Nine Donna ISD schools were recognized by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) for their exemplary work in achieving student success.

The 2016 Accountability Summary released by the TEA shows A.P. Solis Middle School received five distinctions, more than any other school in the district. That means Solis Middle School went above the required standards set forth by the TEA in the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness or STAAR’s test.

Students are required to take the STAAR’s test every year to assess their knowledge in Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, and English Language/Reading. Students excelled in five areas: Academic Achievement in ELA/Reading, Academic Achievement in Social Studies, Top 25 Percent Student Progress, Top 25 Percent Closing Performance Gaps, and Postsecondary Readiness.

Solis Middle School Principal Mary Lou Rodriguez emphasized that the distinctions took a lot of hard work and team effort. “It is evident that Solis is performing at a level unlike any other,” Rodriguez said. “We, just like all the other Donna schools have phenomenal teachers giving so much to our students and the fact that their hard work is noted on a Texas Education Agency Report is remarkable.”

Rodriguez attributed much of the school’s success to changing the campus culture and mindset. “We have come a long way and this by no means has been easy; however, we reinforce the positive, we continue to declare to our students and staff that we are the best and our expectations have been set to be the best,” Rodriguez said.  Our teachers are dedicated, passionate and enthusiastic about what they do and this is reflected daily.”

Donna ISD Superintendent Fernando Castillo applauded Solis Middle School for this major accomplishment. “The principal and faculty have been very focused regarding their academic success. Two years ago Solis Middle School also earned distinctions in five areas, so they strive and challenge themselves daily to help students improve academically on their campus,” Castillo said.

Two campuses — C. Stainke Elementary School and Captain D. Salinas Elementary School received three distinctions each.

Two schools — D. M. Sauceda Middle School and J. P. LeNoir Elementary School — received two distinctions each. 

Four others received one distinction — Veterans Middle School, W.A. Todd Middle School, Guzman Elementary School and A.M. Ochoa Elementary School.

Superintendent Castillo could not be more proud of the campus’ accomplishments. “Our district is definitely headed in the right direction in terms of fundamentals at the lower grade levels, specifically with the emphasis on literacy and comprehension,” Castillo said. “I am ecstatic that all 21 campuses met standard, this had not happened since 2010. In order to be eligible for any distinction, a campus must have received a met standard rating. Nine out of 21 campuses earned distinctions in one or more areas.”

The most distinctions elementary campuses in the State of Texas can earn are six and secondary schools can receive seven. Commissioner of Education Mike Morath said earning any distinction is an honor. “Earning one or more campus distinctions is noteworthy and should be a source of pride in a community. Earning all possible distinctions is a significant accomplishment and should signal to parents that there is extraordinary work taking place on that campus,” Morath said.