About Rio Grande Valley

Situated in deep South Texas, The Rio Grande Valley is 43,000 square miles bounded by the Rio Grande River to the West and South and the Gulf of Mexico to the East.  The history of the Valley tells a story of cultural interaction. This cultural richness and diversity has led to a community that is strong, proud and determined – and a region that sings with opportunity and collaboration. However, 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 steep challenge. For every 100 students entering a public school classroom in South Texas today, only 12 will receive a college degree within six years of graduation. As early as third grade, students in South Texas are performing behind their peers across the state and this disparity persists into college for those students who are able to further their education.

Since 1991, Teach For America has brought more than 1,400 leaders to South Texas schools. Due to the partnership and sustained efforts of district teams, such as Pharr-San Juan-Alamo Independent School District and schools like IDEA, committed family, engaged community partners and supportive elected officials, student outcomes have improved significantly during this time. The high school graduation rate has risen from 78 percent to 87 percent since 2001, nearly matching the rate for the rest of the state. This is an exciting time to live and lead in the Valley, where we are part of a movement working to change the region’s educational landscape and expectations for achievement.


Total Corps Size


Alumni in the Region


Year Partnership Established

Teaching in the Rio Grande Valley

Ed Week Profiles Alumni Working in the Rio Grande Valley


News & Stories

One Day
August 22, 2016
From third grade through honors college, Jessica Gonzalez’s teacher has been with her at every step.
One Day
August 2, 2016
Kelly and Alicen Bartle share that in a successful relationship “you can be right or you can be happy”—except when it comes to processed sugar.
One Day
June 8, 2016
Teaching is hard. Fawning over these photos is easy. We're not ashamed.
One Day
April 12, 2016
In the Rio Grande Valley, Teach For America alumni are helping to open students’ eyes to the demands—and rewards—of college.
One Day
April 5, 2016
From classrooms to communities to capitols, these five profiles show how Teach For America’s network of 50,000 corps members and alumni is leading change for kids.
One Day
February 12, 2016
These hometown teachers returned to New York, Miami, the Rio Grande Valley, Sacramento, and Philadelphia to work—some at the schools they attended.
One Day
January 5, 2016
In Part 6 of the Next Frontier in Education series, the CEO of a school network argues for totally rethinking education.
One Day
September 28, 2015
How many years do Teach For America corps members and alumni actually teach?
One Day
July 7, 2014
When success in high school doesn’t translate to success in college, what is a student—and his school—to do?

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