On April 7, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) released details about the launch of new statewide reading and math academies this summer. A major education initiative of Gov. Greg Abbott, the academies will provide high-quality, face-to-face professional development to elementary-level public school teachers.

“If our children are to succeed in the classroom and in life, there’s no question that we must provide them a strong foundation in reading and math,” said Commissioner of Education Mike Morath. “Through the leadership of Gov. Abbott who championed these academies in the last legislative session, teachers will now have a resource that can truly help students in two core subjects, as well as all other subjects, in elementary school and beyond.”

Passed during the 84th Texas Legislature in 2015 and signed into law by Abbott, Senate Bill 925 established literacy achievement academies for teachers who provide reading instruction to students at the kindergarten through third grade level. SB 972 established reading-to-learn academies for teachers who provide reading comprehension instruction to students at the fourth or fifth grade level.

In addition, SB 934 established mathematics achievement academies for teachers who provide mathematics instruction to students at the kindergarten through third grade level.

TEA will work with the 20 regional Education Service Centers to launch the first of these academies in the summer. Three-day academies for Kindergarten Reading, Grade 1 Reading, Grade 2 Mathematics and Grade 3 Mathematics will take place this summer. Academies for Grade 2 Reading, Grade 3 Reading, Grade 4 Reading, Grade 5 Reading and Kindergarten/Grade 1 Mathematics will take place next summer in 2017. Click here for more information. 

The Texas Legislature appropriated funding to pay stipends to eligible teachers who successfully complete these academies. TEA is required to grant priority for academy participation and stipend eligibility to teachers employed at campuses where 50 percent or more of the students enrolled are educationally disadvantaged (eligible to participate in the national free or reduced-price lunch program). A teacher who successfully completes an academy will be eligible to receive a $350 stipend.