From more than 8,200 essays submitted from local districts, 42 top essays were selected in a contest, with five students representing Canutillo ISD as semi-finalists and one of two national finalists.
The Do the Write Thing Challenge is an annual contest where students all across America rise to the challenge of doing something to end youth violence. It gives middle school students an opportunity to examine the impact of youth violence on their lives.
Alderete Middle School students Celeste Nunez, Lily Garcia, Brianna Martinez, Esther Parra, and Canutillo Middle School student Mia Lopez were among the semi-finalists.
A committee comprised of attorneys, judges, professors, and counselors met to interview the semi-finalists and their parents from the region. Then, on April 13, the semi-finalists attended a recognition reception where top essays were recognized and the top 2 national finalists were announced. Nunez is one of those finalists.
In her essay, Nunez says that she wants to inform people about the harm that violence does.
“I felt shattered like a puzzle unsolved,” Nunez writes. “I am fed up knowing that people feel unworthy or dissimilar or isolated.”
Nunez will represent Canutillo and the El Paso region at the Do the Write Thing Recognition Week in Washington D.C. this July. During the recognition week in Washington, the essays will be published into the Library of Congress.
Nunez will participate in leadership sessions and have opportunities to meet and interview national leaders and members of Congress.
Canutillo Independent School District Officials announced that Trustee Armando Rodriguez was elected chair of the National Hispanic Council of School Board Members, a branch of the National School Boards Association (NSBA) tasked with furthering education policy benefiting the Latinx community throughout the United States.
In his new role, he will help NSBA better understand the needs and goals of Hispanic students and communities that continue to grow in numbers in every region of the country.
Rodriguez, a 14-year veteran of the CISD Board, is the first El Pasoan to serve on this capacity.
“I’m honored to have been elected by my peers from across the country and to be able to represent Canutillo and El Paso on an important national stage,” said Rodriguez, who in 2005 became the youngest person in El Paso County ever to serve on a school board. “This position will allow me to bring to the table the wonderful work that is happening along the U.S.-Mexico Border, and share best practices with those who may be dealing with a surge of a Latino population for the first time in their hometown’s history.”
Rodriguez’s role will allow him to serve on the National School Board Association’s board of directors — a first for an El Paso-area trustee.
Voters first elected Rodriguez to the Canutillo school board in 2005, just years after he graduated from Canutillo High School. Since then, he has earned state and national recognition as an education advocate and a leader in Hispanic legislative issues.
He is a graduate of Leadership TASB, the premier leadership program for school-board members in Texas. He has served on every committee for the Texas Association of School Boards and currently is the vice chair of membership for the organization.
Rodriguez is the past president of the Mexican-American School Boards Association and serves on the National Association of Latino Elected Officials Board of Directors.
A Canutillo native, Rodriguez is a graduate of the University of Texas at El Paso.
Canutillo Independent School District (CISD) officials announced on Tuesday that their district had been selected as a finalist for the statewide 2019 H-E-B Excellence in Education award. Canutillo was recognized as an outstanding small district.
“Outstanding teaching, learning, leadership, and governance are the essential ingredients for a great school district,” said Superintendent Dr. Pedro Galaviz.
“Once again, CISD has distinguished itself by being named an H-E-B Excellence in Education Award finalist and we look forward to showcasing our district. These awards stand as an exemplar for positive school-business relationships.”
The H-E-B Excellence in Education Awards program was launched in cooperation with the Texas Association of School Administrators in 2002 as a positive way to support public education in Texas. In 2018, the H-E-B Excellence in Education Awards awarded more than $700,000 in cash prizes, gift cards, and grants to finalists and winners, according to the H-E-B website.
The small school district winner will receive $50,000. School districts are honored for their commitment to student achievement through innovative programs, parent/community involvement, and professional development opportunities for teachers and administrators.
A panel of H-E-B Excellence in Education judges will visit Canutillo ISD in February.
The site visit will include touring campuses and talking with administration, staff, parents and community members. After visiting the three finalist districts, H-E-B will announce the winner in May.
Since its inception in 2002, the H-E-B program has awarded over $10 million, becoming the largest monetary program for educators in the state, spotlighting best practices and celebrating the passion and creativity of Texas educators.
Staff Report December 10, 2018NewsComments Off on Alumni Foundation Sends Canutillo Kids to College
Canutillo alumni have worked together to provide scholarships for graduates since 2004 and are proud to announce a new partnership with the Paso del Norte Foundation to further their mission.
The Canutillo Independent School District and the alumni group established an agency-advised fund to help meet the needs of the Canutillo Alumni Foundation for Education (CAFÉ).
Earlier this year, the Canutillo ISD Board of Trustees unanimously passed a memorandum of understanding regarding its desire to work together with CAFÉ. The MOU states that the District will jointly host future alumni fundraising-related events for the mutual benefit of the District’s and CAFÉ’s missions.
CISD Superintendent Dr. Pedro Galaviz says that it is crucial that the District works together with alumni in the community.
“Our partnership with CAFÉ and Paso del Norte will ensure the success of the foundation in meeting its mission and ultimately benefit kids,” Galaviz said. “Next, we will be moving to expand the fund’s presence and encourage alumni, businesses, and community members everywhere to contribute to the success of our students going to college.”
This year, nine graduating seniors from Canutillo and Northwest Early College High Schools received $500-$1,000 each from CAFÉ, the Classes of 1967, 1994 and the Canutillo Sun-Up Optimist Club.
Since 2004, more than $114,000 has been raised by the group and awarded to about 153 students.
CAFÉ holds an annual golf tournament to raise funds for the scholarship. The next tournament will be Friday, May 3, 2019. Next year, CAFÉ plans to promote a membership drive to encourage annual and monthly giving.
Tax-deductible, one-time, annual and monthly gifts can now be made online by visiting their website. Supporters will receive a free CAFÉ gift with their annual or monthly contribution.
Guest Columnist December 10, 2018NewsComments Off on Northwest Early College High School Student wins Congressional App Challenge
Northwest Early College High School student Aya Abdelgawad has once again received recognition as an emerging woman in technology.
This week, the office of Representative Beto O’Rourke announced that she won the Congressional App Challenge for the 16th Congressional District.
Every year, Congressional representatives invite middle school and high school students to create and submit their original mobile apps for a chance to win the app challenge. The contest inspires students to explore science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), along with coding and computer science.
Abdelgawad’s Just Breathe app helps users relax and gain good stress management techniques. She explained what inspired her to create the app.
“It started with a school science project on mental health,” Abdelgawad said. “I wanted to create a relaxed atmosphere in a way that is available to people at all times.”
The aspiring developer demonstrated that the app, available for Android, is targeted toward students. It contains options for breathing and stress management techniques on a daily basis.
“From here, I want to make it compatible for IOS users and add additional strategies like attitude, spiritual, and more breathing exercises,” Abdelgawad continued.
This congressional award is just the latest in a string of awards that Abdelgawad has earned recently. Earlier this year, she was selected as a 2018 Greater El Paso Affiliate of the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) Honorable Mention Award for Aspirations in Computing. She is also a member of the Canutillo ISD student IT tech team and led the Chica Code Camp this summer where young ladies learned coding.
Staff Report December 1, 2018NewsComments Off on Canutillo ISD Recognized for Model Parent & Family Engagement Program, Financial Reporting
On Friday, officials with Canutillo Independent School District announced that their district received honors in two different fields.
CISD officials first shared that the district is one of six to be recognized for having a Model Parent and Family Engagement Program.
The district is being honored for making their parent and family engagement an integral part of their culture, via active participation in programs, communication and collaboration between the students, school, and parents.
“Thanks to our parent liaisons who make family engagement an integral part of our culture and pride through various methods and hard work, we will be receiving this award,” said Dr. Monica Reyes.
“While attending the conference, we will have opportunities to learn strategies for empowering all stakeholders to increase student achievement and to meet required state and federal mandates.”
Canutillo ISD will receive this award at the Opening General Session of the 2018 Statewide Parental Conference, TEA and the Statewide Parent and Family Engagement Initiative on Thursday, December 6th.
In addition to that honor, the district also announced that they had received excellent marks on its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for the year ended June 30, 2018.
The audit encompassed all facets of CISD’s fiscal operations and was conducted by Gibson Ruddock Patterson, LLC.
Dr. Pedro Galaviz, Superintendent of Schools says that the positive results are due to continued strong internal controls, further enhancements to the purchasing process and financially sound management.
“We have been standing on solid financial ground the last few years with a great sense of accountability to our stakeholders,” Dr. Galaviz said. “Thanks to the leadership of the Board, and the hard work of all district administration and personnel, we’ve maintained our commitment to serving our students with integrity.”
Martha E. Piekarski, CPA, and Chief Business Officer of Canutillo ISD believes the entire team contributes to the District’s success.
“Receiving a clean audit is the result of what every staff member does every day from the teachers, principals, custodians, bus drivers, and food service personnel,” Piekarski, said. “I’m very proud of our team and appreciate the hard work of everyone involved in this important annual effort.”
Staff Report November 27, 2018NewsComments Off on Canutillo Middle Honor Band Headed to Carnegie Hall; Fundraising Underway
The Canutillo Middle Honor Band qualified to play at Carnegie Hall by earning a Gold First Place Finish at the WorldStrides Heritage competition in California.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our students and we want to make sure they have the chance to experience this honor,” said Christian Rodriguez, the band director at Canutillo Middle.
“We know that with the support of the community, we will be able to give each one of these students the experience of playing on a world-class stage like Carnegie Hall.”
Canutillo ISD officials added, “The middle school band program is dedicated to integrity, responsibility, honesty, building strong minds, and strong teamwork…our band is constantly complimented on our great performances and the behavior of our students.”
In May, the band took First Place at the WorldStrides Music Festival and won the Spirit of Anaheim Award, given only to one high school or middle school performing group that demonstrates professionalism, concert etiquette, best concert attire, most school spirit, and excellent sportsmanship.
Canutillo Middle School is partnering with the El Paso Community Foundation to collect donations that will help for travel expenses to New York. They need to raise $117,000 by March 31, 2019.
Donations will help the CMS Honor Band fulfill its core mission and provide travel funds for this extraordinary opportunity to perform at Carnegie Hall.
Canutillo Middle School currently uses the GameSalad curriculum to introduce its 6th grade students to STEM and computer science concepts and education.
After completing the GameSalad course, last year’s 6th grade cohort showed a 3% increase in combined Meets and Masters scores on the STAAR Math exam.
Canutillo ISD secured a grant of $42,646 from CREEED, a not-for-profit education policy and advocacy group focused on creating measurable outcomes and dedicated to closing the achievement gap for El Paso County students, which will allow them to expand this program to all its 7th and 8th grade students by the 2020-2021 school year.
GameSalad for Education is a STEM education partner dedicated to engaging all students in computer science by empowering them to design, program, and create their own professional grade mobile games.
“GameSalad encourages students to develop their computational and critical thinking skills which align with the district’s STEM initiatives,” said Dr. Pedro Galaviz, Canutillo ISD Superintendent. “CREEED’s generous grant jump starts the expansion of this program and supports Canutillo’s ongoing commitment to provide STEM opportunities for our students.”
Exponential growth of jobs in the technology sector relative to the number of qualified candidates has created a need for rapid advances in STEM education in the United States.
Studies project that by 2020 there will be 1 million more jobs in computer science than U.S. computer science students. Innovation is outpacing the skills & knowledge we are transferring to our nation’s students.
“We are excited to be bringing world class computer science instruction to the students of Canutillo and offer them the capability to be strong participants in the 21st century economy,” said Brent Dusing, GameSalad CEO. “We are honored to be working with CREEED, who are fantastic visionaries for the transformation of El Paso.”
Though many districts are aware of the importance of STEM and computer science, they face barriers to implementing appropriate programs for their students. Underfunding, lack of teachers, and lack of student interest all play a role in preventing successful implementation of computer science education programs.
“CREEED made a commitment to increase educational attainment throughout the El Paso region on a scalable basis by investing in school district initiatives that move the needle on student outcomes and prepares them for the future of work,” said Eddie Rodriguez, CREEED Executive Director.
“Canutillo’s decision to bring in a new innovative model into its middle school classrooms has not only improved math outcomes for students, but is setting them up to enter a growing job market in the tech field. It is also preparing students effectively for post-secondary education, placing them in a position to graduate high school College Ready. We look forward to funding more innovative proven programs like this in El Paso.”
On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Education announced that Northwest Early College High School Principal Tracy Speaker-Gerstheimer is one of only 11 recipients of the 2018 Terrel H. Bell Award for Outstanding School Leadership — one of the highest honors given by the agency.
“Northwest Early College is an exemplary institution, and Ms. Speaker-Gerstheimer is a big part of the quality instruction that is happening there,” said Canutillo ISD Superintendent Dr. Pedro Galaviz. “I am happy that more people nationwide are now aware of the great things happening in El Paso and Canutillo.”
Named for the second U.S. Secretary of Education, the Bell Award honors school leaders who are committed to education and improving outcomes for all students. The award is part of the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program.
Principals are nominated by their school communities during the final stages of the National Blue Ribbon Schools application process.
“We know strong school leadership is a driving force behind ensuring students and teachers succeed,” said Secretary DeVos. “I’m pleased to recognize these talented Bell Award winners who are helping to lead needed transformations at the most local level. Through their leadership, vision and effort, countless students – regardless of their family income, race or language proficiency – are able to excel.”
Speaker-Gerstheimer will join the 10 other national education leaders during the National Blue Ribbon Schools awards ceremony on November 7 in Washington, D.C.
Guest Columnist October 15, 2018NewsComments Off on Canutillo Students in Dual Language Programs make Academic Gains; TEA Takes Notice
Dual language education in Canutillo ISD has gotten the attention of the Texas Education Agency (TEA).
Dr. Barbara Kennedy, TEA Director of English Learner Support, visited Canutillo Elementary School last week to observe how dual language instruction is being delivered in early childhood and throughout elementary levels.
In the Canutillo ISD dual language program, students continue developing their ability to speak their native language while becoming proficient English speakers. Students are exposed to both languages everyday in all their courses like Math, Science, Social Studies, English and Language Arts. Implementing daily instruction in all courses of study reinforces language mastery.
Dr. Kennedy was interested in observing Canutillo Elementary and how the District implements dual language courses in an effective way.
“I am happy to be here in Canutillo,” Dr. Kennedy said. “I’m pleased to see that there is hands-on learning around the instruction and engaging conversation. It looks like it’s fun to be a student here.”
According to Canutillo ISD Academic Language Services Director Maria Silva, the dual language program at CISD is successful due to various factors. She says that there is consistency and fidelity to the dual language program. CISD administrators and Academic Language Services work closely with teachers to monitor, assist and provide guidance to students.
Silva says that teachers are also provided with multiple opportunities to expand their knowledge through continuous professional development. And, networking with other bilingual programs in the region helps to enrich the program.
“Students in the dual language program at Canutillo have been making academic gains on state exams,” Silva said. Comparing the 2017 and 2018 STAAR results for only English learners, Reading increased from 59 to 62, Math from 65 to 78, and Science from 61 to 65 in approaching grade levels.”
Silva added that – in the near future – the program will be expanding to Alderete Middle School so that students can continue to be successful at the next level.
Staff Report August 23, 2018NewsComments Off on Canutillo ISD Board President Trout Selected for Leadership Program
The Texas Association of School Boards recently announced the selection of Canutillo Independent School District Board President Blanca S. Trout to take part in the 2019 Leadership TASB program.
“Leadership TASB is the premier leadership program in the state for school trustees, and I am honored to have been selected to represent Canutillo and the El Paso region,” Board President Trout said.
Trout added, “Board members have the large responsibility of setting policies and procedures that impact the lives of students, and this program will help me and other board members reach our goals.”
Board President Trout will join trustees from throughout the state in a year-long program designed to help experienced board members develop the leadership qualities necessary to lead Texas public school districts.
Class members are selected for demonstrated leadership in their local district and communities and for their representation of the diversity of Texas school districts.
According to her biography on the Canutillo ISD Website, President Trout attended EPCC, holds an Associate’s degree in Business Administration, is a business owner, and was recently appointed as Vice-Chair of the El Paso County Republican Party.
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 Standard, Met 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.
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 TXschools.org 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.
El Paso Community College August 1, 2018NewsComments Off on EPCC Dual Credit, Early College High School Program Recognized as Example of Excellence Finalist
On Wednesday it was announced that EPCC’s Dual Credit and Early College Program has been recognized as a finalist in the Examples of Excellence in the associate level.
“EPCC’s Dual Credit and Early College High School programs are having tremendous results in getting youth in our region on a path to higher education,” Dr. William Serrata, EPCC President said. “The data shows that students who take just one college course in high school are more likely to pursue a college degree and be successful.”
The EPCC’s Dual Credit and Early College Program gives students opportunities to earn college credit while still in high school.
EPCC’s Dual Credit and Early College High School program was one of only 21 finalists selected from more than 139 nominated programs from 27 states, DC and Puerto Rico.
The four 2018 Examples of Excelencia will be announced October 11th at the Celebración de Excelencia in Washington, DC.
“We are honored that Excelencia in Education has selected El Paso Community College’s Dual Credit and Early College High School Program as an Example of Excelencia. This nation-wide recognition highlights the work we are doing to provide students in our region the opportunity to take college courses while in high school,” Tonie Badillo, Dean of EPCC’s Dual Credit and Early College High School Programs said.
“These students have the opportunity to save time and money by getting a head start on their college career.”
Since being established more than a decade ago, EPCC’s Dual Credit and Early College High School program has addressed the region’s low educational rate in comparison with Texas and the Nation.
The program has become a nationally recognized model for its success rates. Students in EPCC’s Dual Credit and Early College programs have high graduation and completion rates in the courses they take and when they continue to 4-year institutions. The data shows that 58 percent of students who take just one college course in high school pursue an advanced degree versus 33 percent for those who do not.
Students in EPCC’s Early College High School Programs have a 75 percent success rate in completing their associate degree while still in high school which outperform the national and state averages which are less than 30 percent.
EPCC offers Dual Credit in the majority of area high schools. There are 12 Early College High Schools spread out through area school district partners including Canutillo ISD, Clint ISD, El Paso ISD, Fabens ISD, Socorro ISD and Ysleta ISD.
¡Excelencia in Education!is an organization that works to accelerate Latino student success, enhance our workforce, leadership, and economy. Examples of Excellence recognizes institutions and practices that bring attention to evidence-based practices that work for Latino students in education.
For the second consecutive year, Canutillo ISD was awarded the Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting (COE) by the Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO).
“This award recognizes the excellent reporting by our dedicated finance staff,” Canutillo ISD Chief Financial Officer Martha Piekarski said. “The report informs our stakeholders about the healthy financial state of the district, making it an important tool for displaying transparency, building trust, and engaging with the community.”
ASBO International’s COE recognizes districts that have met the program’s high standards for financial reporting and accountability. CISD earned the Certificate of Excellence for its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for the 2017 fiscal year.
The District was recognized for the demonstration of their commitment to financial transparency. The CAFR is reviewed by a team of professional auditors, who provide feedback to improve future documents. If the CAFR meets the requirements of the program, the document may receive the Certificate of Excellence.
A district’s participation in the COE program can facilitate bond rating and continuing bond disclosure processes.
Canutillo ISD is proposing a balanced budget for the 2018-19 school year. And, the Canutillo ISD Board of Trustees recently approved an increase of the starting pay for teachers to $50,000 including a 2 percent general pay increases for all employees.