New ’Science by The Horns’ Program Serves Austin Schools

Tom Harvey, 512-389-4453,

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AUSTIN, Texas — Starting this fall, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is partnering with the University of Texas College of Natural Sciences to enhance science education in Austin Independent School District elementary schools. The program is called "Science by the Horns," and reaches students through professional development and resources from TPWD.

The program began when Pat Forgione, Ph.D. and superintendent of AISD, first contacted the University of Texas concerned about low science scores on the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TAKS). In turn, the University of Texas contacted TPWD to explore educational resources the state agency could offer. Three AISD elementary schools will receive professional development and resources from TPWD specialists.

The target schools participating in "Science By the Horns," are Zavala Elementary, T.A. Brown Elementary and Campbell Elementary. They are all urban schools.

"The ultimate goal is to increase college readiness for students in schools with the most need," said Mary Miller, the program’s coordinator at University of Texas. "The program focuses on the fifth grades at these schools and we are seeing increased enthusiasm generated for teaching science. The support of the District and the principals in these three schools has been amazing and we look forward to the relationship with Texas Parks and Wildlife."

Project WILD coordinator Cappy Manly at TPWD says the program’s coordinators anticipate serving another 10 schools next year and hope to increase that number by the third year. TPWD will be working with the staff of Science By The Horns to facilitate the integration of some of the Project WILD, Project WILD Aquatic, and Texas Nature Trackers lessons into the curriculum.

TPWD will transport participating school students, teachers and their families to this year’s Expo by bus. For the kids, this will connect outdoor activities to questions on the TAKS test. Spanish-speaking interpreters will be provided at Expo.

Funding and support for Science By The Horns is made possible by Applied Materials, AISD, The University of Texas College of Education and The University of Texas College of Natural Sciences.