Just fifteen minutes from downtown Austin and spanning 174 square miles in southeast Travis County, Del Valle ISD proudly serves the inner-city, suburban, and rural communities of Austin, Garfield, Creedmoor, Mustang Ridge, Elroy, Pilot Knob, Webberville, and Hornsby Bend with a steady trend of successful academic performance. Currently, the district educates approximately 11,000 students on 14 campuses, including the only high school east of I-35 in Travis County that has achieved the Texas Education Agency’s Recognized student performance rating for three consecutive years. Recently, Del Valle ISD achieved the highest rating of five stars, Financial Allocation Study for Texas (FAST), among the top 20 percent of all Texas school districts in academic progress, while keeping expenditures among the lowest 20 percent of fiscally comparable districts.
Del Valle ISD does “Whatever it Takes” to maximize the educational progress of every student it serves. The district’s strategic plan focuses instructional goals on all student groups making annual improvement and reaching exemplary status based on state and national standards. Teachers and staff are working to increase the college and career readiness of every graduate. Del Valle High School’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) classes complement academic courses and give students an opportunity to leave high school with marketable skills. The district offers nine CTE “majors,” including architecture, graphic arts/animation and health science, that help prepare students for a job or college major. Each class within a major builds on knowledge, skills and learning experiences from the previous course. Every student has the opportunity to graduate with new knowledge, and some of the programs provide the opportunity to graduate with free college credit hours. Business and community groups are involved in the district through the Adopt-A-School program, a collaborative partnership that supports activities designed to enrich or positively affect students’ education. The non-profit organization functions as an advisory group to Del Valle ISD. Its board, comprised of parents, community members, and community liaisons, sets annual goals to assist the district with the following programs: student scholarships, Teacher of the Year program, Year-End Celebration honoring adopters, volunteers, and mentors, the New Teacher Luncheon and Bus Tour for all new educators.
Del Valle ISD has made significant strides during the past few years in increasing the percentage of students academically prepared for higher education and the high-performance workplace and who directly enroll in college after high school. The district, where the vast majority of students come from low-income families, is working to further boost those numbers. The district’s progress was featured earlier this year in a front-page article in the Austin American-Statesman. Last year, commendably, Del Valle ISD set nearly 60 specific goals – one of few districts to do so – covering the various subjects, grades and student groups monitored in this report. The district either met or exceeded about 40 percent of those goals. The percentage of students prepared for college work in both English language arts and math jumped 26 percentage points between 2006 and 2009, bringing the rate to 35 percent. The district’s direct-to-college enrollment increased by 10 percentage points during the same time period, putting it at 42 percent for the Class of 2009, which posted the largest increase in directto- college enrollment among Metro Austin school districts. Significantly more eighth-graders passed the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills reading, math and science in 2010, compared to four years prior, but the rate declined in reading and math in 2010 —by 5 percentage points and 4 percentage points, respectively —bringing the passing rates to 91 percent and 83 percent. The percentage of fifth-graders who passed math and science increased slightly in 2010 and decreased marginally in reading. District officials believe student performance will improve next year as a result of new middle school leadership and added layers of student support and intervention. They also attribute this year’s declines, in part, to the inclusion of test results for special education students whose results had not been included in the past by the state.