A Culture of Achievement: Creating long-term student success at Bowie Elementary


Located in a close-knit neighborhood in the middle of Harlingen, Bowie Elementary has created a culture of academic achievement that rings through its historic halls. For almost ten years, the campus has been earning top awards from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and other organizations that recognize academic excellence.

These achievements are not mere coincidence. The campus has spent multiple years creating a comprehensive learning experience for students that begins when they walk through the door each day. From music class to physical education, every part of a student’s educational experience incorporates curriculum in some way.

It’s a mission that all teachers and staff have committed to as they work together to ensure that their lessons and curriculum are aligned to maximize student success. Unified under one goal, not only are they dedicated to students but to one another, supporting one another’s lessons and always willing to lend a helping hand when it comes to professional development.

“The staff at Bowie has been able to create a culture of high expectations for both themselves and their students,” said Susan Salinas, Bowie Principal. “We strive to help every child feel like a winner and to develop confidence in their own abilities. When students feel successful, they are motivated to continue working toward continued success.”

The campus’ most recent success as a result of their culture of achievement has been their selection as a Title I Reward School by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) earlier this year. Along with the title of Title 1 Reward School, they were placed on the High-Performing and High-Progress school, which is a high honor for school districts.

“Bowie Elementary continues to be a pillar of unbound success for HCISD,” said Superintendent Dr. Art Cavazos. “We thank Susan Salinas and her staff for making this achievement possible. Their passion for education is a testament to the highly effective educators who go above and beyond for the benefit of our students.”

According a TEA press release, the identification of high-performing and/or high-progress Title I schools is based on statewide reading and mathematics assessments under the State Accountability System in the 2013-2014 school year and graduation rates.

“It is a real honor to be recognized by TEA for this achievement,” said Salinas. “I attribute this achievement to our campus culture. Our teachers continue to perpetuate that expectation themselves. They truly believe that all children can succeed. When kids know that you believe in them, they start to believe in themselves.”

A high-performance reward school is identified as a Title I school with distinctions based on reading and math performance. Also, at the high school level, a reward school is a Title I school with the highest graduation rates. A high-progress school is identified as a Title I school in the top 25 percent in annual improvement and/or a school in the top 25 percent of those demonstrating ability to close performance gaps based on system safeguards.

For 2014-2015, TEA identified 192 Texas campuses as high performing and 218 Texas campuses as high-progress.

The campus sees this most recent recognition as motivation to continue to move forward. As the year progresses, teachers and administration will continue to meet and collaborate on how they can improve their already successful campus.