Educational Dive Workshops
Back to DUOY

Back to Education

DUOY 2005 Article from Corpus Christi Caller-Times
August 15, 2021 by Venessa Santos-Garza

Contributed photo

Grant Middle School science teacher J.R. Jones tests remotely operated vehicles made out of Legos earlier this summer at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration headquarters in Galveston.


Area teachers get help from summer programs

Teaching is a cushy job - decent hours, steady paycheck and long summers off. Not!

"That's pretty funny . . . it doesn't work that way," said Karen Howden, an eighth-grade history teacher for Flour Bluff Independent School District. "I've spent three days writing curriculum, a week on one training, another week on another training. This week preparing for the school year and shopping for school supplies. Not for my own kids but for the 140 I have coming in next week. There is always something to do."

Howden, like many Coastal Bend teachers, spent a good portion of her "summer vacation" getting ready for the coming academic year at places such as the Region 2 Education Service Center, which offers continuing education courses in subjects from math and science to teaching gifted and talented programs and migrant students.

"We offered more than 240 workshops this summer and we had at least 2,897 educators take advantage of them," said Emily Beaudoin, ESC Region 2 spokesperson.

Texas teachers are required by state law to complete at least 150 hours of continuing education credit during a five-year period to keep their certification.

ESC also offered 300 grants to American History teachers giving them the opportunity to take courses at places such as the Lexington Museum that tie back to what they're covering in the classroom.

Howden was a participant in that program and attended a three-day workshop in Galveston focused on immigration in Texas between 1845-1915 and how the city played a part in the ethnic makeup of the state.

"Galveston used to be the Ellis Island of Texas," Howden said.

It's those interesting bits of information, Howden said, that she'll take back into the classroom this year to help make history more relevant for her students.

Drafting teacher Jaime Trevino, who has taught at Moody High School for 23 years, did two week-long 'externships' this summer, first with the City of Corpus Christi and then with Flint Hills Resources. Teachers at Moody, such as Trevino, got to shadow professionals in several departments such as construction, surveying, production and engineering to see for themselves how applications they teach in the classroom relate to jobs in the real world.

"I really enjoyed being able to investigate these jobs for myself," he said.

Now every lesson he teaches, Trevino said, will be tied to a profession.

"It gives meaning to the work we're doing in class," he said.

Another plus Trevino said is it offers teachers access to a valuable network of professionals willing to come into the classroom and share what they do.

"It's one of the best teaching tools we as teachers could have," he said.

Though Grant Middle School science teacher J.R. Jones can say he worked hard and slept little during his weeklong stay with the Gulf of Mexico Foundation sponsored Down Under Out Yonder program, he has to admit it was a pretty cool gig. Jones spent part of his week in Galveston at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration headquarters. He spent part of his time remotely operating vehicles made out of Legos and the rest of it diving the Flower Gardens of the Gulf of Mexico.

"My favorite were the night dives . . . you turn off your flashlights and the whole sea comes alive," he said.

Jones learned about several subjects including sea life, computers, engineering and even space travel during his time in Galveston.

"The weightless in the water is similar to the weightlessness in space so there were even some NASA scientists with us," Jones said.

There are many things Jones hopes to incorporate into his classroom lessons this year. He's particularly excited about the remotely operated vehicles, not just because they reinforce math, science and computer skills, but because students will have to experiment with their designs before they can get them to work.

"This is the best workshop I have ever participated in and the very hardest as well," Jones said. "Not only will I be able to talk about experience with my students I can show them that sometimes the most gratifying lessons are the most difficult to do. Sometimes you have to try things more than one time before you are successful at it."

Contact Venessa Santos-Garza at 886-3752 or

Copyright 2005, All Rights Reserved.

Gulf of Mexico Foundation
PMB 51, 5403 Everhart Corpus Christi, TX 78411
(800) 884-4175 toll free (361) 882-3939 phone (361) 882-1262 fax
e-mail:   website:
webmaster: Carrie Robertson