UNT and Sanger ISD plan to improve education

UNT and Sanger ISD plan to improve education

UNT and Sanger ISD plan to improve education
October 09
00:01 2014

Heamiy Park / Intern Writer

UNT’s Sustainable Communities Initiative and Sanger Independent School District have partnered together, bringing opportunities for both schools.

UNT is helping the Sanger ISD with staff professional development, curricula enhancement, employer engagement, career awareness, mentoring and tutoring.

The program also assists Sanger in complying with Texas House Bill 5, and will host Sanger students on UNT campus for camps this upcoming summer.

Although UNT’s Sustainable Communities Initiative is working with the Sanger school district, it has not partnered with Denton ISD.

“We have tested pieces of the Sustainable Communities Initiative for years,” said UNT Sustainable Communities Initiative director Todd Spinks. “We needed a pilot partner where we could implement the entire program across a school district. The pilot program needed to be as simple as possible and in close proximity to the university, so Sanger ISD is a perfect fit.”

Spinks also said several Sanger ISD graduates attend UNT, and many faculty are UNT alumni.

Rhonda Bilbrey is the assistant superintendent of Sanger ISD and a UNT alumna who has been working with the partnership since 2013, when UNT first approached Sanger ISD with the idea.

“We jumped at the chance,” Bilbrey said. “Many of us in Sanger ISD are UNT alumni, so we know and have an interest in UNT.”

Sanger ISD is a relatively small school district, with only 2,675 students enrolled on seven campuses.

“The opportunity to partner with UNT provides us with increased resources that we wouldn’t readily have available to a district our size,” said Bilbrey.

There are also opportunities for current UNT students to get internship experience required for their programs.

“Graduate students having an opportunity to come to see the day-to-day instruction or development, and businesses as well,” Bilbrey said. “We’ve had Teach North Texas students in the math and science field, counseling department, and they have hands-on experience, too.”

Heather Treadway is a curriculum development assistant for SCI and is involved with helping the Sanger school counselors. Treadway said one of UNT’s main goals is to get the students to come to UNT if they are interested.

High school students in Texas can now choose from one of five endorsement tracks that help them choose a career path as part of HB5’s passage. UNT is helping the students meet those needs through a counseling partnership.

“We’re working with the teachers on professional development and teaching them more about sustainability and how they can integrate in their classrooms, but we’re also making sure that we are meeting their needs,” Treadway said. “Before we did anything, we helped them get furniture that they needed. It’s a beneficial partnership to both parties because we’re getting the sustainability message out there.”

Featured Image: Sanger ISD science teacher Clint Hahn, left, and UNT SCI director Dr. Todd Spinks stand together at the collaboration meeting. Photo courtesy of UNT SCI

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