OPINION: From WOCCISD Superintendent: All means all at WOCCISD

Published 6:04 am Saturday, November 6, 2021

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We strive to meet the unique needs of our students at WOCCISD. Today I highlight three programs we offer to give you an example of meeting the needs of all of our students. First, we provide alternative opportunities for students to graduate with life issues that create obstacles to receiving a diploma the traditional way. Additionally, we provide career and college opportunities for students accelerating in high school to receive a college degree or a career certificate.

Mustang Academy provides students with hope, opportunities, and pathways to reach their academic goals in a non-traditional setting.  It is a non-judgmental, safe environment where the students have formed support bonds and learn new ways to navigate their goals. In addition, the program allows students to attend school on a half-day model to manage life obstacles such as family, work, and independent living. Each student works independently and self-paced on their graduation plan to reach their targeted graduation date.  The academy is enriched with enhancements to support social-emotional, Communities in Schools, community resources, Texas Workforce, and post-secondary education opportunities.  WOCCISD celebrates the graduates with formal graduation attended by the superintendent, board members, district administration, and family.

The Cosmetology Program in high school offers students an opportunity to begin their career immediately following graduation. Students are eligible to sign up for the program as a sophomore taking one class; as a junior and senior, they will take several courses to ensure that they have all the hours required by the state board. As a student in cosmetology, they learn all aspects of hair, skin, nails, braiding, wigs, hair extensions, and eyelash extensions. In addition, our students will be knowledgeable in the business aspect of the industry and all the requirements from the state board. Finally, upon completing the program in their senior year, students will take the state exam to receive their cosmetology license. West Orange-Stark is excited to offer this opportunity and many others in our Career Center.

Lastly, through a partnership with Lamar State College Orange, West Orange-Stark High School students have the opportunity to earn their Associate’s of Arts degree prior to earning their high school diploma in the Early College High School program.  The ECHS program is free of charge to students, and it is all-inclusive of books, transportation, and tuition fees. Early College High School blends college and high school in a rigorous yet supportive environment, compressing the time to complete a high school diploma and Associate’s degree. The goal of ECHS is to support and provide educational opportunities for traditionally underrepresented students, including at-risk, low-income, English language learners and first-generation college students.

We pride ourselves in providing educational opportunities for all students regardless of their challenges in life. We also believe in John Maxwell’s philosophy that “One is too small a number to achieve greatness.” Go Mustangs!


Dr. Rickie R. Harris is the Superintendent at West Orange – Cove CISD