On Thursday, officials with the College of Education at The University of Texas at El Paso and community leaders unveiled the Miner Teacher Residency Program, a full-year teacher placement designed to boost the readiness of aspiring teachers to better serve diverse students throughout the El Paso region.
With funding and technical support from University-School Partnerships for Renewal of Educator Preparation (US PREP), a national center funded by the Gates Foundation committed to high-quality university-based teacher preparation, UTEP is working with local school districts to pilot an innovative teacher preparation program within the College of Education.
Students seeking a teaching degree will now be eligible to take part in a one-year teaching residency program where they will spend an entire year in a real classroom, co-teaching with an experienced mentor teacher and engaged in an immersive coaching model led by field based UTEP College of Education faculty members. This will provide these aspiring teachers with the hands-on training and classroom management skills they’ll need before entering the workforce.
“This pilot effort is an incredibly important opportunity to provide student teachers with the most realistic, relevant, and rigorous preparation possible,” said Clifton Tanabe, Ph.D., dean of the College of Education. “We think this will be a game changer for our students and for the schools that hire them as first year teachers. Given the ‘closed loop’ educational ecosystem in El Paso – UTEP graduates comprise 75 percent of El Paso’s teachers, and El Paso students comprise 80 percent of UTEP’s student body – we expect this program to have a profound long-term impact.”
Aspiring teachers who go through the residency program will be part of an exciting paid internship initiative funded by Workforce Solutions Borderplex, the Council on Regional Economic Expansion and Educational Development (CREEED), and the El Paso Community Foundation.
“Our partnership with these generous local organizations will allow our students to focus completely on their training and not have to work the ‘graveyard shift, after working in the schools all day, just to make ends meet,’ said Tanabe.
19 UTEP College of Education students will make up the first cohort participating in the residency program. They will be placed within El Paso ISD and Socorro ISD classrooms and paired with seasoned and effective teachers to mentor them through their year-long program. The goal is to have all participants gain extended, hands-on practical teaching experience alongside a highly qualified, trained mentor teachers and faculty UTEP members, as well as priority consideration for full-time employment after they complete their residency.
“UTEP is a wonderful partner with EPISD in the development and training of innovative educators for the El Paso and West Texas region,” said EPISD Superintendent Juan Cabrera. “The Miner Teacher Residency Program will further our combined efforts to provide the children of the Border with the best-prepared corps of teachers who will use the latest research-based techniques to help our students meet their academic goals.”
“Team SISD is proud to be part of this innovative program to further invest in our future educators,” said SISD Superintendent José Espinoza, Ed.D. “Our commitment is to ensure SISD has highly qualified and effective teachers and we provide numerous opportunities for aspiring teachers to succeed thanks to powerful partnerships, such as this one, with UTEP and other local organizations and agencies dedicated to improving our overall educational community in El Paso.”
The new initiative replaces UTEP’s previous semester-long teacher training program with more intensive year-long placements in high-performing local elementary schools. It is based on the model pioneered in 2015 by US PREP, which has been utilized by programs at Texas Tech and Lubbock and the University of Houston, among others.
“CREEED was happy to facilitate the partnership between UTEP and US PREP earlier this year, and we are delighted to be supporting the new teacher residency program,” said Amy O’Rourke, Choose to Excel Director at CREEED. “To improve education outcomes and increase educational attainment in our region, we must invest in our teachers and aspiring teachers so they have the tools, training, and experience they need to lead students in innovative and transformative classroom instruction.”
After the success of this pilot program, UTEP hopes to incorporate the full year of hands-on in classroom training as part of all future teacher graduate requirements.
“The further you go in education, the better your professional prospects; it’s that simple,” said Joyce Wilson, President & CEO of the Workforce Solutions Borderplex. “If we want to attract high-paying jobs with advancement opportunities to El Paso, we need a workforce with the requisite level of training. That starts in elementary school with well-trained and experienced teachers.”
Student teachers under the semester approach and in the residency program will benefit from close supervision and regular feedback from teachers who will serve as their mentors and supervisors, all of whom were recruited, selected, and trained by UTEP. In addition, each elementary school hosting residency students will also host two full-time clinical faculty members to serve as site coordinators and liaisons between UTEP and the school districts.
“We are excited to bring the proven US PREP model for teaching training to El Paso,” said Stephanie Otero, Vice President of Operations of The El Paso Community Foundation. “The additional staff UTEP has hired to support the program will enhance communication, collaboration, and data sharing between the university and the school districts, making for a better experience for student teachers and better outcomes in their classrooms.”
Like the students they teach, most of the student teachers in the Miner Teacher Residency Program are Latinx and bilingual. A committee made up of college and district representatives selected the finalists from a pool of 40 applicants based on GPA, faculty input, and the candidates’ openness to learn and seek feedback.
Canutillo ISD topped the traditional districts with a 91, followed by Paso Del Norte Academy with a 91 as well. Via a news release, officials with Canutillo ISD shared their excitement.
“This new high rating tells us nothing new about the exemplary performance of our students under our outstanding teachers and staff,” Canutillo ISD Superintendent Dr. Pedro Galaviz said. “We have been seeing the evidence of significant improvement in student progress at our schools for quite some time now.”
Of their ‘B’ rating, Socorro ISD’s Superintendent José Espinoza said, “Our overall rating shows that Team SISD is doing a great job of ensuring our students are achieving, progressing and prepared for post-secondary education,” Espinoza said. “While the ratings reflect a new way that the state is looking at performance, it is based in a large part on a standardized test students take one day out of the year and doesn’t reflect the whole amount of work and investment we make in our students. However, there is always room for improvement and we are committed to continue working toward 100 percent academic excellence for all students.”
Officials with the El Paso Independent School District also reacted to the numbers, saying they “showed tremendous growth and improvement and surpassed other large urban school districts in Texas, according to accountability figures released by the Texas Education Agency today…EPISD’s score of 86 is the highest for urban districts that serve overwhelmingly large numbers of low-income students.”
EPISD’s Superintendent Juan Cabrera added, “We are building the best EPISD in our history…I am proud of our dedicated teachers who have done an exceptional job of adapting modern and innovative methods of learning. Thank you to our teachers and community who have supported our historic efforts over the past five years.”
According to the release from the TEA, campuses receive a rating based on performance in three areas:
Student Achievement measures what students know and can do by the end of the year. It includes results from state assessments across all subjects for all students, on both general and alternate assessments, College, Career, and Military Readiness (CCMR) indicators, like AP and ACT results, and graduation rates.
School Progress measures how much better students are doing on the STAAR test this year versus last year, and how much better students are doing academically relative to schools with similar percentages of economically disadvantaged students.
Closing the Gaps looks at performance among student groups, including various racial/ethnic groups, socioeconomic backgrounds and other factors.
Seventy percent of the accountability rating is based on the better of Student Achievement or Student Progress (whichever is better is the only performance measure counted). The remaining 30 percent is based on performance in the Closing the Gaps area.
To learn more about the A-F accountability system, click here.
Note that while 2018 campus ratings continued under the Met Standard, Met AlternativeStandard or Improvement Required labels, district ratings are based on an A-F scale. The A–F rating labels will be applied to campuses at the end of the upcoming school year.
Districts, charters, and campuses can appeal the rating assigned on August 15. TEA will release the final 2018 ratings based on the outcomes of the appeals in December. To view the 2018 state accountability ratings for districts, charters and campuses, visit the TEA website.
In the graphic below are the region’s schools, sorted by letter-grade average, as selected on the TEA website.
To view the specific schools, use the box below to search out each individual school via the searchable tool below.
Select a school or district below to get started. Use TXschools.org to see how well different schools and districts are doing. Each report provides an in-depth look into how campuses and districts are performing overall and in different areas.
On Wednesday it was announced that EPCC’s Dual Credit and Early College Program has been recognized as a finalist in the Examples of Excellence in the associate level.
“EPCC’s Dual Credit and Early College High School programs are having tremendous results in getting youth in our region on a path to higher education,” Dr. William Serrata, EPCC President said. “The data shows that students who take just one college course in high school are more likely to pursue a college degree and be successful.”
The EPCC’s Dual Credit and Early College Program gives students opportunities to earn college credit while still in high school.
EPCC’s Dual Credit and Early College High School program was one of only 21 finalists selected from more than 139 nominated programs from 27 states, DC and Puerto Rico.
The four 2018 Examples of Excelencia will be announced October 11th at the Celebración de Excelencia in Washington, DC.
“We are honored that Excelencia in Education has selected El Paso Community College’s Dual Credit and Early College High School Program as an Example of Excelencia. This nation-wide recognition highlights the work we are doing to provide students in our region the opportunity to take college courses while in high school,” Tonie Badillo, Dean of EPCC’s Dual Credit and Early College High School Programs said.
“These students have the opportunity to save time and money by getting a head start on their college career.”
Since being established more than a decade ago, EPCC’s Dual Credit and Early College High School program has addressed the region’s low educational rate in comparison with Texas and the Nation.
The program has become a nationally recognized model for its success rates. Students in EPCC’s Dual Credit and Early College programs have high graduation and completion rates in the courses they take and when they continue to 4-year institutions. The data shows that 58 percent of students who take just one college course in high school pursue an advanced degree versus 33 percent for those who do not.
Students in EPCC’s Early College High School Programs have a 75 percent success rate in completing their associate degree while still in high school which outperform the national and state averages which are less than 30 percent.
EPCC offers Dual Credit in the majority of area high schools. There are 12 Early College High Schools spread out through area school district partners including Canutillo ISD, Clint ISD, El Paso ISD, Fabens ISD, Socorro ISD and Ysleta ISD.
¡Excelencia in Education!is an organization that works to accelerate Latino student success, enhance our workforce, leadership, and economy. Examples of Excellence recognizes institutions and practices that bring attention to evidence-based practices that work for Latino students in education.
It’s another year in the history books, as 2017 fades and 2018 dawns.
From the streets of downtown, to the football fields of the schools around town, to the houses of worship throughout the Borderland and locations in between, our photographers were busy documenting our story.
Below are the best shots from our team of photographers: Chief Photographer Andres Acosta, and Kevin Venegas.
At the January Fabens ISD Board Meeting, Superintendent Poncho Garcia Jr. recognized and thanked the board members for their service and commitment to the community and students of Fabens.
Garcia said that each board member has the passion and commitment to see all students succeed at the highest level possible; and that each stand up for public education and support the district in doing what is best for all our students.
Garcia, the longest-serving superintendent in the region at 15 continuous years in his position, made sure the Fabens ISD School Board members were recognized for their role in the district’s success.
Board members Orlando Flores, President, Rey Sepulveda, Vice-President, Aurora Alvillar, Secretary, and Sylvia Gonzales, Marcos Salcido III, Greg Spence and Benjamin Morales, were all honored as residents who donate their time and service to ensure that the entire district provides the best learning opportunities for all students.
Garcia said, “Our board has done an excellent job insetting high expectations in offering numerous opportunities for our students to be both college and career ready…we are very appreciative for all the support the board has given in making a district of “Wildcat Pride”, character and family.”
In response, the Board members had the following statement about Mr. Garcia’s tenure in Fabens:
Accomplishments are not possible unless there is equal and sincere commitment from board and superintendent. The board meaningfully values the forty-one years of experience that Mr. Garcia has in Education. The board equally recognizes that he is the only superintendent in Region 19 who is a Veteran with service to the U.S. Navy.
To date, Mr. Garcia is the only superintendent in Region 19 with the longest tenure of fifteen years in office. This service and experience has built a trustworthy relationship and has allowed Mr. Garcia to foster a very strong sense of stability for Fabens.
Garcia responded by saying he “[was] appreciative of the continuous support and commitment from all board members.” Garcia added, “As a former U.S. Navy “sailor”, Mr. Garcia is prepared and excited to see that every student “sails” with the opportunities that are brought to Fabens and ensure that they are academically and socially successful.”
The following are some of the accomplishments that Mr. Garcia highlighted:
Increased enrollment in dual credit & college courses
Established the Cotton Valley Early College High School
Designation of FHS as a T-STEM Academy by Texas Education Agency
Met Standard Rating
13+ years of Superior Rating on OUR School First
Recruiting and retaining of high qualified teachers and staff
Highest paid teacher salary in Region 19
Provided technology equipment (laptops) to all teachers
Upgrading & renovating facilities
1. New FHS Gym 2. FES exit road 3. New Track Field 4. New Tennis Courts
Free breakfast and lunch
Renovation of FHS Fine Arts building
Successful Passage of Bond for $8.4 million (Nov. 2014)
Community health based clinic-GAMUT
Created a Counselor’s Corner at FHS
Redesigned District Website
Investment of $250,000 for band instruments
David Sublasky Headstart Center
FHS courses at FMS
Highly successful UIL program at all grade levels
Expanding business partnerships
Refunding bonds with a savings of $740,000
Healthy fund balance
Investigating and sightseeing new CATE to include Culinary Arts and Agriculture
In addition, during the past ten years, the board also supported the expansion of FHS library, construction of Fabens Elementary School, Renovation of O’Donnell Intermediate School, Amador Villalobos Field House, Science Lab at FHS, and a Multipurpose Center.