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Home | Tag Archives: Austin

Tag Archives: Austin

Austin, El Paso High JROTC cadets participate in U.S. Army race

JROTC cadets from two EPISD schools were in the nation’s capital this weekend representing El Paso in the 35th annual U.S. Army Ten-Miler, one of the world’s largest military-sponsored race events.

Nine students from Austin and El Paso high schools traveled to the Washington, D.C., area to participate in the race this weekend. They were among the more than 35,000 runners that participated in the race.

“This is the fourth year that EPISD students represent El Paso in this important race,” said SGM Velton Locklear, an assistant with EPISD’s JROTC programs. “We are proud to have some of our cadets demonstrate the strength of our programs at a national level.”

The cadets were the only students from El Paso to participate.

The participating cadets from Austin were Jared Alonso, Josue Caballero, Abigail Castro, Daniel Castro and Diego Rodriguez. The El Paso High cadets participating were Christina Acosta, Quejon Frias-Merritt, Elias Palomares and Isabella Ramirez.

The cadets were joined by their instructors, 1SG Anthony Dinkins from Austin and CSM Danford Elliott from El Paso High.

Congratulations to all runners! HOOAH!

By Gustavo Reveles  |  Photos by EPISD JROTC

El Paso ISD part of ‘New Tech Network’ initiative to improve college access

Officials with El Paso ISD announced on Tuesday that the district is part of a new multi-district initiative from the New Tech Network to improve college access through improved science practices.

“The purpose of this work is to collect and analyze data, identify new ideas and implement specific changes to all schools involved in order develop and share best practices for college access to students,” said Scott Gray, EPISD’s New Tech director. “Specifically, the program hopes to improve outcomes for African-American, Latino and low-income students.”

The initiative, which is set to last for several years and will benefit several schools throughout EPISD, is supported by a Networks for School Improvement.

New Tech Network has invited six EPISD high schools to participate in its first cohort. This includes juniors and seniors at El Paso, Austin, Chapin, Andress, Irvin and Burges high schools.

Although only two of the six EPISD schools that will participate in the program implement the New Tech curriculum, the initiative is meant to improve teaching and learning throughout the District.

“The goal is to help close the attainment gap for all students in the District, not just those enrolled in New Tech programs,” Gray said.

Every junior and senior in the participating schools will have access to Naviance — a comprehensive college and career readiness solution and software that helps districts and schools align student strengths and interests to postsecondary goals, improving student outcomes and connecting learning to life.

Comal ISD in Central Texas and Ector County ISD in the Permian Basin are the other two districts that were selected to participate in the program. EPISD will work with educators there to identify and address common problems that impact students in pursuing and succeeding in college.

“Our ongoing partnership with New Tech Network and this new opportunity to collaborate with other Texas districts benefits our community in two key ways: Not only are we adopting improvement science to directly support students who might not otherwise get to, and succeed in college, but our school teams are learning valuable methods that can be used for a variety of complex challenges,” said Superintendent Juan Cabrera. “We owe it to our community to design new approaches based on well-established methods in our quest to meet each student’s needs.”

New Tech will be supplying a coach for the campuses involved and create space for all three districts to communicate and network. Each high school will have a designated team identified by their principals to support this work.

And while the first cohort participating in this program includes only six of the 10 traditional and two specialized high schools in the District, Gray said a second cohort could include all high-schools in EPISD. EPISD hopes to include all high schools in the second cohort.

Story by Reneé de Santos  |  Photo by Leonel Monroy  – EPISD

Gallery+Story: EPISD summer graduates receive high-school diploma

EPISD’s Class of 2019 is now complete.

A total of 171 seniors from every high school in the El Paso Independent School District accepted their diplomas on Wednesday during the 2019 Summer Graduation Ceremonies at the Bowie High School auditorium.

The graduates completed all state graduation requirements during the summer and now join the 4,200 seniors who received their high-school diplomas during ceremonies in May.

“The fact that you are here today is a testament of the hard work and dedication you have demonstrated over the years,” said Dr. Carla Gonzales, EPISD’s Assistant Superintendent of High Schools.

“You have the skills you need to be successful in life. Go out and work toward reaching your goals. You can do whatever you want to make an impact in this world.”

Wednesday’s ceremonies were split in two to accommodate parents and graduates.

The morning ceremonies featured students from Andress, Austin, Burges, Chapin, Franklin, Irvin, Jefferson and Silva Health Magnet high schools, as well as the College, Career & Technology Academy.

The afternoon session featured students from Bowie, Coronado and El Paso high schools.

Author – Gustavo Reveles  |  Photos by Leonel Monroy – EPISD

El Paso Delegation Once Again Heads for Austin’s World-Famous SXSW

The City of El Paso, County of El Paso, City of Las Cruces, Borderplex Alliance and Destination El Paso will again be participating in this year’s 2018 SXSW Tradeshow, March 11 through 14, in Austin.

“We are excited to be back in Austin for this year’s SXSW,” said Bryan Crowe, General Manager for Destination El Paso. “El Paso made an impact last year, and we are certain that we will have a bigger presence at this year’s event. We believe that ringing toget o states, two cities, one region as a great destination.”

As the largest exhibition at SXSW, the Trade Show enhances and complements conference programming with endless unexpected discovery opportunities. In 2017 El Paso visited with over 17,000 individuals and distributed 5,000 brochures over the course of the four-day event.

Along with the regular delegation, we have also invited University of Texas at El Paso, New Mexico State University and 6 regional start-up companies to join us on the floor to showcase the strengths, talent and economic vitality of the region.

In conjunction with SXSW we also partnering with Texas Monthly to host a reception on Monday, March 12, from 6 – 8 p.m. at the Texas Monthly Headquarters located on Congress and 6th street.

State officials, state and national meeting planners, UTEP alumni based in Austin and business executives will be invited to this event to further expose them to all the opportunities and the economic growth the city is experiencing.

Another El Paso opportunity that is returning to SXSW will be the branding of 10 pedicabs in the downtown Austin area. These pedicabs will make their way through the streets of Austin displaying iconic images of El Paso. Amigo Man will be on site taking pictures and interacting with the passengers. Featured pedicabs are: Wyler Aerial Tramway, The Amigo Man, and cityscapes of El Paso and Las Cruces.

Last year, these efforts contributed to over 800 hours of exposure and 1 million impressions during SXSW.

Gallery+Story: EPISD Celebrates 2017 Summer Commencement Exercises

A sea of gold, purple, teal, maroon and blue caps and gowns filled the front of the Bowie High School auditorium Thursday morning as summer grads prepared to make their way across the stage.

The first of two summer graduation ceremonies at Bowie on Thursday featured nearly 100 seniors from Andress, Austin, Bowie, Burges and Chapin high schools and College, Career & Technology Academy.

The program led off with keynote speaker Laura DuVernois, an assistant principal at Silva Health Magnet, who congratulated the graduates and wished them continued success.

“Be humble, be kind,” she told them. “Most importantly don’t forget where you came from and always follow your dreams. Congratulations class of 2017.”

A similar sea of colors representing Coronado, El Paso, Franklin, Irvin and Jefferson high schools lined the first few rows of the Bowie auditorium for the afternoon commencement ceremony. Just more than 50 students walked the stage to collect their diploma.

Keynote speaker Elizabeth Saenz, deputy superintendent of academic leadership, spoke before the graduates received their diplomas.

“As you go into the world, look back often and remember the friends you made in here in high school,” Saenz said. “Take with you the many things you learned from your teachers, parents and your community and make this world a better place – after all the challenges of the world are yours to conquer.”

Receiving diplomas were seniors who completed their graduation requirements during the summer.

Photos courtesy EPISD

Analysis: In Texas, You Can Fight City Hall

“Local” might be the byword for fancy farm-to-market restaurants, but it can be a dirty word at the Texas Capitol.

The state Legislature has become the appeals court for the state’s local governments. Companies and industries snubbed by local laws are increasingly asking state lawmakers to turn things their way — and it’s working.

In 2015, the Legislature overrode a Denton law banning hydraulic fracturing — fracking — within the city limits. Denton voters put the ban in place, but the industry cried foul. Wells were in place before the houses of the not-in-my-backyard homeowners were even built, industry representatives argued, and their property rights were at stake. They also argued — you’ll hear a version of this phrase in almost all of the local-vs-state skirmishes — that overarching state laws are more desirable that “a patchwork of local regulations.”

A herd of cities lined up against that one, but oil and gas won the day: The repeal of the fracking ban passed the House 125-20 and the Senate 24-7. The governor signed it.

Industry is not always opposed to local regulation. It’s still legal to smoke in public places in several Texas cities and towns. Many groups — health associations and others — have lobbied hard, but the absence of an uproar from businesses seems to have made a difference.

The same is true for a statewide ban on texting while driving. The House sponsor is a powerful one — former Speaker Tom Craddick, R-Midland. Sure enough, the bill was approved by the House 104-39 three months before the end of the 2015 legislative session. But the session ended without a floor vote in the Texas Senate.

Several of the mobile phone industry’s big players have run expensive public service campaigns against texting while driving, and they have even testified in favor of the legislation. But they didn’t bring the heat the energy folks brought to that fracking measure.

The next tests will start when the Legislature meets for its next regular session in January. This time, one big fight involves local regulation of drivers for ride-hailing companies like Lyft and Uber. Another is a straight-up attempt by the state to limit local officials’ ability to raise taxes without voter approval.

The ride-hailing issue sets up like the fracking issue did. Austin voters were asked whether the ride-hailing drivers should pass security checks, like cab drivers do. Uber and Lyft said they would leave if voters approved the regulations, irking voters with their methods and the explicit threat. Voters backed the regulations. The companies left. They threatened to leave Houston, too, over regulations there.

Industry allies in the Legislature have promised to file a statewide ride-hailing law that doesn’t hobble the companies.

State Sen. Don Huffines, R-Dallas, has been openly critical of the Austin regulations. He was on a panel on the subject at last weekend’s ttQuoteTexas Tribune Festival, and boiled his objections down to a couple of tweets after it was over. “Local control is great, but it’s not a blank check to violate economic or personal liberty,” he said in one. “I’m for personal responsibility, and I trust Texans to make good decisions in the absence of heavy-handed government regulations,” he tweeted a few minutes later.

The property tax proposals are the latest attempts by state officials to control local property tax increases. The state doesn’t have a property tax itself — that’s unconstitutional — but cities, counties and school districts are state inventions and are subject to state regulation and some control. And in this case, some state officials want to give voters more control over property tax increases.

That’s not how the local governments see it, however. They believe, with some evidence, that state officials just want to make it harder to raise the money they contend they need to do what their voters demand of them. Some take it further, saying the need for more tax money is driven, in part, by what the state requires local governments to do.

You might argue that the property tax debate is a case of checks and balances, of one set of elected officials keeping another set of elected officials in line. You might even be right.

Other cases — fracking, smoking, texting while driving, hailing rides, banning plastic supermarket bags among them — are efforts to replace local laws with state ones.

State officials are sensitive to local control. City officials are sensitive to being overruled. One person who has held both jobs — Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, who served in the House for 27 years — told a roomful of people at TribFest that the governments should work together, like parents disciplining their children.

“We need transportation options, and they do include Uber,” Turner said. “I want them to stay in the City of Houston. I love them.

“But you know, if the state of Texas, the Legislature, says to Uber, ‘Follow the rules of the localities,’ we wouldn’t have a problem. One of the reasons we have a problem — it’s like children going from the mother to the dad. Mom says no. They go to the dad. And in this case, if they can go from Houston and go to Austin to the Legislature, then it makes it very difficult to parent that individual.”

More columns from Ross Ramsey:

  • Voters in the state’s largest school district can say no to sending money to other school districts, putting Texas lawmakers in a bind and — maybe — raising their own school taxes in the process.
  • The late Donald Trump endorsement by U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz — considered before that actually took place — will require some difficult political acrobatics, both now and after the November election.
  • Tom “Smitty” Smith, a colorful lobbyist and liberal activist who turned Public Citizen Texas into a strong voice on environmental, utility, consumer and ethics issues, is hanging up his spurs after 31 years.

Disclosure: Uber and Lyft have been financial supporters of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here

Editor’s note: If you’d like an email notice whenever we publish Ross Ramsey’s column, click here.

Author:  – The Texas Tribune

Students at 59 EPISD Campuses will get Free School Lunch, Breakfast

Students 59 El Paso Independent School District campuses will get free school lunches and breakfasts thanks to national program aimed at providing more nutritious meals students.

Laura Durán, EPISD’s Director of Food and Nutrition Services, announced that the District once again will participate in the Community Eligibility Program from the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs.

The Community Eligibility Program, or CEP, provides breakfast and lunch to all children at no cost and eliminates the collection of meal application for free, reduced-priced and paid students meals.

“The application process can be cumbersome for some families, and we know that there are many of our schools that will have a majority of the students qualify for free or reduced-priced meals,” Durán said. “This program gives us the opportunity to reach as many students as we can in order to give them a nutritious meal that will help them be ready for instruction.”

The CEP targets schools with high volumes of students who would already qualify for free or reduced-priced meals based on income or other eligibility requirements.

The schools participating the program are:

• Elementary Schools: About Face, Alta Vista, Aoy, Barron, Beall, Bliss, Bonham, Bradley, Burleson, Burnet, Clardy, Clendenin, Coldwell, Collins, Cooley, Crockett, Crosby, Douglass, Dowell, Fannin, Moye, Hawkins, Hillside, Johnson, Lamar, Lee, Logan, Moreno, Newman, Park, Putnam, Powell, Rivera, Roberts, Rusk, Schuster, Stanton, Travis, Whitaker and Zavala.

• Middle Schools: Armendariz, Bassett, Canyon Hills, LaFarelle, Charles, Guillen, Henderson, Magoffin, Morehead, Terrace Hills, Wiggs.

• High Schools: Austin, Bowie, Chapin, Irvin, Jefferson, Telles Academy and the College, Career and Technology Academy.

Students attending schools not participating in the CEP may qualify free and reduced-price meals through the traditional application process. Each school in EPISD, as well as the Food and Nutrition Services Department, has a copy of the eligibility rules and guidelines policy that are used to determine participation.

Applications may be picked up at each campus, or they may be downloaded from the EPISD website at under the Food and Nutrition Services Department. Applications are also available in at the Food and Nutrition Services office at 6531 Boeing.

El Paso International Airport Ranked top Texas Airport in Passenger Satisfaction

El Paso International Airport (EPIA) has topped the charts again, ranking #1 in Overall Customer Satisfaction in a passenger survey of Texas airports.

El Paso, Austin, Dallas Love Field, Dallas/Fort Worth, and San Antonio participated in the survey collected over the second quarter of 2016, April through June, by the Airports Council International (ACI) Air Service Quality (ASQ).

“At the El Paso International Airport, our staff works hard to provide a high level of customer service and amenities to the traveling public. Receiving this recognition for the second consecutive time this year reaffirms that our efforts are making a lasting positive impact on travelers,” Aviation Director Monica Lombraña said.

ACI ASQ is a world-wide airport benchmarking program that measures passenger satisfaction. For the last ten years, the program has been working to help airport’s better understand the quality of services they deliver and the needs of the passengers in which they serve by providing research tools and management information.

Learn more about the program at ACI ASQ’s website,

For additional information about the El Paso International Airport visit:

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