August 24, 2022 518 PM
PRESIDIO — At last Wednesday’s school board meeting, Presidio ISD Superintendent Ray Vasquez announced that the district had earned a B for its latest Texas Education Association (TEA) accountability rating. Presidio schools scored 88 on the TEA’s 0-100 scale — a slight improvement from 2019, where the district earned 87. No scores were given in 2020 and 2021 to account for learning disruptions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Out of 1,207 school districts in Texas, 1,195 were evaluated by the TEA in 2022. Typically, schools receive an A-F rating, but this year the agency only graded A-C and assigned “not rated” designations to schools that would normally be graded a D or an F. 46% of Texas schools received a B rating alongside Presidio ISD. Schools that flunk the TEA’s accountability ratings can be sanctioned by the agency, and in rare cases can be closed or have their school boards replaced by state commissioners.
School districts are graded by the TEA in three areas: student achievement, school progress, and a category called “closing the gaps.” Student achievement refers to how many skills the student body as a whole can demonstrate; school progress refers to how much the student body has improved since the previous year. “Closing the gaps” refers to how well different groups of students are doing, separated from the general student body by categories like race and family income.
Grades in these categories are determined by State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) test scores; high school scores can also incorporate graduation rates and college or career readiness metrics. Between 2019 and 2022, Presidio bumped up its score in the “academic growth” subcategory of school improvement from a C to a B. The district’s lowest overall score of a C is in the “closing the gaps” category and remained unchanged between the two most recent evaluations.
District leaders attributed some of the district’s challenges to the number of students who enroll in secondary school knowing little or no English — a third of Presidio High School’s student body is made up of English language learners. The district has been trying to address the issue by funneling more resources into language learning programs. “It goes back to that language acquisition,” explained Presidio High School Principal Hevila Ramos. “We will be able to close that gap that’s keeping us from that A [rating].”
Graduation rates can affect a school district’s overall scores, but are a factor that is often beyond an individual district’s control. Presidio ISD’s students also tend to move around — either back and forth across the border or with parents who seek work in the Permian Basin. “It’s difficult to hold on to all the students,” said Ramos, whose student body dipped below the state average of a 90.3% graduation rate.
Presidio ISD students also took home special distinctions this year in areas beyond the typical STAAR testing metrics — Presidio Elementary took home a distinction in science and Lucy Rede Franco Middle School earned kudos in social studies. “It’s not easy to get these distinctions whatsoever, so we’re really proud of those guys,” said Superintendent Vasquez.
The elementary and middle school principals — Joe Andy Mendoza and Rogelio Zubia — were also present at the meeting to offer their perspectives. Presidio Elementary School lags a little behind the other schools — Mendoza attributes that to heavy turnover in administration during the turbulent pandemic years. “We’re focused on growth this year,” he said. “It’s a big, hairy audacious goal, getting that A, but we’re setting the expectations we want to meet.”
Vasquez pulled up statistics for Alpine, Crane and Kermit ISDs — comparable school districts in the region. Presidio ISD had the highest score among those districts. “Even with all the craziness over the past two years, we did a really good job,” he said. “We’ll celebrate this for a little bit, and then we’ll move forward.”
TEA Accountability Ratings for schools in Texas are available online at TXSchools.gov. Informational videos for the general public about how these ratings are calculated are available at