The Socorro Independent School District, which is located in El Paso, Texas, began a year-round school calendar in 1990 and serves a mostly economically disadvantaged population. Despite declines in overall performance from districts with similar student populations, since 1997, Socorro schools have increased their performance.
The Socorro Independent School District, in response to the area's rapidly increasing population, began phasing in year-round school calendars in 1990. At that time, the district's population was 17,000 students and was expected to increase by 8 percent each year. A 60-member task force was created to address the district's increasing student population and, after meeting more than 100 times, recommended the year-round schedule.
While the 1990 schedule offered parents a choice of year-round or traditional calendars, by 1997 all schools in the district were on year-round scheduling. Students followed a 60-days-on, 20-days-off schedule with intersession classes available during break months. The school year calendar has since been divided into tracks, and classroom usage increased 25 percent.
The district is located in east El Paso and borders New Mexico and Mexico. It is considered one of the poorest districts in Texas with 73 percent of its students eligible for free or reduced lunches. As of 2015, its student population is 91 percent Hispanic, 5 percent Caucasian and 2 percent African American.
Studies from 2005 to 2008 show test scores in the Socorro Independent School District improved at a higher rate than other Texas districts. In schools with similar demographics, the district showed higher reading and math proficiency at all grade levels. During this same time period, the Socorro Independent School District lowered the gap between Hispanic and Caucasian achievement. As of 2015, the district has an 88 percent high school graduation rate, and 39 of its 44 campuses are designated as schools of distinction.