA ISD, we are grateful for a supportive school board and community partners that see the potential of increasing college readiness opportunities for students. This is a great time to be part of the PSJA Family," Dr. King said.