Prairie View A&M University (PVAMU), in partnership with Royal High School (RHS), is pleased to respond to the RADICAL initiative from the Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Foundation by designing and implementing Project Operation Accelerate (XLR8). This project will address simultaneously the issues of professional development of teachers and the preparation of high school students for college. Operation XLR8 consists of three major goals – (i) to assist RHS in redesigning the instructional and learning environment for teaching and learning success by integrating technology tools. (ii) to formulate a teacher preparation system that closely reflects the teaching conditions in tomorrow’s schools and the learning needs of tomorrow’s students; (iii) to continue to support the professional development and career growth for in-service teachers – so as to achieve the three R’s – Rigor, Relationships and Results.
The project team consists of a Project Director (Dean, College of Education) from PVAMU and Associate Project Directors from both PVAMU and RHS, and select faculty from the College of Education, the College of Arts and Sciences, and team leaders from Royal High School. The project will build upon the existing partnership with RHS and previous successes – in particular, the Academic Roadmap Project, a part of the Texas A&M University System’s Board of Regents Initiative on Excellence in Education.
Specific activities proposed are to: offer RHS teachers opportunities for professional development including graduate courses in their respective disciplines; redesign the curriculum in Mathematics, Science, English/Language Arts, and the Social Sciences, establish parallel curricular patterns; infuse technology into all academic areas and instructional techniques; explore dual-credit courses for RHS junior and senior students; explore career courses in the Arts, Humanities, Science, Business, Information systems, Engineering, Technology and Health and Human Performance; and disseminate results to the Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the community at large.
The approach proposed here is novel and innovative since it addresses the challenge of student preparation and teacher development in a systemic manner that includes classroom instruction, after-hours access to technology tools and facilities, involvement of parents, community leaders and industry personnel, and most important, it is based upon a strong and sustaining partnership between PVAMU and RHS.
The proposed effort has excellent potential for success owing to the long standing, successful collaboration between PVAMU and RHS, and the fact that the commitment to the project is made at all levels of administration. Because the challenges being addressed are nationwide, the project has the potential to significantly impact the way schools are designed and run across the nation.