Thanks to new college and career readiness initiatives, Garland ISD’s number of National Merit Semifinalists has nearly doubled for 2017-18. The district announced 11 Semifinalists during the Sept. 19 board meeting. In 2016-17, just six students earned this prestigious title.
South Garland High School senior Ryan O’Malley credited her recent honor to GISD’s new partnership with KD College Prep.
“I was selected to be part of the program because I scored in the top 30 students in GISD on the PSAT 10. I was approached by Mr. Sellers who said, ‘You have a fantastic score, but if you had scored that on the junior test, you would have barely missed the cutoff for Semifinalists.’ I’m just so thankful for programs like KD because I was able to go and improve that score. Being a Semifinalist has opened so many doors for me already. I already have scholarship offers from colleges, and it’s going to be a lot easier for me to apply anywhere that I would like to go. It’s just all around making me more ready for anything I need to know going into college.”
This partnership is one of GISD’s many initiatives preparing students for success. The district also pays for every eighth through 11th-grader to take the PSAT at school and every 11th-grader to take the SAT at school. GISD pays for all AP exam fees as well, and partners with the National Math and Science Initiative for AP exam study sessions and rewards.
Recognizing Rowlett High School senior Payton Small, the board awarded her an Evidence of Excellence certificate for starting a clothes closet at Methodist Richardson Medical Center. Small is helping homeless patients and those recovering from addiction get back on their feet. She is also working toward a Girl Scout Gold Award, which is given for extraordinary leadership.
Trustees recognized five campuses for earning all distinction designations in addition to the state’s highest accountability rating as well. Austin, Hillside, Kimberlin and Walnut Glen Academies for Excellence and Watson Technology Center for Math and Science are among more than 400 of the state’s more than 8,700 schools to achieve this impressive accomplishment–approximately 5.5 percent.