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EDINBURG, TEXAS – The leaders of RGV Focus have given their views on the disappearance of Rio Grande Valley students from virtual classes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some schools, such as Vanguard Academy, did not lose any students. Others in the region lost many. 

In the attached podcast, Ron Whitlock of Ron Whitlock Reports interviews Dr. Rodney Rodriguez, senator director of RGV Focus, Dr. Narciso Garcia, superintendent of Vanguard Academy, Cledia Hernandez, provost of Texas State Technical College in Harlingen, and Ramiro Gonzalez of Falcon Bank.

In addition to a discussion on the students that disappeared, the subject of the Valley’s digital divide was brought up. 

Whitlock met the RGV Focus leaders at Region One Education Service Center. The event featured the 2020 annual scorecard produced by RGV Focus. The scorecard shows that the Rio Grande Valley matches or exceeds state performance in 9 out of 10 education metrics. 

Among the bright spots:

  • 54 percent of RGV high school students are completing Advanced Placement or Dual Credit Courses, exceeding the state average of 45 percent.
  • 58 percent of RGV high school graduates are immediately enrolling and beginning instruction in higher education, exceeding the state average of 51 percent.
  • 45 percent of RGV high school students are achieving college readiness on assessments, exceeding the state average of 44 percent.

Editor’s Note: Click here to read RGV Focus’ 2020 Annual Scorecard.

Hernandez’s viewpoint


Here are the remarks Hernandez, of TSTC Harlingen, made at the RGV Annual Scorecard event:

“Good morning, Buenos Dias. Para mi es un honor y un privilegio estar aquí. It is an honor and a privilege for me to be here. I am the proud and humble provost for TSTC for the Harlingen campus. And I am a true believer in regionalism and partnerships and of the impact that can have in our community. 

“As a member of the RGV Focus leadership team I find that this year’s scorecard is empowering and demonstrating where the Rio Grande Valley as an entire community is excelling compared to peers across the state. It is important we continue to measure our impact as an entire four-county region as opposed to focusing on individual campuses and isolated efforts to support our students. We think it is important to be publicly accountable, accountability is something that is huge in our industry, to make sure that we are able to show you, our community, that we are building our partnerships, we are sharing knowledge and resources and that student progress is being made. The scorecard also helps us understand where we need to focus our efforts to improve how our students, access opportunities and how they learn. Because there is still a lot to be done. 

“For example, you will see that our Valley-wide performance in higher education completion rates and in employment rates of graduates represents areas of opportunity. We track these metrics along the entire cradle to career educational pathway so that the fellow education leaders, parents, teachers and students, know that the connections and transitions between elementary, middle school and high schools to higher education and employment aren’t just important they are critical to positive change-making and improved livelihoods across the Rio Grande Valley. I want to encourage additional partnerships between our local businesses and our educational institutions to prepare our students for the jobs that will be supporting their families across the Valley.”

Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying the above news story and podcast shows Cledia Hernandez.


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