TEA News Release 2

TEA News Releases Online

 Nov. 18, 2011


UT-Tyler awarded charter 


AUSTIN - The State Board of Education today granted a charter to the University of Texas Tyler Innovation Academy. The university-run charter is expected to open in the fall of 2012.

Once final contractual issues are resolved and the contract with the state is signed, the school plans to have charter campuses at university facilities in Tyler, Longview and Palestine.  The charter will focus heavily on project-based learning with a strong use of technology. It also plans to emphasize science, math and engineering.

The schools collectively are authorized to serve up to 2,400 students. The charter holder plans to initially open as grade 3-6 campuses. It will add another grade each year until the schools ultimately serve students in grades 3-12.  High school students will be able to take dual credit courses through UT-Tyler.

The board also honored Tine Valencic of Colleyville Middle School in the Grapevine-Colleyville Independent School District. Valencic was recently named the National Geographic Bee champion. This contest drew contestants from all states and territories.

This is the second time in three years that a Texan has won the geographic bee.

Valencic said he became fascinated with geography as an eight-year old when he decided to read a world atlas from cover to cover.

“One thing that I cannot emphasize enough is the depth and breadth of geography and how it affects every facet of our lives. This expansive field of study encompasses topics ranging from current events to geomorphology to fiscal policy,” Valencic said.

While speaking to the board, the eighth-grade student took the opportunity to encourage the state to create faster-paced, more rigorous programs that would be challenging to the brightest students.  “This higher level of classes would better develop the critical and creative thinking skills of the students destined to become America’s future leaders,” Valencic said.

The board also recognized 11 students who produced award-winning historical research as part of the annual National History Day competition. 

The students are Annie Salinas from Spring; Matthew Broussard, Hanna Zerdo and Rachel Lahowetz of Goose Creek Consolidated ISD; Gabriel Nesler and Mikayla Miller of Copperas Cove ISD; and Steven Mathew, Christian Isenhour, Jonathan Holle, Cyrus Yasrebi and Luke Victor of Round Rock ISD.

As part of its growing investments in real estate, the board voted to enter into an agreement with TA Associates Realty to handle investments of up to $75 million in The Realty Associates Fund X, L.P. and with Oaktree Capital Management L.P. to handle investments of up to $50 million in Oaktree Real Estate Opportunities Fund V, L.P., subject to continued due diligence and negotiation of fund terms.


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