For over 20 years, HACU has served as the champion for Hispanic student success in higher education. HACU, however, understood that in order to fully address the issues facing Hispanic students, it would have to start addressing those issues at the K-12 level. In 2000, HACU began looking into adding an affiliation for Hispanic-Serving School Districts (HSSD) that could address the growing needs of K-12 administrators and the changing demographics throughout the country. At the same time, administrators at both the K-12 and higher education level were beginning to realize that they needed to come together to address common concerns and share ideas, strategies, tools and resources if they were to dramatically improve the success rate of Hispanic students in education. They also knew that they could learn from each other and significantly close the gaps in Hispanic student performance and the opportunities available to them.
The HSSD affiliation was approved by HACU’s Governing Board in October 2004. In February 2005, a Preliminary Plan of Action was submitted to the Governing Board for their approval. In May 2005, HACU surveyed its member institutions, outside contacts and a select group of HSSD administrators asking their views on the idea of potential higher education and K-12 collaborations and their ideas on how to implement these collaborations. The results of the survey, which highlighted some key collaborations, was presented at an Institutional Roundtable of HSI and HSSD Leaders held at HACU’s 19th Annual Conference held in Phoenix, AZ. After that initial discussion, an HSSD Roundtable was included as part of HACU’s Annual Conference schedule. Subsequent HSSD Roundtable Discussions held at the 20th and 21st Annual Conference discussed the need for joint collaborations at the International level and showcased successful collaborations between HSIs and HSSDs.