Valley school performance rated highest in Texas by nonprofit

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The research and child advocacy nonprofit Children at Risk reported improvement among public schools in the Rio Grande Valley for the 2022-2023 school year, but also pointed out troubling trends.

Children at Risk has ranked Texas public schools for the past 19 years. This year’s rankings were released Thursday via Facebook Live.

In all, Children at Risk, or C@R, analyzed data from 7,213 public schools in Texas, including 3,929 elementary schools, 2,001 middle schools and 1,283 high schools, Gina Martinez, Children at Risk regional director said.

Among those, C@R identified 276 Gold Ribbon Schools, those whose students were from low-income areas, according to the 2020 U.S. Census, but still achieved high performance, according to C@R metrics. Statewide, 249 elementary, 26 middle and one high school achieved inclusion on the list.

In the Valley, C@R analyzed data and ranked 490 schools including 284 elementary, 129 middle and 77 high schools.

Martinez noted that 87% of Valley students live in economically disadvantaged circumstances. This number increased from 63% in the 2021-2022 rankings, a 24% increase, and 32% of students attending public schools in Valley are emergent bilingual compared to 22% in the 2021-2022 rankings, a 10% increase, Martinez said.

“Despite these numbers the Rio Grande Valley is the leading region in the state with the highest overall scores,” she said.

“In terms of campus performance the RGV region stands out with a remarkable score of 57%, the highest in the state of Texas. This accomplishment underscores the quality of education that our schools are providing,” Martinez said.

The Valley region has the highest percentage of Gold Ribbon Schools in Texas. The percentage dropped from 42% in 2021-2022 to 24% in 2022-2023 rankings.

Children grab their school lunch at Andrew Jackson Elementary Wednesday, Jan. 17 2024 in McAllen. (Delcia Lopez| [email protected])

“Public schools, charter schools and magnet schools don’t really see any differences in these overall averages. We see differences mostly around college readiness.

“These demographic insights serve really as a call to action. As we look at the state of public education in Texas it becomes abundantly clear that our students, especially those that are the most economically vulnerable need our support and we urge all public education stakeholders to act because our children’s future is at stake.”

Martinez cited five key take-aways from the rankings that Children at Risk wants to emphasize:

Five key take-aways and action items C@R wants to emphasize:

>> “First and foremost, we must call upon our Texas legislators to make a substantial investment in our public education system. Our students deserve the best and it is our responsibility of our elected officials to make sure they receive the resources and support they need to succeed.

“It’s so frustrating to see that despite a staggering $33 billion surplus not a single dollar found its way into public education. This fact should resonate with every concerned citizen. This change can only come to fruition if parents and devoted advocates for their children demand more, and we must advocate for an investment in our schools including pre-k, teacher raises and out-of-the-box solutions to our challenges,” she said.

>> “Second, we must direct our attention toward those who need it most. Our students living in poverty and immigrant students are the ones that need attention. These young minds have immense potential, but they face unique challenges that demand targeted assistance. Let us prioritize their needs and create a nurturing environment where every child can thrive regardless of their background,” she said.

>> “Third, We cannot ignore the concerning trend of growing poverty among our students. Over 100,000 students were affected by poverty compared to the previous school year,” Martinez said.

>> “Fourth, homelessness. The number of students experiencing homelessness is equivalent to the entire population of Katy, Texas, as reported in the 2020 census. Homelessness among our youngest learners is a growing national concern, impacting their access to basic necessities like food, clothing and health care. We really cannot turn the blind eye to this crisis,” she said.

“Lastly, but equally important, I implore our young people and our Latino community to exercise their right to vote. Your voice matters,” Martinez said. “Your vote is a powerful tool to shape the future that we desire. If you don’t vote, others are more than willing to make these decisions for us. So let your voice be heard. It’s through voting that we can enact real change and ensure that your interests are represented.”

Students in the aspiring teacher pathway at Harlingen Collegiate High School participate in a team building exercise on Monday, Aug. 14. (Travis M. Whitehead | Valley Morning Star)

Here are the Valley’s top performers in the rankings:


1. Brownsville Early College High School, Brownsville ISD

2. Achieve Early College High School, McAllen ISD

3. IDEA Quest College Preparatory, IDEA Public Schools

4. Harlingen School of Health Professions, Harlingen CISD

5. IDEA Frontier College Preparatory, IDEA Public Schools


1. IDEA Quest College Preparatory, IDEA Public Schools

2. Brownsville Raul Yzaguirre STEM Scholars Prep, Raul Yzaguirre Schools for Success

3. IDEA Rundberg College Preparatory, IDEA Public Schools

4. IDEA McAllen College Preparatory, IDEA Public Schools

5. Morris Middle School, McAllen ISD


1. Emma Vera Elementary, Roma ISD

2. Florence J. Scott Elementary, Roma ISD

3. Rancho Verde Elementary, Los Fresnos CISD

4. Gonzalez Elementary, McAllen ISD

5. Hidalgo Park Elementary, Hidalgo ISD


1. Myra Green Middle School, Raymondville ISD

2. Ann Richards Middle School, La Joya ISD

3. Los Cuates Middle School, Los Fresnos CISD

4. Resaca Middle School, Los Fresnos CISD

5. Memorial Middle School, La Joya ISD


1. Emma Vera Elementary, Roma ISD

2. Florence J. Scott Elementary, Roma ISD

3. Hidalgo Park Elementary, Hidalgo ISD

4. Ortiz Elementary, Brownsville ISD

5. Benavides Elementary, Brownsville ISD