USDOE secretary visits Eastside Promise Neighborhood

Johan Uvin's visit part of Back-to-School Bus Tour

SAN ANTONIO – Students in the Eastside Promise Neighborhood got a chance to meet a special visitor from the U.S. Department of Education Thursday morning.

Johan Uvin, acting assistant secretary for career, technical and adult education of the USDOE, stopped by schools as part of the seventh annual Back-to-School Bus Tour.

Students at Bowden Elementary School had no problem doing their Engineering Friday projects a day early for a special guest.

"I was a little nervous because he was pretty high up in the government," said Tavion Steen, a fifth-grader.

Along with explaining their STEM experiment, some of the students even told Uvin what they want to be when they grow up.

"We told him about our braces and how we were doing them and what it was for," Sariya Jackson said.

The visit allowed the administrator to see years' worth of progress in San Antonio's Eastside Promise Neighborhood, an area awarded millions in federal grants for revitalization.

In 2014, President Barack Obama designated 22 square miles of San Antonio's East Side as a Promise Zone. Within the Promise Zone lies the Eastside Promise Neighborhood, Wheatley Choice Neighborhood and EastPoint, a four-square-mile area where 18,000 people live and several federal grants overlap.

Uvin met with promise neighborhood education and workforce stakeholders to talk about the successes of the programs and the challenges that lie ahead.
"I think exploring stronger connections with the employer community is one thing I would encourage this strong partnership to do," Uvin said.

The secretary said it's important that momentum doesn't stop on San Antonio's East Side once the grants end. He hopes to see public-private partnerships continue work that benefits the community.