TAMIU –UISD Literacy Partnership Launches Wednesday at Cuellar Elementary
Posted: 11/10/11

TAMIU-UISD Literacy Partnership
Launches Wednesday at Cuellar Elementary

A pilot project establishing a “Literacy Enrichment Center” (LEC) through a Texas A&M International University-United Independent School District Literacy Partnership will be recognized Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2011 at 10 a.m. at Henry Cuellar Elementary School.

The LEC initiative brings TAMIU teacher candidates into Cuellar Elementary for one-on-one tutoring with struggling readers to help build literacy skills and self-confidence, said project leader Dr. Philip S. Roberson, TAMIU clinical associate professor, College of Education.

Dr. Roberson said the project is mutually beneficial in that both UISD students and TAMIU students gain valuable academic knowledge and skills.

“The confidence and skills gained by TAMIU’s future teachers through supervised one-on-one tutoring translates easily into later teaching success. And, because Cuellar teachers are also adapting the intervention model for use in their classrooms, the school-based model provides for a cohesive transition from campus, to clinic, to the classroom. It’s truly a ‘win/win’ partnership,” Roberson explained.

“While helping Cuellar Elementary students, we are also improving the literacy instructional and diagnostic skills of pre-service and in-service teachers.  Through regular contact and carefully designed experiences that value and build upon what children already know, our teacher candidates will help our Cuellar students to transition quickly to success in academic English,” he continued.

The initial LEC program is working with 15 second and third graders in once a week meetings, but is expected to double the number of students it serves and expand to twice a week offerings in the Spring.

Cuellar Elementary principal Melissa Shinn said the initiative is an active partnership and outlined the school’s involvement and ongoing role in the project’s realization.

“Our students eagerly look forward to meeting with the student teachers when they visit our campus and are getting the extra assistance they need, resulting in improved student achievement.  For the student teachers, this program is giving them the opportunity to apply what they have learned in their education/literacy courses at TAMIU.  Further expansion of this program will provide great opportunities for both sets of ‘learners,’ ” Shinn said.

Dr. Roberson said the Spring expansion will also include teaching of literacy courses on site.

“Cuellar Elementary has generously provided a reading clinic and adjacent model classroom to support the partnership and plans for this Spring include holding University literacy courses at Cuellar Elementary so that TAMIU faculty will not only supervise all LEC activities, but will also teach on site. The Cuellar staff will work closely with both TAMIU faculty and teacher candidates to identify, assess and monitor the progress of struggling readers,” Roberson said.

The Cuellar LEC initiative is based on a successful literacy intervention model Roberson worked closely with in the Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools.  He has been instrumental in providing training with this model for both the TAMIU students and the Cuellar educators.

“Over the past four years, the Nashville, Tenn.,program has grown from one campus to 12 schools and struggling readers have consistently shown significant gains in reading, writing skill development and overall academic performance.

After the Phase II Spring, a Phase III that would expand LEC services to other UISD campuses is possible, he said.

For additional information about the TAMIU-UISD Literacy Partnership and the Cuellar Literacy Enrichment Center, please contact Dr. Roberson at 956.326.3155 or email philip.roberson@tamiu.edu.

Cuellar Elementary information is available by calling 956.473.2700 or visiting the school’s web page at http://cuellar.unitedisd.org

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