TEA News Releases Online
May 21, 2013
Commissioner Williams approves academic partnership agreement
between Premont ISD and Texas A&M University-Kingsville
KINGSVILLE – Commissioner of Education Michael L. Williams today announced he has approved a proposal presented to the Texas Education Agency in a memorandum of understanding that establishes an academic partnership between the Premont Independent School District and Texas A&M University-Kingsville.
The Commissioner’s approval means Premont ISD – which faced closure by the state due to poor academic and financial performance over several years – will continue its operations beyond this school year. The district will work in collaboration with staff and resources provided by Texas A&M University-Kingsville to strengthen overall education efforts for its students.
“The leaders at Premont ISD, Texas A&M University-Kingsville and The Texas A&M University System are taking a bold approach to assuring academic excellence for students in this important part of our state,” said Commissioner Williams. “I commend Chancellor Sharp, University President Tallant and Superintendent Singleton for establishing this academic partnership that has great potential and could become a collaborative model for others to follow.”
“This partnership gives us the opportunity to use our expertise to heal a struggling school district and turn it into something to be proud of,” said John Sharp, chancellor of the Texas A&M System. “By combining efforts, I believe we can enhance the educational opportunities for the children in South Texas.”
“We are proud to have this opportunity to work with Premont ISD,” said Steven Tallant, president of A&M-Kingsville. “This is a groundbreaking initiative for both groups, and we take our responsibility very seriously. It’s a wonderful chance to help one of our neighboring school districts, and it also offers the possibility of changing the way that universities and public schools work together to provide quality educational experiences for future generations.”
At the recommendation of Commissioner Williams, representatives of Premont ISD and Texas A&M University-Kingsville began meeting earlier this year to develop an innovative approach that addressed the school district’s future. On May 14, the district and university entered into a memorandum of understanding that establishes a steering committee to monitor the planning, implementation and evaluation of a district improvement plan. The plan will focus on four academic areas to strengthen and improve within the Premont ISD: learning systems; educational environment; assessment and accountability; and post-secondary preparation.
"Over the past two years, I have learned that out of difficult challenges and adversity come great opportunity," said Premont ISD Superintendent Ernest Singleton. "Our partnership with Texas A&M University-Kingsville is a unique and unprecedented opportunity that is going to open unbelievable doors of possibilities for our students. In just a few short weeks, the university and district have established a powerful partnership that is full of vision and hope for providing college and career ready opportunities that will impact Premont students for generations to come."
In 2011, the Premont ISD was ordered closed by the Commissioner of Education due to ongoing academic and financial issues that plagued the district. That order was later abated providing the district additional time to address its deficiencies, and to comply with Texas law regarding the operation of a school district and education of students within the district.
The partnership between the Premont ISD and Texas A&M University-Kingsville are aimed at improving the overall academic success for students within the district. The Texas Education Agency will continue to monitor academic and financial progress in the Premont ISD.