09:31 AM

Houston charter school gets $21 million grant with UHCL prof's help

YES prep

Faculty members in the College of Business at University of Houston-Clear Lake have more responsibility than just to their students. It’s part of the College’s AACSB International accreditation requirements that faculty also must engage with the community through service. YES Prep School, a Houston charter school targeting economically and educationally disadvantaged children, was the beneficiary of Professor of Management Roger Durand’s expertise in grant writing, with spectacular results.

“The fundamental purpose of AACSB accreditation is to challenge business educators to pursue excellence and continuous improvement,” said UHCL College of Business Dean Edward R. Waller. “AACSB achieves this purpose by defining a set of rigorous criteria and standards that are built around the themes of engagement, innovation and impact. These themes are integrated throughout the standards to challenge and assist schools in striving for continuous quality improvement.”

Durand said he was very happy and pleased to work with YES Prep public schools, and that he spent quite a lot of time volunteering to evaluate their afterschool program. “Because of that role, I am acquainted with their Office of Federal Grants and Compliance. Before Christmas, they asked me if I could help them in writing a grant proposal, and I agreed because I think so highly of YES Prep. I believe they’re doing a wonderful job of helping disadvantaged kids do better,” he said.

Durand explained that there wasn’t much time to complete the grant — only three weeks. “I worked with the school’s director of Federal and State Compliance and Grants, and we managed to meet the deadline and we submitted the grant.”

To Durand’s surprise, the grant from the U.S. Department of Education was approved. “It’s for slightly less than $21 million!” he said. “I thought I was going to do cartwheels. That’s $21 million for enhancing learning opportunities for economically and educationally disadvantaged kids, expanding programs for them, and making their services more generally available to them.”

He said he was particularly pleased for the youth in the Houston area. “YES Prep has a lot of talented people and a wonderful staff working there,” he said. “The good news is, I will continue evaluating this project and the expenditure of the money, so I’ll keep working with YES Prep.”

He said the grant will start in August and run at least three academic years. “Working to advantage children is very important to me,” he said. “We have a lot of disadvantaged kids who are hungry and have no place to live. It saddens me and it’s a deep concern of mine. I hope this will help alleviate some of those problems.”

Learn more about UHCL’s Department of Management online.