El Paso Schools: How the NTN Partnership Accelerated Progress

By Tom Vander Ark and Emily Liebtag

Download the Case Study

Across the street from Bowie High is a fence that marks the border with Juarez, Mexico. Known as the Segundo Barrio and located east of downtown El Paso, Bowie and its feeder schools serve a neighborhood known for its strong culture, vibrant murals and where movement between Juarez and El Paso is a daily way of life. Generations of families continue to live on both sides of the border in this community also known for its extreme poverty and poor performing schools. Teachers are challenged to meet the needs of children new to English and who have previously attended schools in Mexico. For many years, the school district focused on test preparation and strong discipline but few young people found high school relevant and even fewer achieved academic success.

However, the El Paso Independent School District (EPISD) recently announced that for the 2018 school year, they have “the most high-performing schools in their region” and are “third in the state for districts with schools earning all available distinctions given by the Texas Education Agency”. This may come as a surprise to some, (those who only remember EPISD for the years they endured a corrupt leadership team who falsified student test scores), but not at all a surprise to those who have been on the ground working to revitalize the school system for the past five years. The EPISD team has been diligently working under new leadership to better engage students, understand family needs and focus on real learning—not just test scores.

As a result, they have seen an increase in more active, student-centered learning AND in state accountability test scores. One of the efforts EPISD has focused on to help make these gains is a sustained partnership with New Tech Network, a national network of project-based schools. The partnership between the El Paso Independent School District (EPISD) and the nonprofit school support organization is the largest in the country and is a big part of their unfolding district transformation story.

We’ve followed the progress of this partnership, which is safe to say is a little network of its own, and synthesized their story. Check out their progress and learn about how they accomplished their results so far.

Download the Case Study

For more, see:

Stay in-the-know with all things edtech and innovations in learning by signing up to receive the weekly Smart Update. This post includes mentions of a Getting Smart partner. For a full list of partners, affiliate organizations and all other disclosures, please see our Partner page.

Tom Vander Ark

Tom Vander Ark is the CEO of Getting Smart. He has written or co-authored more than 50 books and papers including Getting Smart, Smart Cities, Smart Parents, Better Together, The Power of Place and Difference Making. He served as a public school superintendent and the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Discover the latest in learning innovations

Sign up for our weekly newsletter.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. All fields are required.