Texas Sites: San Antonio

Robert Peters Manor TexasSan Antonio is the second most populous city in Texas, and is the fastest growing city in the list of the top ten most populous cities in the United States. That means one and a half million people need things to do whether it be touring a scenic landscape of national parks or getting rowdy at the rodeo. Whether you’re into trekking through quiet caves, standing in awe at roaring beasts, relaxing along the river, or revisiting history at the nation’s oldest cathedral, San Antonio has more than one thing to offer you. Here’s a few of the invaluable experiences to be had next time you’re in Texas:

The Alamo Mission
Remember the Alamo? The pivotal battle in Texas’ fight for independence from Mexico? The Alamo retains a great deal of history reverberating through the walls of this old church. The building was constructing under the Spanish Empire back in the 1700s and its colonial architecture entices 4 million travelers annually making it one of the most popular sites in the country. Near the Alamo, churches and museums offer re-enactments of historical events, and the building itself boasts an impressive gift shop.

The Paseo del Río River Walk:
After a flood in 1921 devastated much of the area, plans for a dam were up in the air. However, after successful protest the plan changed to constructing a walkway alongside the San Antonio River. The area is a series of walkways that traces the urban center’s many waterfront hot spots for shopping and dining, and the scene has developed into a tourist attraction for its historicity and leisure. Easy access to malls, theaters, and casinos is available all along the pathways. What’s more is many buildings on the river have additional riverside entryways which has created a pedestrian network of bridges and walkways separate from the original roads. When walking gets tiresome, sit in a boat and take a scenic tour down the river. Nothing beats the golden glow of streetlights reflected in the river at night.

The McNay Art Museum
If taking a break from the cowboy culture, the first museum of modern art featured in Texas should offer a fresh set of exhibitions. With World War II commemorations, a catalogue of Rodin to Warhol, and interactive, three-dimensional sculptures the museum stands as the city’s new figurehead for artistic culture. The San Antonio Museum of Art offers more exhibits for the unspecialized viewer, and the Witte Museum is dedicated to natural history and features ancient pieces such as cave drawings and dinosaur fossils. More modern exhibits at the Witte include a recreation of a crime scene mimicking the forensics of the CBS show CSI.

Tower of America
The tallest building in San Antonio, gives a powerful 360˚ view of the city. If it isn’t a convincing site per se it will provide you with your next adventure. The tower hosts a few restaurants and popular radio stations.

A Commitment to Relevance and Rigor

Robert Peters Manor Texas Education
Manor New Tech’s success has been made possible by an unwavering, school-wide commitment to the new dieting and implementation of a project-based learning model (PBL). Students within the PBL model are driven to actively pursue their knowledge. From the moment a new project is introduced, students are responsible for finding out what they need in terms of resources, facts, and concepts, and what it will take to get the work done. It’s these types of learning models that teach kids how to find information, analyze, and present theories and concepts. Teachers serve as guides along the way through each step of the process and help by providing workshops to clarify certain concepts or problem solving techniques.

The PBL protocol at Manor New Tech is designed to give students the opportunity to drive their own learning sequences. Some elements may be common, such as assessments, peer reviews, and other group learning sessions. The sum of the total process along with the integrity and enthusiasm with which it is followed at Manor New Tech is a huge part of the success they’ve experienced. The Manor community loves their mantra, “This is our house.” and the community truly means it. Everyone involved in the network at Manor New Tech its here because they choose to be. Not a single student as dropped out of school in the five-years of operation, nor has any teacher left the institution out of dissatisfaction.

Manor has a success motto – and it begins with the three R’s; rigor, relevance, and relationships. Switching the order of these concepts and beginning y building relationships and then implementing relevance and rigor is also an interesting take on this concept of successful education. Ownership and autonomy are also key characteristics for success within Manor’s PBL. All teachers start with the standards presented by the state, then observe and stay true to the PBL model. Teachers are often left to their own creativity to design projects and guide students to success. This creates a wonderfully innovative and integrated ecosystem even for the teachers themselves, all while students are getting the best they can from their instructors, or more accurately, their guides. Teachers strive to provide latitude for their students int terms of how to demonstrate their knowledge, as long as the main goal is to aim for learning outcomes definite in the rubrics. This allows for freedom for expression, creativity, and knowledge.

United Way for Greater Austin’s Target Graduation Program

Robert Peters Manor Texas United Way

United Way for Greater Austin’s Target Graduation Program

By Dr. Robert Peters


United Way for Greater Austin is on a mission to bolster the education system and improve high school graduation rates in a district that features dramatic social stratification and low levels of scholastic achievement. To do this requires an understanding of why some students succeed where others fail, where hurdles are placed, and how to overcome them.

United Way for Greater Austin’s Target Graduation endeavor is contingent on timely and effective intervention at the middle-school level. Under their pilot program, MSM (Middle School Matters), students in three high-need schools, Decker, Mendez, and Webb, will be offered out-of-school help with behavioral management, tutoring, mentoring, case management and parent education. Though similar services have been offered by area organizations before, MSM is confident that their system will build a more cohesive relationship between out-of-class programs and their respective schools.

Effective out-of-school programs are particularly important for students in high-need schools, where many face the disadvantages of low cultural and social capital, poverty, and gatekeepers in both the educational system and the community. The United Way for Greater Austin has drawn up an extensive agenda for the development of their out-of-school action, funding ten organizations to back their plan. They have taken measures to ensure that MSM will be effective and expect to see higher graduation rates for the next generation of high school students. I am proud to take part in this initiative! Find out more here.

Hi from Dr. Peters!

Robert Peters Manor Texas Cows

Welcome to my blog! My name is Dr. Robert Peters and I want to share some of my favorite things about Dallas and Texas, in general, in the following pages. Over the next several months, I’ll be writing about the places I’ve been, places I’d like to explore further, and what makes my city a wonderful place to live, learn and grow. I’d also like to discuss some of my work in the community and hopefully inspire you to volunteer alongside your family members, friends and neighbors in Travis County and elsewhere. United Way for Greater Austin is a wonderful way to start!