Lesson in injustice: Despite students’ great work, Rodriguez Elementary will close

Rodriguez families have Final Fiesta

In May 2018, San Antonio ISD Superintendent Pedro Martinez met with students at Cleto Rodriguez Elementary and made them a promise: Their school would stay open if they did really well on their standardized STAAR test.

They did astonishingly well: The 5th graders’ science scores improved from 23 percent to 64 percent, according to their proud principal.  

But that wasn’t good enough for the Texas Education Agency. The kids missed the state-mandated overall mark by 1.6 points, and the TEA lowered the boom on Rodriguez Elementary with a 5th consecutive “improvement required” rating.

Today, 87 years after it opened across from the steps of Our Lady of the Lake University, the school is closing. About 330 Pre-K to 5th graders - children who live in the most economically disadvantaged ZIP Code in Bexar County - will be uprooted and advised to attend an in-district charter school more than three miles away.

The teachers who helped them soar to new heights - including an SAISD Teacher of the Year and a Rising Star of the Year - will be scattered across the district after they apply for new positions at other schools.

Students, parents and teachers grieved and celebrated during Rodriguez Elementary School's Grand Fiesta Farewell on May 3, 2019, and they talked about what happened and what’s ahead.

Watch the video to get the full story in our interviews with Rodriguez Elementary Principal Beth Brady, SAISD Board President Patti Radle and Stephanie Torres, a parent of two students who volunteers at the school.

Editors note: As originally published, this article misidentified Superintendent Pedro Martinez. The error has been corrected.