Opening Doors for all Children

The Center for Urban School Partnerships (CUSP) at Texas A&M University provides professional development, interventions, research, and evaluation services to all academic (K-16) and community organizations to improve opportunities for all children.

Our Goals

Housed in the School of Education and Human Development at Texas A&M University, the CUSP provides data-based answers to the most pressing research questions in the field of urban schools, through scholarly investigations and strategic partnerships.

Focused on finding the best solutions to many of the challenges facing children, teachers, families, schools, and communities. Current CUSP projects include grants totaling over 5 million dollars related to content-area reading comprehension, science learning, supporting Spanish speaking English learners, writing, web-based intelligent tutoring systems for reading and writing, and special education services.

Ready to partner with our schools and communities to support the identification of the challenges, measure and analyze benchmark data, review solution options, select optimal solution(s), seek funding for implementing solutions, promote effective implementation, and review progress. 

Current Projects

These projects are available to schools for partnership. For more information, email Dr. Wijekumar.

Framework for Accelerating Strategic Comprehension of Text (FASCT)

FASCT is a text structure-based reading comprehension and literacy framework that integrates content and strategies to improve reading comprehension by teaching children how to select and encode strategic memory structures. Children learn how to utilize these strong memory structures to write a main idea, recall, infer, elaborate, apply, and write to inform, persuade, or argue using text structure. The text structures are useful to learn in all content areas (e.g., science, social studies, sports, current events).

This U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences grant funded project extends from 2016-2019 and provides extensive support for the schools (e.g., free professional development for the teachers, materials for schools, stipends for teachers and literacy coaches, and free use of the software for 2 years).

Strategy Instruction on the Web for English Language Learners (SWELL)

Funded by the U.S. Dept. of Education

Extending the FASCT project to Spanish speaking bilingual learners our web-based tutor now can provide instruction in Spanish or provide on-demand assistance in Spanish. Children who use the software make big gains in reading comprehension on standardized tests and other measures.

This project is ready for new partners in the planned large scale research project.

We-Write (Persuasively)

Funded by the U.S. Dept. of Education

We-Write combines the powerful Self-Regulated Strategies Development (SRSD) model for writing with teacher-led and computer supported learning for children in grades 4-5. The project has been tested with 20 classrooms with positive results and is now ready for larger scale rollout and testing. Partnerships with interested schools are available.

Web-based Support for Tier 3 Literacy Support and Special Education Services

Funded by the U.S. Dept. of Education

We are extending our web-based content area reading comprehension tutor to support children eligible to receive special education services. The extensions will include support for phonemic awareness, vocabulary support, and fluency. Partnerships with interested schools are available.

Culturally Responsive Literacy for K-12

In diverse communities across Texas large numbers of children and adults are faced with mounting challenges. The goal of this project is to identify causes for the problems and provide interventions that can mitigate them.