TEES helps South Texas school district win grant for library services
HARLINGEN, Texas — The Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District (HCISD) in Cameron County has received a $299,786 Improving Literacy Through School Libraries Program Grant (2007) from the U.S. Department of Education. Harlingen CISD's grant project, Opportunities for All Students to Invest in Success (OASIS), was developed and submitted through a collaborative effort between Harlingen CISD and the Texas Engineering Experiment Station's (TEES) Center for Community Support (CCS). This federal grant will provide funds for improving Harlingen CISD's library collections and media resources while addressing student reading and literacy challenges. Serving 18,000 students, of which 89 percent are Hispanic and 75 percent are economically disadvantaged, much of this grant funding will go toward updating the three highest need elementary schools' library materials. Grant funding will also support expanded library hours for increasing parent and community access to literature, technology and trained professionals in an effort to promote growth in literacy and use of library resources. "These were very competitive national grants and will provide much needed literacy services to students and communities in the district," CCS's Martha Opersteny said. "Almost 70 percent of the school district's student body is at risk of not completing their high school education. This grant will make a big difference because it provides a way for parents to participate in their child's education through their expanded library hours and services." In recent years, there have been many Texas schools and educational groups benefiting greatly from the center's grant development services. The assistance CCS offers provides these organizations with a competitive edge in obtaining much needed grants, which make a big difference in public education across much of Texas. Since 2002, the TEES Center for Community Support has worked with 33 Texas schools and educational nonprofits in developing grant proposals. The result has been $11.5 million for improvements in public education in Texas. Developed projects deal with issues such as teacher training, vocational instruction, special services for the blind, minority outreach, and literacy and math initiatives. The TEES Center for Community Support provides a broad range of information, data and proposal writing services at no cost for Texas community-based nonprofit organizations. Support is available to pursue competitive funding for programs designed to improve the quality of life for Texans. In all, approximately $34 million in federal and private grants have been garnered for Texas' nonprofit sector with the direct assistance of the center.