A Day in the Arts

In November, our students had an opportunity to participate in a program called A Day in the Arts Part 2 on our campus. Last year, the students volunteered to participate in A Day in the Arts which was funded by the Grant for Great ideas in collaboration with Frisco Education Foundation. We had lots of supplies leftover and the students enjoyed the program last year, we wanted to offer a second strand to students this semester. One River Art Studio in Frisco donated their time, instructors, and easels which allowed our students to explore oil painting and free artistic expression! What an amazing day for talented artists!


Encouraging, Empowering and Educating

At the Student Opportunity Center, our mission statement is Encouraging, Empowering, and Educating students for success.

Encouraging and motivating students to succeed is one of the things we do best at the SOC. The teachers are extraordinary at building relationships with their students, and helping them plan for and achieve their goals.

Empowering our students to take initiative and responsibility is a value that we strive to instill in our students to help them gain confidence and leadership skills. A perfect example of this, is when students initiate and facilitate a community building circle without teacher intervention.

Educating our students to achieve high school graduation and prepare them for life beyond, is the number one goal at the SOC. The teachers are phenomenal at working with different learning styles, and knowing what each student needs in order to succeed. 


Making Snowflakes

During SMART (Student Movement And Relaxation Time) Period here at the SOC, the students are asked to choose an activity they enjoy to clear their mind after lunch before beginning 4th period. One of the activities offered is Art. On this particular day, student Kendall Shaw, was showing another student, Rabia Basra, how to make a 3D snowflake. The students enjoy having this time to complete assignments, play basketball, or just sit and relax with their friends.blog


Year Up Program

On October 31, 2017, Marvin Blakely, Recruitment Director for Year Up, came to our campus to present to the Student Services Department at the Student Opportunity Center.  Year Up is a program that was created by a former Wall Street broker by the name of Gerald Chertavian who initially was a Big Brother and later sold his company and created the Year Up Program.  The program was established in Boston in 2000 and was established from a book written by Gerald Chertavian.  The goal of the program was to meet the untapped potential and provide resources for a population of underrepresented adults ranging from the ages of 18-24.

The program, which is a year in length, is broken into two phases.  Phase I, the students are enrolled in the business development phase of the program where they are earning 18 credit hours all taught by El Centro professors on their main campus in Dallas.  The students are required to dress for success daily, which includes training in soft skills ranging from writing a resume, understanding the importance of time management, and how to send professional emails. During the Phase I sessions, the students also participate in Feedback Friday by participating in sharing feedback among one another as well as receiving feedback from colleagues.  Phase I students receive a stipend of $200 and free public transportation passes to attend school.

Phase II is the second semester of the program where the students are placed in an internship program.  According to the recruitment director, during this phase the students are building their professional muscle working with corporations. After the end of Phase II the students will graduate from the program and will be hired (pending how successful they were for the duration of their internship), and have the opportunity to earn $22/hr or $50,000-$60,000 per year.

Mr. Marvin Blakely will return to the SOC to speak with another group of our SOC students, and we strongly encourage our students who are eligible to apply if they are capable of getting back and forth to the El Centro campus daily.

In addition to the professors on campus, the Year Up program also provides the students with “high expectations and high support.” The El Centro staff in the Year Up program are also mentors for the students and there are two Social Workers on staff to also assist with personal struggles and as a resource for the students in need.

For more information about the Year-Up program, please refer to the links below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iw2_90N2464 (Year Up Overview)—60 Minutes

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xZP4SaDfgTo (Personal Story)