Lamar University receives donation from AT&T in support of efforts to tackle learning loss in Southeast Texas schools

Published 12:00 pm Friday, December 10, 2021

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Beaumont, Texas –In continued support of student development and quality education, AT&T has donated to Lamar University to bolster the institutions efforts in targeting mathematical learning loss in Southeast Texas.

“Since 2008, AT&T has committed over $600 million to programs that help students across all 50 states,” said Leslie Ward, President, AT&T – Texas. “We are excited to partner with Lamar University to assist students and families in combatting learning loss in Southeast Texas.”

The donation is critical as students have experienced significant learning loss as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. In reviewing a key statewide marker of educational proficiency (the 2021 State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR test), the Texas Education Agency found a decrease in academic performance with a larger decline in math than reading. Economically disadvantaged students experienced a greater learning loss in the two subjects as well.

“We were already hyper-focused on STEM education within our local districts, but we realized that the pandemic has created a huge gap in mathematics across Texas schools,” said George Saltsman, director of the LU Center for Educational Innovation and Digital Learning. “This is a crisis right now in education and it’s especially problematic in underrepresented demographics and at-risk students.”

In support of these efforts, LU also is collaborating with the Region 5 Education Service Center, which serves 33 school districts, 6 charter schools, 178 campuses, over 90,000 students and assists Southeast Texas school districts in improving student performance. In partnership with LU, the Region 5 ESC has been embedded in local districts for nearly 15 years providing technical assistance across more than 70 programs and services. Lamar University faculty and doctoral students also have taken an active role in volunteering their time to mentor and tutor students in local school districts.

“This is an investment in helping students in Southeast Texas become STEM ready and we could not do this without the generous donation of AT&T to help us in accelerating our efforts to attack the area of greatest need –– learning loss,” Saltsman said. “Lamar University and our community partner Region 5 ESC will remain committed to serving schools in Southeast Texas and ensuring that every child has the math skills needed for future success.”

An official gift announcement is set for Tuesday, Dec. 14 at 9:30 a.m. in the Wayne A. Reaud Administration Building, Executive Event Space.