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San Marcos High School teacher Gina Rodriguez attended a development institute at the University of Texas at Austin. Photo submitted

Local teachers study with distinguished scholars at UT

Friday, July 26, 2019

In June, three teachers from San Marcos were selected to attend prestigious professional development institute in Austin sponsored by Humanities Texas in partnership with the College of Liberal Arts at The University of Texas at Austin and the LBJ Presidential Library.

San Marcos High School teachers Gina Rodriguez and Keren Jackson, who both teach English, Language Arts, participated in “Teaching Literature,” which took place from June 10–13 on the UT Austin campus.

The institute provided strategies and resources for helping students to become better readers of fiction, poetry, drama and expository prose, while also addressing the critical reading and media literacy skills necessary for success at the post-secondary level.

The program also featured presentations on incorporating art and film in language arts courses and included an excursion to the Harry Ransom Center, where teachers learned about highlights from the Center’s literary holdings.

The program faculty included distinguished scholars from universities across the nation. During an evening event at the Byrne-Reed House, poet Naomi Shihab Nye read from and discussed her newest collection of poems, “The Tiny Journalist,” with participants. 

Jackson attended the “Teaching Literature” institute to help improve her methods for guiding students to think and write critically. “This program offered approaches to teaching close reading that will help me to not only meet students where they are skills-wise,” she said, “but also help them to successfully analyze more complex texts.”

Taylor Hardy, who teaches U.S. history and world history at San Marcos High School, participated in “The Progressive Era,” which took place from June 17–20 at the LBJ Library.

The institute focused on the presidencies of Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, foreign policy, muckrakers and reformers, the changing relationship of government and business, immigration, women's suffrage, the struggle for health in the early twentieth century, new forms of popular entertainment, African Americans in the Progressive Era, American art during the period and American involvement in World War I.

“Humanities Texas was pleased to cosponsor the Austin institutes,” said Director of Grants and Education Eric Lupfer. “The programs offered teachers the opportunity to study with leading scholars and interact with colleagues from across the state. Participants left the institutes energized and equipped with training that will enhance student learning.”

“Teaching Literature” and “The Progressive Era” were made possible with support from the State of Texas and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Humanities Texas is the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Its mission is to advance education through programs that improve the quality of classroom teaching, support libraries and museums and create opportunities for lifelong learning for all Texans.

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