TAMIU's College of Education Hosts 3rd Teacher Rally Saturday, Aug. 17

Texas A&M International University's College of Education and The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents Initiative for Texas Public Schools will host the Third Annual Teachers Rally at the University Saturday, Aug. 17 from 8:30 -11 a.m. at the University's Kinesiology-Convocation Building.

Dr. Rosa Maria Vida, dean of the College of Education, said the event will celebrate the teaching profession, the commitment of those who enter the field and the pride they take in their efforts. It is designed to re-energize a large portion of the local teaching profession for their return to the classroom this Fall.

"We will bring together over 2500 of our local teachers to celebrate our profession, our commitment and our pride. We'll have a half-day session of motivational presentations, news about future growth opportunities through the Regents Initiative and opportunities for teachers to share best practices that have yielded award-winning student performances," Dr. Vida explained.

She said the highlight of the event will be the keynote address of 2000 Disney American Teacher of the Year Ron Clark who has been a guest on the Oprah Winfrey and Rosie O'Donnell shows and was featured in the November issue of Oprah's Magazine.

Clark, a sixth grade teacher in Harlem, New York City, was chosen from over 80,000 nominations for the Disney honor. When he discovered he was a nominee for the award, he raised over $25,000 in order to take his entire class with him to Los Angeles for the award show. He has conducted projects with students that have garnered worldwide attention.

The event is sponsored by the College of Education and the Texas A&M University System Regents Initiative, a state-wide effort aimed at utilizing the collective resources of the A&M System, to address educational issues of common concern, including critical teacher shortages. The College's director of Regents Initiative activities is Teresa Hein.

Thirty schools from both local districts are partners with the University in the Regents Initiative. Along with teachers from Regents Initiative campuses, invited guests will include state officials from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and other high level representatives from The Texas A&M University System, as well as presidents, provosts and deans of the Colleges of Education from all A&M institutions.

Vida said that the state's teacher preparation programs and overall education plan are the primary beneficiaries of the shared resources made possible by the Regents Initiative. Dr. Vida said the Initiative is a revolutionary utilization of shared resources.

"This is a visionary and revolutionary utilization of the resources of our A&M System to increase the effectiveness of teacher preparation through strengthened public school partnerships. The Regents Initiative has already done groundbreaking work that has served to heighten awareness and set the stage for aggressive improvements to our State's education plan," she explained.

TAMIU's College of Education prepares the majority of Laredo and the region's teachers through its baccalaureate, alternative certification, endorsement and masters programs. In this past year, 55 % of United Independent School District new hires were graduates of the University's College of Education programs. At Laredo Independent School District, almost 35% of teachers hired were graduates of the University's program.

Last year's Initial Report of the Secretary of Education on the quality of teacher preparation ranked TAMIU's program 14th among 89 Texas colleges and universities having teacher preparation programs. The ranking was the highest of all nine A&M System campuses. The College has also been commended for graduating the largest number of Hispanic teachers through its program.

Funding for The Regents' Initiative is provided by The Meadows Foundation, The Pew Charitable Trusts, Sid W. Richardson Foundation, the Texas A&M University System, the Texas Education Agency and the U.S. Department of Education.

For additional information on the Teachers Rally and the Regents Initiative, please contact Hein at 326.2694, email to thein@tamiu.edu or visit offices in the Killam Library, room 322 D.

University office hours are from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at pais@tamiu.edu