Log Cabin Education
|In 1824, a Spanish aristocrat named Don Martin de Leon settled 41 families in the Guadalupe River area. Upon settling, he applied for a charter which would make him empresario of his new empire called Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe de Jesus Victoria. Later it was shortened to Guadalupe Victoria, and by the Texas Revolution, the city’s name was simply Victoria.
Education started from the very beginnings of this early Texas town. School was held in a log house which doubled as a fort. The first teacher was Francesco Cardenas who taught reading, writing, arithmetic, the catechism of the Christian religion, explanations of the Mexican constitution, the duties of man in society, and anything else conducive to a better way of life. Due to the Texas Revolution, the school closed.
In 1833, Don Martin De Leon died from Cholera, but that did not stop Victorians from continuing to educate the local students.
In April of 1839, the city council set aside four square blocks for the purpose of education, but settlers still feared reprisals from the Mexican government as well as Indian attacks. On August 5, 1840, Comanches swept through the countryside from the area east of Austin and Gonzales down to and past Victoria. They took the lives of many Victorians; however, education continued.
Parents taught their children at home. Sometimes, itinerant teachers passed through the community and taught the students in fields. It was not until January 1847 the city council decided to build a brick school building. The new teacher, Miss Brome was told to “teach a good school.”
Twenty-Five Square Miles of Education
By 1875 the city council, with authority given it by the legislature, assumed control over several private schools. The district comprised of twenty-five square miles. Teachers received ten cents a day for each pupil in attendance. School started on the first day of October in 1875 and continued for four consecutive months. There were two sessions daily -- the first session was from 9:00am - 12pm, while the second session was from 1pm - 4pm.
612 Square Miles of Excellence
Fast forward over 180 years and education has radically changed. Currently the district boasts over 14,000 students and has 17 elementary schools and 7 secondary schools.
The VISD prides itself on its vast spectrum of academic programs. These include advanced academics, gifted and talented classes, bilingual, pre-AP classes, dual credit courses, AVID, dyslexia, and a whole host of educational opportunities through the special education department.