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International Day of Education: Coastal Bend schools expanding access to educational programs

From expanding Pre-K to 3-year-olds to offering trade schools, South Texas districts are working to connect kids with programs that further their education.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed January 24 as International Day of Education. According to unesco.org, 244 million children and youth are without school, and 771 million adults are illiterate. The theme for 2023 is "to invest in people, prioritize education." School districts across the Coastal Bend have programs to help expand the education for children in the area.

At Corpus Christi ISD, Metro Elementary School of Design and Zavala Elementary School are opening up their doors to 3-year-olds. All campuses have programs for 4-year-olds, but officials at CCISD have hope to expand Pre-K next school year. 

Dr. Cynthia Hernandez, the Elementary Curriculum and Instruction Coordinator, tells 3NEWS Students will learn early math, reading and social skills. 

"Learning how to interact, how to behave, how to say please and thank you, how to function in school," Dr. Hernandez said. "Its really sets kids apart when they get this opportunity to attend pre-kindergarten." 

On Saturday, February 18, CCISD will hold a Pre-K registration Event from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the CCISD Instructional Resource Center. 

CCISD students are also learning how to set sail without leaving the building. The 2022-2023 School year is the first year for the Maritime Studies Program. The program is designed to teach students about working on jobs on the water and at the port by providing hands on experience. Students will also be able to receive an industry-based certification. 

Principal Robert Arredondo spoke with 3NEWS about the program.

"It's an exciting program for all students in the Coastal Bend community because all students can take part in it," Arredondo said. "And it's something new and our goal as educators is to create meaningful, relevant education that's going to be responsive to the needs of the community." 

The program is expected to contribute manpower to the area.

You can't speak about bettering education, without College and Trade Schools. The Texas Association of Black Personnel in Higher education is working to make sure all kids have access to higher learning through preparing them for the ACT and SAT. Tina Butler with the organization says they help provide resources to become available to those who want to prepare for any kind of standardized testing. 

Robstown ISD School Board President says College is not for everyone, but there are opportunities students can use to better themselves after high school. The district is offering Trade Schooling through a new welding facility that prepares students for life without college.

"College is great. I support college 100%," Lori Garza explained to 3NEWS. "But not everybody goes to college. It's not for everyone." 

CCISD is also turning the Old Mary Carroll High School campus is turning into a career and technical hub. The district says the facility could include programs for manufacturing and industrial engineering to refinery firefighting and a training program for first responders.

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