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NEWS RELEASE

Office of External Communications

Houston, TX 77204-5017 Fax: 713.743.8199

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 22, 2007

Contact: Marisa Ramirez
713.743.8152 (office)
713.204.9798 (cell)
mrcannon@uh.edu

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO SCHOOL! UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON CHARTER SCHOOL TURNS 10
Celebrations Include Gala, Silent Auction and Workshop

HOUSTON, Jan. 22, 2007—Ten years ago, charter schools were considered “new age” education, a trendy idea that broke too much with traditional schooling. Today, many charter schools are still standing—and flourishing. One of the earliest—The University of Houston Charter School (UHCS)—will celebrate its 10th anniversary this month with a Birthday Gala Party and Silent Auction at 5 p.m., Friday, Jan. 26, in the UH Athletic Center, and an Interactive Constructivist Science Workshop and Lunch featuring author Rheta DeVries from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 27. That event will take place at the UH Charter School.

“Our school was one of the original 19 first-generation charter schools in the state,” Carolyn Black, principal of the UHCS, said. “It’s been a bumpy road for charter schools, but we’ve been true to our constructivist curriculum and focused on each child.”

The UH Charter School follows an educational philosophy that encourages children to construct their own knowledge by solving problems that are of interest to them. This “constructivist” approach, based on the research of psychologist Jean Piaget and educator John Dewey, focuses on the development of reasoning in every aspect of a child’s day.

“Charter schools were instituted to increase innovation in public education,” Black said. “UHCS was established to implement constructivism for the first time in a Texas public elementary school.”

In 1996, the Texas State Board of Education awarded UH the first university charter to establish a public school. A year later, under the leadership of Chancellor William P. Hobby and with the assistance and support of
Rep. Garnet Coleman, the UH Charter School of Technology opened its doors to kindergarten and first grade children. In 2001, the school was among the first of the original programs to be granted a 10-year ten year charter. It was then that the school’s name was changed to the University of Houston Charter School. That same year, the school’s first class of fifth graders was promoted to middle school. Today, there are nearly 130 students in six classes of kindergarten to fifth grade. Each class is taught by a lead teacher and an assistant teacher.

“We believe in the power of a community of learners. Coming to school each day is to be empowering for each community member,” Black said.

To RSVP for the Gala or register for the workshop contact Kim Moore at 713.743.9111 or kwmoore@central.uh.edu. For more information on the University of Houston Charter School, please visit www.uh.edu/charterschool/.

About the University of Houston

The University of Houston, Texas’ premier metropolitan research and teaching institution, is home to more than 40 research centers and institutes and sponsors more than 300 partnerships with corporate, civic and governmental entities. UH, the most diverse research university in the country, stands at the forefront of education, research and service with more than 35,000 students.

For more information about UH visit the university’s ‘Newsroom’ at www.uh.edu/admin/media/newsroom.