Thursday, August 16, 2018
  Community, Announcements

By Amanda Alaniz

Rio Grande Valley, Texas The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley’s Student Teacher Education Preparation University Partnership (STEP UP) program is fulfilling its goal in expanding and assisting future teachers in the Valley.

Beginning fall 2018, STEP UP will commence two newly formed partnerships with McAllen ISD and Los Fresnos CISD.

UTRGV College of Education and P-16 Integration and McAllen ISD leaders began the discussion of bringing the model to the district back in fall 2017. Dr. Steve Chamberlain, STEP UP coordinator and professor of special education in the UTRGV Department of Human Development and School Services, helped spearhead the partnership with Los Fresnos CISD.

A total of 33 teacher candidates will be placed in elementary, middle and high school classrooms for the 2018 – 2019 school year, and will work with experienced cooperating teachers from the partnering school districts.

The STEP UP program was designed in 2015 – 2016 in collaboration with Harlingen CISD and started with 10 teacher candidates. One of the expectations of the program was to carry over the model to other districts.

Under the university-teacher preparation program, teacher candidates would be assigned to work with a specific teacher for the full school year and have the opportunity to learn and adapt to a school culture.

The students selected to be in STEP UP must have a 3.0 grade point average and go through a rigorous interview process.

Dr. Criselda Garcia, associate dean for Initial Preparation Programs and Academic Affairs in the UTRGV College of Education and P-16 Integration, said the goal for STEP UP is to continue to expand the program with other district partners and replicate the original model.

“We want to show the districts that a lot of programs are preparing teachers, but we’re preparing the best,” Garcia said.

For more information about the STEP UP program, contact Garcia in the College of Education and P-16 Integration at (956) 665 – 3627 or, or Dr. Steve Chamberlain in Human Development and School Services at (956) 882 – 7675 or



The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) was created by the Texas Legislature in 2013 as the first major public university of the 21st century in Texas. This transformative initiative provided the opportunity to expand educational opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley, including a new School of Medicine, and made it possible for residents of the region to benefit from the Permanent University Fund – a public endowment contributing support to the University of Texas System and other institutions.

UTRGV has campuses and off-campus research and teaching sites throughout the Rio Grande Valley including in Boca Chica Beach, Brownsville (formerly The University of Texas at Brownsville campus), Edinburg (formerly The University of Texas-Pan American campus), Harlingen, McAllen, Port Isabel, Rio Grande City, and South Padre Island. UTRGV, a comprehensive academic institution, enrolled its first class in the fall of 2015, and the School of Medicine welcomed its first class in the summer of 2016.