Rio Grande Valley Case Studies

The Need

The Rio Grande Valley is a high-poverty area along the Mexican border, with a high percentage of Title I schools and districts. In this region, 97.4 percent of students are Hispanic, 85 percent are economically disadvantaged, and 36.9 percent are English learners—the highest rates in the state. Despite the challenges that these statistics suggest, schools in this area have been exceeding expectations at a rate higher than anywhere else in the Texas. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) would like to know the reasons for this anomaly to identify scalable solutions to implement in other areas of the state.

TXCC Response

TXCC collaborated with TEA to use Geographic Information Systems (GIS) mapping techniques to identify “hot spots” in the state with high numbers of Reward Schools in concentrated areas. One such hot spot is in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas. As part of the broad strategic vision developed with the comprehensive center project team, TEA is building upon the study of individual Reward School campuses to highlight specific success factors at the district level that most contribute to school-level success.

This comprehensive case study of this region will expand TEA's understanding beyond the school level and will inform state grant-making, policy, and technical assistance for Title I schools and districts. The study is designed to be a springboard for strategic partnerships at the state and regional level that will replicate successful practices within specific regions. Struggling districts will be given the tools they need—tools that have been used, refined, and proven successful in neighboring districts with the same student demographics.