Felix M. Montes, Ph.D.

Education Associate

Felix Montes, Ph.D., an IDRA research associate, has more than 25 years of experience in both evaluation and research. He earned a doctorate in educational psychology with a concentration in measurement and research of learning on the early years and a minor in management information system from the University of Arizona. In his dissertation, Dr. Montes explored the interconnections of three areas pertinent to human development: the use of technology as mediational tools in a problem-solving environment, the social sphere as advanced by the psychological theories of Vygotsky, and developments in mathematical cognition relevant to the acquisition of the concept of chance and probability. One of his findings was that, contrary to what Piaget advanced, very young children could comprehend the concept of probability, although could not articulate it due to their limited verbal development.

Dr. Montes has conducted numerous evaluations of educational programs designed to improve educational quality and opportunity for all children, especially those with a minority language background. He conducted the evaluations of the Mathematics Increases Job Aspirations (MIJA) program, the National Science Foundation-funded Engineering, Science and Mathematics Increases Job Aspirations (ES-MIJA) program and the San Marcos’ Partnership for Access to Higher Mathematics (PATH Math) program. He was the principal investigator for the Content Areas Program Enhance (CAPE) project, which demonstrated that under the appropriate pedagogical approach, students of diverse background could excel academically. These important findings were published in the Bilingual Research Journal (2002): “Enhancing the Content Areas Through a Cognitive Academic Language Learning Based Collaborative in South Texas.”

During the last two decades, Dr. Montes has been involved in IDRA’s effort to increase awareness on the issue of adult illiteracy in San Antonio. In this role, he was a major participant in several literacy studies conducted by IDRA based on the 1990 and 2000 census data and the 2005 update. He has presented results from those studies to the city policymakers and city commissions on literacy in various occasions. His research shows that although illiteracy is a city-wide issue, the concentration of the populations with the greatest need is so uneven that policymakers should find it easy to allocate scare resources where they are most needed.

From 2004 to 2007, Dr. Montes was the lead evaluator for IDRA’s Reading Early for Academic Development (READ) project. Funded by the U.S. Department of Education, the project established preschool classrooms of excellence in specific Head Start centers in San Antonio. IDRA used a research-based classroom-based professional development initiative involving Head Start and public school teachers to form a seamlessly integrated instructional program to prevent children from encountering reading difficulties when they enter school. The project used a rigorous quantitative and qualitative comparison group research design to document approaches and strategies, assess their effectiveness, and inform replication opportunities. The evolution findings showed that pre-k education in south Texas is in dare need of improvement, but with the appropriate professional development support, teachers can bring children who are several years behind at par with their peers. He has presented these important findings at various conferences, including the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) in 2007 in Chicago and in 2008 in Dallas.

More recently, Dr. Montes was the lead evaluator for the IDRA’s Parent Information and Resource Center (PIRC), funded by the U.S. Department of Education. The project established a comprehensive, multicultural and multilingual parent leadership support program for strengthening partnerships between parents and schools for student success across Texas, and was selected by the Department of Education as a model of project of this kind.

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