There is plenty to be proud of at the Raul Yzaguirre School for Success, thanks to our students, teachers, and staff who continually strive for academic excellence. At all grade levels, RYSS has demonstrated that it is a highly competitive, highly motivated organization that is committed to rigorous teaching and learning that results in steady progress. We have earned many accolades and accomplished a lot, and we view our accomplishments, several briefly described below, as part of a continuum of success that benefits not only today’s students but also those students who follow them and continue that expectation of excellence in the future.
STEM Designation (Texas Education Agency)
RYSS 6-12 STEM has been recognized by the state as a secondary school that effectively focuses on instruction in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, particularly for at-risk students in middle and high school who are interested in STEM careers. With the STEM designation, the TEA provides professional development and technical assistance to the school, which in turn serves as a demonstration school that features learning labs to introduce innovative teaching methods.
Early College Designation (Texas Education Agency)
The RYSS Early College High School earned this state designation in 2014 to provide students with the opportunity to earn 60 college credit hours (associate’s degree) while earning their high school diploma. By attending the RYSS early college high school, students, who might not otherwise attend college, receive that dual credit for high school and college courses at no cost to them. The instruction is more rigorous in these accelerated courses and expectations are high. The Early College High School offers Advanced Placement courses, STEM courses as well as courses in art, business, music, JROTC, and physical education. Under the auspices of the state, which sets strict operational standards, the school also provides support services to help them prepare for college coursework and campus life.
Texas Literacy Initiative Sub-grant Recipient
RYSS was an early recipient of a Texas Literacy Initiative (TLI) Sub-grant, which was funded by the U.S. Department of Education and awarded by the state. Indeed, after a competitive application process, it was the only open-enrollment charter school in Texas chosen to receive one of the sub-grants. Under the requirements of the initiative, RYSS incorporates best practices in the instruction of reading and writing for all students through rigorous, research-based professional development for teachers. Through ongoing coaching and training, teachers are better equipped to work with students of all learning abilities, which results in better classroom and assessment performance.
Educational Excellence Innovation Program (EEIP) Grant Recipient (Texas Education Agency)
The grant enables RYSS to help improve student achievement by recognizing great ideas and practices among teachers and developing programs that lead to the continuing recruitment and retention of innovative teachers. EEIP teachers serve as teacher leaders, professional development presenters, and mentors, fostering an open, supportive and collaborative campus.
State Accountability Distinctions at Brownsville RYSS (BRYSS)
On September 14, 2016, the TEA announced that the BRYSS K-8 campus was among more than 400 campuses statewide that achieved a “Met Standard” accountability rating and earned all its distinction designations. The state awards distinction designations to campuses based how their performance compares to a group of 40 similar campuses across the state. The BRYSS excelled by earning all six of its potential distinctions: Academic Achievement in English Language Arts/Reading; Academic Achievement in Mathematics; Academic Achievement in Science, Top 25 Percent: Student Progress; Top 25 Percent: Closing Performance Gaps: and Postsecondary Readiness.
Early Childhood Development Center
Knowing how important it is for children to begin learning as early as possible, RYSS launched the Early Childhood Development Center for infants and toddlers in 2015. This program, which serves children from age 0-4, focuses on introducing young learner to literacy skills with the expectation that these skills will prepare them for greater academic success in pre-kindergarten through high school. The center serves a population of up to 20 children. It also offers a 12-week Play and Learn (PALS) program that supports learning not only for the students but also for their parents.
Baylor Teen Clinic
In partnership with the Baylor College of Medicine beginning in 2013, the teen clinic located at the Tejano Center for Community Concerns (adjacent to the RYSS), offers free or low-cost comprehensive health care and education to RYSS students, ages 13 and older. Clinic services (with parental consent) include comprehensive medical exams, sports physicals, HIV and STD screening, family planning, prenatal care, health education and counseling, case management social work, and crisis intervention. The clinic’s goal is to provide services to students in low income communities who may not otherwise receive health care and to help students stay in school.
GRADuation Aspirations Grant Recipient (AT&T/Project GRAD)
RYSS was among a select group of schools in July 2016 to receive a portion of a $1.0 million grant from AT&T to Project GRAD to support and motivate students in low-income communities to stay in school and prepare for college and/or the workplace. The funding supports Project GRAD campus advisors who work with RYSS students on a case-management basis to meet college preparation goals, conduct workshops for students and their parents, and provide counseling, if necessary.
State of the Art Campus Libraries
Using Title I funding and funds from the Texas Literacy Initiative grant in 2013, both the Houston and Brownsville campuses house state-of-the-art libraries that include more than 40,000 volumes for student use and online reference centers that familiarize students with college-level research and resources.
College and Career Readiness Centers
RYSS is a college preparatory school that is truly dedicated to making every one of its students a successful candidate for the college or university of their choice. To do that, the district saw the important need to establish on-campus centers that make meaningful resources available to college-bound students and their parents. The College and Career Readiness Centers are staffed and equipped to provide counseling and graduation planning readily available as well as online access to college and career resources, field trips to area colleges and universities, expos featuring career advisors and college representatives, financial aide planning, admissions testing advice. The centers work each year to expand the services to better educate and prepare students for college and careers.
Family and Community Engagement Department
In 2014, RYSS created the Family and Community Engagement Department to open and maintain lines of communication between the schools and students, parents, and community members. Based on the belief that when parents and the community are more involved in the academic process, school becomes a priority for everyone. FACE coordinates the district’s RYSS Volunteers in Public Schools, business partnerships, strategic partnerships, and community relations.
Student Transportation to Colleges/Universities
RYSS purchased a 27-passenger bus in 2016 to transport Early College High School students to and from the Houston Community College campus for their dual-credit classes. These classes will help them graduate from high school not only with a diploma but also with college credits. The bus also helps students experience the college setting throughout the year at local institutions of higher learner through site visits and expos on college campuses.
Children at Risk Gold Ribbon School Honorable Mention for RYSS Early College High School
Children at Risk is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to education research and policy. Each year it offers its school rankings based on campus performance measures—including the state’s four performance indices—to serve as a guide for parents, educators, and the community to assess the quality of public education in Texas. In 2016, the RYSS Early College High School received honorable mention in the Children at Risk’s list of Gold Ribbon Schools, which represents the top schools with a high concentration of economically disadvantaged students in Texas’ major metropolitan areas.