PHARR, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Four teachers from Pharr-San Juan-Alamo Independent School District earned Master’s Degrees in Mathematics through the Harvard Extension School Math for Teaching Graduate Program.

The four are part of the sixth and seventh cohorts of Rio Grande Valley teachers who recently graduated with a Master of Liberal Arts in Mathematics for Teaching from Harvard Extension School.

The program is in partnership with the Texas Graduate Center.

Albesa Pedraza from PSJA Memorial Early College High School and Evan Curtis from PSJA Early College High School were among seven educators who graduated as part of the sixth cohort in 2020.

This year, Moises Diaz from PSJA T-STEM Early College High School and Karina Bazan from PSJA Early College High School graduated with the seventh cohort.

The program is designed for secondary mathematics, or related field, teachers in Region One GEAR UP high schools.

It is comprised of rigorous courses which allow teachers to complete a master’s degree within three years. 

“The program gave me a different perspective [on] teaching because I had not been challenged before the way that I was throughout the program,” Bazan said. “With that challenge, I was able to gain a different appreciation for my students.”

Since the program’s inception in 2015, 12 PSJA ISD educators have earned their master’s degrees. 

“I am very grateful to my school district for offering this program that has made me a better math teacher for my students,” Curtis said. “I have gained so much knowledge and experience in how to think about problems and insight into the art of teaching. I believe when the district invests in their teachers, it pays off through a higher quality of education for our students.”