BROWNSVILLE, Texas – The latest scorecard from RGV FOCUS has been published and it shows high school students are once again doing well.

In fact, Valley students now outperform their Texas peers in nine out of 12 key success indicators RGV Focus tracks. 

The scorecard shows:

·         56 percent of RGV high school students are completing Advance Placement or Dual Credit Courses, exceeding the state average of 46 percent.

·         55 percent of RGV high school seniors are completing the FAFSA for financial aid, exceeding the state average of 47 percent.

·         49 percent of RGV high school graduates are immediately enrolling and beginning instruction in higher education, exceeding the state average of 45 percent. 

“What these numbers mean is that many of our students are graduating high school college- and career-ready and with higher education credits already completed,” said Chris Coxon, managing director of programs at Educate Texas. 

“Thousands of RGV graduates are seeking access through financial aid and are continuing in higher education, with a goal of entering the workforce in meaningful, high-demand occupations. It also means that, thanks to the strategic decision by so many districts to leverage partnerships with our higher education partners, young men and women across the Rio Grande Valley are taking advantage of opportunities to continue their education.”

RGV FOCUS is an initiative of Educate Texas at Communities Foundation of Texas.  The group works to improve academic results and job opportunities for students across the counties of Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr, and Willacy. 

The group announced its latest scorecard at Texas Southmost College on Thursday. Education, community, and business leaders were present.

Though there are bright spots, RGV FOCUS says there is still work to be done. The group acknowledges that the COVID-19 pandemic did not help.

“While it is too early to see the full impact of the pandemic on the Rio Grande Valley, the scorecard provides some early academic indicators of how students are faring in terms of college- and career-readiness, connections to and through higher education, and employment. RGV FOCUS will continue to measure the impact of its education, community, and business initiatives through partners with a goal of supporting all students and teachers across the entire 4-county region,” a news release from the group states.

Jesús Roberto Rodríguez, president of Texas Southmost College, spoke at the RGV FOCUS event. He said: “We know that education represents our communities’ surest pathway to continued prosperity. We must sustain our collective impact initiatives to ensure students select a higher education pathway that helps them meet their goals, complete their degree or credential, and connect with high-wage, high demand careers.”

Pat Hobbs, executive director of Workforce Solutions Cameron, spoke at the RGV FOCUS event. He said: “In order for our students to take full advantage of current employment opportunities and those coming to the Valley in the future, they must have the required skills and credentials for these jobs.”

For this year, RGV FOCUS has set a new goal to 27,000 new postsecondary degrees and certificates to Texas’ higher education goal by 2025. Another goal is to help enable schools to better attract, prepare, develop, and retain more high quality and diverse teachers, which aligns with Educate Texas’ 2025 Strategic Plan.

Editor’s Note: Click here to view the full RGV FOCUS report. Click here to view an expanded scorecard with additional data. Click here to read stories from the RGV FOCUS community. Click here to go to the RGV Focus website.

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