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Promoting Student Voice and Activism

Trinidad Garza students on campus ready to learn.Trinidad Garza Early College High School, (Dallas, TX). Trinidad Garza Early College High School (ECHS) is a public school of choice housed on the campus of Mountain View College (MVC). Through collaboration with the community college, Garza ECHS students can attend both high school and on-site college classes with the goal of graduating with a high school diploma and an associate degree (60 college credits).

Garza ECHS is one of the first district schools to offer ethnic studies courses – African American and Mexican American history. From these classes, fifty students emerged to speak at the State Board of Education meeting to convince board members to adopt Texas Essential Knowledge Standards for the African American history course. As a result, their activism led to African American Studies courses getting approved statewide for the first time in state history.

In addition, Garza ECHS promotes student voice and activism. For example, Garza partnered with the National Latino Education Research and Policy Project (NLERAP) to promote ethnic studies and recruit secondary teachers of color. Garza ECHS has an active Black Leadership Alliance and League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) led by committed teachers. Through these student groups, students actively participate in projects impacting their community. For example, students participate in voter registration drives, community outreach, and volunteerism at elementary schools. Students choose areas they are passionate about and raise awareness around their specific community issues. A partnership with the University of North Texas at Dallas and the 826 Dallas Project’s Young Authors Book Project in 2020 involved students detailing their lived experiences and solidifying their world views in a published book – Faceless: Untold Side Effects of Culture, Race & COVID-19.