In January 1988, a group of concerned Longview citizens began planning a meeting of educators and business leaders from local communities, focused on determining what could be done to improve the quality of the local workforce, especially the education levels of the students graduating from local high schools. Businesses were having difficulty finding qualified candidates with essential math, science and communication skills, and initially thought that the high schools were not offering the classes needed to properly prepare students for a global economy. Over 300 people attended this initial “summit” held in April 1988 at LeTourneau University. Members of the education community quickly pointed out that classes providing instruction in these essential skills were being offered, but often, students were not motivated to take the more challenging courses, since they were not required for graduation.
From this business and education “summit,” the Greater Longview Organization of Business and Education (GLOBE) was formed. Five committees were organized (Finance, Publicity, Accountability, Students, and Teachers), and the Accountability committee quickly began implementation of the following programs:
- Great Expectations/Great Rewards – a presentation by community business leaders, to help 8th grade students gain a better understanding of the benefits obtained by taking a rigorous high school curriculum, as they registered for their freshman year.
- A Scholars Recognition Ceremony for graduating seniors, to honor and reward those who had completed the GLOBE curriculum. The first Scholars Recognition Ceremony was held in March 1991.
Founding member school districts were Longview ISD, Hallsville ISD, Pine Tree ISD, Spring Hill ISD, and White Oak ISD. Since that time, the number of school districts in GLOBE has increased to eleven, with Gladewater and Gilmer added in 1992, Sabine in 1994, Harleton and New Diana in 1995, and Tatum in 2008. From recognizing 218 seniors in 1991, the program has grown to recognizing over 1400 students in 2016.
As the GLOBE program achieved more success, other schools became interested in the concept. In response, charter board members Joe Randolph and Mary Alice Schmitz shared the GLOBE initiative with numerous organizations, including the Texas Business Education Coalition (TBEC). In 1992, TBEC developed the Texas Scholars program, based on GLOBE principles, for implementation throughout the state. The State Board of Education endorsed the program in 1992 and adopted the GLOBE Scholars curriculum as the State Recommended High School Curriculum. To be consistent with the now statewide program, the GLOBE Board of Directors adopted the State Recommended High School Curriculum as the GLOBE Scholar requirements and replaced “GLOBE Scholar” with “Texas Scholar” in 2000. Also in that year, the GLOBE organization became one of the programs sponsored by the Longview Partnership (local Chamber of Commerce). In September 2002, President George W. Bush and Department of Education Secretary Rod Paige announced the State Scholars initiative, designed to spread the Texas Scholars concept nationwide, with Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Maryland, Tennessee, and Arkansas being the first states approved for participation. As of July 2003, the Texas Scholars program has been implemented in 175 communities, comprising 339 school districts in virtually every major region of Texas.
Over the years, other programs have been initiated under the GLOBE/Texas Scholars umbrella to support the mission, including:
- Job Opportunities for GLOBE Scholars (JOGS) – a program that solicits businesses with high school-aged employees to conduct job interviews on campus for students on track to become Texas Scholars.
- Early Intervention – a collaborative effort with Junior Achievement to promote the Texas Scholars program in Junior Achievement presentations in grades 1 – 7. Also included in this program is the 5th grade presentation, administered in cooperation with elementary counselors to promote proper junior high behaviors that support the Texas Scholars high school curriculum.
- Teachers of the Year – a program designed to honor top teachers in the participating school districts.
- The Algebra Academy – a summer program to help students gain a good foundation in Algebra, integral to a student’s future success in math.
- Practical Education for Parents in Longview (PEOPL) – programs designed to enlist parent support for education, including:
- Parenting for School Success – a series of seminars for parents seeking addition information to help their children obtain the maximum benefit from the school experience.
- For Kids’ Sake – a program to teach parents how to build their child’s self esteem during divorce.
In 2006, the GLOBE Board voted to discontinue the scholars ceremony and instead us our unique liaison role between business and education to provide students in GLOBE affiliated school districts with an opportunity to interact with representatives from local businesses and careers to better understand the local job market. Julie Fowler of Kilgore College lead the committee that held the first Career Expo in the spring of 2007.
Moving forward, GLOBE continues to build on a rich history of concerned people getting involved to help students achieve great rewards by setting high goals, then striving to reach them.