A Message from UA Superintendent Simmons

May 1, 2024 | Jo Ann Simmons

College of Education and Psychology Spring 2024 Newsletter

University Academy Superintendent Message

Dear Families and Friends of University Academy,

Simmons In Texas, the educational spectrum includes traditional comprehensive public schools, public charter schools, private schools and homeschooling. Within the charter school landscape, Texas offers three models: open enrollment charters managed by nonprofits, those managed by school districts, and university charters, typically serving as lab schools. This diversity of options can invigorate the education system, fostering healthy competition and driving innovation.

Families in Texas choosing public education can opt for traditional ISDs or one of the charter school models. This freedom empowers families to select an educational environment tailored to their child’s specific needs, learning styles and interests. Recognizing that not all students thrive in the same setting, offering choices ensures each child receives a personalized education maximizing their potential.

The UT Tyler University Academy is a K-12 university charter and operates as Laboratory STEM Academies, supported by Texas Education Agency charter school funding. The academies are Texas Education Agency A-Rated schools, developed collaboratively with UT Tyler School of Education faculty, aimed to enhance students’ post-secondary opportunities upon high school graduation. With campuses across Tyler, Longview and Palestine, UT Tyler University Academy provides a tuition-free, dynamic learning environment integrating STEM education into daily curriculum. The emphasis lies in equipping students with 21st-century skills vital for future success through hands-on learning, critical thinking, problem solving and creativity.

Students at University Academy benefit from project-based and blended learning approaches, ensuring every child can reach their full potential academically. The integration of free dual credit opportunities from UT Tyler further enhances students’ preparedness for higher education. Over half of seniors transition directly to UT Tyler, with a significant majority pursuing STEM majors once admitted at the university. Collaboration between the University Academies and UT Tyler ensures that students are well-prepared for rigorous university courses, aligning with best practices in educational research. Moreover, University Academies serve as model STEM schools, providing valuable learning environments for UT Tyler's Preservice Teachers and offering additional mentorship opportunities for students.

Interested families are encouraged to visit uttua.org.  

Dr. Jo Ann Simmons

UA Superintendent