PSJA ISD Expands College Readiness Efforts to Elementary Schools


The Pharr-San Juan-Alamo Independent School District has extended its college readiness preparation to elementary students for the 2021-22 school year through the district’s Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) Program. 

According to PSJA Professional Development/AVID Director Stella Sanchez, AVID is a cohort-based college readiness system currently offered in PSJA ISD from sixth through 12th grade to support students as they engage in rigorous courses to ensure their success in the college of their choice. 

 “Our main focus is to support our teachers and better prepare students in order to continue closing the opportunity gap and prepare them for college and beyond,” Sanchez said. “We are excited to expand our program to the elementary level for fourth- and fifth-grade students.”

The program fosters a safe and open culture, high expectations for teachers and students, and collaboration in all classrooms. Additionally, it helps increase college graduation rates among diverse and underrepresented demographic groups. 

 Through the AVID Program, elementary teachers will receive professional development and support as they help lead the efforts to expand the program throughout their campuses and eventually to all the district’s 25 elementary schools. 

“The AVID Elementary Program supports all students on their path to college readiness by helping them develop the academic habits they will need to be successful in middle school, high school, and college in an age-appropriate and challenging way,” Sanchez said. “In addition to developing important academic habits, students also learn numerous skills like organization, studying, communication, self-advocacy, how to take structured notes, and how to ask high-level questions.” 

The following 10 PSJA ISD schools are offering the PSJA AVID Program during the 2021-22 school year: 


  • Allen & William Arnold Elementary
  • Geraldine Palmer Elementary 
  • Dr. William Long Elementary 
  • Daniel Ramirez Elementary 
  • Raul Longoria Elementary 

San Juan

  • Sgt. Leonel Treviño Elementary 
  • Edith & Ethel Carman Elementary 


  • Augusto Guerra Elementary
  • John McKeever Elementary 
  • Marcia Garza Elementary 

For Guerra Elementary Principal Lillian Villarreal, implementing the AVID Elementary Program is important to further prepare her students for life-long success. Like all PSJA ISD elementary schools, Guerra Elementary promotes a college-going atmosphere.

“We are very excited to see how this program will benefit our students,” Villarreal said. “It will help us continue developing independent learners and teach our students very important skills they can use throughout their educational journey.” 

According to PSJA ISD Superintendent Dr. Jorge L. Arredondo, these efforts support and align with the district’s mission of preparing students to achieve the highest levels of success.

“This is a life-changing program that will help our students develop a critical foundation for lifelong learning,” Arredondo said. “It will also provide important support systems to successfully transition them from elementary to middle school.”

To learn more about PSJA ISD, visit PSJA welcomes students living anywhere in the Rio Grande Valley.