TAMIU Education Students Assist Area School Districts

Texas A&M International University graduate students who were enrolled in an Educational Facilities Planning course (EDAM 5332) during the Spring Semester helped area school districts develop master plans for educational facilities and educational technology.

TAMIU Assistant Professor of Educational Administration Dr. David Herrington, who taught the facilities planning course, said students worked with the Zapata, Cotulla, United Independent School Districts. TAMIU students who participated in the course included Sylvia Castaneda, Jose Cerda, Javier Coronado, Gloria D. Garcia, Tito Garza, Rev. Tony Gutierrez III, Douglas W. Killian, Edith Landeck, Martha E. G. Miller, Chris Moore, Rosie A. Ochoa, Kathy Patterson, Rey A. Pottin, Juan Sanchez, and Margarita Taboada. As a central part of their learning experiences, the TAMIU students learned to use the "Guide for Planning Educational Facilities" and the "School Facility Appraisal Guide" developed by Dr. Harold Hawkins and Dr. Ed Lilley, and published by the Council for Educational Facility Planners International (CEFPI).

The students used the CEFPI appraisal guide to assess safety features, plant maintainability issues, site appropriateness, and the match between educational specifications and existing facilities. The CEFPI guide directs and focuses appraiser attention to the relationship between educational facilities and equipment and learning outcomes.

TAMIU students conducted site inspections within United Independent School District facilities as part of their preliminary field training. Students administered instruments for assessing school facility compliance with nationally accepted standards.

UISD administrators who provided special assistance with the training included Enrique Rangel, Director of Construction for UISD; Irma Flores, Nye Elementary School Principal; Raul Trevino, Alexander High School Principal; Patricia Uribe, Matias de Llano Elementary School Principal, and Juanita Lozano, United Middle School Principal.

TAMIU students, together with Cotulla ISD administrators, identified a clear mission statement for instructional uses of technology and to assess technology infrastructure and training needs among teachers, administrators, and students.

Cotulla ISD administrators who worked with the TAMIU students included Ernesto Tijerina, Superintendent of Schools; Linda Zenner, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, and Philip Montgomery, Technology Coordinator.

The TAMIU students also worked with a recently organized community-based facility planning committee in Zapata. Dr. Art Gutierrez, Zapata County ISD Superintendent and Eliseo Perez, Director of Transportation and Facilities, arranged for the students to work with the committee. Herrington said the alliance between the TAMIU facilities planning students and Zapata was ideal because the community looked to the future and wanted to invest taxpayersØ money intelligently. What we offered was an integrated planning process that enabled the school district to match its educational needs with accepted standards of educational facility configuration. This planning process is vital before making decisions about investing capital into technology and facilities, he explained.

He emphasized that the training experiences the students received was invaluable and praised their hard work and openness to the field-based experiences. Administering technology is becoming a critical part of managing schools. Facilities planning is vital, and anyone who goes through this course learns how critical it is to have adequately planned learning facilities and equipment that support rather than impede the educational process, he added.

For more information on the TAMIU Educational Facilities Planning course, please call Herrington at 326-2523. TAMIU office hours are 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Monday - Friday.