Weslaco ISD, located in south central Hidalgo County, about eight miles north of the Texas-Mexico border, encompasses 54 square miles and is bordered by the cities of Progreso to the south, Donna to the west, Mercedes to the east and Edcouch/Elsa to the north.
Weslaco city officials organized the school district soon after the city’s establishment in 1919. With an enrollment of 350 in its first school year, 1921-22, the district had a faculty of ten and a graduating class of nine students. The first official school building, which still stands on the corner on Illinois and 7th St., was completed in February 1922. This new insulated building brought comfort to the faculty and students who endured a particularly harsh winter. Also, the students would no longer have to borrow benches from city hall.
Weslaco ISD now serves a student population of about 19,000 students with four high schools, four middle schools and 11 elementary schools. With an operating budget of $182.1 million and about 2,000 employees, WISD is one of the largest employers in the city of Weslaco.
For the first time in the history of Weslaco, the Weslaco Independent School District graduated two senior classes in 2004. The Weslaco East High School Wildcats joined the Weslaco High School Panthers as graduates of this community.
The Texas Education Agency has given Weslaco ISD the “Recognized School District” distinction for 14 out of 16 years beginning in 1996 for outstanding student scores in the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) state exam. The 2012-13 school year introduced the STAAR (State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness) test which replaced TAKS. Weslaco ISD met the challenge of this new rigorous state exam receiving the “Met Standard” distinction in 2014 and 2015.
In 2012, Weslaco ISD adopted the 21st Century Learners initiative to embed technology and innovative learning practices into the existing curriculum at all grade levels.
In the summer of 2014, WISD established the 21st Century Career and Technical Education Early College High School offering students Associates’ Degrees in Precision Manufacturing, Diesel Mechanics and Welding.
By the fall of 2015, WISD continued with its progressive vision to incorporate Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)into the secondary curriculum and established several ‘high schools’ within the WHS and WEHS campuses. High school students who are interested in engineering can now enroll in the Weslaco Early College High School T-STEM Academy housed at WHS. Students interested in health-related professions can attend the Weslaco East Early College High School at the WEHS campus.