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Home | Tag Archives: anthony isd

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YISD, IDEA Schools delay start of 2020-21 school year; Other El Paso area ISD react to DPH’s order

As City/County Health officials issued an updated order for all independent school districts and private schools in El Paso County for the reopening of on-campus instruction, delaying the start of in person classes until after September 7th, local school districts have been quick to respond.

The order essentially halts all in person classes until after Labor Day, however does make note that virtual classes will be allowed per the individual school district’s plan.

Below are the statements/releases from the area’s school districts.

Ysleta ISD

Due to the city’s recent public health order and in the best interest of health and safety for students and teachers, the Ysleta Independent School District will delay the start of classes for the 2020-21 school year until Monday, Aug. 17, at which point all students will begin at least three weeks of online learning at home.

“Please be assured we made this decision for the well-being of our teachers and students in order to ensure an excellent academic experience for every child,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Xavier De La Torre.

“We are continuing to finalize plans for the new school year, and over the next few weeks, our parents will continue to have the opportunity to select either face-to-face instruction or online learning for their child for the upcoming school year,” Dr. De La Torre added.

The delayed school start date will prompt two changes to Ysleta ISD’s new year-round calendar, officials said.

The first change affects the two-week break – or intersession – for students in October. Originally scheduled for Oct. 5-16, the break will now be reduced by one week and take place only from Oct. 12-16. That means classes WILL be in session from Oct. 5-9 for both online and face-to-face instruction.

In addition, Ysleta ISD will add one week to the end of the school year, and the last day of school is now Friday, June 11, 2021.

Currently, the district is continuing to provide professional development to teachers in the areas of technology and content in order to equip them with the tools to provide a quality online experience. Ysleta ISD is also enhancing its technology support to ensure all student devices are ready for online instruction, and continuing to make safety its No.1 priority by aligning safety and health protocols with state public health recommendations.

Ysleta ISD parents are being asked to reach out to the district to confirm whether their child will either return to campus for face-to-face Classroom Learning, or participate in Online Learning at home. Parents can do so by calling (915) 434-0280 and taking a brief, three-question survey.

Parents who do not complete the survey will be contacted by their child’s school over the next few weeks to confirm their choice. For more information, parents are encouraged to submit questions through the “Ask The District” tab on the main webpage at

IDEA Public Schools El Paso

IDEA Public Schools will be following the City of El Paso and State guidance regarding school opening recommendations. All IDEA campuses in El Paso will begin classes on Monday, August 17 with all students participating in distance learning until Monday, September 7.   

Beginning Tuesday, September 8, parents will have the option to send their children to school, continue distance learning or switch back and forth as needed. On campus start date is subject to change based on guidance from local and state authorities.  

For the upcoming school year, IDEA Public Schools will provide personal technology devices, including computers or tablets,  to all scholars enrolled at IDEA campuses.   

One-to-one personal technology creates opportunities to meet the needs of every student with an intentional focus on structure and rigor to keep all scholars on track regardless of where the learning itself is taking place. Technology allows for uninterrupted learning, regardless of possible restrictions placed on in-person schooling.  

The program also allows schools to extend the learning window, create new opportunities and learning models for students, and boost the home to school connection.   

More back-to-school information is available via this link.

El Paso ISD

The City of El Paso Department of Public Health released new orders limiting face-to-face instruction and requiring school buildings to remain closed to non-essential personnel until at least Sept. 8.

EPISD also will delay the first day of instruction to Aug. 17. The first three weeks of school will be conducted virtually for all students.
We will resume with the phased-in approach to the return to campuses on Sept. 8, or once local health authorities deem it safe to do so.

“EPISD is committed to our mission to serve as a strong community partner,” Superintendent Juan Cabrera said. “We have worked closely with the County and City of El Paso to ensure the health and wellbeing of our students, staff and community. We will to continue to work together for the safety of our community.”

EPISD staff and teachers will continue to work remotely until school buildings are opened. Last week, parents were sent a survey listing the three instructional models that will be offered once campuses are open. The options include continued virtual; staggered schedules (combination virtual and in-person); and daily face to face for certain groups. Parents should still proceed with choosing
an option as soon as possible in order to facilitate planning for campuses. The survey can be found at

The city’s order also states:

•All children with special healthcare needs which are considered medically fragile should not return to
school until the 2021-2022 school year.
•Students, teachers, and staff age 2 years and older should wear face coverings, unless medically
contraindicated or if this may pose a risk to the student, teachers, and staff.

For updates and details of EPISD’s reopening plan, visit

Socorro ISD

Dear Team SISD,

It is my hope that our community is safe and well. When our district previously released our reopening plans for the 2020-21 school year, we emphasized to our community that all plans were subject to change pending guidance from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) as well as local health and government officials. We’d like to update our community on the new developments.

Guidance from Texas Education Agency

TEA has released new guidance to school districts, and I am very proud to report that the Socorro Independent School District is in compliance with the learning models outlined by Commissioner Mike Morath on July 7, 2020. TEA is requiring that all students have the option to receive five day in-person instruction, but parents should be allowed to choose the At-Home (Remote) Learning Model if they don’t feel comfortable with the Traditional Learning Model. Via our Parent Scheduling Survey, we offered SISD students the option to learn all five days from school or from home.

Also, due to TEA guidance, the Hybrid Learning Model is only available to students in PreK through 2nd grade. If you haven’t filled
out our Parent Scheduling Survey, please do so by the end of today.

Additionally, the TEA Commissioner is providing all school districts in Texas with a three-week transition period similar to our SISD model in which we start the school year with three weeks of full remote instruction to provide our teachers and employees adequate time and space to adjust to the strenuous safety protocols and new way of teaching.

Guidance from Local Health & Government Authorities

As all of you may know, there has been an alarming spike in Covid-19 cases not only across our El Paso County but also across the country.
I agree wholeheartedly with the order by El Paso City-County Health Authority Dr. Hector Ocaranza with the support of both County Judge Ricardo Samaniego and Mayor Dee Margo that would prohibit any in-person classes by local school districts until after Labor Day in September.

Therefore, we have made a proactive decision to update our school calendar for the 2020-21 school year, which will meet guidelines issued by both TEA and El Paso health and government authorities. The adjusted calendar will still provide additional flexibility that will allow us to close our district or schools due to potential positive COVID-19 cases as necessary.

It is important to note that the new first day of school for students in the Socorro Independent School District will be on August 17, 2020. Teachers’ first day back to work will be August 3, 2020. We will continue with our plan to begin the school year with full remote instruction only for the first three weeks of school as authorized by TEA.

In-person instruction will begin on September 8, 2020 as directed by El Paso City-County health and government authorities.

Due to the pandemic continuing to get worse with record-breaking cases being reported daily in the El Paso community, we urge our families to do their part in preventing the spread of Covid-19 by practicing social distancing, staying home when possible, wearing their masks, and washing their hands frequently. Socorro ISD desperately needs our community’s help to go “Back to School SAFELY!”

I understand that our SISD stakeholders may have many questions and concerns, but I continue to ask for your patience, understanding, cooperation, and flexibility as our team works through the many issues that must be addressed for the new school year. We are still in uncharted waters; however, I know that together as Team SISD we will figure out the best and safest ways to navigate another challenging school year.

As with all Back to School plans, details may be subject to change pending the state of our local community health and new guidance issued by national, state, and local authorities as we approach the first day of school.

Rest assured that we will continue to update you as we finalize plans and move forward with the best interest in mind for our students and staff. We continue to consult regularly with local health and government officials, TEA, and seek additional guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to ensure that our procedures and protocols reflect the optimal ways to operate and “Keep Team SISD Safe.”

Please continue to check our #TeamSISD Back to School SAFELY webpage ( as well as our Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts frequently for updates and answers to questions you may have.

Our TOP priority remains the physical and emotional well-being of our students, employees, and families. I am grateful for the collaboration and unity that I continue to witness in our outstanding community. By working together, we will launch a safe and successful 2020-21 school year.

I greatly appreciate your continued support and trust in Team SISD. Stay healthy and stay strong. God bless all of our families.

José Espinoza, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

Some local officials also added their voices to the discussion, the following is a statement from State Senator Jose Rodriguez:

Earlier this week, the president said he would use every means possible to force schools to re-open, regardless of the situation with COVID-19. Unfortunately, the situation in Texas is deteriorating rapidly, with the governor warning of significant increases in fatalities. Despite record-breaking numbers of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths in recent weeks, the Texas Education Agency is pushing local school districts to start instruction next month.

Parents and teachers are concerned that we are moving too quickly during a high-risk period and without sufficient planning. I share those concerns. We must be guided by the best science-based information available, not the politics of the president or some state leaders. Teachers and support staff must be given options that allow them to work without putting themselves or their families at risk.

I applaud the El Paso Public Health Department for issuing an order prohibiting in-person school openings until Sept. 7. This is a prudent move for our community’s health and safety.

***Awaiting comments from:

Clint ISD

Fabens ISD

San Eli ISD

Tornillo ISD

Anthony ISD


TEA Releases School District Grades; 4 El Paso Districts Earn A’s, Region’s Overall Average is ‘B’

On Wednesday, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) released the 2018 state accountability ratings for more than 8,700 campuses statewide.

Locally only four school districts – one traditional and three open enrollment charter schools – stood atop the list with an ‘A’ for a grade.

Leading the pack was Harmony Science Academy with an overall grade of 94, followed by Burnham Wood Charter School with a 92.  Vista Del Futuro Charter also earned a 92, however the TEA did not award them an ‘A,’ only that they ‘Met Standard.’

Canutillo ISD topped the traditional districts with a 91, followed by Paso Del Norte Academy with a 91 as well.  Via a news release, officials with Canutillo ISD shared their excitement.

“This new high rating tells us nothing new about the exemplary performance of our students under our outstanding teachers and staff,” Canutillo ISD Superintendent Dr. Pedro Galaviz said. “We have been seeing the evidence of significant improvement in student progress at our schools for quite some time now.”

Of their ‘B’ rating, Socorro ISD’s Superintendent José Espinoza said,  “Our overall rating shows that Team SISD is doing a great job of ensuring our students are achieving, progressing and prepared for post-secondary education,” Espinoza said. “While the ratings reflect a new way that the state is looking at performance, it is based in a large part on a standardized test students take one day out of the year and doesn’t reflect the whole amount of work and investment we make in our students. However, there is always room for improvement and we are committed to continue working toward 100 percent academic excellence for all students.”

Officials with the El Paso Independent School District also reacted to the numbers, saying they “showed tremendous growth and improvement and surpassed other large urban school districts in Texas, according to accountability figures released by the Texas Education Agency today…EPISD’s score of 86 is the highest for urban districts that serve overwhelmingly large numbers of low-income students.”

EPISD’s Superintendent Juan Cabrera added, “We are building the best EPISD in our history…I am proud of our dedicated teachers who have done an exceptional job of adapting modern and innovative methods of learning. Thank you to our teachers and community who have supported our historic efforts over the past five years.”

According to the release from the TEA, campuses receive a rating based on performance in three areas:

  • Student Achievement measures what students know and can do by the end of the year.  It includes results from state assessments across all subjects for all students, on both general and alternate assessments, College, Career, and Military Readiness (CCMR) indicators, like AP and ACT results, and graduation rates.
  • School Progress measures how much better students are doing on the STAAR test this year versus last year, and how much better students are doing academically relative to schools with similar percentages of economically disadvantaged students.
  • Closing the Gaps looks at performance among student groups, including various racial/ethnic groups, socioeconomic backgrounds and other factors.

Seventy percent of the accountability rating is based on the better of Student Achievement or Student Progress (whichever is better is the only performance measure counted). The remaining 30 percent is based on performance in the Closing the Gaps area.

To learn more about the A-F accountability system, click here.

Note that while 2018 campus ratings continued under the Met StandardMet AlternativeStandard or Improvement Required labels, district ratings are based on an A-F scale. The A–F rating labels will be applied to campuses at the end of the upcoming school year.

Districts, charters, and campuses can appeal the rating assigned on August 15. TEA will release the final 2018 ratings based on the outcomes of the appeals in December. To view the 2018 state accountability ratings for districts, charters and campuses, visit the TEA website.

In the graphic below are the region’s schools, sorted by letter-grade average, as selected on the TEA website.

**editor’s note** Graphic was created by combining all El Paso County schools, adding Fort Hancock and Dell City, via the TEA’s sorting data, via the letter grades.

To view the specific schools, use the box below to search out each individual school via the searchable tool below.

Select a school or district below to get started. Use to see how well different schools and districts are doing. Each report provides an in-depth look into how campuses and districts are performing overall and in different areas.


Op-Ed: We Need Our ‘Teachers of the Year’ More Than Once a Year

Quick, name the Teacher of the Year for the United States from 2018. Okay, that’s hard. Name your State teacher of the year. Or your district teacher of the year. How about your local campus teacher of the year. My bet is that you probably have no idea.

The Texas teacher of the year? His story is buried here.  The national teacher of the year? Mandy Manning has some love on this Wikipedia page

Over the years, I have attended many ceremonies that recognize the local teachers of the year from all of the districts in the area. There are the elementary and secondary teacher awarded from 12 different school districts. At the end of the night, two of them are award the Regional Teachers of the Year, given some love form local businesses, then go on to a state competition.

You probably have attended events such as these in your life. They are more like beauty pageants than they are actual competitions. At the end, I almost always feel like breaking out into my best Bert Parks imitation…”There she is…Miss America…” almost. But I refrain myself.

The whole “Teacher of the Year” (TOY) process got me thinking about the idea of what exactly is a “Teacher of the Year” in the first place. Campuses and districts spend lot of time and effort selecting teachers of the year, then a district teacher of the year, then a state teacher of the year, then finally a national teacher of the year. That is a whole lot of teachers. And for what?

I understand and agree that teachers should be recognized, I really do. It is , in many cases, a crappy job in a lot of places and a lot of teachers are experts at making lemonade out of lemons. And for the most part, the teachers that win do indeed deserve the awards they get.

But as I sit there and watch these pageants take place, I began to think that the entire exercise is a wasted opportunity to leverage the brainpower of those amazing teachers being recognized.

For the most part, after the ceremony finishes, the 22 non-winning TOYs in the Region 19 area are sent back to their school districts, back to their campuses, back to their classrooms or libraries, and they go about their lives pretty much as if nothing had happened. Shakespeare would have said “much ado about nothing.”

How can we make the Teacher of the Year more meaningful? How can we take the combined knowledge of those that were assembled and use that to help other teachers? Here are a few ideas that I had:

Spotlight video: tell the teacher’s story.

The beauty contest told the audience almost nothing about the backstory of each teacher. Why did they actually make it to the TOY finals? What was their story? What was their reason for becoming a teacher? Many of these teachers have inspirational stories. When I myself was being honored as a finalist, I remember being awed by my fellow honorees, telling their stories, from a teacher that once taught blind sharecropper’s children in the Mississippi swamps, to another that came to the US as a war refugee after World War II.

Techniques video: Revisit each and every one of the TOY finalists and explore their classroom techniques. Almost every single one of them at the last ceremony I attended said something to the effect that they had made learning “fun.” What did that mean? How did they do that? Can that be replicated? Can they help teachers where learning in the classroom is not fun? Almost all can be seen using technology. How do they integrate tech in their classes?

Mentor new teachers. Each TOY should be asked to mentor a new teacher. Let them share their knowledge and what they have learned with new teachers. Who better to learn from that from the best teachers in the area?

Have media follow the TOYs around for a year, and allow them to become media spokespeople for a public book. This teacher is the YISD teacher we showcase as our best. Here is the EPISD best. Here is the Anthony ISD TOY.

These are the best of the best, and here is why…

Document the lives of our TOYs: “Among Schoolchildren” by Tracy Kidder is a great example of the life in the year if a teacher. What if that could be expanded with district TOYs across the nation?

What would an El Paso version of “Among Schoolchildren” look like? Can we create an online “recipe book” of all the TOYs so that their teaching knowledge lives longer than their momentary walk in the spotlight and acceptance speeches?

The point is, I suppose, is that if someone is talented enough to be named a “Teacher of the Year” somewhere, there must be something that this person has that can be shared with other teachers. There must be some techniques, some passion, some wisdom that that teacher can share with others that is of value.

My concern is that there are hundred if not thousands of “Teachers of the Year” across the US and that knowledge base is being squandered because they didn’t “win” the big prize. That is a lot of good information being wasted.

How do individual campuses use the campus teacher of the year to help improve teaching and learning on the campus?
How do individual districts use the campus teacher of the year to help improve teaching and learning in their districts?

How does each state use their TOY to improve teaching and learning in their state?

Look how it is done here. 

And while the National Teacher of the Year tours the nation giving inspirational messages, I don’t think that they do much more than that. I have never seen a national teacher of the year speak, and I have been in education for over 30 years. Have you?

Here is my proposal:

Each campus, each district should take the knowledge, the passion, the years of wisdom that each and every teacher of the year has and do something to share that with fellow teachers. Campuses should share with other campuses. Districts should share with other districts. States should share with other states.

Use our Teachers of the Year wisely. Let them teach all of us.


Author: Tim Holt is an educator and writer, with over 33 years experience in education and opines on education-related topics here and on his own award-winning blog: HoltThink. He values your feedback.

Feel free to leave a comment.  Read his previous columns here.

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