Situated in deep South Texas, bordered to the south by the Rio Grande River, the east by the Gulf of Mexico, the north by 200 miles of mesquite brush, and the west by Falcon Lake, the Rio Grande Valley is a land of historical and contemporary contradictions. The history of the Valley is at the same time a history of isolation and interaction. From the colonization of native peoples by the Spanish to the dominance of Anglo settlers over Mexican Americans to the emergence of powerful multi-national manufacturing firms, our region has been engaged in an ongoing struggle for equity.
Teachers in the Rio Grande Valley are faced with a daunting challenge. For every 100 students entering a public school classroom in South Texas today, only 12 will earn any type of degree within six years of graduation. As early as third grade, students in South Texas are performing behind their peers and this disparity persists through the grade levels and into college for those students who are able to further their education.
Since 1991, Teach For America has brought more than 1,200 leaders to South Texas schools. Today, we are part of a movement working to change the region’s educational landscape and expectations for achievement. Recent years have seen the birth of the Rio Grande Valley Center for Teaching and Leading Excellence, a partnership between the Pharr-San Juan-Alamo School District, IDEA schools, and Teach For America that seeks to support exceptional leaders for our community.