UT Tyler Office of Marketing and Communications

UT Tyler Awarded Largest Grant in University History, Begins Afterschool Programs at Tyler ISD

August 25, 2011

Media Contact: Beverley Golden
Marketing and Communications
The University of Texas at Tyler
903.566.7303 or 903.330.0495 (cell)

The University of Texas at Tyler Ingenuity Center has been awarded an $8.75 million grant to improve student performance in middle schools and ultimately develop higher levels of both college and career readiness, President Rodney H. Mabry announced.

The largest in the university’s history, this grant is awarded over five years by the Texas Education Agency. Dr. Michael Odell, UT Tyler Celia and Sam Roosth Professor of Education, is the Ingenuity Center executive director and UT Tyler director of research.

The grant was awarded as a result of Odell’s successful record of work in this field and highly-regarded grant application.

UT Tyler will administer programs funded by the grant at Tyler and Fruitvale Independent School Districts and has already begun programs at Tyler ISD’s Boulter Engineering Prep Middle School, Dogan Middle School and Stewart Middle School. Plans are underway to begin programming in Fruitvale ISD soon.

“I just can’t say enough about the hard work the UT Tyler and Tyler ISD administrations devoted to bring all of the pieces together,” said Odell.

The university worked with Tyler ISD to be ready to open with the start of school.

“This grant will be transformational for some schools. It begins immediately and provides funds to both UT Tyler faculty and students as well as middle school teachers at Tyler and Fruitvale ISDs,” President Mabry said. “Teachers and UT Tyler students will work together providing afterschool projects that will improve student academic outcomes in science and math areas, as well as reading.”

The unique afterschool projects, called University Academies, are designed to offer direct afterschool academic assistance, as well as significant enrichment opportunities to disadvantaged middle school students.

“Tyler ISD principals and educators are very excited about this program,” said Jeff Collum, Tyler ISD executive director for secondary education. “They, along with our transportation department, custodial staff, food services and the district police, have all contributed to make this possible.”

The University Academies will soon begin offering adult education classes for family members of afterschool students. All services are provided at no charge to the students or family members.

“We are very fortunate to have such a great relationship with UT Tyler,” said Eli Crow, Tyler ISD director of university initiatives. “The resources they continually bring to our district have empowered us to be truly innovative in our projects.”

In cooperation with this program, Tyler ISD has altered its transportation schedule at participating middle schools to allow more students to participate. Additional transportation is made available by the grant to all students who participate in the full program. The afterschool program begins each day following the end of the regular school day and proceeds until 6:15 p.m. Nutritional snacks are provided to students.

This is UT Tyler’s largest single service project.

“With this grant, UT Tyler also will be adding at least six full-time positions to the local economy as well as around 20 half-time positions for students. We plan to expand this program to be as beneficial as possible to as many possible. Efforts are already underway to include elements of the project in our education, psychology and counseling classes,” said President Mabry.

The University Academy project is part of an ongoing partnership between the school districts and the UT Tyler Ingenuity Center, which has been assisting partner districts with professional development for teachers, personnel support and technical assistance with instructional programming and grant writing.

One of the 15 campuses of the UT System, UT Tyler offers excellence in teaching, research, artistic performance and community service. More than 80 undergraduate and graduate degrees are available at UT Tyler, which has an enrollment of almost 6,500 high-ability students at its campuses in Tyler, Longview and Palestine.

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 Last Published 8/25/11