Los Fresnos News

Alumnus to Sharpen Skills Working on Master’s Degree at Harvard


Ricardo “Rico” Delgado

BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS – JUNE 10, 2013 – Ricardo “Rico” Delgado said he is ready to get back into the classroom and be a student again – this time at Harvard University.

Delgado, a December 2010 graduate of The University of Texas at Brownsville, is in his first year of a three-year program with Harvard University through the Texas Graduate Center, a component of the Texas Valley Communities Foundation. A mathematics teacher at San Benito High School, Delgado is in a cohort with eight other math teachers from Region One Education Service Center GEAR UP schools.

“When I graduated from UTB, I knew I would pursue a master’s degree at some point,” Delgado said. “This opportunity came along, and I knew I had to take advantage of it.”

Upon completion of the program, Delgado will have earned a Master of Liberal Arts in Mathematics for Teaching and will be qualified to teach dual enrollment, college-level mathematics classes.

Delgado will be in Cambridge, Mass. for almost two months this summer, taking two classes. One deals with the foundation and rules of algebra; the other is a course that will instruct the educators in ways to help future pre-calculus students develop complex, abstract thinking skills.

“We want all students to take ownership of their answers and be able to explain how they reached their conclusions,” Delgado said. “There is much more emphasis now on justifying the answer, on showing not only what but how. We want students to have open discussions in the classroom where students can give thorough explanations to demonstrate they understand what is going on with their reasoning in problem solving.”

Aside from classes at Harvard this summer and the next two summers, the program requires online coursework throughout the school year. During the past semester, Delgado and his Region One cohort took one class online, observing the professor at Harvard by video one day a week. This fall semester, the group will attend two classes via distance learning.

“While the cohort meets only once a week, I am lucky to be able to collaborate with one of my Harvard colleagues on a daily basis,” Delgado said.

Fellow San Benito High School math teacher Marvelia Balboa, a 2011 graduate of The University of Texas – Pan American, is participating in the program and will also travel to Cambridge this summer.

Delgado said the program is demanding and designed with high expectations, but he feels it will be worth it in the long run, preparing educators to utilize instruction of the highest quality.

“The bar is being raised,” he said. “I want to keep up with the times, and ultimately, this will benefit all of those around me – my students and the faculty at San Benito High School. No matter what the subject, it always helps to bounce ideas around and communicate with peers, and I think professional development is critical to having that sort of environment.”

Delgado said he will take advantage of Harvard’s location, across the Charles River from Boston, to see all the famous historical sites.

“And I can’t be so close to New York City without going down there one weekend,” he said.

San Benito High School has let out for the summer, and Delgado’s departure date of Wednesday, June 19 is just around the corner.

“I am a role model for my three nephews and two nieces as well as all my students,” Delgado said. “This shows them the value of taking advantage of something worthwhile when it comes along, and how important it is to never stop learning.”