In Student Engagement, Teacher Certification

For the first time in the U.S., more than one-half of the 54 million children attending public schools are non-White (NCES). Earlier this week we shared a bit of Education Week’s segment on the changing demographic in American schools (read post here) and its Q&A with superintendent Jim D. Rollins of the Springdale School District (AR) about how the district changed its processes and teaching methods to ensure continued engagement and teaching effectiveness with all of it students.

Recently, Manny Soto Jr., former administrator in Ysleta Independent School District (TX), continued the call for engaging all students with a focus on the engagement of Latino students in a guest column to the El Paso Times (here):

[In El Paso], only one out of seven Latino high school graduates complete either a two- or four-year college or university degree… Annually, out of 12,000 area Latino high school graduates, 10,000 do not get a higher education degree, and 6,000 never even enroll in college… By 2020, data indicates that 80 percent of all jobs will require a two-year or a four-year college degree.

In the column Mr. Soto shares the success Del Valle High School in the Ysleta Independent School District (TX) students have had “outperforming” other high school students in its region on the “Advanced” standard Algebra I end of course exam required for high school graduation. How good were they? My “ROCK STAR” description pales to the numbers Mr. Soto shared:

At the “Advanced” standard, Del Valle outperformed by three times the average of all 29 high schools in the region and was twice as high as the closest one.

The [Del Valle HS] Conquistadors had as many “Advanced” passers as all eight high schools south of I-10 and in the Northeast part of the city in both the El Paso and Ysleta [Independent School Districts]. Latinos made up 90 percent of the students tested on Algebra I this past spring in the region. Almost 90 percent of them came from modest income families. 97 percent of the students tested at Del Valle were Latino.

Mr. Soto shares a bit about what Del Valle is doing with Professional Learning Communities and encourages districts to “send a team of educators… to study [Del Valle’s] total package.” He ends the column recognizing the school’s great work:

Del Valle, thanks for leading the way and setting the “gold standard.” Please continue to raise the bar. Si se puede. Bravo.


Los maestros son el factor más importante que afecta el aprendizaje de los estudiantes. Tenemos la suerte de hacer un trabajo que nos permite estar con los líderes y maestros entre los EE.UU., y ser testigo de la diferencia que están haciendo en las vidas de los estudiantes. Maestros y líderes de Del Valle High School secundaria – Gracias por ser el patrón oro usted!


Soto Jr., Manny. September 14, 2014. Del Valle sets the standard for teaching Algebra I in El Paso. El Paso Times. Accessed online 9/24/2014:

Hussar, William, and Bailey, Tabitha. (February 2014). Projections of Education Statistics to 2022, 41 edition. Institute for Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education. Table 4, data source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data (CCD), “State Nonfiscal Survey of Public Elementary/Secondary Education,” 1997–98 through 2011–12; and National Public Elementary and Secondary Enrollment by Race/Ethnicity Model, 1994–2011. (This table was prepared February 2013.)

Photo is screen clip of Del Valle High School’s website home page.

Del Valle High School is a TEA Distinguished Comprehensive High School in the Ysleta Independent School District. Follow the school on Twitter at @DVHSYISD.

Special thanks to my niece Lauren, a bilingual high school senior, for editing my translation in the last paragraph of this post. She’s a rock star.

Our mission at Studer Education is to help education systems achieve measurable results that produce positive outcomes in student achievement, employee engagement, support services, and financial efficiencies and productivity. Our goal is to help school systems provide students with a great place to learn, teachers with a great place to teach, and parents with confidence that their children are getting a great education. Follow us on Twitter at @StuderEducation and visit us online at Studer Education is a division of Studer Group, ranked for the seventh straight year on the Best Small and Medium Workplaces by Great Place to Work® and a recipient of the 2010 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.

Filed under: How to Lead…, Who’s Engaged? Tagged: “Teach Them All”, #leaders, @DVHSYISD, Del Valle High School, Latino, YISD, Ysleta Independent School District

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