Saturday , April 29 2017
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Tag Archives: SISD

Video+Story: Socorro ISD seeks Teachers for WIN Academy

Socorro ISD is looking for certified teachers for grade levels from 2nd to 9th for the district’s innovative WIN Academy, which provides more instruction and resources for students who need extra support to achieve academic success.

The district will offer the WIN Academy in 18 campuses next school year and offers great opportunities for prospective teachers. Team SISD is seeking energetic, progressive, and compassionate teachers for this unique opportunity.

Certified teachers will be hired for this non-traditional program to help students succeed academically.

Applicants should bring their resume and be prepared for the opportunity to meet and interview with school principals.

What:             Teacher job fair for SISD WIN Academy

Who:               SISD Human Resources staff, principals, qualified applicants

Where:           SISD District Service Center, HR Orientation Room | 12440 Rojas Dr.

When:             Tuesday, April 25, 2017 | 3 to 6 p.m.

Montwood High Earns National Recognition as Model Campus

Montwood High School was recently named a 2017 Recognized ASCA Model Program School by the American School Counselor Association.

“I’m very proud of our counseling team,” said Rosemary Mireles-Menchaca, Montwood High School principal. “This process was long and rigorous but our counseling team has been working really hard to get systems in place that support the ASCA model of counseling. They work very well together to meet the academic, social and emotional needs of students.”

The campus is the only school in Texas and one of 104 across the country to be honored for its exemplary commitment to offering a comprehensive school counseling program.

The RAMP designation recognizes school counseling programs that are dedicated to delivering a comprehensive, data-driven and an exemplary educational environment to students.

“SISD is honored to have Montwood High School recognized as an American School Counselor Association model counseling program,” said Tammi Mackeben, SISD director of guidance and counseling. “This is very exciting as Montwood is the only Texas school to be recognized. This is a huge endeavor!”

To apply for the RAMP designation, schools must collect extensive data and information, a process that takes an entire academic year.

“This year’s RAMP honorees have shown their commitment to students and the school counseling profession,” said Jill Cook, ASCA assistant director in a press release. “RAMP designation distinguishes these schools and encourages school counselors nationwide to strive for excellence.”

Montwood High School will be honored at the annual ASCA conference in July where they will receive an engraved plaque to display at their campus.

SISD wins 2017 Best Communities for Music Education Award

The Socorro Independent School District was designated as a 2017 Best Communities for Music Education Award recipient for its exceptionally high commitment and access to music education by the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM).

Team SISD is one of 527 recipients in the nation to be recognized for its outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to all students, a prestigious honor only four percent of school districts receive, according to NAMM.

“Our department is extremely honored to have been selected as a national recipient of the 2017 Best Communities for Music Education Award,” said Don Rominsky, director of fine arts. “This award validates the quality music education classes we offer at all SISD campuses and gives students endless opportunities to be prepared for the future.”

Music education is an integral part of SISD curriculum offering more than 30,650 students in Team SISD unique learning experiences that develop creative and expressive potential through inspiring instruction.

“SISD fine arts is committed to providing students with a balanced, comprehensive, sequential, and rigorous program of instruction in the fine arts disciplines,” Rominsky said.

Research shows children in music programs experience educational, cognitive and social skill benefits that lead to life-long academic success, higher high school graduation rates and college attendance, according to scientists and researchers at Northwestern University in a press release by NAMM.

Starting at the elementary level, Team SISD students are exposed to music education for a minimum of 30 minutes every other week to enhance their education and foster their academic, social and emotional growth. In addition, students at the middle and high school level have the opportunity to join award-winning band, choir, orchestra, mariachi and guitar, piano and fiddle programs that compete at the district, region, area or state level.

To qualify for the award, the SISD fine arts department completed a detailed survey and answered questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music program and other factors that affect access to music education for students.

To learn about the NAMM Foundation, visit

Socorro ISD’s Chavez Elementary School wins Subway Fitness Challenge

Elfida P. Chavez Elementary School will be recognized for winning the ninth annual Subway Fitness challenge Tuesday, April 18th.

“I feel happy that our school won the contest,” said Norma Almaraz, campus nurse. “It helps encourage students to be physically active, something we always do here at Elfida.”

Local Subway Restaurants will present the campus with a $2,000 check for the purchase of new exercise equipment and award students with the greatest participation gift cards.

To win the challenge, the school monitored the physical activity of its students for six weeks and turned in weekly reports that calculated the minutes of daily physical activity before, during and after school.

Chavez Elementary was one of three campuses in the El Paso, Las Cruces area to win the Subway Fit Challenge which promotes physical activity among young children.

31st Annual Socorro ISD Spring Games to Showcase Student Talent, Perseverance

The Socorro Independent School District’s Spring Games in Memory of James P. Butler are set for April 12 at the Student Activities Complex (SAC).

More than 850 special needs students are expected to participate in track and field events, such as 10 and 25 meter walks, assisted walks, 25, 50, 100, 200 and 400 meter runs. Other events include relay races, wheelchair races with and without assistance, bike races, ball throws and javelin throws.

A large audience of parents, families, teachers, students, community members are expected to attend the Spring Games to cheer on the athletes. Elementary students will compete from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and secondary athletes will be competing from 2 to 5 p.m.

Both sessions will begin with a mini parade for all athletes, the Butler family, SISD administrators and more than 200 volunteers.

The games are named after the late James P. Butler, a former physical education teacher, athletic coach and an adaptive physical education teacher in the special education department. Butler dedicated his life to ensuring students succeeded in athletics and special education.

The Spring Games, endorsed by Special Olympics Texas, allows more athletes from El Paso to compete in Texas Special Olympics statewide competitions.

What:             31st Spring Games in Memory of James P. Butler.

Who:               Special education students, teachers, volunteers, Butler family and community.

Where:           Student Activities Complex (SAC) 1300 Joe Battle

When:             Wednesday, April 12, 2017

8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. elementary students

2 to 5 p.m. secondary students

Socorro ISD Homebound Student to Rejoin Classroom using VGo Robot

A student at John Drugan School, who has been homebound for nine months, soon will be part of her class again virtually using VGo, a telepresence robot, which allows her to be part of classroom instruction and activities while she is at home recovering from a chronic illness.

“Our district is always looking to be innovative and find new technologies that we can provide for our students,” said Miguel Moreno, the district’s instructional technology coordinator. “We are opening doors to so many possibilities of how to bring people together. In this case, there is no bond like that of a classmate who has been out of school and peers wanting that student to be part of the classroom again.”

VGo robot at Drugan 2The instructional technology team and campus administration are working with the student to teach her how to operate her robot-stand-in which can stream two-way video and is equipped with audio capabilities so she can quickly go back to learning in the classroom.

“This student has been ill since the start of the school year, and due to the nature of her illness she has been at home,” said Adalberto Garcia, principal at John Drugan School.

“In the past, her connection to the school was only her homebound teacher so this will allow her to interact with students and be part of our school again. It’s an amazing opportunity for her and another example of our district offering endless opportunities to our students,” Principal Garcia added.

The initiative was made possible after the Socorro Independent School District’s Technology Services Department worked with the campus to find a way to better accommodate the needs of the student and offer her a classroom experience.

Socorro ISD wins CoSN’s 2017 Team Achievement Award

The Socorro Independent School District was selected as the winner of the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) 2017 Team Achievement Award for its transformative impact on education technology, and effective efforts in improving student learning, opportunities, and access to technology.

Team SISD, including Superintendent Dr. José Espinoza and the district’s Department of Technology Services, was recognized at the CoSN conference April 4 in Chicago, where they were presented a $1,000 honorarium for winning the prestigious award.

“We are honored to have been selected winners of the 2017 Team Achievement Award,” Dr. Espinoza said. “Our technology team is 100 percent committed to providing all Team SISD students advanced technology resources and endless opportunities that will guide them to become future ready graduates. All SISD students will succeed in the 21st century!”

Dr. Espinoza and the technology department were selected for the award for their commitment to Operation Future Ready, a proactive plan to provide technology resources and digital learning to all students. In addition, SISD was recognized for its outstanding leadership, building an effective team, and the district’s transformation of academic rigor through the use of technology.

CoSN 1Among the innovative programs using technology to develop 21st century confident, resilient and globally competitive graduates is the district’s WIN Academy, which supports vulnerable children to succeed academically with extra instruction and resources, such as a personal digital learning device and an online curriculum.

“We were deeply impressed by the commitment and measurable impact Socorro ISD initiatives had on student success,” said Keith Krueger, CoSN CEO in an email.

SISD’s Operation Future Ready efforts also includes the Digitally Nurturing Academics (DNA) 1:1 program that places technology in the hands of freshmen students across Team SISD.

The program provides freshmen students their own laptop to use throughout high school so they have 24/7 access to technology.

“We need to make sure all students have access to technology,” said SISD Chief Technology Officer Hector Reyna. “We started the program with freshmen, and we will continue to add a grade level every year so that students can engage in digital learning at all times.”

Another initiative that has propelled the district’s digital transformation is Operation College Bound. OCB is the district’s commitment to instill a college culture at every campus with technology-rich instruction and aligned to a college preparatory curriculum that will enable students to graduate ready for a college and career of their choice.

“College is for all 46,000 students in our school district,” Dr. Espinoza said. “Our district is going to prepare all students for a bright future no matter what their background or economic situation is.”

Socorro ISD Administrator named a Texas National Distinguished Principal Finalist

Rosa Chavez-Avedician, principal at James P. Butler Elementary School in the Socorro Independent School District, was selected as a 2017 Texas National Distinguished Principal (NDP) finalist by the Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association.

The NDP award honors principals who exhibit extraordinary leadership, commitment to their students and staff, service to their communities and contributions to the profession, including their professional associations.

“I am honored and humbled to be named a finalist as a National Distinguish Principal. I am excited for TEPSA to visit and feel “The Butler Experience!” Chavez-Avedician said. “All recognitions are a result of the amazing scholars we have, the outstanding teachers and staff, and the supportive parents and community surrounding our campus. James P.  Butler believed “every child, every day” and we strive for excellence in that motto.”

Chavez-Avedician was one of eight Texas principals to be named a finalist out of more than 123 nominations that were received for the award. She was nominated by her peers through a rigorous and competitive process.

“Team SISD is very fortunate to have such great leaders as Mrs. Rosa Chavez-Avedician,” said Lucia Borrego, assistant superintendent of elementary education. “This is a great accomplishment and we are very proud of her and all her efforts!”

The 2017 NDP award recipient will be announced in May at a surprise school visit. That principal will receive $10,000 and represent Texas in Washington, D.C. As a finalist, Chavez-Avedician will be recognized at the TEPSA awards reception in June.

“The school principal is critical to student and teacher success,” TEPSA Executive Director Harley Eckhart said in a press release. “These exemplary principals are making a difference in the lives of students across Texas.”

Being named the 2017 NDP is the highest praise a principal can receive from his or her peers in the profession, according to the TEPSA website.

Socorro ISD College, Career and Job Expo set for March 23

Team SISD juniors and seniors are invited to the district’s second annual College, Career and Job Expo from 8 -11 a.m. March 23 at Montwood High School.

The College, Career and Job Expo will allow students between the ages of 16 to 21 to speak with representatives from a variety of business and industry fields and explore education pathways that will prepare them for future jobs and careers.

Participants also will meet business and industry representatives to learn about the qualifications and skill requirements necessary for a career in their field.

Students are encouraged to dress professionally and have copies of their resume as they will have the opportunity to interview with potential employers for summer jobs and internships.

In addition, Team SISD students will hear from post-secondary institutions, colleges, technical schools and military representatives about post-secondary education opportunities.

To learn more about the SISD College and Career Job Expo, visit


Socorro ISD’s SPC Rafael Hernando III Middle School Named a Texas Schools to Watch Campus

SPC Rafael Hernando III Middle School has been designated a Texas Schools to Watch campus by the Texas Middle School Association (TMSA) for its high-performance, clear focus on academic growth, and ensuring every child has access to a rigorous, high-quality education.

“I’m extremely proud of SPC Rafael Hernando III Middle School for earning this great honor,” said Superintendent Dr. José Espinoza. “Being named a Texas School to Watch campus, highlights the commitment to excellence in the Cavalier community. Hernando embodies what Team SISD is all about — offering students endless opportunities for academic success.”

The campus is one of seven Texas schools to be selected as a model by the TMSA. The school will be recognized at the association’s annual conference, where Hernando Middle School administrators will present strategies to other middle school educators throughout the state about their ongoing record of student achievement and the unique challenges of their student populations.

“This recognition truly validates our campus commitment to provide timely assistance and interventions so that all our scholars achieve at high levels. Moreover, it is wonderful to see the hard work and dedication of our amazing Cavalier teachers and instructional support team celebrated,” said Venessa Betancourt, Hernando Middle School Principal. “I am honored to work alongside with the best educators and scholars in West Texas and proud to represent Team SISD.”

The campus also was recognized for its strong leadership and highly effective staff that works together to improve curriculum and instruction for students and remains highly committed to assessment and accountability for continuous improvement.

Socorro ISD honors Teachers of the Year, Announces Elite 8

Team SISD honored its 2016-2017 Campus Teachers of the Year and announced the Elite 8 Teachers of the Year at a reception Feb. 21 at the District Service Center.

Superintendent Dr. José Espinoza, Board Trustees and principals were part of the celebration to recognize the district’s outstanding teachers.

The Campus Teachers of the Year were named through a democratic election process at each school. The nominees are exceptional educators who inspire students, are respected by their peers and have the ability and willingness to make meaningful contributions to education.

“Our teachers are our heroes,” said Dr. José Espinoza, SISD Superintendent. “Teachers, you may not know this, but much of your kindness, your guidance and, also love, touches the lives of all 46,000 plus students. Our school district is on a journey to greatness due to our teachers’ dedication and their commitment and their hard work. Congratulations to all of you and remember in my book, all of you are winners.”

The Elite 8 will move on to the next round of the Teacher of the Year program, in which a committee will interview the finalists and select the 2016-2017 SISD Elementary Teacher of the Year and the 2016-2017 SISD Secondary Teacher of the Year.

Rod Liston, Pebble Hills High School Teacher of the Year and an Elite 8 finalist, has been an educator for less than two years. He was previously a police officer for 21 years with the El Paso Police Department. He enjoys his new job, but never expected to be rewarded for it.

“I am ecstatic,” Liston said. “I thought I had the personality to be a teacher, but not the right method of teaching. This is amazing.”

Mission Early College High School Teacher of the Year Christopher Nwihim was shocked when his name was announced as an Elite 8 finalist. But he plans to use this highlight in his life as a teaching moment for his students.

“Hard work does pay,” Nwihim said. “This is a nice surprise. It feels like a dream. I love teaching.”

Sue Shook Elementary Teacher of the Year Stephanie Estrada was happy to be able to represent her school, the teachers and the administration.

“These are the people who helped me become the teacher I am,” she said. “I am so grateful.”

The top two teachers will be announced at the SISD Teacher of the Year Gala, which will be celebrated May 13 at El Paso Convention and Performing Arts Center. Tickets are on sale now and available through April 17. Tickets can be ordered through each campus secretary.

2017 TOY Announcement Graphic

Socorro ISD Students to Celebrate Digital Learning Day

Among the endless opportunities Team SISD offers for students to achieve success, technology remains at the forefront as the district provides increased access to the latest digital resources and web-based learning.

Team SISD students and teachers will celebrate the district’s current and future investments in technology and digital learning on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017, the national Digital Learning Day.

“SISD has made great strides to give our students more connectivity and high-tech resources in their classrooms and schools,” said SISD Superintendent Dr. José Espinoza. “Our laser sharp focus on college and career readiness includes personalized digital learning opportunities for students and professional development for teachers to become experts in leading their students to use new technology tools and digital instruction.”

Team SISD remains dedicated to its Operation Future Ready efforts, which is aligned with the federal ConnectEd initiative and affirms the district’s commitment to invest in technology to advance teaching and learning, fully train educators to utilize new resources and offer more technological devices for student use. Dr. Espinoza signed the U.S. Department of Education’s Future Ready Schools Pledge in January 2015 to propel SISD’s technology efforts forward.

“As a Future Ready district, Team SISD has gained notable recognition for its use of technology in the classroom. We will continue to go above and beyond to give every student the technology they need and deserve to be ready for college, careers and life,” Espinoza said.

SISD’s Operation Future Ready initiatives include:

DNA 1:1 laptop program – The Digitally Nurturing Academics 1:1 program, which gives freshmen students their own laptop to use throughout high school, will be expanded to all SISD high schools in the 2017-2018 school year. Currently, students at five high schools have received laptops giving them access to 24/7 technology for digital learning at all times.

Wi-Fi hot spots – Team SISD added 275 Wi-Fi hotspots this school year to its student resources, making them available for students to use on a check-out basis. The hotspots are available at 16 WIN Academy campuses and high schools in Team SISD. Students can check-out the Wi-Fi hotspots from the library to use at home.

Tech E program – The program is a partnership between SISD and the University of Texas at El Paso to create opportunities for and provide access to Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM) skills development in support of longer-term social mobility for K-12 students. Socorro Middle, Desert Wind School and Mission Ridge Elementary students are participating in the program, which is exposing them to computer programming and coding to better prepare them for technological career and degree choices based on real-world hands-on experience.

WIN Academy – Students in the innovative and successful WIN Academy receive a personal digital learning device and are taught with the digital curriculum called Thrive. The student-centered program designed to ensure all Team SISD children have the opportunities and support needed to achieve academic success is in place at 16 SISD schools.

DNA Technology Conference – The second annual Digitally Nurturing Academics (DNA) conference will be offered this summer for PK through 12th grade teachers. The conference will provide a variety of sessions where teachers can explore topics such as: OneNote tools and functions, incorporating the Aurasma application into classroom instruction, and blending assignments with HTML coding to create publications. The trainings will be led by Team SISD’s technology department, SISD teachers, and experts from outside of the district.

Hour of Code Day – Team SISD students and teachers participated in a districtwide interactive, technological extravaganza in December, which gave them an opportunity to explore computer science and the basic concepts of computer coding.

Sponsored by the Alliance for Excellent Education, Digital Learning Day is a nationwide event which celebrates innovative teaching and learning through digital media and technology that engages students and provides them with a rich, personalized educational experience.

Socorro ISD to host Military Collegiate Forum Wednesday

Socorro Independent School District is hosting the Military Academy Collegiate Forum from 6-8 p.m on Wednesday, February 22 at the SISD District Service Center.

Students, and their parents, can explore numerous U.S. military career opportunities and meet representatives from the United States Coast Guard, Army, Marines, Navy and Air Force. In addition, participants can learn about the Military’s Tuition Assistance Program which provides service members the opportunity to enroll in accredited colleges, universities, and vocational-technical schools.

2017 Collegiate Forum2“We welcome all of our students and parents to come in and learn about post-secondary options,” said Mayra Ortega, SISD’s district counselor. “It’s important that we involve both students and their parents so they can be informed and help their kids make the best decision.”

This year, Team SISD organized five Collegiate Forums to help students and their parents learn more about the college application and financial aid process. The forums also were a way for participants to meet representatives from different colleges and universities.

“I have one year left in high school and then I’m off to the real-world, so this event was great because it guided me,” said Armando Varela, junior at Socorro High School. “The forum helped me learn about colleges and explore my options.”

In addition to receiving information, parents also found the forums to be helpful and a way to receive support from district counselors. 2017 Collegiate Forum1

“Coming to the forum was important to me,” said Olga Varela, mother of the student. “I like that they also invite parents because I wouldn’t know where to start and this will guide us. I know my child will be ready for college when he graduates.”

Team SISD supports students with whichever post-secondary decision they decide to go with, Ortega said.

“All options are possible and attainable, and we support our students in their efforts to make it happen,” she said.

For more information, parents can contact their child’s school counselor or the Department of Guidance and Counseling at 937-0322.

Socorro ISD Teens Learn About Risks of Texting while Driving, Drunk Driving

Law enforcement students at Pebble Hills High School saw first-hand the effects alcohol has on driving and what happens when texting behind the wheel.

As part of the class curriculum, instructor Rod Liston borrowed simulators from the El Paso Police Department’s Save the Community Program for students to use.

The simulators included video games that give the sensation one was drinking and driving; special goggles worn while trying to walk a straight line; and dark wrap-around glasses worn while driving a three-wheeled cart and attempting to go through an obstacle course.

“I wanted them to see how dangerous it is to drive while drunk or distracted while texting,” Liston said. “These kids are getting ready to get their driver’s license. This was the perfect opportunity for them to learn what not to do from the start.”

The challenge was a wake-up call for the 350 teens who participated. Many of them were surprised at how much coordination you lose if you drive drunk or how inattentive you are when you are texting or on the mobile phone.

“It was so hard,” said Julieta Moreno, a 10th grader who failed at walking a straight line with the goggles. “It was supposed to be easy, but I failed. I will never drive drunk or text while driving.”

Eleventh-grader Luis Rena tried the video, but found it blurred his vision. It was hard for him to see clearly.

“It was so scary,” Rena said. “No wonder there are so many accidents. You really lose control.”

Lt. Steven Schmidt, with EPPD’s Special Traffic Investigation, said teens drive faster and have less experience. Lately, there have been enough accidents and fatalities involving teens that it has become a concern among law enforcement officials. The safe community program has been visiting schools and showing students the simulators.

“Those are two factors, speed and inexperience, that make it even more dangerous,” he said. “That is why we target teens for this program.”

Kevin Salazar, 16, has his license and drives to and from school. He tried the video game and thought it would be easy.

“I wrecked so many times,” Salazar said. “It was so bad. After that game, I will never try to drive drunk. It scared me.”

Check all the pictures HERE

Socorro ISD District Science Fair set for Saturday

More than 300 students from grades ninth to 12th and 35 plus judges will participate in the district’s annual High School Science and Engineering Fair. Parents, teachers, principals and fair administrators also will be at the event.

“Students are challenged with interpreting data, inferencing, and drawing conclusions from information. The projects allow students to develop these skills through genuine, independent research,” said Stephanie Carrasco, Instructional Officer – Secondary Science for Academic Services.

Students will present the projects they’ve spent weeks working on to district judges, giving formal explanations and answering questions on their work.

The projects will represent more than 22 different categories, including Plant Sciences, Microbiology, Physics and Astronomy, Mathematics, Robotics and Intelligent Machines, Engineering Mechanics and Biomedical.

First and second place winners will advance to the Sun Country Regional Science & Engineering Fair. This year, the regional fair will be from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 4 at Pebble Hills High School.

What:              2017 SISD High School Science and Engineering Fair

Who:               Students, judges, parents and administrators

Where:            Pebble Hills High School in Grand Hallway, Rotunda | 14400 Pebble Hills Blvd.

When:             Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017 | 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Socorro Renteria Realty 728×90