Tuesday , November 21 2017
Home | Opinion | Guest Column: Dedication, Hard work lead to EPISD District of Innovation Approval

Guest Column: Dedication, Hard work lead to EPISD District of Innovation Approval

The EPISD was officially recognized by Commissioner Morath as one of the first Texas school districts to earn the District of Innovation designation.

Out of more than 1,200 school districts in Texas, only eight have earned this distinction.

EPISD is proud to lead this important work and take advantage of this opportunity created by the 2015 Texas Legislature with HB 1842. I am proud of our district, our trustees, our community and our teachers’ organizations for leading the state in this innovative work. The flexibility offered by HB 1842 will support our work to build flexibility in our schools that will benefit all our 60,000 students.

As a District of Innovation, EPISD will have more freedom to allow us to establish unique academic and extra-curricular programs, and bring unique school designs and progressive educational reform to El Paso.

I invite you to read the District of Innovation Plan and find out how the changes will benefit our community and our students.

Our district is on the rise. We have a great team of teachers, staff, administrators who are supported by professional and progressive trustees who are aligned in ethical leadership and focused on student success and student outcomes.

Last week, the Board of Trustees adopted a balanced budget that continues the District’s commitment to fiscal responsibility, while providing a moderate pay increase to our employees. The trustees also raised the minimum wage in the District to $10.10-per-hour.

The new budget also allows for the continued expansion of our New Tech programs, the hiring of fine-arts teachers and also provided for additional technology purchases.

These steps demonstrate the high value we place on our employees, technology and programs. Led by our trustees, we are seeking a conservative approach to methodically improve programs and compensation while we continue to reduce district-wide operational costs.

I also am very proud of our community partners, who just recently helped us achieve these milestones:

  • The Council on Regional Economic Expansion and Educational Development (CREEED) will provide $100,00 in teacher scholarships for dual-credit certification.
  • Government Employees Credit Union of El Paso (GECU) has committed to open a branch at Coronado High. This partnership will offer students instruction on personal finance, job training and potentially job experience.
  • One of our most exciting innovations in the area of early childhood education is our partnership with the YWCA of El Paso, which will create more learning opportunities for our youngest students in pre-kinder around the district.
  • Finally, Verizon chose EPISD as 1 of 8 districts across the country to receive 3800 4G iPads at 5 middle schools. This tremendous award is valued at over $3 million dollars and will align with our PowerUP initiative.

The momentum is swinging in EPISD’s favor and we ask you to join us on this wave of positive momentum. The I AM EPISD spirit is spreading across the district as everyone works to improve our schools by excelling in their roles. Teachers, join us this summer for one of the many training opportunities we have planned for you.

Parents, keep up with us on social media and help us keep your children engaged in their learning over the summer. You deserve a District that is on the forefront in education, and so do our students. Together, we will become one of the premier school districts in the nation.

My best to you and your families. Have a safe and restful summer.

Juan E. Cabrera

Twitter: @jecabrera12

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