SISD launches 4 new elementary academies for 2023-24

The Socorro Independent School District will launch four new elementary academies in the 2023-24 school year to provide Pre-K through fifth grade students with even more innovative educational opportunities for future success.

Students accepted into the Ernesto Serna Fine Arts Academy, the O’Shea Keleher Whole Child Academy, the Sierra Vista STEAM Academy, or the Vista Del Sol Environmental Science Academy will benefit from specialized instruction in the arts, health sciences, environmental sciences, and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics). The campuses will offer limited open enrollment for students from across El Paso County interested in applying to attend.

“Based on the success of our first two academies – the Paso Del Norte Fine Arts Academy and Escontrias STEAM Academy – Socorro ISD has created four new academies to provide students expanded learning opportunities and more options for parents to choose a school that is the best fit for their children,” said Socorro ISD Superintendent Nate Carman, Ed.D. “These academies will provide students valuable opportunities to explore their interests and develop a strong foundation in a future academic or career pathway.”

Each academy will combine specialized instruction in its specific area with traditional core curriculum and regular elementary school activities to provide students rich and meaningful learning experiences.

Ernesto Serna Fine Arts Academy students will develop a strong understanding for the arts and will use this knowledge to apply it to the world around them while becoming productive and responsible citizens in the community.

Facilities at the campus are being renovated for students to receive daily instruction and develop their talents in the arts, including specialized dance, music, theatre, and visual art rooms.

Building a solid foundation in early childhood will allow O’Shea Keleher Whole Child Academy scholars to shine in any early college program. Guiding their social emotional learning will allow them to thrive in a competitive academic field. Students will be challenged with a rigorous learning environment while maintaining a healthy outlook on life.

The academy’s scholars will learn the benefits of leading a healthy mental and physical lifestyle from an early age. They will be equipped with the opportunities to not only learn about these best practices for leading a balanced healthy lifestyle, but they will also put those practices into action.

At the Sierra Vista STEAM Academy, students will attend science and engineering classes in newly renovated labs, work hands-on with technology such as drones, 3D printers, and robotics, and develop lifelong skills to include collaboration, communication, and confidence.

STEAM concepts will be integrated throughout the day to support the development of higher order thinking and problem solving through the creative process.

The Vista Del Sol Environmental Science Academy will teach children to care for the earth through environmental stewardship practices and traditional core instruction. Through hands on learning, children will study ecological issues affecting the world around them, including pollution, agriculture, animals, energy sources, and the world’s biomes, particularly emphasizing the Chihuahuan Desert. Course content will incorporate AVID strategies such as WICOR (Writing, Inquiry, Collaboration, Organization and Reading) to enhance student learning.

The academy will feature a green house, raised garden beds, aquaponics, different animals, and two renovated labs where scholars will participate in hands-on environmental science-related lessons and activities to become environmentally engaged citizens.

The Paso Del Norte Fine Arts Academy and Escontrias STEAM Academy opened in the fall of 2022 to overwhelming support from parents, students, faculty, administrators, and surrounding communities. More than 1,000 students and nearly 900 students enrolled in the Paso Del Norte Fine Arts Academy and Escontrias STEAM Academy, respectively, in the 2022-23 school year.

All students who live in the new academy attendance zones are grandfathered in and have the first opportunity to enroll in the schools, followed by other Socorro ISD students who wish to apply.

Limited space will then be made available to other students from throughout the El Paso region to apply for the new opportunity. Enrollment in the academies is free.

Visit to learn more and to apply now for the new elementary academies.