Texas Education Agency (TEA) Commissioner Mike Morath announced the release of TEA's 2018 Annual Report on Texas public schools with the intention to share the success stories of schools that are meeting the needs of their students with highly effective and efficient approaches to education. Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD's Early Childhood program was one of the first mentioned during his report highlight podcast earlier today.

During the podcast he mentioned how all over Texas, educators are engaged in practices to improve the quality of Kinder through 3rd grade, both in literacy and mathematics instruction, but also to include quality and access to Pre-K. In Pre-K, in particular, he mentioned how so many innovative practices already exist in districts around the state.

"So Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD, for example, is engaged in community partnerships with several private child care facilities, where they’re actually going out and training the workers in the private child care centers, and in some cases they actually provide teachers from PSJA to the centers themselves," Commissioner Morath mentioned. "And they are doing that to expand their reach in the early education space so that kids coming into kindergarten are better prepared academically."

PSJA ISD began partnering with 12 local child care centers in 2014. Today, there are 49 centers that are able to select from a menu of services including training, curriculum, certified teachers, quality review and improvement assistance, and pass-through funding. The Pre-K Partnership Grant awarded to PSJA ISD was instrumental in accelerating the expansion and quality of these partnerships by providing centers with much needed furniture, technology related hardware, a full-time certified teacher, and other resources not previously available. This initiative has enhanced the school readiness culture and provided a seamless transition to district schools.

“I’m blessed with the opportunity to see firsthand the tremendously skilled work of dedicated educators throughout our state who constantly adapt to meet the changing needs of our students,” said Commissioner Morath. “As we work toward our mission of preparing each of the five million children in Texas public schools for success in college, a career, or the military by the time they graduate high school, our second annual report allows us to evaluate the progress we have made and identify the areas in which we must continue investing resources to ensure student success is a reality.”

During his remarks earlier today at the Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA) Mid-Winter Conference he also spoke highly of PSJA ISD's Pathways Toward Independence Program, which promotes the continued development of vocational training skills and/or functional independent living skills to assist special needs students in becoming emergent adults in the community. The PTI program allows students to develop employability skills and access post-secondary education. Students gain home and daily living skills, community involvement, access to adult agencies, as well as build personal and social relationships.

He stated how this program is an example of what pouring everything for the whole child looks like.

"We are humbled to have been highlighted by our Commissioner and TEA for these programs that are greatly impacting the lives of our students, and their future academic and life goals," said PSJA ISD Superintendent Dr. Daniel King. "Thanks to a tremendous innovative and dedicated team and great community support, PSJA offers outstanding opportunities to our students."

In the past few years, other PSJA ISD programs have also been highlighted as best in class by TEA such as the district's Early College Program, Dual Language Enrichment Program and Parental Engagement Program.