Educators from area school districts and UTSA discuss college
preparation for students

Sciences college hosts educators meeting

By Kris Rodriguez
Public Affairs Specialist

(Jan. 23, 2008)--A group of science and math educators from eight area school districts met this month with UTSA College of Sciences professors to discuss how universities and educators can work together to better prepare students for the college.

Initiated by George Perry, UTSA College of Sciences dean, the meeting in the Biotechnology, Sciences and Engineering Building on the 1604 Campus included small-group discussion and reports on professional development and curriculum alignment among various disciplines.

"I think it's critical that we bring students to UTSA that will gain the most out of it, and to do so they must be properly trained and prepared," said Perry. "Part of our community outreach is working with high schools, middle schools and junior colleges, and we will do more in the future."

Many participants commented on the need for more teacher opportunities to attend summer workshops or weekend workshops to learn more about scientific subjects with which they are not familiar. At the conclusion of the meeting, representatives from the school districts and UTSA formed a committee to further study the college preparation issue.

One of the participants, Linda Gann, Northside ISD secondary mathematics instructional specialist, is familiar with the objective, having worked with state education officials to raise college readiness standards for students.

"I think we have missed the boat in not developing a strong network between our public high school teachers and our university professors who have great knowledge," said Gann. "We don't always have time to do the research and explore really neat topics, so if we can combine the two then maybe we can turn students on, or keep them from turning off much earlier, if high school teachers were equipped with this knowledge."

Nancy Martin, associate dean of the UTSA College of Education and Human Development, said UTSA administrators have discussed the college preparation issue in strategic planning over the last year and that asking for input from community educators is the next step.

"In the sciences in particular, we're seeing a ratcheting up of state standards and expectations," said Martin. "It is very important that teachers beef up their skills and knowledge in their content areas and continue to do so over time in these high-need areas."

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