Edcouch-Elsa High School sits in the middle of a field at the intersection of Farm to Market Road 88 and Mile 20, deep in the heart of the Lower Rio Grande Valley. All but two percent of its students are economically disadvantaged; 70% are considered officially “at risk” by the Texas Education Agency. All of the students are Hispanic; more than a third are just learning English.
The school ranks in the bottom third of Texas high schools, according to Schooldigger.com, and it certainly has never merited a mention on the coveted “America’s Best High Schools” list published each year by Newsweek and The Washington Post.
But that isn’t stopping it from copying what those schools do well.