Joint program graduates teachers

Dreams of a becoming a teacher will be realized this summer and fall for the inaugural class earning their University of Houston bachelor’s degree at the Lone Star College-CyFair campus.

In May 2006, LSC-CyFair President Dr. Diane Troyer and UH-Downtown President Dr. Max Castillo signed a teacher education articulation agreement that helps students not only reach their educational goals, but start careers in teaching.

“Teacher education is a high demand major for our students and this program provides a seamless transition from our Associates of Arts in Teaching (AAT) into the UH-Downtown bachelor’s program,” said Troyer.

The joint admission aspect, which eliminated frustrations in transferring classes to a four-year university, first attracted Terry Gladstone.

“The program is great because you don’t have to go downtown but you get the same great education at the Barker Cypress campus,” said Gladstone, a paraprofessional working with special needs students at Lowery Elementary. “It’s really convenient.”

With LSC-CyFair’s more than 12,000 student enrollment, space issues resulted in weekday block classes being held at the Cypress Fairbanks Independent School District’s Instructional Support facility on Jones, said Kathryn Mills.

“The overall experience has been awesome. The professors are amazing. My classmates are great,” said Mills, who is doing her field experience at Reed Elementary. “The best part of the program is that we stay with the same students the whole through so I will be graduating with my friends.”

Mills said she is ready to be an elementary school teacher, preferably first- or second-graders, as is Nicole Morgan, a former LSC-CyFair employee.

 A mentor and special education paraprofessional at Andre Elementary, Morgan agrees the program is awesome and her classmates have become like a second family.

 “Now that I am working in a school, I realize that it is what I want to do and I could not imagine doing anything else,” said Morgan. “I have learned so many things that I want to take to my own class … I love my job and I want to stay at a Title 1 school for sure.”

Only a couple of semesters into the program, Jennifer Gonzalez said she should have her associate’s degree by May and then finish the AAT/BAIS degree in about a year and a half. With that degree she plans to be a Houston area bilingual kindergarten teacher, though she will be certified for kindergarten through fourth-grade. 

“The partnership with University of Houston is awesome!” said Gonzalez. “The classes are a lot of work, but the teachers are great.”

Another benefit of this program that Gonzalez, Morgan, Mills and Gladstone all agree on and appreciate is Louis Evans, UH-Downtown’s college of public service, director of advising services.

“Mr. Evans is a great motivator and helps us with any question that we have. He bends over backwards for us and does whatever he can for us. He wants this program to succeed and he wants us to succeed,” said Gladstone.  

For information, contact LSC-Cy-Fair Teacher Certification Program at 281 290-3957 or UH-Downtown College of Public Service Advising Center at 713 221-8906.