Tarleton joins Milford ISD in 'Promise to Graduate' program

TSU Newsroom

STEPHENVILLE — Tarleton State University has joined forces with Navarro College and the Milford Independent School District in the MISD’s innovative Promise to Graduate program.

The idea, Milford Superintendent Vernon Orndorff explains, is to set post-secondary educational expectations for the students and offer guidance in meeting their goals.

Milford ISD

Promise to Graduate instills the belief that opportunities await after high school graduation, Orndorff said. “Instead of following the traditional pathway where we take them on a tour of a local campus during their 11th- or 12tth-grade year, we begin early.”

Milford ISD students, K-12, sign a class banner at their current grade level promising to finish high school. Banners travel with each class until graduation, reminding the students of their pledge.

“This groundbreaking program aligns perfectly with Tarleton’s mission to provide a high-quality experience to our students,” said university President James Hurley. “Being involved in an arrangement like this helps us attract the brightest high school graduates.”

Milford students will re-sign their Promise banners prior to learning walks through Tarleton and Navarro College their fifth-, eighth- and 10th-grade years. Even before the students’ elementary school campus visit, they will hear from Tarleton representatives in classroom presentations.

“That way they can get an idea of what that looks like before they get into high school,” Orndorff said. “The earlier you share experiences with students, the more they are familiar. If we don’t provide those early experiences, they might never know what’s out there.

“By the time they are in high school and preparing to graduate, we have exposed them three times to Tarleton and Navarro College. They get to see those campuses and shift that mindset to growing and continuing their education.”

Promise to Graduate is not the first time Tarleton and Milford ISD have partnered.

In December they signed a memorandum of understanding making the district part of the Distinguished High School Partnership, through which Tarleton waives ACT (American College Test) or SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) requirements for students in the top 25 percent of their class and application fees for students who qualify. The university will offer scholarships of at least $1,000 each year to Milford’s top graduates.