Educators visit PSJA ISD for inspiration

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Leaders visit PSJA ISD schools

PSJA ISD’s renowned initiatives garner attention from leaders across the nation

Setting a high standard of quality education for all students, Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD’s academic initiatives have put the Rio Grande Valley on the map, attracting hundreds of visitors from across the country each year.

From its districtwide Early College work and successful Dual Language Enrichment Program to its transformative Pathways Toward Independence Program for its special education population, PSJA ISD has become a state and national leader in creating academic opportunities for students and their families.

PSJA ISD’s focus on graduating all students, College Ready, College Connected and College Complete –  has resulted in the district having a 97 percent high school completion rate. In addition, more than 3,000 high school students enroll in College courses every semester through partnerships with South Texas College, and the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

Such remarkable accolades are what draw leaders from across the nation each year to travel thousands of miles to the Rio Grande Valley for a chance to tour PSJA ISD, according to the PSJA College for All Project Director Bobbie Sue Gonzalez.

Due to an influx of requests from leaders and educational institutions, PSJA ISD created the PSJA College for All Conference & Learning Tours in 2014 to better accommodate visitors. Realizing the need for the continuation of the conference and tours, the district applied for a three-year Greater Texas Foundation grant and was awarded a total of $352,000 in 2015 to help share and expand the district’s work nationwide.

Since the start of the program, educators from 32 U.S. states have traveled to tour and learn from PSJA ISD including Washington, Massachusetts, Hawaii, North Carolina, Oregon and New York.

As part of PSJA ISD’s Learning Tours, educators gain valuable tools through high energy sessions with a combination of presentations, practical exercises, dialogue and interaction between administrators, teachers and students.

Leaders from all over the U.S. visit PSJA

“This district has taken an attitude that every single student matters,” said now retired Southern Oregon Education Service District Superintendent of Schools Scott Perry during an interview when he toured PSJA in 2015. “We’re doing a lot of things in our region, but we want to improve and replicate that.”

PSJA ISD’s innovative programs and visionary initiatives have become the example for school districts from throughout the RGV, Texas and U.S. According to the Texas Education Agency, 198 campuses in Texas were designated Early College High Schools for the 2017-18 school year with many located in the Rio Grande Valley.

“PSJA ISD has the knowledge, expertise and experience necessary to help other schools be effective in establishing sound educational opportunities for students,” said Robert Duke Bonilla the Early College Director for Robstown ISD. “The expertise proved by PSJA ISD has made our transition into an Early College High School much easier and effective.”

In addition to inspiring educators and leaders from across the country, PSJA ISD’s renowned initiatives have also been featured by the New York Times, Boston Globe, PBS NewsHour and even the White House.

While its programs continue to be replicated throughout Texas and the nation, PSJA ISD continues to develop unique academic opportunities ensuring all students go to and through college.

This August, PSJA ISD will be opening its new PSJA College & University Center. With more students and parents interested in obtaining college hours, the center will house the PSJA Collegiate Academies and PSJA Collegiate High School Academy.

Located in San Juan, the PSJA College & University Center will be the first of its kind. The revolutionary facility will allow more students to pursue a higher education while in high school without the worry of arranging transportation to South Texas College or the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

“We are excited to continue leading the way in providing innovative opportunities for our students,” said Gonzalez. “PSJA ISD takes pride in providing dual credit opportunities for students in a variety of fields of study and giving them the tools and preparation needed to pursue and complete a higher education.”

For more information about PSJA ISD’s state and nationally recognized programs or new academic opportunities, visit www.psjaisd.us or call 956-354-2027.