Thanks to a $74,000 grant from TCU’s Vision in Action a year ago, a new director has been named for the Center for Urban Education, said the dean of the School of Education.Jennifer Brooks, who was appointed director in June, said she is anxious to start work with the program.
“The overall goal is to develop urban educators for the next generation of students,” Brooks said. “A lot of exciting things are coming” to the program.
Brooks said urban students come from a wide range of economic backgrounds, social classes and races. The CUE is meant to help education majors teach students with discipline problems and unique situations, Brooks said. From children of single-parent families to students on free and reduced-price lunch meal plans, she said the program tries to prepare students for what they will face in the real world.
Sam Deitz, dean of the School of Education, said he understands the difficulties associated with teaching inner-city children and said he is hopeful CUE can help.
“It’s always more difficult and always more challenging to work with children who are poor, less prepared,” Deitz said.
He said the CUE offers workshops and classes, which aim to prepare students and professors for these situations.
While involvement in the program is not a requirement for education majors, Cecilia Silva, an associate professor in the School of Education, said she thinks it is important for education majors to learn how to teach inner-city students. Silva said she is aware that many TCU students’ backgrounds are different from those of the students they could potentially be teaching.
“We know that (urban settings are) where most of our young teachers will be taking most of their first jobs,” Silva said.
Brooks previously spent more than 10 years as principal at Edward J. Briscoe Elementary School, which is part of the Fort Worth Independent School District.
Deitz said he was pleased that Brooks was named the new director of CUE because of her extensive qualifications and experience in working with inner-city children.
“She did an excellent job of turning an inner-city school, which is usually not successful, into a school that was remarkably successful, and she became a model,” Deitz said.
Deitz said he is also pleased with Brooks because she has so much experience with local schools.
“She has an excellent reputation in the FWISD and she brings her contacts with FWISD, which help us get things done,” Deitz said.
Kelsey Williams, a junior early childhood education major, said she is also glad the program’s director has so much experience.
“I think she will be great for the program,” Williams said. “I’ve heard she has a lot of experience in (urban education).”
Brooks said that she has a lot of plans for the future of the program, including ways to involve more education majors.
“It’s an exciting time to be in education,” she said.