Monday , June 26 2017
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Tag Archives: SISD

Socorro ISD’s Benito Martinez Elementary Buries Time Capsule

The Benito Martinez Elementary community wanted to give the residents of the year 2042 a glimpse of what education was like in the years 2016 and 2017.

At the end of the school year, the campus filled an ice chest with letters, mementos, an American flag and a STAAR T-shirt among other things, glued it shut and buried the time capsule in the front patio of the school.

“We have been collecting items all year long to bury in our time capsule,” said Principal Greg Hatch. “In the first year that Benito Martinez was opened, they did the same thing and then buried a time capsule at the end of that year. We dug up the time capsule at the end of last year.”

The reason for the event was teaching students the importance of setting goals for the future. Many of the writing samples were students’ ideas about what they want to be, where they want to be, and what their dreams are, Hatch said.

“We wanted the kids to consider the future and what did they imagine it would be like in 25 years,” Hatch said. “We also thought that kids 25 years from now would be just like my kids, who had no idea what it was like for the Benito Martinez kids that buried their time capsule 25 years ago.”

Back then, students could have no idea what fidget spinners are. There were no personal computers in every classroom. Digital learning and tablets at our fingertips were something of the future. The writings and items placed in the time capsule captured what life is like for students today.

“This was a way to leave a little bit of ourselves behind for the future,” Hatch added.

Hatch wrote a letter to the future principal. He described everything that was in the box, including a yellow T-shirt in honor of two students who were battling cancer. A faculty picture and a letter from Assistant Principal, Bruce Mooy, to his newborn son, also were added.

“My main contributions were my hopes and my dreams that I wrote to the future principal, hoping that this great group of scholars I have here today can chase those dreams that they wrote about, be able to meet them, fulfill them and be wonderful, contributing members of society,” Hatch said.

Stephanie Alvarado Acosta, a fifth grader at Benito Martinez, wrote a letter for the time capsule that said she wanted to be either an author or a veterinarian.

“I am glad I did it,” Alvarado Acosta said. “It was so interesting. I like that it helps others see what was in the past and what we want to be in the future.”

To view all the pictures from the ceremony, click HERE.

Socorro ISD Volunteers Honored for Tireless Support of Students, Schools

Team SISD’s volunteers and parent volunteer groups contributed thousands of service hours to the 47 schools and many departments in the school district this school year.

These unsung heroes were honored for their dedication and service at the annual Volunteer Recognition and Awards Luncheon at ESC Region 19 Head Start Multi-Purpose Center.

“Every volunteer is instrumental to our success!” said SISD Superintendent Dr. José Espinoza. “We couldn’t be the best school district in town without your help. Thank you for your relentless dedication and assistance.”

The district has 9,253 registered volunteers who put in 122,351 service hours during the 2016-2017 school year. They help in whatever way they can from coordinating fundraisers to giving enrichment lessons to elementary school students. They work alongside faculty and staff to enhance and enrich educational opportunities provided to our children.

“The thousands of hours they contribute to our schools, sports, fine arts and other programs has had a tremendous impact on our students’ academics and social well-being,” said Rachel Tarango, SISD’s volunteer program coordinator. “They are dedicated and happy to be our extra pairs of hands for the district.”

About 500 people attended the recognition luncheon, in which one person from every school was recognized as Campus Volunteer of the Year. In addition, Team SISD honored its top five parent organizations and the Youth Volunteer of the Year. Two new awards also were announced: the Military Volunteer of the Year and the Healthier Team SISD award. Finally, the Elementary Volunteer of the Year and the Secondary Volunteer of the Year were announced.

Valerie Huh, who was named Secondary Volunteer of the Year, said volunteering to her means trying to support SISD in as many things as possible.

“It’s been wonderful to be at Puentes (Middle School),” Huh said. “This is the best middle school in SISD. There is such a positive atmosphere. You just want to jump in and be a part of what is going on. This is just the best place for children.”

The Elementary Volunteer of the Year, Janelle Gonzalez, has been a volunteer at H.D. Hilley Elementary since she graduated from high school in 2012. She has always helped at the school because her mom is a teacher there.

“This is not work for me,” said Gonzalez, who plans to be a teacher. “I love kids. I love helping them. I love the classroom. It’s just a part of me. It’s something that is familiar. I can’t imagine doing anything else.”

Team SISD’s volunteer program is among the top in the state. For the past two years, two SISD volunteers were recognized with the Heroes for Children Award, a statewide recognition that honors individuals making the difference for students and schools. Joe Ramirez from Eastlake High School and Yamile Gonzales at Ernesto Serna School were honored in 2015 and 2016, respectively.

2017 SISD Volunteer Award winners

Parent Organization winners
•Americas High School Orchestra Boosters
•Eagle Eyes from Col. John O. Ensor Middle School
•John Drugan Super School Volunteer Program
•Montwood Ram Band and A-Team Boosters, Inc.
•Heroes Volunteer with Heart from Purple Heart Elementary School

Youth Volunteer of the Year
•Abigail Hernandez from Montwood High School

Military Volunteer of the Year
•Soni Fairley from SSG. Manuel R. Puentes Middle School

Healthier Team SISD
•Helen Ball Elementary for its Wellness Wednesday Program

Elementary Volunteer of the Year
Janelle Gonzalez

Secondary Volunteer of the Year
Valerie Huh

Campus Volunteers of the Year:
•Americas High School — Verenice Valerio
•Benito Martinez Elementary — Dawn Sisneros-Herrera
•Bill Sybert School — Debbie Portillo
•Campestre Elementary — Yolanda Villalobos
•Capt. Walter E. Clarke Middle School — Patricia Martin Del Campo
•Chester E. Jordan Elementary — Rosie Alarcon
•Col. John O. Ensor Middle School — Linda Miner
•Desert Wind School — Ivette Navarro
•Dr. Sue Shook Elementary — Winifred Dee
•Eastlake High School — Sergio Ulloa
•El Dorado High School — Ana Martinez
•Elfida P. Chavez Elementary — Diana Bertesina-Rojas
•Ernesto Serna School — Brenda Hernandez
•Escontrias Elementary — Daisy Garcia
•H.D. Hilley — Janelle Gonzalez
•Helen Ball Elementary — Ariadne Herrera
•Horizon Heights Elementary — Haydee Hernandez
•Hueco Elementary — Ofelia Murrillo
•Hurshel Antwine Elementary — Nancy Villalobos
•James P. Butler Elementary — Isabelle Pyatt
•Jane A. Hambric School — Amparo Resendiz
•John Drugan School — Francisco Torres
•Keys Academy — Maria Garcia
•Loma Verde Elementary — Jessica Loya
•Lujan-Chavez — Rene Velez
•Mission Early College High School — Marcela Martinez
•Mission Ridge Elementary — Silvia Mendiola
•Montwood High School — Mario Albert Candia
•Myrtle Cooper Elementary — Jack Tranter
•O’Shea Keleher Elementary — Sandra Lopez
•Paso Del Norte School — Elsa Molinar
•Pebble Hills High School — Catalina Espinosa
•Purple Heart Elementary — Ruben Bautista
•Robert R. Rojas Elementary — Brenda Alcantar
•Salvador H. Sanchez Middle — Yesenia Mercado
•Sgt. Roberto Ituarte Elementary — Carlos Calderon
•Sierra Vista Elementary — Lucia Andozola
•Socorro High School — Valarie Ortega
•Socorro Middle School — Julia Mendoza
•Spc. Rafael Hernando III Middle School — Tammy Bennett
•SSG. Manuel R. Puentes Middle School — Valerie Huh
•Sun Ridge Middle School — Javier Cruz
•Vista Del Sol Elementary — Graciela Ibarra
•VASSP — Angelica Apodaca
•William D. Slider Middle School — Mabel Evans

To view gallery of awards luncheon, click HERE.

Socorro ISD wins 2017 School of TechXcellence Award

The Socorro Independent School District won the 2017 School of TechXcellence Award by District Administration magazine, HP and Intel, for an innovative, effective and replicable technology program in math instruction that is contributing to student success.

Team SISD received the designation for the success of its Math as a Second Language 4 English Language Learners Academy, which promotes math literacy and builds comprehension of math among English Language Learners.

Socorro ISD is one of 19 schools and districts from 14 states selected for the award.

“Being honored by a national program for the instructional work we do with our teachers speaks volumes about our district,” said Alisa Zapata-Farmer, chief academic officer. “Our instructional team is constantly working to bring professional development that is relevant in order to meet the needs of all students. The large majority of the workforce today requires workers to have some type of knowledge on how to use technology, therefore; it is important that Team SISD remain innovative and incorporate technology into our lessons as much as possible to prepare our students for a global society.”

SISD’s program implements reading, writing, vocabulary and technological strategies into math curriculum to assist teachers who work with the Limited English Proficient, bilingual, English as a Second Language, and migrant student population in the district.

Since the start of the Math as a Second Language for English Language Learners Academy in 2015, student math benchmark scores for grades 3 to 12 have increased by eight percent.

“In developing the program, we researched what would be the best approach to teaching math skills and concepts that our students would comprehend and retain,” said Rachel Sendek, instructional officer for elementary math. “This academy helps teachers be better prepared to teach our second language learners by providing them strategies they can apply towards mathematics.”

Read the District Administration Magazine feature on Socorro ISD: https://www.districtadministration.com/techx/awards/socorro-isd-el-paso-texas

Socorro ISD Receives Award from Texas Library Association for unique Comic Con

Socorro Independent School District’s Library Services and its librarians were awarded the Texas Library Association’s 2017 Branding Iron Award for organizing the first-ever Comic Con.

It is the first time any public school library service in the El Paso region has ever won the award since its inception in 2007, according to the TLA website.

SISD Comic Con Receives Award“I am honored to receive the award that brings recognition to SISD and our libraries!” said Marcy Sparks, Library Services Coordinator for SISD. “I am truly excited about the win because the concept of a district hosted Comic Con was so unique and was more successful with our students than I could have imagined!”

Comic Con, held last December at the District Service Center, was a districtwide program that enhanced students’ literature knowledge and career awareness by showcasing creative talent from a variety of vendors and well-known artists.

The TLA Branding Iron Awards honor the creative work libraries do to promote their programs, resources, and events. SISD’s Library Services received its recognition in the Special Events category.

“I submitted an extensive amount of information about the Comic Con for the award application, including our planning materials, logo and flyer and coverage of the event,” Sparks said. “I am proud of how Team SISD pulled together to make it a great success.”

SISD Comic Con Receives Award1

SISD, EPCC to Kick Off Dual Credit Summer Program

Hundreds of Socorro Independent School District (SISD) students will earn college credit over the summer break by participating in the SISD Dual Credit Summer Program, June 5-30 at Americas High School.

The program, now in its second year and a first-of-its-kind in the area, is one of Team SISD’s endless opportunities that prepares students for college, careers and life. The four-week summer session will allow high school students to earn college credit for two courses. Students may take Education 1300, Speech 1321, Government 2305, Economics 2301, English 1301 or Criminal Justice1301 and 1306, at no cost.

More than 350 students have enrolled in the Summer Dual Credit Program, said Nancy Torres, SISD’s advanced academics coordinator.

“This year we are offering additional courses,” Torres said. “This is a great opportunity for 11th-grade students to earn college credit before their senior year of high school.”

The program is a collaboration between Team SISD and El Paso Community College. Transportation and cafeteria services will be provided for students.

What:              Dual Credit Summer Program kick-off

Who:               Students, SISD and EPCC administration, faculty and staff

Where:            Americas High School, small gym 12101 Pellicano Dr.

When:             Monday, June 5, 2017 8 – 8:40 a.m.

Pebble Hills NJROTC Ranked Third ‘Most Outstanding’ Unit in Nation

The Pebble Hills High School NJROTC has been named the third best unit in the nation, a designation they earned for their outstanding scores in their annual military inspection, school support, and countless hours of community service.

“We have always held our standard high and worked toward this goal so it’s great to finally achieve it,” said Sarah Adams, senior cadet from El Dorado High School. “NJROTC is unlike any other organization. It develops responsible and disciplined youth and helps build your character.”

Pebble Hills earned the third place award from among 672 NJROTC units nationwide. They also were selected as the 2017 Area Nine Most Outstanding Unit. In addition, the group has been named a distinguished unit with academic honors for its high level of performance for six consecutive years.

“I’m extremely proud of every single one of our cadets that have contributed to this unit and made a difference in our district and community,” said Justo Mendoza, senior naval science instructor at Pebble Hills. “Our unit has made its mark nationwide by placing third amongst some very good NJROTC units in the nation. We will continue to work hard next school year and hope to grow and continue making a positive impact in our district and community.”

The award-winning unit is 116 members strong and is composed of students from Montwood, El Dorado and Pebble Hills high schools. Together, the cadets have earned more than 9,500 combined community service hours for contributions of work in the community.

Socorro ISD Student Art Exhibit Opens May 27

Officials with the Socorro Independent School District are inviting the public to their annual student art exhibit featuring more than 650 pieces of art work created by students from Pre-Kindergarten to 12th grade on May 27.

The event will showcase the largest collection of sculptures, paintings, drawings, photography, print making, crafts, wearable art, since the exhibit inception 30 years ago, said Macka Jones, SISD visual arts specialist.

“We are very excited about the participation this year,” Jones said. “This is a great opportunity because it shows another aspect of education. The students get to incorporate what they learn in the classroom into their art.”

The pieces were chosen from among more than 2,450 submitted to the Fine Arts Department. A group of judges narrowed the exhibit down to 650.

What:         30th annual SISD student art exhibit and open house

Who:          SISD student artists, teachers, parents and community members

Where:       District Service Center  12440 Rojas Dr.

When:        Saturday, May 27  10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Sun Ridge Student Designs Winning App to Assist Migrant Families in El Paso

Laura Rosiles, an eighth-grade student at Sun Ridge Middle School was recently named one of 40 finalists in the nationwide contest, ProjectCSGIRLS, which promotes technology and computer science among young female students.

Rosiles is one of four Texas students and the only one in the El Paso area to earn the distinction for her project: an application which helps migrant families in the El Paso community find shelter during the work season.

“I’m very excited about my project,” Rosiles said. “Immigration is a major topic and every year thousands of immigrants come looking for a better life and have no family or support. This app will reach out and help many people.”

Her application, Aiding Immigrants, allows users to select a city to locate and learn about immigration shelters in the area. She was inspired to create the app after her school’s gateway to technology instructor Roberto G. Morales, and campus librarian Rebecca Carrillo introduced the project.

“Laura has never been a student in my class but I’ve known her since sixth-grade due to her involvement in science fair and the Lego robotics team,” Morales said. “Her accomplishment does not surprise me and she developed this app with the intention of helping others, a characteristic that all of us should strive to replicate.”

Because the project was not class assigned the student had to work on it during her own time. Rosiles said she didn’t mind because computer science is something she is very passionate about.

“Many people assume computer science is a guy’s job but technology is for everyone,” she said. “I had previous coding experience so I designed most of the application on my own, but I did look at YouTube videos or ask my mentors like my dad and teachers at school for help when I got stuck.”

Rosiles will be recognized for her innovation on June 3-4 at the ProjectCSGIRLS gala in Washington where she will give a presentation about her application to attendees nationwide and compete for the top five grand prize award.

“This will help me gain experience so that I later develop my app even more,” she said. “I’ve been brainstorming ideas on how to make it better. I would like to have different language options and create a way for the organizations to contact the individuals.”

ProjectCSGIRLS is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to closing the gender gap in computing and technology. To learn more about the organization, click here.

SISD’s Paso del Norte Counselor named Texas School Counselor of the Year

Cristina Nuñez, counselor at Paso del Norte School was selected as the 2017 Texas School Counselor of the Year by the Lone Star State School Counselor Association for her outstanding service and achievement.

Nuñez was one of five Texas counselors in the running for the prestigious award which recognizes her as an advocate for Texas students. She has 15 years of experience in education, eight which have been in counseling.

“This is a wonderful honor,” Nuñez said. “I feel very humbled to have received this award. This recognition is indeed a team effort. The work we get to do every day is invaluable. I am honored to be a part of challenges that our students face and intervene with guidance and plant seeds of hope.”

The Paso del Norte counselor was nominated for the award by other school counselors, teachers and administrators. As the Texas School Counselor of the Year, she will represent Texas in the ASCA School Counselor of the Year Awards process which will be announced late September, early October.

Nuñez also will be recognized at the second annual LSSSCA conference in November. To date, Texas has had one national school counselor of the year and one national top five finalist.

Two other Socorro Independent School District counselors were selected as Texas School Counselor of the Year finalists: Angie Morales, school counselor at Campestre Elementary School and Jennifer Madrid, school counselor at James P. Butler Elementary.

“We are so proud of these three outstanding school counselors,” said Tammi Mackeben, director of guidance and counseling. “Each of the counselors has a comprehensive data driven program that follows the American School Counselor Association National Model and will not only represent Socorro ISD, but the state of Texas in a positive manner. What an honor for Team SISD!”

The three Team SISD counselors credit their accomplishment to the district’s guidance and counseling team.

“This recognition would not be possible without the amazing support of our campus administration and district counseling leadership team that guides us and provides us the tools to have a model counseling program,” Madrid said.

Morales agreed.

“I’m very grateful to have earned the nomination and it means a lot to be one of the five finalists,” Morales said. “Everything we do is for our students and we always keep in mind to treat and educate every one of them as if they were our own.”

Madrid has been a school counselor for five years and has more than 21 years of experience in education.  Morales has been in the counseling profession for eight years and has 11 years of education experience.

Socorro ISD Survey Results Show ‘Continued Improvements’ in School Climate

Positive responses on the 2017 Socorro ISD Campus Climate Survey increased by 15 percent from the district’s first comprehensive survey administered with students, parents, and employees just four years ago.

“Every voice counts in Socorro ISD,” said Dr. José Espinoza, SISD Superintendent of Schools. “The tremendous participation in this comprehensive survey demonstrates our community’s engagement and partnership in ensuring every student succeeds in Team SISD. This level of engagement, along with the tremendous work of our amazing faculty and staff, is what has led to the quantum improvements that have taken place in our district the last four years.”

The surveys were administered through SurveyMonkey in late-January through mid-February and were available in English and Spanish. Four individual surveys were available for parents, campus employees, elementary students (grades 3-5), and secondary students (grades 6-12). In all, nearly 39,000 individuals completed the survey.

  • Elementary Students – 8,695
  • Secondary Students – 20,014
  • Parents – 6,701
  • Campus Employees – 3,481

Overall, the survey results demonstrate Socorro ISD stakeholders’ pride in their school district and appreciation of Team SISD’s commitment in ensuring student safety, a supportive and rigorous learning environment, and high morale.

sisd rep

“I am extremely proud to serve our amazing community which has taken an active role in helping us continuously move our district forward,” Espinoza added. “The data and input we receive through these surveys are invaluable in ensuring we are living up to our commitment to treat and educate all students as if they were our own children. While the responses were overwhelmingly positive and show that we truly have ‘Achieved Success as a Team’ over the last four years, we acknowledge that work still remains to be done to ensure we meet the needs of all our students, parents, and staff.”

The survey data will be used, together with qualitative data gathered through other community engagement efforts, to assess the current state of the district and adapt district and campus plans to meet the needs of Team SISD.

Individual campus leadership teams are reviewing their specific results to develop a Campus Action Plan listing strengths and areas for growth identified from the survey results as well as specific strategies on how to maintain or improve the school’s culture. The action items also will be incorporated in each school’s Campus Improvement Plan. Campus Action Plans will be posted online in June 2017.

School Safety Responses
Collectively, there was an increase of 52 percentage points in positive responses regarding school safety. Ninety-six percent of elementary students (86 percent in 2013), 90 percent of secondary students (70 percent in 2013), and 93 percent of campus employees (79 percent in 2013) responded that they feel safe at school. Ninety-two percent of parents (84 percent in 2013) responded that they believe their child feels safe in and around their school.

Student Responses
Ninety-six percent of elementary (87 percent in 2013) and 85 percent of secondary students (64 percent in 2013) believe that they attend a good school. Twenty-six percent more students answered that they believe their teachers care about them than in 2013; 97 percent of elementary (92 percent in 2013) and 83 percent of secondary students (62 percent in 2013). Ninety-seven percent of elementary and 94 percent of secondary students answered that their teachers/schools have high expectations of students, which increased by 20 percentage points combined from 2013.

Parent Responses
Ninety-one percent of parents agreed that teachers/schools have high expectations of students (83 percent in 2013); 91 percent of parents stated that they like their child’s school (83 percent in 2013); 90 percent said they are satisfied with their child’s academic progress (83 percent in 2013); and 92 percent stated that they believe their child likes his/her school (86 percent in 2013).

Eighty-nine percent of parents responded that they work as a team with teachers to educate their children (81 percent in 2013). Ninety-one percent of parents believe that their child feels like he/she belongs at their school (86 percent in 2013).

Campus Employee Responses
The number of employees that believe the climate or atmosphere at their school is positive and helps students learn increased by 18 percent (86 percent in 2017 compared with 68 percent in 2013).

Eighty-six percent of employees believe that staff members work as a team and 87 percent say their school promotes trust and collegiality (72 percent and 69 percent in 2013, respectively); and 91 percent believe that their campus administrators treat them with respect (80 percent in 2013).

View the complete 2017 Socorro ISD Climate Survey results online at www.sisd.net

Hernando Middle School Student Earns National 180 Student Award for Reading

Spc. Rafael Hernando III Middle School student Kaitlyn Llanez has earned a prestigious 2017 180 Student Award, a national honor that recognizes 15 children who have overcome personal and academic challenges to achieve success in the classroom.

The Team SISD sixth grader conquered a terminal cancer diagnosis and a stuttering problem that severely impacted her learning and life, and has made great strides with reading and academic success.

“I am really proud of myself for getting this award,” Kaitlyn said. “I have become a better, stronger reader and feel more confident thanks to my teacher and the program. I enjoy and understand books now. It makes me feel good and happy.”

Now in its 11th year, the 180 award recognizes students, who, along with the help of their remarkable teachers, have made significant gains in their reading and math achievement and ultimately paving the way to college and career readiness.

“I couldn’t be prouder and I can’t think of another student who deserves it more,” said Brenda Rios, Hernando’s Reading 180 teacher, who nominated Kaitlyn. “She has worked so hard for it. She inspires me to come into class every day and be the best that I can be.”

Kaitlyn isn’t the first Hernando student to receive this award. Two other students were winners in 2014 and 2016. Both were in Rios’s class. Hernando is the only El Paso area school to have earned this achievement.

“Part of this competition was picking a child who has overcome great obstacles and done exceptional things despite those obstacles,” Rios said. “If you know your students, you know that a lot of them have back stories. As with my other two students who won, Kaitlyn’s story is what this competition is about.”

Kaitlyn was diagnosed with embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare cancer that doctor’s deemed terminal, at the age of seven. The tumor’s size and location (in the stomach cavity and wrapped around several organs) made it inoperable and radiation also was not a solution. The only option – with a very low success rate – was chemotherapy. To everyone’s surprise, chemo worked, shrinking the tumor enough to allow surgery.

But her year-long battle put Kaitlyn way behind in her studies. It prevented her from attending school for more than a year.

“It was hard because I was always in the hospital,” Kaitlyn said, in her submission letter for the award. “I didn’t go back to school until the end of second grade. When other kids my age were learning to read, I was learning about chemotherapy, surgeries, needle sticks and low blood counts. I fell behind in reading and other classes. The other kids were at school every day while I was mostly at the hospital.”

After beating cancer and having 10 surgeries, Kaitlyn returned to school, but continued to struggle. She stuttered when asked to read, avoided the library and saw book fairs as a waste of time.

“I didn’t like to read because the only way I could read was going word for word,” she said. “I could not read in a complete sentence. I didn’t understand what the book or story was about. I would get upset. I was so far behind. I would attend book fairs and I would look at all the cool books, but I didn’t see the point in wasting my money on something I couldn’t understand.”

It was this school year that Kaitlyn was assigned to the Reading 180 class. She vowed to be a better student. The course turned her world around. Her strong sense of determination to succeed allowed Kaitlyn to build a strong reading foundation. She now loves reading.

“This class and the program have made such a difference,” said her mother, Diana Llanez. “It has taught her to find the meaning of words and put thoughts together so she is actually enjoying reading. She reads a lot. We go to the library all the time. She reads to other kids, too. I know that she also is a mentor to another student that also has medical issues.”

Kaitlyn has improved her reading level significantly. With Reading 180, Lexile points are used to measure a student’s reading ability. Kailyn has gained 324 Lexile points since school began. It is a remarkable improvement considering that on average a student her age and grade gains about 70 points.

“It is amazing,” Rios said. “But she has been working so very hard.”

Both her mom and Rios agreed that reading isn’t the only improvement. Kaitlyn’s self-confidence is drastically better.

“She has grown up so much this year that she is a different person,” Diana Llanez said. “She will be the first one to raise her hand to read. She has always had a positive outlook on everything. I love the heart that she has to do better and be better.”

Rios said the student who walked into the Reading 180 classroom at the beginning of this year is not the same person.

“As far as her personality and her self-confidence goes, it has been amazing to watch because I have seen her flourish,” Rios said. “I believe this class and this competition helped to show her who she really is and who she really could be. And I feel that the person she is, is an inspiration to not only the students, but to adults, the family and friends around her.”

For the confident Kaitlyn, the goal is to one day become a pediatric nurse for cancer patients. She knows what it feels like and hopes to make life a little easier for those youngsters dealing with cancer. As for reading, she realizes its importance.

“It is used in everything and everywhere,” she said. “I feel so proud that I became a better reader.”

Socorro ISD Technology Services wins 2017 Tyler Public Sector Excellence Award

The Socorro Independent School District’s Technology Services Department has been selected as a 2017 Tyler Public Sector Excellence Award winner.

“We are honored and excited to receive the award,” said Hilda Miranda, SISD student systems coordinator. “My team, in collaboration with campus administrators and their campus registration teams have worked very hard to promote and assist our parents with this new technology.

SISD competed against several public sector agencies who used the Tyler SIS product for the award, which recognizes Tyler Technologies clients who demonstrate leadership, innovation and excellence in developing, deploying and maintaining Tyler solutions in new ways. As an Excellence Award recipient, the team was presented an award at the Connect 2017 conference in San Antonio.”

The award submissions are evaluated by members of the Tyler leadership team who judge the entry based on business value, maturity, innovation and relevance to other public sector organizations, according to Tyler Technologies.

Since the Tyler implementation in 2012, SISD has used the product in innovative ways including financial and human resources supervision, as well as online registration and record management to improve data quality and ensure district integrity.

Team SISD’s first year of online registration, 2015-2016 school year, resulted in a 90.26 percent registration completion for returning students before the first day of school. The innovative online process saved the district more than $58,000 in supplies, overtime, mailings and postage.

“The Tyler SIS online registration process was a great success for our district,” Miranda said. “The parent participation in completing online registration speaks volumes of our community embracing new technology.”

Online registration allows parents to verify student data, update contact information, complete yearly required registration forms and review critical district information and policies at their own convenience.

Pebble Hills NJROTC Earns Prestigious Area Nine Most Outstanding Unit Award

The Pebble Hills NJROTC unit has been named the 2017 Area Nine Most Outstanding Unit, a distinction they were surprised with at the 2017 Pebble Hills NJROTC Military Awards Night, recently.

The unit, which is 116 members strong and comprised of students from Pebble Hills, El Dorado and Montwood high schools, earned the award for their many hours of community service, unit and school support as well as the outstanding scores they received in every category during their annual military inspection.

“I’m very proud of our students for earning this distinction,” said Justo Mendoza, senior naval science instructor at Pebble Hills. “This recognition is a direct testament of their hard work and dedication to the program. The kids demonstrate loyalty, integrity and all the characteristics we look for in our cadets so they can become productive citizens in our community.”

The Pebble Hills unit was selected for the prestigious award out of the 67 units from seven different states in area nine. In addition, the unit has been named a distinguished unit with academic honors for their high level of performance for six consecutive years.

“It’s an honor to be recognized as the Area Nine Most Outstanding Unit,” said Sarah Adams, senior cadet at El Dorado High School. “We have always held our standard high and worked toward this goal so it’s great to finally achieve it. NJROTC is unlike any other organization. It develops responsible and disciplined youth and helps build your character.”

The NJROTC cadets earned more than 9,500 combined community service hours for their contributions of work in the community. The unit is now in the running for the Most Outstanding Unit in the Nation, an award the Socorro High School NJROTC program earned in 2013.

The award-winning unit was first established in 1993 at Montwood High School, relocated to El Dorado High School in 2010, and has been housed at Pebble Hills for the last two years.

Puentes Middle School Nurse Named Region 19 School Nurse of the Year

Ellen Brissette, school nurse at SSG Manuel R. Puentes Middle School in the Socorro Independent School District, was selected as the 2017 Region 19 School Nurse of the Year by the Texas School Nurses Organization for her excellent school nursing practice and leadership in school health.

“Being named the Region 19 School Nurse of the year is a huge compliment,” Brissette said. “There are so many awesome nurses in our district so it’s a little surreal but a great surprise!”

Brissette’s announcement was made at the TSNO end of the year meeting recently. As the Region 19 School Nurse of the Year, she will compete at the state level against 20 other school nurses and have the opportunity to attend the TSNO conference in November.

Photo of EllenBrissette has been a school nurse for 15 years and has more than 38 years of experience in the healthcare profession. She began her career in London, England and since then served as a hospital nurse in the intensive care unit, a surgical center, a private physician office, as the SISD district nurses manger, and as a school nurse at the middle and high school levels.

“Ms. Brissette’s dedication and advocacy for students’ health far reaches beyond her school responsibilities,” said Luisa Herrera, TSNO-19 president. “She is actively involved in her community and sees projects through with unparalleled enthusiasm. She understands the importance of working as a team member and always sets a high standard for excellence.”

She is also an active leader among her peers, said Rebecca Madrid, SISD nurse manager. She is a certified CPR instructor and an active member of her Campus Emergency Response Team ensuring that campus staff and students are trained and certified in first aid and CPR.  She also represented the Lower Valley Health Fair Association as president and ensured in years past that the coordination and outcome of the health fair was a success.

“Ms. Brissette has been a dedicated school nurse for 16 years in SISD and truly deserves this award,” Madrid said. “She does an outstanding job with her students, parents, faculty and the community. She goes above and beyond to advocate for the wellbeing of all who are entrusted in her professional and compassionate care.”

Brissette was nominated for the award by 35 of her TSNO peers for her continuous drive to improve health and learning for her students, working with parents to access the care they need for their children, develop plans to ensure good continuum of care, as well as organize immunizations clinics for students, staff and the surrounding community.

“I love working with the kids,” Brissette said. “I have a good day every day and there aren’t many jobs where you can walk away feeling fulfilled and being with people you choose to be with.”

The Region 19 Nurse of the Year said she enjoys spending time with her students and teaching them how to advocate for themselves and preparing them for high school and life.

“Education about the art of the nursing practice is key,” Brissette said. “I believe that as you learn and share that knowledge you enhance the profession.  My students are taught to be consumers of their health, to participate, to ask questions and understand the answers.”

El Dorado Teacher Recognized as 2017 H-E-B Excellence in Education Award Finalist

El Dorado High School art teacher Candace Printz was recognized as a top educator in Texas and a 2017 H-E-B Excellence in Education Award finalist on May 7 at a special H-E-B awards ceremony in Austin.

The Socorro Independent School District educator was one of five Texas teachers selected as a finalist in the leadership secondary award category which honors educators for their outstanding dedication and commitment to students.

“I am extremely grateful to be an H-E-B finalist,” Printz said. “There are so many great teachers and amazing mentors in the state, so I’m deeply honored to have received this recognition.”

Earlier this year, Printz was recognized with a cash prize of $1,000 for herself and another $1,000 for her school during a surprise visit by H-E-B representatives and SISD Superintendent Dr. José Espinoza.

2017 Candace Printz HEB 5“We are extremely proud of Ms. Printz for being selected as a finalist of this prestigious award,” Dr. Espinoza said. “Her work, dedication and passion for students is admirable and truly embodies what our district is about. I commend her for her great work and thank her for being a role model to our children!”

Printz’ was nominated as a finalist for a plethora of accomplishments, including her innovative It’s Your World community project, which aims to collect trash and recyclables in the El Paso area and turn the waste into beautiful art; being the first-ever SISD Wall of Honor recipient in 2016; and being named an SISD campus Teacher of the Year in 2011 and 2017.

The educator plans to continue the project as well as start a non-profit organization with her students to continue creating an environmentally conscious culture in the El Paso community. 2017 Candace Printz HEB1

“We’ve learned so much this year and I look forward to continue this project by starting a non-profit organization where students who spearheaded the project can be our board members,” she said. “The objective will be to research our city’s laws, make suggestions and educate the community to be more progressive when it comes to recycling.”

This is the second year Printz has been recognized by H-E-B. Last year, she was one of 140 semi-finalists selected for the award out of the more than 1,400 submissions in Texas.

THE H-E-B award was created in 2002 as a way to support public education in Texas and pay tribute to educators who go the extra mile each day to serve their students, communities and inspire others to do the same, according to the H-E-B webpage.

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