SOAR – Seeking Opportunities, Achieving Results
San Marcos, TX, September 10, 2008 Education has always been a priority in San Marcos. But locals will tell you, something big is in the air when it comes to educational attainment right now – and it’s all about collaboration. Local education, business and community leaders are coming together with a commitment to find solutions, eliminate duplication of efforts, and to seek real increases in success rates among all students, with special emphasis on low-income and minority students. There is a willingness to step out of their institutional roles and speak out on behalf of higher educational attainment without concern for credit to the organization. They want to really close those educational gaps in the community. And it appears, they are positioned to do just that.
SOAR is a collaboration first established by Texas State University, San Marcos Consolidated Independent School District and the San Marcos Chamber of Commerce. The three entities found themselves repeatedly at the table working side by side on attainment issues in the San Marcos Community and decided to formalize the relationship and invite additional partners to the table. From that simple starting point, SOAR was launched to encourage further collaboration among all educational partners in San Marcos by creating an umbrella organization with the goal of making sure all attainment efforts are focused, and wherever possible to encourage collaboration on these projects in order to maximize the results. SOAR initiatives include efforts to increase school readiness in early childhood, eliminate disparities in the education system by increasing college access and preparedness, and addressing issues in work force development. According to Patty Shafer, SMCISD Superintendent, “I have never been in a community more willing to work together to achieve results for students. With this level of support and commitment, we cannot help but be successful.” Texas State, a long time supporter of Educational Attainment is excited to be a part of this venture. Dr. Denise Trauth, reflecting on SOAR and its mission reminded us of some words of Texas State University alumnus Lyndon Baines Johnson, ” ‘This nation cannot rest while the door to knowledge remains closed to any American.’ Through SOAR, we intend to open those doors to knowledge in San Marcos, now and into the future.”
SOAR’s first big project for Fall 2008 is the San Marcos Education Fair slated for
Saturday, October 11, from 10:00 am – 3:00 pm at the San Marcos Activity Center.
The event is modeled after the Feria Para Aprender in Austin and is designed to provide a one-stop shopping approach to the educational services and non-profit organizations currently serving families in San Marcos. This event will allow SOAR to disseminate important educational messages and useful information to hundreds of students and their parents who live in San Marcos. It will also put the steps in place to create more skilled and knowledgeable consumers of goods and services; assist in connecting underserved students and families to important resources in their community; and develop the capacity and connectivity of dozens of non-profit organizations by increasing their visibility in a community-wide event. For more information on how you can become a part of SOAR or how you can participate in the San Marcos Education Fair, contact the San Marcos Chamber of Commerce at (512) 393-5900.
From ERIC BONAR
Communications Manager – San Marcos Chamber of Commerce