Return to Headlines

R. & C. Saenz Elementary Selected as 1 of Only 2 Texas Schools to Receive National Academic Honor

Roma ISD’s R. & C. Saenz Elementary School is one of only two Texas schools to receive the 2022 National ESEA Distinguished Schools Award! Saenz Elementary was selected for the award because of its exceptional student academic performance and academic growth; excellence in closing the achievement gaps between student groups; and excellence in serving special populations of students such as migrants or English learners.


The National ESEA Distinguished Schools Program is a project of NAESPA that publicly recognizes qualifying federally-funded schools for positive educational advances and the outstanding academic achievement of their students. Established in 1996, the program showcases hundreds of schools identified by the State Education Agency for their success. Saenz Elementary School was nominated for the award by the Texas Education Agency.


In order to be a candidate for the honor, schools have a poverty rate of at least 35% for the selected year, demonstrate high academic achievement for two or more consecutive years, and met or exceeded state standards of Adequate Yearly Progress for at least two consecutive years.


“We are extremely proud of the students, faculty, and staff at R. & C. Saenz Elementary School, showcasing the best of what we do here at Roma ISD,” said Roma ISD Superintendent Carlos M. Gonzalez Jr. “Let there be no doubt that under the leadership of Principal Odette Garcia and her administrative team, the R. & C. Saenz Elementary Spartans have thrived. They have put in place a variety of awesome academic and extracurricular programs that have helped students grow in their confidence in their own abilities to achieve. We look forward to celebrating this accomplishment with the students and staff soon, as well as seeing them showcased on the national stage. Congratulations, and know how proud The Gladiator Nation is of your hard work!”


“The Texas Education Agency is proud to have Roel A. & Celia R. Saenz Elementary represent

Texas as one of the highest-rated ESEA Distinguished Schools,” said TEA Commissioner Mike Morath in a letter to Superintendent Gonzalez. “Your administration, faculty, students, parents, and community are to be congratulated for their commitment to developing and maintaining a quality program, which serves as an example for other schools to follow.


All National ESEA Distinguished Schools are honored with a commemorative award package, a dedicated section on the ESEA Network website, and a special presentation at the National ESEA Conference, which takes place in Indianapolis in February 2023. Throughout the National ESEA Conference, select sessions feature Stories of Success from Distinguished Schools, highlighting the notable work they have done to make significant improvements for their students. Distinguished School attendees are celebrated during several exclusive conference events.


R. & C. Saenz Elementary School joins an impressive list of awardees from across the United States, including Roma ISD’s F. J. Scott Elementary School, which was an honoree in 2016.


R. & C. Saenz Elementary Selected as One of Only 2 Texas Schools to Receive National Academic Honor