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PSJA ISD expands college readiness efforts to elementary schools

Ten schools to offer AVID Program during 2021-2022 school year 


PHARR – The Pharr-San Juan-Alamo Independent School District (PSJA ISD) has extended its college readiness preparation to Elementary students for the 2021-2022 School Year through the district’s Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) Program.  

According to PSJA Professional Development/AVID Director Stella Sanchez, AVID is a cohort-based college readiness system currently offered in PSJA ISD from 6th through 12th grade to support students as they engage in rigorous courses to ensure their success in the college of their choice.  


“Our main focus is to support our teachers and better prepare students in order to continue closing the opportunity gap and prepare them for college and beyond,” said Sanchez. “We are excited to expand our program to the elementary level for 4th and 5th grade students.” 


The program fosters a safe and open culture, high expectations for teachers and students, and collaboration in all classrooms. Additionally, it helps increase college graduation rates among diverse and underrepresented demographic groups.   


Through the AVID Program, elementary teachers will receive professional development and support as they help lead the efforts to help the program expand throughout their campuses, and eventually to all the district’s 25 elementary schools.  


"The AVID Elementary Program supports all students on their path to college readiness by helping them develop the academic habits they will need to be successful in middle school, high school, and college, in an age-appropriate and challenging way,” she elaborated. “In addition to developing important academic habits, students also learn numerous skills like organization, studying, communication, self-advocacy, how to take structured notes and how to ask high-level questions.” 


The following 10 PSJA ISD schools are offering the PSJA AVID Program during the 2021-2022 school year:  



  • Allen & William Arnold Elementary 

  • Geraldine Palmer Elementary  

  • Dr. William Long Elementary  

  • Daniel Ramirez Elementary  

  • Raul Longoria Elementary  

San Juan 

  • Sgt. Leonel Treviño Elementary  

  • Edith & Ethel Carman Elementary  



  • Augusto Guerra Elementary 

  • John McKeever Elementary  

  • Marcia Garza Elementary  


For Guerra Elementary Principal Lillian Villarreal implementing the AVID Elementary Program is important to further prepare her students for life-long success. Like all PSJA ISD elementary schools, Guerra Elementary promotes a college-going atmosphere. 


“We are very excited to see how this program will benefit our students,” Villarreal said. “It will help us continue developing independent learners and teach our students very important skills they can use throughout their educational journey.” 


According to PSJA ISD Superintendent Dr. Jorge L. Arredondo, these efforts support and align to the district’s mission of preparing students to achieve the highest levels of success. 


“This is a life-changing program that will help our students develop a critical foundation for life-long learning. It will also provide important support systems to successfully transition them from elementary to middle school,” said Dr. Arredondo. 


To learn more about the AVID Program at PSJA schools, visit PSJA welcomes students living anywhere in the Rio Grande Valley.