A&M-San Antonio launches ‘ASPIRE Classroom of the Month’ program

By University Communications

Monday, 10 12 2020

Julian Gallardo Elementary School career-readiness classroom culture inspiring K-8 grade 

SAN ANTONIO – Recognizing exceptional teachers in the ASPIRE network who are creating classroom cultures that bring higher education dreams to elementary and middle school classrooms is the focus of a new recognition initiative at Texas A&M University-San Antonio. The “ASPIRE Classroom of the Month” initiative celebrates teachers and classroom cultures that introduce higher education opportunities to K-8 student and families. The inaugural ASPIRE Classroom of the Month will be awarded to Ms. Priscilla Ortegon’s fifth-grade class at Julian C. Gallardo Elementary School, located in Southside ISD.

Launched in 2019, ASPIRE (A&M-SA & South Bexar County ISDs Partnership to Impact Regional Equity and Excellence) is the collaborative effort between A&M-San Antonio and seven south Bexar County ISDs (East Central, Edgewood, Harlandale, Somerset, South San Antonio, Southside and Southwest) that is helping create equitable opportunities across districts and enhance social mobility, income growth and career readiness for south Bexar County and the greater San Antonio area.

“Teachers play a critical role in inspiring elementary and middle school students to think beyond high school and to dream bigger,” said Brandy McLelland, vice president of Enrollment Management at A&M-San Antonio. “Creating a classroom culture that helps elementary and middle school students and their families in the ASPIRE network to think just a few years beyond high school inspires these students to consider higher education as a pursuit for career readiness and social mobility. These teachers understand that for their students, it’s never too early to think about the future.”

Ms. Ortegon’s fifth-grade class at Gallardo Elementary was selected as the October 2020 Classroom of the Month because the students are highly involved with classroom assignments and discussions and are eager to learn more about college and the opportunities it offers. Ms. Ortegon goes above and beyond for her students and their parents by working to create an engaging presence whether virtual or in person, and she assists with any concerns they have.

“We are proud of our partnership with Texas A&M-San Antonio, which recognizes our outstanding teachers who are creative, adaptive and providing Southside ISD students with high-quality education, especially during these challenging times,” said Southside ISD Superintendent Rolando Ramirez.

The first Classroom of the Month celebration featuring Gallardo Elementary will be Tuesday, Oct. 13, at 9 a.m. A&M-San Antonio President Cynthia Teniente-Matson will present the award. To nominate a classroom and teacher from the ASPIRE network, complete the recommendation form here.


Texas A&M University-San Antonio

Established as a stand-alone university in 2009, Texas A&M University-San Antonio is a comprehensive four-year public university that reflects the culturally diverse, heritage-rich community it serves. Situated on nearly 700 acres in south San Antonio, A&M-San Antonio is a Military Embracing™ institution offering 29 undergraduate degrees and 14 graduate degrees to over 6,700 students. The University is home to the Henry G. Cisneros Institute for Emerging Leaders and the Cyber Engineering Technology/Cyber Security Research Center. A&M-San Antonio holds the Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) designation. Military Times ranks the University No. 35 in the nation for Best for Vets: Colleges.” Visit tamusa.edu for more information. #onamission