In a significant step towards enhancing early childhood education and meeting the needs of our growing community, TISD is thrilled to announce the acquisition of property from Texarkana College for the construction of a new state-of-the-art Paul Laurence Dunbar Early Education Center. This ambitious undertaking, funded by the voter-approved TISD Bond 2022 project, will involve the construction of a cutting-edge early education center featuring highly engaging and immersive experiences, setting the stage for a new era of early childhood education in the region.
The new Paul Laurence Dunbar Early Education Center will be strategically built on the acquired property located at 1201 Carroll Ave, Texarkana, TX. The site is conveniently accessible to families across the district and is positioned inside the current Dunbar attendance zone on approximately seven acres. This initiative reflects TISD’s unwavering commitment to providing accessible programs for our children’s education that foster growth and build strong foundations during their critical early years.
The future Dunbar Early Education Center will pay homage to the storied history of the original school while embracing the latest advancements in educational design and technology. With spacious and engaging learning spaces, dedicated play areas, state-of-the-art learning environments and the highest standards of safety and security, the center will offer young learners an unparalleled opportunity to explore, learn, and grow.
“We were excited to find this site for the new Paul Laurence Dunbar Early Education Center,” said Dr. Doug Brubaker, TISD Superintendent. “A new location was needed because the new building, which will have twice as much capacity as the current one, wouldn’t fit on the current Dunbar site. The site we have purchased from Texarkana College is in the current Dunbar attendance zone, will empower Dunbar to serve over twice as many children, and facilitate our efforts with TC to prepare Texas High students for careers in education through our P-TECH program and internships at Dunbar. We are grateful for the support and trust that our community has placed in us through the voter-approved bond project.”
The acquisition of the property from Texarkana College marks a collaborative effort between the two institutions to maximize resources and better serve the community. This partnership reflects the shared dedication to education and the recognition of the vital role early childhood education plays in setting the stage for future success.
Texarkana College president, Dr. Jason Smith, said TISD’s purchase of land owned by TC provides for greater alignment of TC’s mission with TISD’s goals.
“I could not be more excited about the opportunities that are ahead for our community to build a pipeline of skilled educators through TISD’s P-TECH Academy,” said Dr. Smith. “The location of the new Paul Laurence Dunbar Early Education Center near the TC campus will allow for greater collaboration between faculty and staff and will enable eligible dual credit high school students participating in the P-TECH program to access resources on the TC campus.”
P-TECH programs are innovative open-enrollment high schools that allow students least likely to attend college an opportunity to receive both a high school diploma and a credential and/or an associate degree. The hallmark of the P-TECH model is its career focus and the provision of work-based education.
TISD has begun implementation of P-TECH at Texas High School in the 2023-2024 school year. It will continue to be open to up to 25 incoming 9th-grade TISD students who are motivated and willing to commit to a four-year program.
“TISD Students who participate in TISD’s P-TECH program will be able to earn an Associate of Arts in Teaching all or in part through Texarkana College’s Dual Credit courses,” said Dr. Smith. “By completing coursework through this pathway, students will have the foundation and college credit to transfer into a bachelor’s degree program at Texas A&M University-Texarkana to complete their higher education credential. The P-TECH program sets students up for success in a high-demand occupation in our region and provides a secure career pathway for dedicated students.”
Groundbreaking for the Paul Laurence Dunbar Early Education Center is scheduled to take place in early 2024 with construction expected to begin soon after. TISD anticipates that the center will open its doors to eager young learners by Fall 2025. The district will keep the community updated on the progress of the project through regular updates and communications.