The word that kept popping up on Monday, Feb. 26, at Trinidad “Trini” Garza Early College High School was family.
While staff and students were celebrating the school’s designation as a National Title I Distinguished School, the focus was on the culture that helped get them there. Garza is just one of two schools in Texas, and only one of 63 across the country, to net the national award.
“We are a family, and we treat each other as family,” said Principal Macario Hernandez.
His sentiments were echoed by teacher Claudia Simpkins.
“Demographically, our school looks like any other Dallas ISD school,” Simpkins said. “However, the culture here at Trinidad ‘Trini’ Garza Early College High School is what makes it unique, and what makes it a sacred place. Garza is a family. And we say that often. Not because it’s some catchphrase but because we really are very much a family.”
Trustee Audrey Pinkerton said that because of the real challenges in urban education, teachers and staff must work beyond the classroom to help students navigate the world outside of the school.
“Students are required to be present every day,” Pinkerton said. “To push themselves, to pursue, to achieve, to move toward excellence. This is what happens every day at Trini Garza.”
Schools are selected as a National Title I Distinguished School by their state education agency in one of three categories; Garza posted exceptional student performance for two or more consecutive years. A Title I school is one that has a majority of students from low-income families.