About 60 people joined San Angelo ISD and the San Angelo Chamber of Commerce Wednesday for a special ribbon cutting to celebrate the revitalization of the Blackshear Learning Center, what was Blackshear Head Start and Blackshear Elementary.
The new Blackshear Learning Center now houses SAISD’s PAYS and Tiny Texans programs. PAYS is an academic alternative school providing students the opportunity to accrue credits to progress to graduation. PAYS students are non-traditional students motivated to complete their high-school diploma but are enduring extenuating circumstances that pose as obstacles to their academic success. Currently, there are approximately 60 students in the PAYS program working their way to graduation.
“SAISD is thrilled to offer more for our high school students and families who are in need of a non-traditional high school setting,” said Dr. Farrah Gomez, SAISD Deputy Superintendent and Chief Academic Officer. “The space at Blackshear provides more classrooms and will allow us to better serve these students as they cross the finish line for graduation.”
Before moving to the Blackshear campus, the PAYS program was housed in a single portable building on Knickerbocker Road next to the San Angelo Stadium. On June 1 2023, SAISD faculty worked fast to move the program across town to the Blackshear Learning Center.
“To date PAYS has graduated over 1,300 students that may have otherwise not competed their high school diploma,” said Claudia Becerra, SAISD PAYS Coordinator of Academic Alternatives. “The landscape in education is changing quickly as are the needs of our learners. With our increased capacity, PAYS will now be able to support a greater number of students who need a more customized approach to their learning. We look forward to expanding our program and opening as many doors as possible for SAISD students.”
“Providing staff and students with a space for childcare provides them peace of mind as they serve others’ children during the day,” said Dr. Gomez. We are honored to care for our youngest SAISD Difference Makers with the expansion of Tiny Texans, including the six classrooms at Blackshear.”
Tiny Texans is a staff and student early childcare center. There are approximately 90 children enrolled in the Tiny Texans program ranging in age from birth to three years old. A growth from approximately 20 children last year.
“Tiny Texans at Blackshear is one of three licensed childcare facilities within SAISD,” said Roxanne Fentress, SAISD Director of Career & Technical Education. “We are proud to offer childcare services for employees, while they, in turn, provide guidance, education, and support to the students of SAISD. Having Tiny Texans at Blackshear allows high school students to complete their education knowing their children are well taken care of.”
San Angelo ISD is proud to honor the history and nostalgia tied to the Blackshear area and the Blackshear campus. Inside the front doors of the building is a commemorative display case that the Blackshear Learning Center has dedicated to displaying historical memorabilia relating to the past history of Blackshear. We encourage any community members who have items relating to the Blackshear’s past such as yearbooks, newspaper clippings, uniforms, etc. and would like to display the item(s) in the case to email firstname.lastname@example.org.