Academics and post-graduation readiness: Corpus Christi ISD reflects on 2022-23

Though Corpus Christi ISD student performance is slightly below state and regional averages in many areas, the district experienced growth between 2022 and 2023. The district has also outperformed the state and region in preparing recent graduates for life after high school.

These are some of the main takeaways from Corpus Christi ISD's 2023 Texas Academic Performance Report.

The district presented the extensive collection of data measuring student performance this week. In addition to showing how performance differs by grade level, subject and campus, the report also highlights performance by student groups, such as by race and socioeconomic status.

Essentially, the report provides a data-focused “year in review” of student performance. The public can find reports online for every school district in Texas, as well as reports for each individual school campus.

Nathan and Erica Kozski walk children, from left, Freya, Matthew and Wyett, to Cullen Place Elementary on the first day of school, Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2023, in Corpus Christi, Texas.
Nathan and Erica Kozski walk children, from left, Freya, Matthew and Wyett, to Cullen Place Elementary on the first day of school, Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2023, in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Corpus Christi ISD’s annual report is available online at More information is also available through the Texas Education Agency’s TAPR webpage.

In addition to the TAPR data, the state also usually releases A-F school accountability ratings evaluating every public school in Texas. But school accountability grades still haven't been released for the 2022-23 school year due to an ongoing lawsuit filed by school districts across the state.

Read through the sections below to read about demographics, academic performance, attendance and truancy, graduation and dropout rates and career, college and military readiness across the district.

What students does Corpus Christi ISD serve?

During the 2022-23 school year, Corpus Christi ISD served over 33,300 students, the majority of whom were identified as economically disadvantaged, nearly 73%, or at-risk, over 65%, exceeding state averages.

"Over the past several years, student enrollment has fluctuated, although we have seen persistent decreases in enrollment over the past several years," CCISD senior director of assessment and accountability Sonia Zyla told the Board of Trustees during a meeting Monday.

A majority of students at each district high school are identified as economically disadvantaged, except for Veterans Memorial High School, with only about 36%, according to the report. Exact percentages at other campus range from about 63% at King High School to nearly 90% at Coles High School, the district’s alternative campus.

Similarly, most students at each district middle school are identified as economically disadvantaged, except for two campuses — Kaffie Middle School and Adkins Middle School.

At the elementary school level, at least 90% of students are economically disadvantaged at Allen, Berlanga, Crockett, Evans, Fannin, Garcia, Gibson, Hicks, Houston, Moore, Oak Park, Shaw, Travis and Zavala elementary schools. Only Mireles Elementary School and Windsor Park Elementary School, the district’s gifted and talented magnet school, had less than half of their students identified as economically disadvantaged. At Mireles, that figure was 42.5%, while at Windsor Park, it was only about 29%.

Most CCISD students, about 81%, are Hispanic. Over 7% are bilingual.

Freshman Xziha Galindo, right, leans against a wall as students enter the new Carroll High School on Corpus Christi ISD's first day of the 2022-23 school year on Aug. 9, 2022.
Freshman Xziha Galindo, right, leans against a wall as students enter the new Carroll High School on Corpus Christi ISD's first day of the 2022-23 school year on Aug. 9, 2022.

The 2022-23 enrollment figure represents an increase in students from the previous year, indicating that the district might be rebounding from a sharp post-pandemic decline in students. Before the pandemic, enrollment was already declining by a few hundred students each year, but between 2019-20 and 2020-21 it dropped by about 2,000 students.

The district reported about 34,500 students in 2020-21 and less than 33,200 students in 2021-22. Back in 2013-14, enrollment was above 39,300.

Are Corpus Christi ISD students meeting grade-level expectations?

Across the district in all subjects, most students passed state standardized tests held last spring.

In Corpus Christi ISD, about 71% of students were at least approaching state-mandated curriculum standards according to STAAR test results. The state groups students into four levels — does not meet, approaches, meets or masters. Approaches or above is considered passing.

CCISD performance lagged slightly behind state and regional performance.

But the district did see growth across nearly all student types in the percentage of students who achieved meets grade level or above when compared to two years ago during spring 2022 testing.

Grades 3-8 take STAAR tests in math and reading. There are also science assessments for fifth and eighth grade and a social studies assessment for eighth grade. At the high school level, students take an English I, English II, algebra, biology and U.S. history end-of-course test.

The TAPR data shows disparities in student performance based on race, with higher percentages of Asian and white students meeting grade level expectations. But across nearly all student groups, academic performance improved between 2022 and 2023.

When looking at individual high schools, student performance also varies. Students at Branch Academy and Collegiate High School generally out-performed other district high schools. Both Branch and Collegiate offer early college high school programs and students must apply for a transfer in order to attend.

Coles High School is an alternative school that serves students who have struggled at their previous high school. Campus-level TAPR data indicates that students at Coles performed as well or better in math as their peers at other CCISD high schools, but had a lower passing rate on English assessments.

The district's six traditional high schools offer many similar programs, but each offers unique career and technology education courses. Students at each campus also participate at varying levels in advanced academics programs including dual credit and Advanced Placement. Only one high school, Ray High School, offers an International Baccalaureate program.

What are attendance and truancy rates in Corpus Christi ISD?

State data reporting on attendance is not as up-to-date as academic and demographic data. Though the report includes standardized test results from 2022-23, it cites attendance rates for the 2021-22 school year.

Two years ago, the district’s attendance rate was 2.7% lower than the state average. It had fallen by 1.8% from the year previous, 2020-21.

According to the report, rates of chronic absenteeism increased. Chronic absenteeism is when a K-12 student is absent for 10% or more of the days they are enrolled in school. The district’s rate in 2020-21 was about 39%, meaning nearly four out of ten students missed 10% of the school year.

Though both the region and state reported an increase in chronic absenteeism between 2020-21 and 2021-22, the chronic absenteeism rate was only 34.3% in the Coastal Bend and 25.7% across the state.

Last year, 2022-23, the district reported a high mobility rate, which measures students who move schools over the year, spending at least six weeks at another campus.

About a fifth of Corpus Christi ISD students, 21%, were identified as mobile last year. The state average was lower at about 17%.

"You're going to see lower attendance and more mobility in areas of the city that are more impoverished," Superintendent Roland Hernandez said. "There are families that are moving from complex to complex. They'll stay where they can until they're evicted and then they have to move somewhere else. Many homeless children will live with a family and then move to another family and kind of bounce around the district."

Are students graduating?

Data on graduation and high school completion is released on a delayed schedule. The most recent data included in the report focuses on the class of 2022.

Of students who entered ninth grade in 2018, nearly 94% graduated on-time in 2022. Of the remaining students, 5% dropped out.

The district’s four-year graduation rate is higher than the state and regional rate — about 90% for both the state and Coastal Bend.

"Something that struck me is that we're above the state in our graduation rate, but yet we have higher chronic absenteeism in our district," Trustee Marty Bell said, calling on district administration to look into academic rigor in the distric.t

The district’s early college high schools reported the highest graduation rate — 100% for Branch Academy and 99% for Collegiate High School.

Carroll High School's 2023 commencement ceremony is held at the American Bank Center on Saturday, June 3, 2023, in Corpus Christi, Texas.
Carroll High School's 2023 commencement ceremony is held at the American Bank Center on Saturday, June 3, 2023, in Corpus Christi, Texas.

The rate varied between at each of the district’s six traditional high schools — 96% at Carroll, 93% at King, 91% at Miller, 94% at Moody, 94 % at Ray and 97% at Veterans Memorial.

The rate is lower — only about 85% — at the district’s alternative school, Coles High School. Coles High School serves students who have not been successful at their traditional high schools.

The district’s dropout rate two years ago for seventh and eighth grade students was identical to the state and regional rate at less than 1%. This represents an improvement from the year before, 2020-21, when the CCISD rate was about 2%.

For high school students, the CCISD dropout rate was lower than the state and regional rates.

The dropout rate does not include students who have been court-ordered to attend a high school equivalency program or students who dropped out in previous years.

Corpus Christi ISD is the subject of a recent complaint to the Texas Education Agency by statewide civil rights groups who say the district disproportionately relies on truancy courts that might order students to attend high school equivalency programs.

How prepared are students once they leave high school for college or for a career?

The state also tracks data related to how prepared high school graduates are for college, a career or the military.

Some of the indicators of college readiness include success in dual credit, Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate programs, earning an associate degree and criteria under the Texas Success Initiative.

Measures of career readiness include industry-based certifications.

Across CCISD, about 88% of 2022 graduates were declared college, career or military ready, exceeding state and regional rates. This is also a considerable jump from the previous year when only 58.5% of CCISD students earned the designation.

Schools with the most “ready” students include Branch, Collegiate Miller, Moody and Veterans Memorial high schools, where above 90% of students earned the designation. That figure is about 89% at Carroll and King High School.

When looking at college-readiness specifically, the district average of 43% across all high schools is lower than the regional and state averages.

Branch and Collegiate, which are both early college high school programs, had the highest rates in the district. At each school, about 84% of students in the class of 2022 completed at least 9 hours of dual credit.

Miller and Veterans Memorial High School also exceeded the district average of 43% for college readiness for the class of 2022.

AP U.S. history juniors listen to a lecture by Coach Tracie Jensen and take notes at Carroll High School on Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2023, in Corpus Christi, Texas.
AP U.S. history juniors listen to a lecture by Coach Tracie Jensen and take notes at Carroll High School on Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2023, in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Diving into the specific college-readiness factors, Ray High School and Veterans Memorial High School exceeded state averages through AP and IB programs, which allow students to earn college credit if they can pass rigorous exams.

Across the state, 23% of juniors and seniors participated in AP or IB tests during the 2021-22 school year. Only 14% of CCISD juniors and seniors did, but that figure is higher than the regional average of about 12%.

Of students who did take an AP or IB test in 2022, about 53% performed well enough to earn college credit in Texas. In CCISD, only 45% did, primarily at Veterans Memorial and Ray high schools.

At Veterans Memorial High School, nearly 39% of graduates completed nine or more hours of dual credit courses. Through dual credit, CCISD students take classes through Del Mar College while still in high school.

At other campuses, the main measure for college readiness was the Texas Success Initiative Assessment, a test that determines whether students are ready for entry-level college coursework.

Compared to college readiness, 2022 graduates better demonstrated career or military readiness. Over 70% of district graduates met critieria for career or military readiness, well above the state and regional avaerages, just a third and half of graduates respectively.

Career readiness was highest at Branch, Miller, Moody and Carroll high schools, ranging from about 78% to 95%.

At Coles High School, where college readiness was just 3.7%, nearly 70% of 2022 graduates were career or military ready.

Career readiness was lowest at Veterans Memorial and Ray, but more than half of 2022 graduates were career ready at both schools.

Diving into the data more in-depth, over half of graduates at every district campus earned an approved industry-based certification. About a fifth of graduates at Branch Academy graduated with a Level 1 or Level II certificate.

The report also includes data on how CCISD graduates perform in postsecondary institutions, including their college grade point averages. For the class of 2020, about 81% of King High School graduates, 78% of Ray High School graduates and 81% of Veterans Memorial High School graduates who attended a four-year public university earned a passing GPA in their first year of college.

Rates of passing grades were lower for graduates from Carroll High School, Miller High School and Moody High School, but a majority of graduates from each school did still earn a passing GPA if they attended a four-year university.

Here's how Driscoll Children's Hospital has provided therapy in Corpus Christi ISD

Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi researcher studies endangered smalltooth sawfish DNA

Texas requires schools to vote on chaplain programs — Corpus Christi ISD votes no

This article originally appeared on Corpus Christi Caller Times: Here's how Corpus Christi ISD students and graduates are performing