Dr. Belinda Bustos Flores founded the Academy for Teacher Excellence (ATE) in 2003 with the Department of Education Title V Cooperative Development grant from the Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) Program. ATE works as a catalyst for the emergence of COEHD as a nationally recognized leader in preparing teachers to teach diverse student populations and increasing the number of culturally and linguistically diverse students who enroll and graduate with bachelors’ and advanced degrees in education.

Belinda Bustos Flores, Ph.D.

Contact

Belinda Bustos Flores, Ph.D.

Associate Dean for Strategic Partnership, Preparation and Growth & Professor, Founder and Director of The Academy for Teacher Excellence, UTSA Dual Language Community Lab Schools Partner

Bicultural-Bilingual Studies

belinda.flores@utsa.edu

ATE is a research center located at The University of Texas at San Antonio, the premier higher education institution in South Texas, and is housed in the College of Education and Human Development (COEHD). ATE has been fully funded by grants received from federal, state, and private funding agencies throughout its history.

ATE is grounded in the “Culturally Efficacious Teacher” model and serves as a center for research, design, evaluation, program implementation, and collaboration for area school districts, community colleges, the private sector, and UTSA. ATE leverages institutional and community resources to better prepare teacher candidates and in-service teachers who work with diverse student populations. ATE guides the preparation and retention of teachers who will demonstrate the attitudes, knowledge, and skills of a Culturally Efficacious Teacher (Flores, Clark, Claeys, & Villarreal, 2007).

For more information about ATE, please contact us at ate@utsa.edu.

Recognizing that UTSA is the premier institution for higher education in South Texas, ATE’s mission is to collaborate with community colleges, community agencies, and school districts by:

  • Supporting Latino/Hispanic and other ethnically diverse students as they overcome financial, psycho-social, and institutional barriers. These obstacles have traditionally hindered their full participation in higher education.
  • Increasing the sensitivity and preparation of faculty to address students needs through culturally relevant curricula and instruction.
  • Increasing the number of UTSA teacher certification programs that become nationally recognized for success in addressing culturally and linguistically diverse student populations.
  • Conducting quantitative and qualitative research that informs administrators, teachers, university faculty, and community members of research-based instructional practices.
  • Creating accountable partnerships among schools, the community, and the university that prepare all students for the 21st Century.

Dr. Belinda Bustos Flores

Founder and Director

Dr. Flores has been a Professor and Principal Investigator in the Interdisciplinary Learning and Teaching Department (ILT) and is now the Associate Dean of Professional Preparation and Partnerships. Dr. Flores guides ATE’s research and secures external funding for the expansion and sustainability of ATE.

Dr. Lorena Claeys

Co-Director

Dr. Lorena Claeys is the Director of Clinical Professional Experiences and has been with ATE since its founding. She has served as a Program Coordinator, Principal Investigator, Co-Principal investigator, and Executive Director. Dr. Claeys engages in research and the development of proposals to support ATE’s mission.

Student Support

ATE supports Latino/Hispanic and other ethnically diverse students at all levels of their education to overcome financial, psycho-social, and institutional barriers that have traditionally hindered full participation in higher education. ATE provides services to decrease the effects and support students in succeeding in their higher education.

Elementary and Middle School: Students in elementary and middle school participating in the La Clase Mágica Afterschool Informal Learning Clubs increase their STEM knowledge and skills.

High School: ATE works with high schools and high school students to provide college and teacher preparation resources.

Undergraduate: Undergraduate teacher candidates can participate in a variety of services to help them prepare to become teachers through participation in the Teacher Academy Learning Community (TALC). Those services include:

  • Professional and Student development workshops
  • Textbook lending
  • TExES resources
  • Service-learning opportunities in informal learning clubs

La Clase Mágica Informal Learning Clubs

The La Clase Mágica Informal Learning Clubs provide opportunities to create a platform for aspiring STEM teachers to gain experience in working with Hispanic students and assist them in complying with their service-learning requirements. In addition, they provide Hispanic students with opportunities to live and experience STEM-related activities that increase their interest in the STEM areas, higher education, and promote 21st Century skills.

ATE works with schools across San Antonio that have high numbers of minority, Hispanic, and low-income students to establish the informal learning clubs at their campuses. ATE assists the campuses in the following ways:

  1. Establish and provide resources to operate the three projects
  2. Assure teacher candidates each semester meet their service-learning requirements

Coordinate with a local school district to provide space for the operation of the three programs

The Clubs

La Clase Mágica (LCM)

LCM is sponsored in collaboration with the Departments of Bicultural-Bilingual Studies and Interdisciplinary Learning and Teaching. LCM gives Hispanic children access to resources they otherwise might not have at home or school. Development in bilingualism and biliteracy is possible via multiple means and helping them develop their digital literacy in a culturally relevant manner. While primary emphasis on language and literacy is in Spanish the children also develop their English literacy skills via websites, YouTube videos, computer games, and apps. The experience for UTSA teacher candidates provides them access and training for the latest technology and an understanding of how these innovative devices can be effectively used as a mediator to develop language and literacy for young bilingual students.

Robotics Clubs

ATE is partnering with San Antonio schools to assist them in the development of Robotics Clubs at their campuses exposing Hispanic students to mathematics, science, engineering, and technology concepts. These clubs also challenge them to be creative while they are learning STEM-related concepts.

Ethnomathematics Nepohualtzitzin Club

The Ethnomathematics Nepohualtzitzin club is a unique club that focuses on introducing mathematical content from a historical perspective. Its objective is to increase student interest in mathematics and mathematical history by learning about the Nepohualtzitzin and ancient Mayan culture.

UTSA LCM INFORMAL LEARNING CLUB FACULTY MEMBERS:

  • Dr. Belinda Flores, Professor and Department Chair, Department of Bicultural-Bilingual Studies
  • Dr. Maria Arreguin-Anderson, Assistant Professor, Department of Interdisciplinary Learning & Teaching
  • Dr. Lucila Ek, Associate Professor, Department of Bicultural-Bilingual Studies
  • Dr. Patricia Sanchez, Associate Professor, Department of Bicultural-Bilingual Studies
  • Dr. Timothy Yuen, Faculty Researcher, Department of Interdisciplinary Learning & Teaching

More Information

Campuses: To find out how your campus can work with ATE to set up an informal learning club please contact the ATE office at (210) 458-6170.

Undergraduate Students: To find out how you can volunteer in one of these clubs contact Deborah Chaney at ate@utsa.edu.

A federally funded Title V Cooperative Development Grant initially established the Teacher Academy Learning Community (TALC). TALC provides minority, especially Hispanic/Latino, and low-income diverse student populations with an opportunity to work with other students who have similar backgrounds, academic interests and who have made the commitment to work together and support each other to overcome obstacles that have traditionally discouraged this population from completing a University education. The programs established and implemented through TALC assists students to complete their teaching certification and degree program by addressing academic, emotional, and psychosocial challenges a university experience may bring. TALC is a model for increasing the number of Latino, ethnically diverse, and low-income students pursuing teacher certification in the critical shortage areas and STEM-related fields. TALC also helps to prepare all teacher candidates to work with linguistically and culturally diverse populations.

TALC accomplishes its objectives through recruitment, retention, and transition strategies by:

  • Recruiting undergraduate students who seek certification, particularly in teaching shortage areas: bilingual education, mathematics, science, and special education.
  • Retaining undergraduate teacher candidates to successfully degree and certification completion and retain TALC participants as novice teachers.
  • Providing a smooth transition for undergraduate teacher candidates from the community college to full integration at UTSA. In addition, ATE helps ease first-year teachers’ transitions from teacher candidates to their first professional in-service career.

Students participating in TALC benefit from the following services:

  • Free admission into ALL ATE hosted events and workshops
  • Membership in the eCommunity of Practice (eCofP) for online resources
  • Career Transition Guide (CTG) to assist with learning and personal needs

TALC Application

Teacher Support

ATE provides opportunities for continued professional development for both preservice and in-service educators. Multiple opportunities and avenues are available for educators to receive ongoing support.

Professional Development

ATE provides year-round professional development for teacher candidates and veteran teachers. Teachers can earn CPE hours for their attendance, which can be used toward the renewal of their Standard certificate. Visit the ATE Calendar to see a list of all upcoming workshops and events.

eCommunity of Practice (eCofP)

The eCommunity of Practice (eCofP) is an online community of educators that overcomes the limitations found in single mentoring systems. It allows educators to receive and provide support anytime and anywhere. Through the eCofP educators can:

  • Join a community of teacher candidates, beginning, and veteran teachers.
  • Easily collaborate and network with peers and colleagues.
  • Facilitate mentoring, networking, and other professional development activities.

The eCofP is organized into topic specific portals. Each portal contains courses and a forum specific to that area. The individual courses provide resources to support classroom instruction. Through the forums educators can:

  • Share relevant online resources and teaching and learning strategies,
  • Respond to others by answering any questions posed and/or make comments,
  • Seek guidance by posting challenges faced in the classroom.

(NOTE: eCommunity of Practice does not work using Google Chrome)

Career Transition Guidance

Participants receive psychosocial support to help them make the transition to teaching. Career Transition Guides (CTG) use the LIBRE Model to work with participants to help them navigate through the psychosocial phases of teaching and problem solve the challenges they are facing in their classrooms and in their personal lives. The goal is to affirm and empower self-efficacy skills needed to consciously manage the processing of concerns and problems as they arise.

Culturally Efficacious Evolution Circular ModelIn 2010, Dr. Belinda Bustos Flores and other scholars and educators in the Academy for Teacher Excellence (2010) developed the Culturally Efficacious Evolution Model (CEEM) situating it in a socioconstructivist transformative framework (Vygotsky, 1987; Freire, 1983) to strengthen the teacher preparation program.

The teacher preparation program, which includes recruitment, preparation, and retention of teachers, who have the propensity to be social justice driven, draws on the literature from minority teacher recruitment (Flores et al., 2007; Villegas & Levine 2010); teacher knowledge models (Shulman, 1987, 2000; Saracho & Spodek, 1995; Darling-Hammond, 2006), and teacher induction (Achinstein & Athanases, 2007; Flores, Hernández, García, & Claeys, 2011). The literature that addresses teachers’ personal development, e.g. identity, efficacy, beliefs, dispositions, and positionality (Flores & Clark, 2017; Villegas & Lucas 2002b) also informs the CEEM.

The Culturally Efficacious Observation Protocol (CEOP) is a tool that assists in assessing teacher practices and student engagement using a sociocultural transformative framework, informed by Sheets’ (2005) diversity pedagogy, Darder’s (1997) critical pedagogy, and Flores, Sheets and Clark’s (2011) bilingual/bicultural critical pedagogy. This instrument was designed to assist the educator in their journey towards cultural efficaciousness. In designing the CEOP, the developers aligned the strands with the Culturally Efficacious Evolution Model as captured by Figure 1 (Flores, Claeys, & Gist, in Press). To ensure the validity of the CEOP, external experts examined the instrument, strands, and attributes. In addition, induction mentors conducting observations also provided critical feedback.

Download the form "Cultural Efficaciousness Observation Protocol Summary Form"

Fill out the CEOP Summary Form

References

Darder, A. (1997). Creating the conditions for cultural democracy in the classroom. In A. Darder, R. Torres, & H. Gutiérrez (Eds.), Latinas and education: A critical reader (pp. 331-350). New York, NY: Routledge.

Flores, B. B., Sheets, R. H., & Clark, E. R. (Eds.). (2011). Teacher preparation for bilingual student populations: Educar para transformar. New York, NY: Routledge.

Sheets, R. H. (2005). Diversity pedagogy: Examining the role of culture in the teaching-learning process. Boston, MA: Pearson College Division.

Faculty Development

According to Reybold, Flores, and Riojas-Cortez (2006), “The goals [of faculty development] should be to acknowledge the diversity that exists within our global society, to increase faculty understanding and awareness of diversity issues in teacher preparation, to implement new understanding and awareness of diversity issues in teacher preparation, and to implement new understandings of that diversity in their teaching.”

The goal of the Faculty Development component is to increase the sensitivity and preparation of faculty in addressing the need for a culturally and linguistically diverse population within their delivery of curriculum and instruction and "sphere of influence". Faculty Members are provided with professional learning opportunities such as monthly book group sessions designed to enhance their academic instruction to meet the needs of culturally and linguistically diverse students.

Partnerships

ATE works with schools, districts, community colleges, and community organizations in various efforts to improve support services to teacher candidates and students seeking degrees.

Partnership Advisory Leadership Stakeholders (PALS)
The Partnership Advisory Leadership Stakeholders (PALS) is comprised of representatives from the various San Antonio area school districts, community colleges, community programs, teachers, parents, students, and community leaders.

Meetings and forums held for PALS provide the organization a means to serve its purpose, which is to:

  • Engage in critical reflection and dialogue;
  • Serve in an advisory capacity to ATE and its demonstration projects;
  • Make recommendations for improvement, sustainability and expansion; and
  • Strengthen the UTSA, community colleges, and school districts partnerships.

To join the PALS team, please send an email with your name, email address, and organization affiliated to ate@utsa.edu.

Hispanic Women’s Network of Texas (HWNT)

ATE partners with HWNT to provide outreach opportunities. Each year the HWNT hosts a scholarship competition for Hispanic students. In order to qualify for the scholarship students must participate in a series of workshops. ATE hosts workshops for the HWNT scholarship series regarding the journey to college and 21 st Century skills.

P-20 Parent Summit

ATE partners with the Office of P-20 Initiatives to host a one-day summit for parents and students to develop leadership and skills to advocate for equity and excellence for their students.

Alamo STEM Workforce Coalition

The Alamo STEM Workforce Coalition is a partnership with ATEAMS, ESC-20, P16+, SA Works, UTSA, and WSA. Our ultimate goal is to increase student awareness of careers in the Alamo region by coaching employers to provide engaging externships for educators, providing professional development and coaching for teachers to engage the future workforce with real-world challenges for problem-solving, and strengthen business-education partnerships that foster community economic development.

  • Employer Coaching: The Coalition partners with local organizations to provide site visits, technical assistance, and bridging to school districts.
  • Professional Development and Coaching for Educators: Project-Based Learning, coaching, classroom support/implementation, bridging to employers, graduation/career pathways support.
  • Business-Education Partnerships: Facilitate relationships between ISD and local employers, coach ISD and employer to create meaningful externships/internships/mentorships/job shadow, encourage formalized partnerships

The Alamo STEM Workforce Coalition is a partnership with ATEAMS, ESC-20, P16+, SA Works, UTSA, and WSA. Our ultimate goal is to increase student awareness of careers in the Alamo region by coaching employers to provide engaging externships for educators, providing professional development and coaching for teachers to engage the future workforce with real-world challenges for problem-solving, and strengthen business-education partnerships that foster community economic development. Some of the strategies implemented include:

Employer Coaching

The Coalition partners with local organizations to provide site visits, technical assistance, and bridging to school districts.

Professional Development and Coaching for Educators

Project-Based Learning, coaching, classroom support/implementation, bridging to employers, graduation/career pathways support.

Business-Education Partnerships

Facilitate relationships between ISD and local employers, coach ISD and employer to create meaningful externships/internships/mentorships/job shadow, encourage formalized partnerships.

Research

ATE provides opportunities to faculty and graduate students to conduct quantitative and qualitative research that informs administrators, teachers, university faculty, and community members with research-based practices.

ATE Research Objectives include:

  • Studies around issues affecting culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) students, and the quality of education that they receive.
  • Faculty development opportunities to enhance their instruction for a CLD student population through revised course syllabi and teaching methods;
  • Academic preparation of Hispanic/Latina/o and low-income students to pursue an education degree and teacher certification particularly in bilingual education, special education, mathematics, and science instruction;
  • Opportunities to learn and seek ways of becoming more effective in guiding, retaining, and graduating CLD and low-income students;
  • Linkages with community colleges and school districts to create a seamless system of education that is culturally and linguistically sensitive to a diverse student population.

Over the years ATE has provided funding opportunities for faculty members at UTSA to engage in research activities with colleagues and graduate students across departments and colleges. Research awards support projects designed to provide new insights and solutions to problems and issues associated with the education and retention of P-20 Latin@/Hispanic and low-income students.

List of Publications

Recognition

The White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics encourages the amplification of the Bright Spots in Hispanic Education. The initiative seeks to leverage these Bright Spots to encourage collaboration between stakeholders focused on similar issues in sharing data-driven approaches, promising practices, peer advice, and effective partnerships, ultimately resulting in increased support for the educational attainment of the Hispanic community. It was announced in September 2015 that ATE would be included in the Bright Spot online catalog.

In October 2014, the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics launched a Year of Action, and with it a national call for Commitment to Action in honor of its 25 th anniversary. The Initiative challenged the public and private sectors to make meaningful and quantifiable contributions to expand and support the educational outcomes and opportunities for the Latino community. On October 15, 2015, President Obama announced 150 Commitments to Action programs. ATE answered the call and is featured among the Commitments to Action, committing over $500,000 to focus on Professional Development and Outreach through the annual Summer Bridging Institute (SBI). ATE makes a commitment to annually host the free, weeklong SBI for teacher candidates, novice teachers, and interested educators in an effort to recruit, support, and provide ongoing professional development to Latina/o teachers in our community.

¡Excelencia! held their 2012 Compendium in Washington D.C. to acknowledge and honor programs and departments that successfully serve Latino students. Of the 500 programs that have been nominated since 2005, over 100 have been chosen as outstanding models and resources for higher education success and contributions to continued research and education policy. ATE was honored as an Example of ¡Excelencia! Finalist at the Baccalaureate level in 2012. 159 programs were nominated with 16 finalists chosen. ¡Excelencia! in Education honored ATE’s efforts in Latino students’ financial concerns, educator preparation, informed quantitative and qualitative research and creating functional relationships between community, schools, and higher education institutions.

ATE was honored with 33 other UTSA faculty and staff at the 2012 University Excellence Awards to receive the President’s Distinguished Diversity Award.

Dr. Belinda Bustos Flores

The 2015 American Education Research Association-Hispanic Research Issues SIG Elementary, Secondary, and Postsecondary Award

The Texas Association for Bilingual Education (TABE) 2012 Higher Education Award
TABE 2012 Higher Education Honoree by the Texas Association for Bilingual Education.
Inducted into the San Antonio Women’s Hall of Fame in 2012
Congratulations Dr. Ellen Riojas Clark! A highly deserved recognition for one of the founding members of this AERA SIG, and a credit to UTSA COEHD!

ATE in the News

Con Ganas: Inspiring Male Educators film Paisano online article

The Paisano September 19, 2018

Lorena Claeys, executive director and research associate for the college of education and human development academy for teacher excellence, created a film called “Con Ganas” that highlights five inspirational male educators of color (Latino/Mexican-American, Puerto Rican and African). “Ganas” stands for the teacher’s desire to make a difference in their students lives.

School-University Collaboration Offers Expansive Learning

ATPE News Magazine Spring 2018 | Volume 39 | Issue 1

The informal learning clubs sponsored by UTSA’s Academy for Teacher Excellence use a community-of-learners approach to encourage experimentation in learning and teaching.

ATE hosts 2016 Summer Bridging Institute

COEHD News (July 2016)

Participants at the Academy for Teacher Excellence’s annual Summer Bridging Institute partnered together the week of July 11th to explore ways to stimulate, guide, and build capacity of diverse student populations.

Academy for Teacher Excellence to host End of Year Celebration

Giving Back Through Theater Arts

COEHD News (July 2015)

The Academy for Teacher Excellence partners with actor Tony Plana to provide the Language in Play program to local high school students.

2015 ATE Summer Bridge Institute

SAWP (June 2015)

The San Antonio Writing Project will present at the Academy for Teacher Excellence Summer Bridge Institute June 10th on using notebooks with Robotics Clubs and in STEM-focused classrooms.

UTSA to host the inaugural Global LEAD Summit March 26

NCLR Lidres Congreso

(November 2014)

We had a great time in San Antonio! On Friday, November 21, 2014, NCLR Lideres was happy to partner with the Academy for Teacher Excellence to provide an engaging program for college bound Latino and Latina youth in San Antonio. We are committed to supporting Latino youth in their academic, social and political pursuits.

Spectrum (September 2014)

Each week, small groups of children gather after school at two local elementary schools and a leadership center.

Academy for Teacher Excellence receives $2.6 million grant to research Hispanic student retention

UTSA Today (September 2014)

UTSA President Ricardo Romo, along with Congressman Joaquin Castro, today announced a five-year $2.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education that will go to the UTSA Academy for Teacher Excellence (ATE).

Summer Bridging Institute mixes play and education 

La Prensa (June 2014)

Robots, Barbie bungees and Mayan tools are a few of the special objects that will be used to demonstrate the benefits of hands-on learning at the 2015 Summer Bridging Institute.

UTSA professors to present book on La Clase Mágica on March 21

UTSA Today (March 2014)

The UTSA Department of Bicultural-Bilingual Studies and the Academy for Teacher Excellence in the College of Education and Human Development (COEHD) will present their book, "Generating Transworld Pedagogy: Reimagining La Clase Mágica," at 7 p.m., Friday, March 21 in the Durango Building Southwest Room (1.124) at the UTSA Downtown Campus.

UTSA receives historic records from National Association for Bilingual Education

UTSA Today (November 2013)

The National Association for Bilingual Education (NABE) history can now be found at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), where it was partially rooted.

Receives grant to help community college students pursue teaching

UTSA Today (October 2013)

The University of Texas at San Antonio has been awarded a $1.4 million National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to assist community college students seeking to pursue teaching degrees in mathematics and science.

UTSA Academy for Teacher Excellence Named Excellencia Award Finalist

UTSA Today (October 2012)

The UTSA Academy of Teacher Excellence (ATE) was recognized as an Example of Excelencia Award finalist in the undergraduate school category.

UTSA Academy for Teacher Excellence Offers Study Strategies

UTSA Today (August 2012)

The Academy for Teacher Excellence (ATE) in the UTSA College of Education and Human Development will host "SBi3: Strategies for Success.

Astronaut Jose Hernandez lands at Memorial High School to Promote STEM Careers

UTSA Today (January 2012)

Students at Memorial High School in the Edgewood ISD were flying high Jan. 18 when they met with Jose Hernandez and learned about the career choices that landed him a seat on a mission to the International Space Station.

UTSA Academy for Teacher Excellence receives $4.1 million for STEM Education

UTSA Today (November 2011)

The Academy for Teacher Excellence (ATE) in the UTSA College of Education and Human Development was awarded $4.2 million to be distributed over the next five years.

UTSA Seeks to Boost Number of Minority Math, Science Teachers

San Antonio Business Journal (November 2011)

The Academy for Teacher Excellence (ATE) within the University of Texas at San Antonio College of Education and Human Development has received a $4.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

UTSA’s La Clase Mágica after-school program introduces kids to technology

UTSA Today (November 2011)

The Academy for Teacher Excellence in the UTSA College of Education and Human Development will celebrate Nov. 15 the successful third year of La Clase Mágica, its ongoing, bilingual afterschool technology program.

Wan to learn math? There’s an app for that

Sombrilla (Fall 2011)

Edgewood ISD students prepare for college through a pilot dual-credit program that arms them with iPads.

Academy for Teacher Excellence: Promoting Equity for the Preparation of Latino Teachers

UTSA Academy for Teacher Excellence Hosts Summit on Latino Student Success

UTSA Today (June 2010)

The UTSA College of Education and Human Development Academy for Teacher Excellence recently welcomed educational experts from across the nation for the inaugural two-day Summit on Latino Student Success.

La Clase Mágica program helps children succeed by using technology

UTSA Today (June 2010)

"La Clase Mágica," a pilot program sponsored by the UTSA Academy for Teacher Excellence, completed its first year and organizers are hailing it as a huge success.

Contact Us

Main Campus

Main Building, Room 0.500
(210) 458-6170
(210) 458-6171
ate@utsa.edu

Downtown Campus

Frio Street Building, Room 4.428
(210) 458-3050
ate@utsa.edu