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Brazilian Students Graduate with Concurrent Diploma from TTUISD

by Anna Woodlock 

November 13, 2009

After a decade-long partnership with Centro Educacional Leonardo Da Vinci school, 41 students from Vitoria, Brazil, graduated with a Texas high school diploma without ever leaving home. On Oct. 24, 2009 Texas Tech University Independent School District (TTUISD) presented these students with a concurrent diploma.

This unique partnership began 10 years ago when the administrators of the Brazilian school were looking for a program in the United States that could meet the needs of their students. Several universities were considered, including three other schools in the Big 12 Conference but ultimately Texas Tech University was chosen. Since the inception of this program, approximately 200 students have graduated.

"These students are excellent students," said TTUISD Superintendent, Gilbert Weaver. "They are very successful individuals who want to have an excellent command of the English language."

This partnership will continue to grow. In February 2010 there will be about 700 students in 11 schools throughout Brazil. During the past year, eight new schools teamed with Texas Tech University to add 200 new students to the program.

For acceptance into the program, students must score a 60 percent or above on an American standardized exam. In order to graduate with a TTUISD diploma, students have to take and pass the TAKS exit level exam, which consists of science, mathematics, social studies and English portions.

Rogério Abaurre, coordinator of Texas Tech University High School in Brazil, believes it is essential to educate students so they can not only speak and understand English but also read and write it. "It is important that these students learn both English and Spanish because English is the most written language in the world, whereas Spanish is the third most spoken language."

Texas Tech University elementary, middle and high schools are accredited by the Texas Education Agency (TEA), and all courses are developed using Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) requirements established by the TEA. Texas Tech University Independent School District was initially established by the State Board of Education in fall 1993 as a Texas public high school able to offer high school diplomas at a distance. Texas Tech University Elementary School and Texas Tech University Middle School were added to TTUISD in fall 1998. Now, in 2009, TTUISD expects to have more than 1,700 students enrolled this year.