Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 51.19
Liaison Jim Walker
Submission Date Jan. 31, 2011
Executive Letter Download

STARS v1.0

University of Texas at Austin
IN-1: Innovation 1

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Benjamin Kramer
UT Elementary School
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A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome :

The University of Texas at Austin is proud to submit the UT Elementary School for one full innovation credit.

Now in its eighth year of operation, The University of Texas Elementary School is firmly established as a research-based demonstration school in the heart of East Austin. The school holds a track record of success in serving urban children. Founded in 2003 as part of The UT System’s Every Child, Every Advantage initiative to support P-16 education, UT Elementary is operated by UT Austin as an open-enrollment campus, free to students, with a lottery-based admission system. The school enrolls children in grade levels pre-kindergarten through fifth. Our pre-kindergarten class has 20 students and all other grades kindergarten-through-fifth have two classes of 20.

UT Elementary offers a full, TEKS-aligned curriculum, employs scientifically-based research and best teaching practices, and draws upon a variety of resources available at the university. Besides providing an educational alternative for East Austin children, UT Elementary also represents an effort to apply new knowledge produced in the academic setting directly to classrooms in urban schools, and it serves as a training and development site for future teachers, social workers, psychologists, speech therapists, and nurses currently enrolled in the University of Texas at Austin.

Environmental and social innovations come together in UTES’s science curriculum. In addition to an exemplary classroom experience, UTES hosts a Science Exposition Week, sends the students on field experiences, and plans community service activities. Students get a chance to interact with Master Gardeners and representatives from Keep Austin Beautiful as well as representatives from several of UT’s academic departments. The list of potential field experiences is pleasantly exhausting to read, and proves the breadth of Central Texas opportunity for environmental education: nature hikes, fossil digs, kayaking, caving, fishing, water quality testing, flower/plant studies, native animal studies, insect/butterfly studies, dinosaur studies, rock climbing, overnight science trips to the Sea World aquarium, visits to the Bob Bullock museum and visits to San Antonio’s Witte museum; the Austin Nature and Science Center, the River School, the Outdoor School, the Butterfly Farm, the helioscope at UT, Natural Bridge Caverns, Inner Space Caverns, Lady Byrd Johnson Wildflower Center and the Dino Dig at Zilker Park.

In September, UTES joined “WellNest” as part of the Healthy Families Initiative. Childhood obesity is prevalent at the school, and this program directly combats it by encouraging physical activity and eating healthy foods. Media coverage of this initiative can be found at the following links: http://www.utexas.edu/know/2010/11/01/elem_school_garden/

Finally, UTES addresses economic equity by providing this quality education free of charge, and coordinating programs such as Dell YouthConnect, which ensures access to upgraded computers and operating systems in all classrooms and directly to parents and families, softening the barriers between home and school.

A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise:
The website URL where information about the innovation is available :

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.