$2.3 Million TAMIU Regents II Initiative

$2.3 Million TAMIU Regents II Initiative Targets Improved Teacher Performance


In an effort to improve academic performances at area schools, Texas A&M International University announced its Regents II Initiative - a partnership between local and area school districts and TAMIU. "The Regents I Initiative was an internal collaborative effort within and between colleges of the University that was geared to produce more and better teachers. With the Regents II Initiative, we will add an external group, the public schools. We will work with them to see how we can improve their student scores n the state mandated assessments as well as teacher development," explained Dr. Humberto Gonzalez, dean of the College of Education.

The Texas Education Agency is covering the costs of the $2.3 million project.

All the universities within The Texas A&M University System have identical projects.

"We're in the process of hiring the staff, and we recently hired a director," said Dr. Gonzalez, "they will work exclusively with the schools that are part of the P-16 Educational Improvement Consortia (PEIC). We plan to begin with services no later than January 2005."

Sixteen schools from Laredo Independent School District, United ISD, Zapata ISD, and Mirando City ISD are part of the PEIC project.

PEIC schools, which were invited to participate based on student academic performance, and identified as high potential schools in math, science and English Language Learners (ELL).

High potential schools generally have a high percentage of low socio-economic students or disadvantaged students.

The first goal of the five-year project aims to improve quality and effectiveness of the A&M System teacher preparation programs. This includes continuing to improve quality and effectiveness of the A&M System teacher preparation programs and creating successful novice teacher experiences within the partnering public schools.

The second goal seeks to improve student performances in University service areas. This includes increasing federal (AYP) and state (TAKS) accountability performances in participating schools.

"We want to see how we can help the schools improve their scores in math, ELL and science," Gonzalez said.

Students will not have to take any additional tests. Their progress will be measured at the end of the year with scores from the current local and state assessments.

The goals also include increasing completion rates in participating high schools, community colleges and A&M system universities.

"This will be the first time the College of Education works directly with school districts in a concerted effort to improve student academic success in selected schools. The students and the University will be the ultimate benefactors because many of these students will be able to access a higher education degree if they stay in school and receive a high school diploma," explained Dr. Gonzalez.

"We also want to encourage novice teachers to remain in teaching by making sure that they have the district and University support to make their first three years in teaching successful. We will work directly with teachers and principals to help them develop successful programs. The University has many academic resources that we can help schools access. Working together we can make a difference for out public school students."

For more information please contact Dr. Gonzalez, at 326-2420, e-mail hgonzalez@tamiu.edu or visit offices in Killam Library room 329.

University office hours are 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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