United Independent School District (ISD) is located in Laredo, Texas—a border town with Mexico. Despite multiple challenges, the district’s graduation rates have steadily improved in recent years.
United ISD faces a host of challenges, one of which is the inconsistent school attendance of migrant students, who are under pressure to contribute financially to their household and thus move frequently based on crop-picking seasons. In addition, it is not uncommon for students in the district to exit high school as parents of multiple children or facing drug abuse issues. Despite these challenges—and others—the district leadership is committed to ensuring that these students do not become discouraged and leave high school saying, “I’ll figure this out later.”
United ISD adopted Odysseyware in 2007 as part of its initiatives to support these and other students, keep them on pace with their cohorts, and increase graduation rates. United ISD currently serves 1,000 students through its partnership with Odysseyware, and has implemented several programs to address the challenges it faces, particularly in the areas of migrant population/students who relocate mid- year, excessive absences, and special education.
District-wide use of Odysseyware enables Special Education students to experience consistency in learning. Teachers create customized courses in Odysseyware based on each student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP). And because each Special Education student may be seen by different specialists, the district uses Odysseyware as a central point for managing information about that student’s learning progress, including any notes the teachers or specialists document from their time with the student.
Migrant students leave in early fall and don’t return until mid-spring. Now, they receive their Odysseyware login, a laptop, and a “hot spot” internet connection so they can complete their coursework regardless of location. In addition, support from teachers and school counselors, including occasional visits with some students out in the field, encourages this student population to stick with their education and remain dedicated to their own success. Oftentimes, these students are the first in their family to graduate high school. Judith Garcia, Director of Curriculum & Instructional Technology for United ISD, estimates that this program has enabled dozens of students who would have otherwise given up on school to graduate.
United ISD improved its graduation rate from 82.5% in 2008 to 94.1% in 2016.
DISTRICTUnited Independent School District
- 43,191 students
- 75% economically disadvantaged students
- 48% English Language Learner (ELL) students