Education: A Building Block of Society
Our community was built on a foundation of highly-skilled and driven individuals who strived for excellence at every turn. Today, we continue to be just that – a vibrant culture with a youthful and driven generation actively adapting to the needs of modern society.
Molding Obstacles into Opportunities
“It takes a village to raise a child” is a famous idiom which holds true in McAllen. The youth of the nation grows in a highly competitive world led by a demand for innovation and progress. Our educational system helps each child with the opportunity to excel and face the job market head on, no matter their background. Our school districts and higher education institutions combine their expertise and resources to inspire children and young adults to pursue a successful future. The programs offered at each of our educational facilities aim to promote the idea that every individual should set and conquer their goals and endeavors to continuously improve themselves. Take a closer look at our school systems and programs to see what they have to offer:
University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley
The University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley is an institution for higher education located within one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the nation. The demand for a highly-skilled and educated workforce in the Rio Grande Valley is constantly increasing. The university aims to educate and prepare young adults for local, national and international job markets while instilling them with life-long lessons and memorable experiences.
UTRGV offers a multitude of educational opportunities for undergraduates, graduates, international students and veterans. Students may pick from 56 Bachelor's, 53 Master's, 3 Doctorates and 2 Cooperative Doctoral programs from 7 colleges.
Home Sweet Home
As a campus close to home, UTRGV is a highly rated academic institution in support of the Hispanic culture. According to The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education 2013, UTRGV ranked as:
- One of the top 100 best U.S. colleges for Hispanic students
- 3rd in the nation for the number of undergraduate and graduate degrees awarded to Hispanics
- 3rd highest among all universities in the amount of Hispanics enrolled
- 2nd highest among all universities in the amount of full-time undergraduate and graduate Hispanics enrolled
More Bang for Your Buck
Affordable education is a feature UTRGV holds dearly. The university boasts one of the lowest tuition rates in the country and offers an extensive list of amenities and opportunities available for a student's higher education. Last year, students at the university received over $110 million in financial aid and scholarships. The journey toward earning a college degree is made easier by the financial opportunities provided by UTRGV.
A Perfect Fit
Finding the right university can be an overwhelming experience. UTRGV caters directly to the student by offering access to every tool necessary to succeed. More than 19,000 students are enrolled at UTRGV but classes are small and personal attention from faculty is readily available. Close to home, low-cost tuition, a state-of-the-art institution and experiences that will last a lifetime are all the school has to offer. What more could you want from your college?
Become a Vaquero
Visit the UTRGV website to learn more about the educational opportunities available in your area. Visit the campus at 1201 W. University Drive, Edinburg, TX 78539 or call 665-2020 Help Desk.
McAllen Independent School District
As one of the largest school districts in the nation, McAllen ISD has earned nationwide attention. Since the incorporation of a cutting-edge framework known as TLC3, Transforming Learning in the Campus, Classroom and the Community, the district has been recognized for providing a unique and creative curriculum with staggering results. The program is based on the premise that technology and education go hand-in-hand. All 25,000 students enrolled in a McAllen ISD school, from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade, receive mobile-learning devices, a key feature of the TLC3 program. The ultimate goal is to encourage students to embrace technology and cultivate skills for the 21st-century workforce.
TLC3 has been the focus for numerous publications and media outlets like Texas School Business, Texas Lone Star, Education Week, Parent & Child, The Journal (an education-technology publication), Forbes, Scholastic Administrator, T-M Daily Post (website of Texas Monthly magazine), The Huffington Post, San Antonio Express-News, The Monitor, CNBC, NBC Latino, RGV Academic, Texas Scholars, and National Public Radio in the Rio Grande Valley, Corpus Christi, and San Antonio.
Aside from being featured in nationwide publications and local education magazines, news of the city's distinctive educational goals and practices traveled through an Associated Press story to publications in Canada and Japan.
This year alone, the McAllen ISD has received recognition for feats of innovation and progress as well as a series of accolades in the following areas:
- Outstanding School Board of the Year for Texas
- A State Honor Board
- Regional School Board of the Year
- A Best Community for Music Education in the nation
- Magna Award national finalist
- HEB Best Large District state finalist
- Excellence in Procurement Award, from the National Procurement Institute
- Superior Achievement rating in school finance, by Texas Education Agency
- Regional Elementary Teacher of the Year, 17th time from McAllen in the past 23 years
- Region's Superintendent of the Year, Dr. James Ponce
The McAllen ISD understands the demands of the future and the importance of preparing students for a culture of progressive thinking. Their mission statement encompasses everything the system aspires to and hopes to achieve for every McAllen student:
The mission of the McAllen Independent School District (MISD) is to educate all students to become lifelong learners and productive citizens in a global society through a program of educational excellence utilizing technology and actively involving parents and the community.
Learn more about the success of our McAllen Independent School District
The collective teamwork of McAllen ISD staff brought the Best in the Nation honors to the district.
The “Best Schools in the Nation” high school ranking is published by U.S. News & World Report. Lamar Academy was ranked 9th in the nation – reaching the Gold Category – and Achieve Early College High School received a Bronze award. The criteria centered on performance on state assessments for reading and math, the performance of disadvantaged students on those same assessments and the degree to which schools prepare students for college by offering a college-level curriculum.
Four district schools landed on America’s Most Challenging list published by The Washington Post. These included McAllen Memorial, James “Nikki” Rowe, McAllen High and Achieve ECHS.
The Post publishes a National Challenge Index. Only high schools that met the challenge index of 1.0 or higher were listed. This year, only 11 per cent of the approximately 22,000 U.S. public high schools reached that standard. The index formula is a simple ratio: the number of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and Advanced International Certificate of Education tests given at a school each year, divided by the number of seniors who graduated that year.
“Every single one of our high schools was ranked Best in the Nation in May and those kinds of accolades are not handed out to just any school,” Superintendent Dr. James Ponce said at the General Assembly August 13. “It’s important that we acknowledge that every one of you owns that honor. It is the culmination of work by every teacher and every staff member in every one of our feeder elementary schools and middle schools leading into our high schools.”
Dr. Ponce also acknowledged South Texas College for its invaluable partnership that has contributed to these honors.
Achieve ECHS, which made both lists, is also a National Blue Ribbon school. Achieve is one of just six high schools in Texas to win. That’s a U.S. Department of Education program that recognizes public and private elementary, middle and high schools where students perform at very high levels.
At Achieve, almost 90 per cent of this year’s seniors graduated with two diplomas. It was named a TEA Rewards School – the highest category on state testing. It is the top ECHS in partnership with STC having awarded the most Associates Degrees. The Blue Ribbon award winners were announced in September.
South Texas College
South Texas College serves as a major platform for higher education in the Rio Grande Valley through its baccalaureate and associate degree programs. Certification programs are also offered for enrolled students. STC is comprised of six campuses; five state-of-the-art and one virtual.
The average student to faculty ratio provides the ultimate atmosphere for individualized attention. Over 1,600 faculty and staff members serve as highly skilled educators to more than 30,000 enrolled students.
A Campus Close to Home
South Texas College has come a long way since setting its roots in 1993. Branch locations can be found Valley-wide with their Pecan Campus in McAllen being their most well-known. This branch is one that offers the full range of services available at any STC location. Students can complete courses for transfer to a four-year institution or enroll in vocational and technical courses in a location close to home.
Furthering Professional and Workforce Education
It is never too late to pursue a new career with the help of higher education or special training. STC offers programs for lifelong learners interested in new skills, career changes, license renewals and certifications or seeking personal enrichment. Part of this program is catered toward customized training for local businesses, industries and community members. Each training program can be tailored to fit the specific needs of an enrolled student or client. Opportunities are endless as on-campus or online courses are available to all.
Over 10,000 young students participate in STC's dual enrollment program. This is in gear with a variety of early college high schools, drop-out recovery programs, academies and other educational initiatives across the Rio Grande Valley. This opportunity encourages students to pursue higher education through the introduction of college life and allows them to earn certificates and associate degrees while enrolled in high school.
STC has implemented more than 60 articulation agreements with colleges and universities across the nation. Transferring credits is made easy for students looking to further their education beyond STC’s associate degree program.
Join the Jag Team
Visit the South Texas College website to learn more about the opportunities available in your area. The Pecan Campus is located at 3201 W. Pecan, McAllen TX, 78501 and can be reached at 956.872.8311.