Kortan: Talent is universal, opportunities are not; Harlingen CISD plans to address that

McALLEN, TEXAS – The interim superintendent of Harlingen CISD has outlined some of the key points in the school district’s new strategic plan.

Veronica Kortan was asked to take charge of Harlingen CISD, at least on a temporary basis, when Superintendent Alicia Noyola announced her retirement. 

Kortan was the founding principal of UTRGV Harlingen Collegiate High. 

Veronica Kortan

Harlingen CISD school board adopted the new strategic plan in February. In an exclusive interview with the Rio Grande Guardian International News Service, Kortan said the plan is a “wonderful launchpad to do great innovations.”

Kortan said: “We are a premier district, always have been in the region and in the state. So we’re looking to continue that legacy. But with the new strategic plan we’re going to launch quite a few innovations, beginning this coming year.”

The Guardian’s interview with Kortan took place at a news conference hosted by RGV Focus and held at Texas A&M University in McAllen. The event saw the unveiling of RGV Focus’ annual report card.

Asked to list some of the highlights in Harlingen CISD’s new strategic plan, Kortan said:

“So, we’re going to make sure that we are moving the direction of academic ownership. We want our students to be able to understand where they are as learners and where they’re headed. So goal-setting is integral part of what we’re going to be doing. 

“When we think about that and the reason behind that is that when they when they venture off into college or post secondary, we want them to have the skills to advocate for themselves, to know who they are and what they need. And then you can advocate so much easier.”

Kortan listed another highlight.

“When we think about opportunities, that’s what changes trajectories for people. So one of the beliefs in our strategic plan is that talent is universal but opportunities aren’t. So we’re looking at every corner of our district to make sure that students have level playing fields when it comes to opportunities, whatever makes their heart sing, they need to know that.”

A third highlight, Kortan said, centers on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

“With all of the workforce studies that we’ve done, we know that a STEM-inspired culture is going to be key. Not just science, technology, engineering and math, but it’s this whole concept of curiosity for learning. And that’s great for students and adults alike.”

In the interview, Kortan also spoke about her work as founding principal of UTRGV Harlingen Collegiate High. 

“It’s all about breaking cycles of poverty. When students come in, some of them don’t have a trajectory to go into a college or university. They learn at the high school level that it is very possible. And not only that, we also found that families were very scared of university and college work. It is about support. It’s about having the right training, and it’s about making sure that our students understand that these are the skills you need, study skills and things of that nature, (so) like learn it with us. And so it has been tremendously successful.”

Here is the interview with Kortan:


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