HISD Hires Academic Coaches

The Houston Independent School District plans to hire 23 academic coaches. The coaches will work with student athletes in the district's high school to keep their grades up. Laurie Johnson reports it's part of HISD's goal to a college-bound culture.
HISD will receive $1.3 million in federal funds for the academic coaches. The program, called Play it Smart, goes to 23 comprehensive high schools that have UIL sports.

District Athletic Director Daryl Wade says they already have academic coaches for football athletes at Reagan, Furr and Milby high schools.

"It's an academic coach on that campus that only does academics and he helps with our kids, where as far as tutorials, making sure they get the tutorials, taking the proper classwork, class assignments, SAT tests, different courses they would need to meet the NCAA clearinghouse requirements. And basically just having a mentor there on campus for them academically."

Now student athletes at each high school in every sport will have access to the same kind of mentoring.

Wade says last year 42 HISD football players received college scholarships. This year the number is closer to 100 in football and 200 in all sports. Overall, about 11,000 high school students are involved in sports in the district.

"Houston is the largest school district in Texas and one of the largest in the country. We should be in the forefront of getting these things done for our kids. And that's what we're here for. We're here for the academic portion. We realize that athletics is a carrot to get our kids to stay in school."

The Play it Smart program was created by the National Football Foundation. Nationally, 96 percent of seniors who go through the program graduate high school.

Laurie Johnson. KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.
Bio photo of Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...