Children's Learning Institute greets U.S. Department of Education bus tour

EL PASO – (Sept. 16, 2013) – Leaders from the Children’s Learning Institute at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) participated in a dynamic panel discussion in El Paso on Tuesday, Sept. 10, with Deb Delisle, assistant secretary for the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education in the U.S. Department of Education.

Local education leaders attended the event, titled Innovations in Pre-K STEM: A Panel Discussion with Assistant Secretary of Education, Deb Delisle,at The John E. Uxer 1 Head Start Center.

El Paso is one of many stops on U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s 'Strong Start, Bright Future' back-to-school bus tour. Susan Landry, Ph.D., director and founder of the Children’s Learning Institute, and John W. Gasko, Ph.D., associate director of the Children’s Learning Institute, led the panel discussion.

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) signifies an increased focus on science and mathematics in education. “The workforce of the future must be equipped with diverse skill sets that lend themselves to understanding, operating and innovating with technology, and early childhood is the place to start building those skills,” said Gasko. “We led this panel because of our leadership in this area.”

The Children’s Learning Institute’s early childhood program, Texas School Ready!, which has served more than 300,000 young Texans,aims to increase children’s school readiness though five evidence-driven components: research-based curriculum, technology-driven child progress monitoring, facilitated teacher professional development, ongoing teacher mentoring and sustainability.

“The Texas School Ready! model has always been based on solid research and proven methods. Because of that, we are able to move child outcomes in a positive direction,” said Landry. “I am excited that our efforts to include STEM-based instruction in our early childhood professional development strategies are being recognized at the federal level.”

Landry and Gasko joined Delisle in touring Texas School Ready! classrooms at The John E. Uxer 1 Head Start Center, as well as the Intellizeum, an interactive, museum-like environment that allows children to learn about science while having fun.

“All children should have this,” said Delisle about the rich learning environments. “I am very impressed.”