"In the middle of an orange grove, across the street from the tortilla factory": the Science Academy of South Texas
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The Science Academy of South Texas, one of four magnet schools in The South Texas Independent School District (STISD), opened in 1989 to bring educational opportunities in mathematics and science to students in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas. STISD serves three counties and offers enrollment to any student who applies from any of the twenty-eight feeder districts. The Science Academy is the only mathematics and science magnet school in the Rio Grande Valley. Over years, Science Academy has developed partnerships with major colleges and universities in Houston, Texas and the Rio Grande Valley. University partnerships have provided funding for programs at the school and have created continuing summer study programs for Science Academy students. Graduates have been accepted to and/or attended some of the most prestigious colleges and universities across the United States, despite personal challenges including low socioeconomic status, English as their second language, and being the first in their family to attend college. This historical study seeks to answer two basic questions. How has the Science Academy faced its academic, political, and social challenges over the years? What factors appear to have contributed to its establishment, survival, and success? Chapter One, "Significance of the Study and Research Methods" describes the study's significance within the scholarly literature and the research methods used for this study. Chapter Two, "The Science Academy of South Texas" presents the history of STISD and the events which precipitated Science Academy's establishment. Chapter Three, "The Administration, Faculty and Staff of Science Academy," discusses administration and faculty of the Science Academy. Its focus is Science Academy teachers and their educational beliefs as well as the administrators and staff and their beliefs. Chapter Four, "Curriculum Continuity and Change at the Science Academy," focuses on the curriculum history of Science Academy and the changes faculty members and administrators have made over time. Chapter Five, "The Students of the Science Academy of South Texas," focuses on the students at the Science Academy, who administrators and teachers describe as "the whole reason we are here." Chapter Six offers concluding thoughts and ideas for future research.