UT Elementary School's First Class of Fifth Graders Graduating Amid "Exemplary" Status Following TAKS Tests

The University of Texas Elementary School's fifth graders will attend their graduation ceremony on Wednesday, May 28 at 6:30 p.m., at the Etter-Harbin Alumni Center, 2110 San Jacinto Blvd.

These fifth graders earned a 100 percent passing rate in reading and 97 percent passing rate in math with 50 percent "commended" for 2008 in the Texas Academic Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) tests. The scores for these 40 students, most of whom were among the first enrolled when the research-based demonstration school affiliated with The University of Texas at Austin opened its doors in fall 2003, compare to average statewide fifth-grade scores of 83 percent in reading and math.

William Powers Jr., president of The University of Texas at Austin, and University Co-op Bookstore President George Mitchell will speak at the ceremony. University officials, including Executive Vice President and Provost Steven Leslie and Vice President for Diversity and Community Engagement Gregory Vincent, will be among the participants.

"It is amazing how we have watched the Little Longhorns grow over the past five years, socially, emotionally and in their academic careers," said Dr. Ramona Trevino, principal and chief executive officer of the elementary school.

The students will attend middle schools next year in the Austin Independent School District or local magnet middle schools, including Fulmore, Kealing, or the new Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders.

Trevino said UT Elementary School opened its doors in fall 2003 to pre-kindergarten, kindergarten and first grades and added a new grade level each year. She said the students are largely minority and low-income, and most of them will be first-generation college students. After achieving outstanding scores on the TAKS tests, UT Elementary is the only school in East Austin with "Exemplary" status.

Vincent, chair of the UT Elementary School Management Board, said, "These excellent results demonstrate that when students are provided the right tools and learning environment, they can achieve a high level of success."

Dr. Edwin Sharpe, the founding chairman of the UT Elementary School Management Board and founding member of the Development Council, will be among the educational and community leaders attending the event.

As a research-based demonstration school, UT Elementary takes research from various departments at The University of Texas at Austin and applies it in the classroom. The goals of the school are to provide an educational alternative for East Austin families, to serve as a training and development site for the university's students and to be a model of an exemplary educational program for diverse learners.

With an "Exemplary" class of fifth graders branching out into the Austin community, UT Elementary School is achieving its goals and building a culture of excellence, said Principal/Head of School Melissa Chavez. She said her message for the fifth grade class of 2008 is "Little Longhorns, go show the world how great you are!"