Higher Education

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From elementary to college education, strong academic opportunities abound in the Rockport-Fulton area.

Pirate proud

The Aransas County Independent School District is a 2,800-student strong school system that offers opportunities that foster the social, emotional and academic needs of its students. With three learning centers (elementary schools), a middle school and a high school, the latest school year has presented many opportunities for growth.

For the 2017 to 2018 academic year, students posted a four percent gain in performance at all levels from the previous academic year, proving that even a hurricane could not slow students’ academic progress. In addition to these improvements, all school district campuses met the required academic standards, receiving 20 out of 24 distinctions.

Some of the achievements across the campus include bringing home district titles in girls’ cross country and football in the 2018-2019 school year. With the team mottos of “Outwork Our Opponents” and “Find a Way to Win!” the pirate athletes have continued to work hard and excel at their respective sports. In 2019, Rockport-Fulton High School will be home to a new gymnasium, which was made possible through a generous gift from Ellen DeGeneres and Lowe’s.

In addition to achievements on the playing field, the Rockport-Fulton High School Culinary Arts Department builds skills in the kitchen as well. The school’s commercial kitchen provides an opportunity to build basic knife skills and learn how to prepare a variety of dishes – including a Cornish game hen. Culinary students can hone their skills at catering functions and even participate in “mystery basket” competitions to show off their skills.

High school students aren’t the only ones participating in unique challenges. At Fulton Learning Center, students in the third through fifth grades participate in birding. Leader Martha McLeod created a birding program a decade ago that now includes weekly practice sessions and monthly field trips. Students work with various wildlife organizations, including the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to identify and collect data on more than 100 migratory species. Students also lead an educational program at the annual community “HummerBird Celebration.”

All educational efforts are ultimately aimed at helping students build skills relevant to college and career. One such example is the Rockport-Fulton High School welding program. This program allows students to use up-to-date equipment to obtain job-specific training for potential employment in welding careers. Through taking classes on shop safety, blueprint reading, shielding metal arc welding and plasma arc cutting, students can start to prepare for a career in this industrial trade field.

Private schools, day cares, and learning centers

In addition to the education offered through the school district, there are early learning opportunities to support young children and their families. Examples of these options include:

ABC Learning Center

The ABC Learning Center offers preschool education via half- and full-day programs in a Christian learning environment. Extended-day programs are also available as a benefit for parents who have later working hours.

First Learning Tree

First Learning Tree is a child care center for children from birth to age 10 through after-school and summer care programs. The center boasts creative and fun activities that challenge students’ minds and bodies in a positive, uplifting way.

Matthews Learning Center III

Matthews Learning Center offers educational opportunities for children ages six weeks to 5 years old. The Center’s motto is “Child care with love.” The enthusiastic and well-trained teaching staff works with students to provide a developmentally appropriate environment for little ones to learn and grow.

Sacred Heart School

Sacred Heart School provides educational opportunities for children from ages 3 to fifth graders. The 3-5-year-olds can participate in classroom learning with Montessori-certified teachers while the kindergarten through fifth-grade programs are traditional learning-based programs.

Craft Training Center of the Coastal Bend

The Craft Training Center of the Coastal Bend is a nonprofit educational organization that offers courses in adult-accelerated craft training and apprenticeship programs to help individuals seeking a career in trade programs. The Center also partners with institutions like Rockport-Fulton High School to provide instruction in welding, electrical, plumbing, and more.

Many of the Center’s programs are offered in the evening so that working adults can build their skills without having to miss work or leave their current jobs.

Higher education opportunities

Students who wish to pursue higher educational opportunities in the Rockport-Fulton area have many colleges and universities to choose from.

Del Mar College

Del Mar College offers associates degrees in a variety of fields. The college also partners with area high schools to offer dual-credit opportunities so students can earn college course credits before they decide the ultimate institution they will pursue a higher education degree at.

The college offers classes in allied health, teaching, business administration, public safety, music and arts educations. Students can earn associates degrees that include an Associate of Arts Degree and an Associate of Arts in Teaching Degree. Whether the associate degree is a student’s ultimate pursuit or a student wishes to transfer their credits and pursue a bachelor’s degree, the college offers both tracks and many others.

Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi

Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi is home to more than 12,000 students, more than 2,000 of which are graduate students. The college has received many accolades, including being named one of the Top 20 Colleges for Hispanics in Texas by Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education magazine. Organizations have also recognized the college for its nursing, teaching, business, and accounting programs.

In addition to undergraduate education, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi offers graduate programs in business, education and human development, liberal arts, nursing and health sciences and science and engineering. They also offer online programs that allow individuals to pursue their master’s degrees in fields such as nursing administration, kinesiology and business administration.

University of Houston-Victoria

The University of Houston-Victoria educates more than 4,000 students pursuing more than 70 bachelor’s and master’s degree options. The campus is known for its affordable tuition and small class sizes to foster a supportive learning environment.

Students and residents also know the campus for its Small Business Development Center. This center is part of a nationwide program that provides assistance to existing and start-up businesses. The network equips businesses with tools needed for success, including training, education and technical assistance. —By Rachel Nall