Fort Bliss Partnerships in Education Program provides an on-going supplemental resource program for 27 schools in El Paso to promote educational excellence and to support programs in preparation for life-long learning. The program involves more than 3,700 soldiers, civilian employees, and their families in school activities designed to improve educational achievement and keep students in school and on track. It began in 1985 when the general's office at Fort Bliss approached the school district about becoming more directly involved in the local community.
The Partnerships in Education Program employs several different activities that are designed to manage behavior problems better, to provide positive role models, to stimulate academic achievement, and to assist in providing resources to supplement government funds. Activities range from an interactive bicultural history program for children, incentive programs for reading, and tutoring, to field trips, safety patrol at campuses, and donating computers and materials to the schools.
Fort Bliss soldiers serve as one-on-one mentors and role models in the About FACE (Favorable Attitudes Change Everything) Program, an elementary school drop-out alternative program to help students succeed behaviorally, socially, and academically. During the students' 30-to 75-day tour at one of two alternative campuses, adult volunteers are paired with students to help them develop self- discipline skills, build self-esteem and concentrate on academic achievement.
Students' scores on the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills (TAAS) have gone up as a result of the program. At one elementary school, students' scores in reading increased 18.5 points in two years, and math scores increased 20.3 points, according to the school district. More students are involved in school activities and high school graduation rates have risen well over the 90% Goals 2000 goal during since the partnership began. The program has also benefited the soldiers as school personnel and students have reached out to soldiers who are away from home to share family holiday meals and other support.
Fort Bliss funds the program and soldiers are given time off of normal duty to volunteer. The army is using this program as its worldwide model.