(Dec. 18, 2009)--For 50-year-old Deborah Kaufman, the end of the tunnel her advisers told her about is near, and she now sees the light ahead. Kaufman will walk the stage at 5 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 19 and graduate cum laude with a bachelor's degree in Mexican-American studies from the UTSA College of Education and Human Development.
Her journey began in 2005, when after working several years as a Head Start teacher with 3 to 5 year olds in San Marcos, and raising two children with her husband, Kaufman decided to enroll in UTSA's Head Start Summer Institute.
A federally funded program, Head Start provides learning development for low-income children from birth to five years of age. Under the No Child Left Behind Act, all Head Start teachers and staff are required to earn their degrees.
In 2002, with a new government mandate in place, UTSA sociology professor Harriett Romo founded the new institute with a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The institute allows area Head Start teachers to take classes in the summer and work their way toward completing associate or bachelor's degrees.
The program, books and student housing are provided free-of-charge to participants. The curriculum includes early childhood and Mexican-American studies. Over the last four years, Kaufman commuted from San Marcos to attend the three-week summer sessions in the first and third years, and the longer six-week sessions in the second and fourth years.
"It was a wonderful program and served as a real confidence builder," said Kaufman. "I really liked it because it just felt so comfortable."
With her associate degree courses behind her, she enrolled at UTSA and completed the remaining core courses to earn her bachelor's degree in Mexican-American studies.
"Deborah has been a very successful, highly motivated student and a role model for other Head Start teachers," said Romo. "She demonstrated that it is possible to juggle family, work and school successfully."
In addition to those responsibilites, Kaufman has taken care of her father, who suffered two strokes over the last three years.
After working with young children for 11 years, Kaufman looks forward to changing gears and working with adults teaching English as a second language.
UTSA has provided 264 Head Start teachers and staff the opportunity to return to college and continue working to obtain a degree. Over the last nine years, 3,168 college credit hours have been earned by summer institute participants. The 2010 summer session orientation begins May 15.
The UTSA Head Start Summer Institute is funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families. Partnerships are established with the City Of San Antonio Department of Community Initiatives, San Antonio College, St. Philips College, AVANCE, Edgewood I.S.D, San Antonio I.S.D, Region 20, Family Services, Community Action Inc. and the Texas Migrant Council Inc.
For more information, call 210-458-2692 or visit the UTSA Head Start Summer Institute Web site.
Robert Penn Warren said: “How do poems grow? They grow out of your life.” That is certainly true for Carmen Tafolla. An associate professor of practice with the UTSA College of Education and Human Development, Tafolla has authored more than 20 acclaimed books of poetry and prose, including "The Holy Tortilla and a Pot of Beans." It won the Tom´s Rivera Children’s Book Award in 2009.
Tafolla is a San Antonio native who grew up on the West Side. Attending a private high school, she realized that the literature did not positively portray her community or the people who lived there. She determined to change that in her writing. In published works for both adults and children — more than 200 anthologies, magazines, journals, textbooks and readers in four languages — Tafolla reflects on the rich Mexican-American culture of San Antonio in which she grew up.
Did you know? Tafolla was San Antonio's first Poet Laureate, from 2012 to 2014, and currently serves as the Poet Laureate of Texas.
Discover resources and strategies for teaching Tejano history and culture and get a special educator's tour of the new long-term exhibit, Los Tejanos.
Institute of Texan Cultures, 801 E. Cesar E. Chavez Blvd.
This annual symposium is an opportunity to discuss Texas higher education issues and trends with Texas higher education scholars, state and local government officials, students, and campus and local community members.
This cowboy-themed programming, offered in conjunction with Our Kids Magazine's Kidcation Week, gives families the opportunity to visit with cowboy docents, enjoy readings and visit activity tables.
Institute of Texan Cultures, 801 E. Cesar E. Chavez Blvd.
Join President Ricardo Romo, The Spirit of San Antonio Marching Band, students, faculty and staff to light the monument at the Main Campus entrance at the stroke of midnight.
John Peace Boulevard Entrance, Main Campus
Join university President Ricardo Romo on the Bill Miller Plaza for his annual free BBQ lunch.
Bill Miller Plaza, Downtown Campus
Join university President Ricardo Romo on the Convocation Center lawn for his annual free BBQ lunch.
Convocation Center East Lawn, Main Campus
The UTSA Alumni Association hosts this annual gala honoring the Alumna of the Year, Alumnus of the Year and the Alumnus of the Year Lifetime Achievement award winners.
Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort & Spa, 9800 Hyatt Resort Dr.
Shrugging off retirement, the Bromley founder plans to earn a PhD and complete a 375-mile race
The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.
To be a premier public research university, providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.
We encourage an environment of dialogue and discovery, where integrity, excellence, inclusiveness, respect, collaboration and innovation are fostered.