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1 Those things that we call
2 qualifications may not always work to our
3 advantage because they may not actually
4 reflect what it takes to be a leader at that
5 level.
6 We will welcome any input you
7 might have, any suggestions concerning that
8 issue or any other issue that may have to do
9 with particular concern that you may have.
10 MR. GARCIA: I have a suggestion
11 to this issue. Last year Miami for the first
12 time they had something called the Hispanic
13 Media 100. They had a selection panel of
14 distinguish judges that picked the top 1 00
15 Spanish language journalists in the United
16 States from the most prestigious newspapers,
17 magazines, television. They gave him a
18 beautiful award. One of the reasons to do
19 this was to elevate the profile of Hispanic
20 journalism.
21 So few of them that are actually
22 on editorial boards are in control of media


1 outlets. If your organization, working with
2 us and others, can identify the top Hispanic
3 high education, higher education educators,
4 and have some big event somewhere and get a
5 lot of attention, one, it would help identify
6 the people in the system, those that are
7 percolating up, and it would give us a data
8 base of these people that, when these
9 positions become available, that we can put
10 our power behind to ensure that we get these
11 Hispanics to lead these great universities.
12 DR. FLORES: That is an excellent
13 suggestion. We look forward to doing
14 something along those lines.
15 MS. MAZZUCA: I want to thank
16 Dr. Flores for coming. We certainly
17 appreciate your words and look forward to
18 working with you very closely.
19 DR. FLORES: I look forward to
20 working with all of you.
21 MS. MAZZUCA: At this time we are
22 going to take just a short break. We are


1 changing the agenda just a little bit so that,
2 when we come back, we can hear from one of our
3 very own commissioners. We are very excited
4 to see Chris' presentation. I know he needed
5 a few minutes to get the power points set up.
6 We will take about a ten minute break and come
7 back.
8 (A recess was taken.)
9 MS. SANCHEZ: Chris Barbic, as you
10 know, is the principal of the top performing
11 high school in the State of Texas for the last
12 two years. When I first drove up to the high
13 school I was quite surprised. It is this
14 giant chain link fence. Really it is just a
15 parking lot. On this little sign it says,
16 "Welcome, Leslie." You are in this field.
17 You are by the airport, going down these
18 areas, these little winding roads. They bus
19 in children from 40 different zip codes. It
20 is an amazing story. We had been on the road
21 giving this presentation to three different
22 cities for the Improving America's Schools


1 conference. It was one of the most popular in
2 some of the communities. It was called "What
3 Works for Hispanic Families." Chris basically
4 talked about whatever it takes to ensure
5 Hispanic students are successful. This is a
6 perfect model. People wanted to know how was
7 this information transferable to their school.
8 Educators were coming up saying, you know, I
9 thought you were going to give us actual tools
10 and ideas and you said, "We are developing
11 those." On how to replicate these models.
12 But most importantly, talked about culture and
13 attitude. That was what we felt was a very
14 good example of what we have been talking
15 about on the initiative. We embarrassed Chris
16 and said, would you pretty please show the
17 commission what we have been doing. It is
18 food for thought.
19 MR. BARBIC: When I was asked to
20 do this I felt kind of strange because there
21 are people in this room who dedicated their
22 lives to this problem. I am kind of young and


1 just starting out. By no means have I figured
2 everything out. I don't want to come across
3 that way at all.
4 That's our school. That's the
5 first day of school at our new site. We have
6 450 kids at our school. We set up the campus
7 for a million bucks. In terms of cost
8 effectiveness for a facility, we are doing a
9 facility for 450 students for a million
10 dollars. There is a school built down the
11 street for about a thousand students that they
12 spent about 30 million on.
13 MR. VISIEDO: Does that include
14 the ground, the ground lease?
15 MR. BARBIC: That includes the
16 buildings. We got a million dollar grant to
17 buy the land.
18 I wanted to cover a little about
19 the problem -- you guys have heard a lot about
20 that so I am not going to spend too much time.
21 A little bit about how the school got started.
22 Just a profile. Why we think it works and how


1 we are holding ourselves accountable and the
2 results that we are getting.
3 We were presenting to mainly
4 school board members. Superintendents,
5 teachers, principals. That was the audience.
6 The education numbers, I think, we
7 have all heard. What I thought was
8 interesting was the net effect of those. If
9 you look under the economic challenges and you
10 see that 23 percent of Hispanics are
11 categorized as poor. It cost $16, 000 a year
12 for a family of four. 30 percent of all
13 Hispanics who are living in poverty versus
14 nine percent for anglos. I think it is kind
15 of a known effect of what happens.
16 I heard someone talk about this in
17 Houston. He described an hourglass, where you
18 have a lot of have-nots at the bottoms, a lot
19 of haves at the top, and a very, very small
20 group in the middle. The ticket from the
21 bottom is a college degree. We really believe
22 that. That is everything we focus the school


1 on.
2 A little bit about the school.
3 Basically, the way it started is -- just a
4 quick and dirty story. I taught for two
5 years. My kids didn't have anywhere to go
6 after they left my classroom. There wasn't
7 anybody doing anything about the problem. I
8 felt like there was no way I could not do
9 something about the problem and live with
10 myself. So I was 24. I really didn't know
11 what I was doing. I said, let's start a
12 school.
13 We carted 300 parents down to the
14 school board meeting and we demanded we get a
15 program at the local elementary school. The
16 board members' jaws all dropped. They
17 approved it because we told them we weren't
18 going to leave unless they did. We ran our
19 program inside of the HIC for three years,
20 Houston IC. After three years, then Governor
21 Bush passed the charter school legislation.
22 We left the district, took all of our kids


1 with us and we opened up our own facility.
2 At the time I was 28, I owned a
3 car, and I convinced someone to loan us a
4 million dollars to get the building at 12
5 and-a-half percent interest. I am only a
6 teacher but I knew that wasn't a very good
7 deal. That was all we could do. We got
8 started.
9 The kids go to school from 7:30 to
10 5: 00, Monday through Friday. They go to
11 school two Saturdays a month from 9:30 to
12 1:00. We go a month in the summertime. So
13 our kids spend
65 percent more time in school
14 than a regular public school student.
15 We feel like they are coming to us
16 behind. There is no magic solution. If you
17 want kids to be better readers, they need to
18 read more. If you want them to be better in
19 math, they need to spend more time doing math.
20 It is not rocket science.
21 MR. GARCIA: What is the time of a
22 normal public student?


1 MR. BARBIC: In Houston they go to
2 school from about 8:00 to 2:30. When you take
3 out restroom brakes, lunch and your elective
4 classes, they are in school for about four
5 hours. We are spending that 7:30 to 5:00
6 time. They are in academic classes until
7 3:30. We have a mandatory study hall the kids
8 are in from 3:30 to 4:15. They can get
9 started on their homework while they are still
10 the school. From 4:00 to 5:00 we run a club
11 program. In most places this looks like an
12 after school program but for us it is part of
13 the school day. We have Latin percussion,
14 karate classes, judo, rugby, piano. All the
15 stuff my parents drove me to after school.
16 Our kids' parents can't take them to piano
17 lessons after school. If they are going to
18 get that stuff, it is our responsibility to
19 offer it. We offer those every day from 4:00
20 to 5:00, or Monday through Thursday from 4:00
21 to 5:00. We want a full athletic program. We
22 want the kids to feel like they are not making


1 any sacrifice or compromise by coming to the
2 school.
3 There is the ethnic breakdown.
4 Economic. It is interesting, we started our
5 first year at 97 percent and we are now 87
6 percent, because word of mouth has started to
7 spread and we are starting to see a more
8 middle class group of Hispanics trying to get
9 into the school.
10 This year what we are going to do
11 is one of the questions we ask during the
12 interview process is, "Did your parents go to
13 college?" If they say "yes," we don't take
14 them. We want to make sure that our mission
15 is hitting who we want.
16 The class size is 25 kids per
17 class but that ranges. We offer nine AP
18 courses in a high school of 150 kids. Some of
19 our AP classes have four students. Some of
20 them have
20. It just kind of depends on the
21 class. But that is kind of an average.
22 Why it works. Accountability we


1 will talk about. That's our mission
2 statement, providing a rigorous academic
3 program that prepares kids for college. When
4 we wrote our charters to the state, we wrote
5 in that a kid does not graduate from our high
6 school unless he has been accepted to a four
7 year college. When we told people that,
8 everyone thought we were crazy. When we took
9 our first group of kids, they came to us in
10 tenth grade. For three years we said, "Trust
11 us, we are going to get you into college."
12 All the teachers would shut their door and
13 bite their fingernails and hope it works.
14 Fortunately, it did. We felt like the only
15 way we would stick to that expectation is if
16 we wrote it into the charter and we made it a
17 part of the school. I was afraid if we just
18 said it and didn't put it on paper, we would
19 compromise the standard and make excuses. We
20 didn't want to make any excuses.
21 If a kid doesn't get into college
22 after the fourth year, they stay for a fifth.


1 We had a kid who was in last year's class, his
2 sister went on to Texas Tech and he needed to
3 stay for an extra year. He was a special ed
4 student and he needed some more time. He got
5 his college acceptance two weeks ago. We are
6 committed to keeping those kids as long as we
7 need to for them to get in. He is 20 years
8 old. He stuck it out. We are real proud of
9 him.
10 MR. PARET: Are you going to talk
11 about how you identify the kids?
12 MR. BARBIC: Yes. We have a
13 commitment to excellence contract that
14 everybody signs. I gave you a copy of it. It
15 is in English and Spanish. That's our
16 admissions criteria. If you sign the contract
17 you are in. We don't do abt testing. We
18 don't look at TAAS scores. We don't look at
19 anything. We want kids who want to work hard.
20 We have kids that run the gamut, here.
21 11 percent of our school is special ed. We
22 have girls at our school who have kids. But

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President's Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans
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