UTSA one of five universities to help failing public schools

The University of Texas at San Antonio President Taylor Eighmy wants more collaboration with local public schools.

April 19, 2018 Updated: April 19, 2018 8:05pm

The University of Texas at San Antonio is one of five UT System universities entering a new partnership that will connect their colleges of education with failing public schools in the state.

The system’s announcement of the new Turnaround Partnership with the Texas Education Agency on Thursday aligns with what UTSA President Taylor Eighmy has been voicing since his appointment to the university last fall: a need for further collaboration between his university and local school districts.

Soon after Eighmy’s arrival, the oddly named Institute for P-20 Initiatives, an arm of the university in charge of its local school district involvement, opened a new $70,000 welcome center at the Downtown Campus. Eighmy had expressed hopes that raising up student success in school districts would feed better-prepared students into UTSA, boosting its graduation rate. (Its four-year rate is 22 percent.)

The goal of the partnership, the system said in a statement, is to elevate “improvement required” schools to successful learning environments while also providing good training for the college’s student teachers.

As of Thursday evening, it was unclear which schools in San Antonio would be partnering with UTSA. Last summer, 31 schools in Bexar County received an “improvement required” rating. Of those, 19 are in the San Antonio ISD.

The idea is that UTSA education specialists will assist low-performing schools by reviewing their curriculum, instructional planning, student success and leadership, among other aspects.

“All students in Texas should have access to quality teachers and schools, and all schools should have access to the resources they need to effectively serve students,” UT System Chancellor William McRaven said in a statement.

UT institutions in the Rio Grande Valley, Austin, Dallas and Tyler are also participating in the partnership.

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