Leading SA: Southside ISD Superintendent on why his district is on the rise

Rolando Ramirez says Southside ISD has overcome challenges to turn around school performance

Southside ISD has gone from one of the lowest performing school districts to one of the highest-ranked school districts in the area.

SAN ANTONIO – Education is so incredibly important — and the last few years have not been easy for school districts across the country and across Texas.

However, one local district has gone from one of the lowest-performing school districts to one of the highest-ranked school districts in the area.

Southside ISD went from having two C-rated campuses and six F-rated campuses in 2019 to now in 2022 having one A-rated and seven B-rated Campuses, according to 2022 preliminary STAAR ratings.

Southside ISD Superintendent Rolando Ramirez said joined Leading SA Sunday to explain.

“We’re very proud of what our students and staff were able to accomplish. All districts are evaluated by the state through three domains student achievement, school progress and closing the gaps. So our district was able to do very well on school progress, which led to a 30-point gain in our previously rated campuses, with 87 being our lowest campus rating with those F-rated campuses and our district rating being an 87. So they did an amazing job,” Ramirez said.

One of the largest issues districts across San Antonio face is the digital divide.

“So I think with school improvement, student progress in the best of times, it’s very difficult. But these last two years it’s been very challenging. Last year, with the COVID pandemic, with 60% of our students joining remotely. 40% in in-person. The ones joining remotely. We struggled with Internet connectivity because here at Southside, we don’t have the Internet infrastructure where the students that were attending in-person while, you know, unfortunately some would get sick staff as well, some had COVID exposure, so they’d be out. So our attendance was very low, but our students and staff, you know, met the challenge, overcame every obstacle that they confronted. And we never made excuses. So they had that mindset and, you know, thank God that we were able to do well,” Ramirez said.

These academic accomplishments are impressive in the classroom, but it also means so much for the students’ futures.

“A solid foundation has been set, so I think that we only grow from here. So, you know, we at Southside want to make sure that our students are career and college ready. And I think that, you know, every year from now on, you know, shooting for that A-rating and having that improvement and ensuring that the future of our students after they leave Southside is brighter than the future that we currently have right now. So we’re very excited of the great things that are happening here at the District,” Superintendent Rolando Ramirez said.

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About the Author:

Max Massey is the GMSA weekend anchor and a general assignments reporter. Max has been live at some of the biggest national stories out of Texas in recent years, including the Sutherland Springs shooting, Hurricane Harvey and the manhunt for the Austin bomber. Outside of work, Max follows politics and sports, especially Penn State, his alma mater.