Organizers of a successful higher education tour for students in Palm Springs Unified School District (PSUSD) high schools in 2022 are preparing for this year’s journey while also expanding their efforts.
District officials and members of the African American Parent Advisory Council (AAPAC) worked to send two dozen students on an impactful tour of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) last year. They’re preparing to do it again in early April.
This year, an additional two dozen students will be headed to Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs), thanks to the work of the district and the Latino Parent Advisory Council (LPAC). An HSI is any institution of higher education comprised of 25% or more Hispanic or Latino full-time students. More than 500 colleges and universities meet the criteria.
On Wednesday evening, all 48 students gathered at district headquarters in Palm Springs for their third meeting, dining on pizza and getting to know each other while preparing for what many said last year was the trip of a lifetime.
Jarvis Williams, a diversity and racial equity specialist with the district, said recruiting for this year’s participants began in September. Roughly 100 students applied. To be considered, students were required to have at least a 2.5 grade point average, be actively involved in their school and community, and have a good attendance record.
Students and chaperones who participated in the 2022 HBCU tour visited the East Coast institutions of Howard, Hampton, Norfolk, and Morgan State as well as monuments, museums, and historic locations. Those same sites, and two additional, are on the agenda this year. Participants in the HSI tour will be headed to Texas, where they will tour educational institutions, museums, and landmarks with cultural meaning.
While transportation and lodging are provided by the district, students must cover all other expenses. In 2022, the community stepped up to help provide roughly $175 for each participant. Williams said he’s hoping to raise $200 for each student this year.