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Home | Tag Archives: Canutillo ISD

Tag Archives: Canutillo ISD

Canutillo ISD board approves pay raise for all employees

On Monday, Canutillo ISD Board of Trustees unanimously approved a two percent general pay increase for all CISD employees for the 2020-21 school year. 

“I consider our faculty and staff our greatest assets,” said Superintendent Dr. Pedro Galaviz. “We truly appreciate the work they do in educating and supporting our students.”

Over the past four years, the District has been in a sound financial position to continually increase compensation.

“We are pleased to be able to provide these salary increases to our teachers and staff during such a challenging time,” said Board President Sergio Coronado. “They have worked so hard for our children and the present situation has demanded even more of their time and effort.”

The compensation plan, approved on May 26 at the regular board meeting, keeps Canutillo ISD among the highest-paying school districts in the region.

Starting teacher pay would increase from $52,500 to $53,150 a year and all other teachers’ pay will climb through pay-scale step increases.

Canutillo Alumni seek support for awarding scholarships as annual golf tournament canceled

While the Canutillo Alumni Foundation for Education had to suspend its annual golf tournament this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation, the alumni are still planning to award college scholarships and are asking for support.

The 2020 golf tournament, sponsored by Charlie Clark Nissan, was already postponed to July 17 from its original date in May, and CAFÉ hoped to hold it at Butterfield Trail Golf Club. The permanent closure of Butterfield Trail also added to the misfortune.

CAFÉ, a fund under the Paso Del Norte Community Foundation, believes that to protect the health and safety of the event participants, it is best to call off the event this year and plan for a date in 2021. But, the group is determined to do all that it can to sustain its scholarship program.

“We are disappointed that we could not hold this important event that provides much-needed assistance for our Canutillo and Northwest students,” Armando Rodriguez, CAFÉ Golf Tournament organizer said. “But, we are hopeful that through the generous support of our regular dedicated tournament sponsors and the community, our students will get the help they need to go to college.”

Anyone interested in contributing any amount to the scholarship program is encouraged to visit the CAFE’ donation page via the PDN Foundation. Donations of $1,000 or more will have the opportunity to have a scholarship acknowledgment in the name of their choice.

CAFÉ also has a monthly and annual giving membership program where members make regular automatic contributions with a credit card or payroll deduction for Canutillo ISD employees. To learn more and join CAFÉ, click here.

Northwest ECHS teacher wins national educator award

Computer science is an emerging field that has flourished in many successful, innovative programs at Northwest Early College High School. Now, one outstanding educator at the Canutillo ISD school is being nationally recognized for continued efforts to encourage high school women’s interest and participation in technology pursuits.

The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) Aspirations in Computing announced that Northwest Computer Science Teacher Catherine Tabor has been named the sole recipient of the 2020 National NCWIT Aspirations in Computing (AiC) Educator Award, sponsored by AT&T.

According to the NCWIT announcement, each year the AiC Educator Award publicly celebrates formal and informal educators who encourage 9th-12th grade students who self-identify as women, genderqueer, or non-binary to explore their interest in computing and technology.

Educators are honored for demonstrating an exceptionally strong, consistent, and positive involvement in promoting gender equity in computing.

“Students at Northwest have been gaining recognition in computer science locally and nationally the last few years, and it’s evident why when you look at the inspiring teachers we have,” Canutillo ISD Superintendent Dr. Pedro Galaviz said. “Ms. Tabor deserves this commendation for what she does to help prepare our students for success in life and career.”

According to Tabor, since 2009, the percentage of women computer science undergraduates in the United States has declined from 20.7% to 18.7%. The Texas Advanced Computing Center at the University of Texas at Austin profiles students in computer science across the state.

In a 2018 study, the Center found that only about 24% of students enrolled in computer science courses are female. But, female computer science students at Northwest are bucking the trend at about 52%.

In a statement to NCWIT, Tabor said that in her five years of teaching at Northwest, Computer Science education has expanded from zero classes to multiple courses, two clubs and an Honor Society. Since receiving her dual credit certification, she also teaches college level, credit bearing CS courses to her majority non-white and predominantly Latinx high school students.

“I am lucky that my school has decided to dedicate an entire position to Computer Science,” Tabor told NCWIT. “While I used to be torn between three disciplines, I am now able to teach all Computer Science.”

At Northwest, Tabor sponsors extracurricular opportunities for women, such as hosting a Girls Who Code club, supporting a GirlsGoCyber team, and taking a group of students to a Google eCSR symposium. In March, for the first time, a Canutillo ISD student was named a national honorable mention for the 2020 NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing. Of the 21 girls who were local affiliate winners in El Paso, six were Northwest students.

Recently, Northwest students were given a challenge to help protect employees during the public health situation. With Tabor’s help, they created face shields using the school’s 3D printers for the district’s child nutrition workers and bus drivers who deliver meals daily to the community.

Tabor was previously selected as the 2018 NCWIT AiC Greater El Paso Affiliate Educator Award Winner, she has engaged her school as an NCWIT AspireIT partner, and hosted an AspireIT program run by AiC Community members. She is pursuing a PhD in Computer Science, where she is studying the prevalence of linguistic bias in the instruments of Computer Science assessment.

“People are finally interested in what we do and teach, and everyone wants to be a part of it,” Tabor stated. “It is an exciting time in CS education. And, who wouldn’t want to be a computer scientist? I get to solve puzzles all day long.”

Canutillo ISD rolls out Summer program to meet learning needs during pandemic

Learning for Canutillo ISD students will not end when school officially concludes later this month, as the District’s Curriculum and Instruction Department (C&I) administrators have developed a distance learning program for their students this summer.

According to CISD officials the program, Summer S.A.L.T. (Sustaining Academic Learning Together), is “a robust remote instruction program that will launch June 8.”

“We are not about to lose the momentum we had when we rapidly switched to distance and online learning during the health crisis,” Canutillo ISD Superintendent Dr. Pedro Galaviz said. “Our students, teachers, and parents adapted very well to the dramatic change in the learning environment this spring and we are determined to take what we learned and deliver a high quality program to boost their progress.”

The program partners with parents and supports the continued growth and learning of their students to prevent a loss of information and preserve all they learned this year.

The C&I department explains that during typical school years, teachers can account for the summer slide, or loss of information, at the beginning of the next school year. However, this is not a typical year.

School closures due to COVID-19 may have a bigger impact on students and the amount of information students lose over the summer will be greater.

Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction Dr. Debra Kerney says that CISD recommends a whole-child approach to learning and this is an opportunity to spice up the summer.

“This summer, we want students to relax, play outside, and experience adventures with their families,” Dr. Kerney said. “A dash of Summer S.A.L.T. daily will give children time to explore new ideas, play, and strengthen math and reading skills. This will help them to successfully leap into next year and land on their feet.”

Summer S.A.L.T. is a menu of activities for parents and children to choose from. Students are asked to spend a little bit of time each day reading and practicing math. In addition, the menu includes activities for social studies, science, art, community, citizenship, and exercise. There are an abundance of other fun activities to do while at home this summer.

Children will also be able to participate in a schedule of online lessons provided in English and Spanish by CISD teachers.

Every CISD student in Pk-5th grade will receive Grab ‘N’ Go Packs by mail, more than 21,000 books in all, to be used during Elementary Literacy-Extension Live-Stream Sessions.

In addition, dual language students will receive a set of books in Spanish.

Students will receive credit at the start of the next school year for the time they put into the menu this summer. Organizers plan contests for time spent reading and online use of Imagine Math, myON, and Istation, and students in PK through 8th grade are encouraged to login at least 4 times a week.

The Summer S.A.L.T. Menu and links to the live-stream sessions will be available on the District Website.

Canutillo ISD announces top teachers for 2020

The Canutillo Independent School District community has chosen its top educators of the year.

Congressman Silvestre & Carolina Reyes Elementary School Teacher of the Year Nancy Campero was selected as the CISD Elementary Teacher of the Year.

She is a 3rd-grade bilingual teacher who has worked at Reyes Elementary for 3 years.

Canutillo High School Teacher of the Year Anthony Lopez-Waste was selected as the CISD Secondary Teacher of the Year. He teaches World History and AP World History.

He is also a Senior Class representative and coaches Varsity Girls Basketball and JV Softball.

Ms. Campero and Mr. Lopez-Waste will represent CISD in the Elementary and Secondary Teacher of the Year Contest for Region 19 later this summer. If they’re successful there, they could represent the El Paso region in the Texas Teacher of the Year contest.

“Our teachers in Canutillo never cease to amaze me,” said Superintendent Dr. Pedro Galaviz. “Ms. Campero and Mr. Lopez-Waste are exemplary representatives of who we are and what we do as a premier district.”

Canutillo ISD releases graduation plan commended by city, health officials

On Friday, Canutillo Independent School District officials announced that they had developed a plan that allows for its graduates to walk across the stage, while maintaining social distancing and other safeguards.

The district presented a plan to the city and county health officials to have a hybrid graduation ceremony, which was highly praised and approved enthusiastically, in lieu of the traditional event.

The graduation will consist of a distanced procession of seniors and no more than two family members entering the high school auditorium to receive their diplomas later this month. As one family leaves, the next family will be brought in under close supervision to ensure social distancing and other safety measures. A video, which will be made available to seniors, will be taken showing all students walking the stage.

“With new COVID-19 cases in our city on a daily basis, we came up with a contingency plan several weeks ago as an alternative to a large gathering at the Don Haskins Center. We are now prepared to move forward with this safer approach,” said Canutillo High School Principal Teresa Clapsaddle.

“Our principals worked hard to develop a plan that would provide the much-deserved recognition for our seniors, while ensuring safety in view of the pandemic,” said Dr. Pedro Galaviz, Superintendent of Schools. “While the ideal would be to gather together for commencement, as in the past, we are not living in normal times.”

Because of this fluid and dynamic situation, all district plans are subject to change based on up-to-date information from health authorities. CISD will consider the safety and health of our students, teachers, and community members above all else.

Canutillo ISD partners with El Pasoans Fighting Hunger food bank to feed entire families

The Canutillo Independent School District is partnering with El Pasoans Fighting Hunger Food Bank to feed entire families, in addition to children ages 18 and under.

“The district cares for the well-being and nourishment of our entire community, so when families are going to the school district, there may be others in the household who need food as well,” said Superintendent Dr. Pedro Galaviz. “Schools are trusted and highly accessible locations that families are used to visiting.”

The district, in partnership with El Pasoans Fighting Hunger Food Bank will be distributing boxes of groceries curbside at Bill Childress Elementary, every Monday and Friday, from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm.  1,000 families will be served on a first come first serve basis.

The breakfast and lunch program provided to children ages 18 and under will continue as scheduled. Please visit the district’s website for times and locations.

In addition, the Canutillo Mobile Food Pantry distribution will take place Thursday, May 7th from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm at Canutillo Middle School to serve 400 families.  Food will be provided on a first come first serve basis.

Bill Childress Elementary

7700 Cap Carter Road  |   Vinton, Texas 79821

Canutillo Middle School

7311 Bosque   |   Canutillo, Texas  79835

Three Canutillo ISD principals Harvard bound

Principals Jessica Carrillo, Christopher Judge, and Jesica Arellano, are heading to Harvard the summer of 2021 thanks to Raise Your Hand Texas, a nonprofit advocacy organization working to strengthen and improve public education.

Carrillo from Reyes Elementary School, Judge from Canutillo Middle School, and Arellano from Northwest Early College High School, were selected to participate in the summer leadership program at The Principals’ Center at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

“This is a prestigious institute that directly supports student learning,” said Superintendent Dr. Pedro Galaviz. “It will not only build capacity but continue to put Canutillo ISD on top.”

The three will join campus leaders from around the globe to engage in training and workshops led by national and international experts in the fields of education and leadership.

Carrillo, Judge, and Arellano are among 62 out of 200 school leaders selected because of their potential to affect significant change at their campus, within their district, and throughout their region.

The principals will attend either the Improving Schools: Art of Leadership or the Leadership: An Evolving Vision institutes. Each institute is a week-long professional development summer course taught in Cambridge, Massachusetts by faculty at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Raise Your Hand covers all expenses for those selected, including program tuition fees, travel, and hotel.

Canutillo ISD to purchase $4.8M worth of Apple devices for all students in the district

On Tuesday, April 28, the Canutillo Independent School District Board of Trustees approved a $4.8 million request to purchase Apple devices for every student in the district.

“We believe this substantial investment in devices is critical to ensuring that all students have equitable access to learning,” said Board President Sergio Coronado. “In this unprecedented time, Board members remain committed to supporting the needs of our students, families, staff, and community.”

Canutillo ISD partnered with Apple, Inc. in launching this one-to-one solution to be issued to all students fall 2020.  Students from Pre-Kinder through 12th grade will have access to their own device allowing faculty to expand the classroom beyond its four walls.

“This opportunity will keep CISD students at the forefront of this technological age and help fulfill the district’s mission of producing future-ready students,” CISD officials shared via a news release.

District officials add, “Through this agreement, Canutillo will purchase devices, professional development, project management, engineering solutions, and a comprehensive institutional technology training process….the total price tag is $4,804,806, with a 30% discount. ”

In addition to purchasing computer solutions for students, CISD has also purchased WiFi hotspots to be placed around the community and issued to families in need of internet connectivity.

“Technology has obviously benefited education in many ways. However, it can also create educational inequity when some students enjoy access, while others do not. This problem has been called the digital divide or technology gap. This purchase is intended to close this gap, thus providing equal opportunity for learning,” said Superintendent Dr. Pedro Galaviz. “This pandemic has caused us to act and rethink our educational environment.”

Canutillo ISD will also be updating its facility master plan in partnership with the community to build ‘Canutillo Connect’, a comprehensive solution to turning Canutillo into a “smart city”.

Canutillo ISD’s Rodriguez tapped for National education board

Canutillo ISD Trustee Armando Rodriguez was elected to serve on the National School Boards Action Center (NSBAC) Board.

The NSBAC mission is to advocate at the federal and national levels for the advancement of public education, local school board leadership, and excellence and equity in our nation’s public schools.

“In an everchanging environment, NSBAC is leading with public policy to provide equity and quality public education to all students,” said Trustee Rodriguez. “Two of our top priorities during this unprecedented time is the E-rate program to help connect students and teachers displaced by the pandemic, in addition to leading the grassroots effort to reauthorize and fully fund IDEA.”

As the situation with the pandemic has proven, broadband connectivity for student learning is as important as ever. NSBAC has asked Congress to provide at least $2 billion of emergency funding to the E-Rate for home connectivity.

In addition, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is the main federal statute governing special education for children. NSBA urges the federal government to modernize and fully fund IDEA. They recently launched a new initiative to highlight this critical need and help ensure students with disabilities receive the access and support they need to succeed.

Trustee Rodriguez aims to represent the interests of Canutillo ISD and the region during his service on the board, while bringing back knowledge gained to advance excellence and equity at the local level.

Armando Rodriguez is serving his fourth term on the Board of Trustees.  He is also involved in a variety of education and community boards, including the Mexican American School Board Association where he served as President, the Texas Association of School Boards where he serves as the Region 19 representative on the Board of Directors, Chair of the National School Boards Association Hispanic Council of School Board Members which automatically allows him to be on the NSBA Board of Directors, the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Board of Directors, and a past President of the Far West Texas School Board Association.

El Paso, Canutillo ISDs awarded grant funds from TPWD Community Outdoor Outreach Program

AUSTIN – Texas families will have an opportunity to experience the outdoors thanks to $822,444 in 20 grants awarded this year through the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Community Outdoor Outreach Program (CO-OP).

“These grants support community-based conservation and outdoor recreation programs and activities such as archery, fishing, camping, hiking, kayaking, nature education and more,” TPWD officials shared.

This year’s recipients include schools, non-profits and city programs across the state developing life-long conservation and outdoor skills and reach under-represented audiences.

Award winning projects include the expansion of outdoor education in schools, a year-long program of camping and paddling for blind and visually impaired youth, a city program reaching autistic youth with sensory-friendly recreational opportunities, and a program teaching fishing to special needs youth, disabled veterans and their families.

CO-OP grant recipients also help Texans develop leadership and career skills. An urban environmental education nonprofit hosts conservation camps and service projects and will hire 13 low-income youth for a seven-week paid internship providing conservation and natural resource job training.

CO-OP was established by TPWD in 1996 to help introduce under-represented audiences to environmental education, conservation and outdoor recreation programs. The program is authorized by the Texas Legislature through the department’s budget as a specialized component of the Texas Recreation and Parks Account Program.

Grants range from $5,000 to $50,000 and may be used to pay for supplies, travel, training, food, personnel costs and equipment for ongoing use.

CO-OP grant funding is available to tax-exempt organizations within the State of Texas. Over the last 24 years, these grants have awarded $21,555,934 around the state to assist in this effort.

The following local organizations will receive funding:

Canutillo ISD — $49,983 – Wild Eagles 2020 fosters lifetime physical activity to over 2,300 Canutillo ISD students by teaching fishing and archery in their physical education classes across multiple grade levels in all district schools. In addition, they offer air rifle to their 200 Early College students who may then compete for college scholarships in university rifle programs.

El Paso ISD — $50,000 – EPISD Archery in Schools Program instructs 21,000 students during a three-week unit in archery at all 20 elementary and 10 high schools. Twenty district physical education teachers certified in TPWD’s archery program train the students. This expands a successful pilot from several elementary schools to all campuses in the district.

Statewide organizations receiving funding:


Camp Fire Central Texas — $50,000  The Citizen Science and Stewardship Program visits five state parks and holds summer camp at local parks and centers, focusing on canoeing, archery, hiking, orienteering and nature photography. This project expands their afterschool, summer and backpacking clubs and reaches 150 female and minority participants through a variety of environmental education activities, outdoor skills and service projects for state parks.

Expedition School Fund — $50,000 – BVI Explore Outdoors! provides a year-long program of weekly and monthly outings for blind and visually impaired youth, including trips to 11 state parks, two natural areas and paddling trails across the state. These experiences build a variety of outdoor skills and include shore cleanups along Mustang Island State Park and Lady Bird Lake.


STEMS Alumni Association — $49,450 – STEMS Outdoor Outreach Program reaches minority and economically-disadvantaged youth through daytrips and multi-night camping trips at multiple state parks and a variety of outdoor activities in South, West and Central Texas. Youth gather data on wildlife species for a citizen scientist project and past participants have trained as mentors, learning outdoor skills and first aid.


Opportunity Resources Services — $40,092 – Restoring Native Texas, Building Leaders supports their Upward Bound program with environmental service trips for 150 underserved youth. After preparatory workshops, students provide several parks with customized service projects such as building bat habitats, installing pollinator gardens and assisting with oyster restoration at Galveston Island, with opportunities for outdoor recreation at the sites.


Twelve Stones — $50,000 – Back to Basics Campouts host multiple skill-mastery camping trips to train twenty junior camp leaders to assist staff and then lead 100 inexperienced campers in outdoor activities at state parks. Youth and families with little to no experience will get a start on camping, fishing and other outdoor skills with the help of staff and the junior camp leaders.


Groundwork Dallas — $50,000 – Expanding Green Team Recreation and Career Development Opportunities engages 250 Green Team youth ages 14-25 in weekly and monthly activities including service projects, outdoor recreation, and environmental education. Highlights include several weekend camping trips with TPWD’s Texas Outdoor Family and two week-long conservation camping trips to Big Bend Ranch State Park. Additionally, they hire 13 low-income and home-insecure youth for a 7-week paid experience providing conservation and natural resource job training.


Faith Family Kids, Inc — $49,710 – Faith Family Academy EXPLORE 360: Big Bend takes 120 at-risk 8th grade students on a five-day capstone trip to Big Bend to study geology, flora, fauna, astronomy and includes hiking, guided canoeing and overnight camping.  As preparation for the trip, all 7th grade students study related natural history, science, literature as well as outdoor and leadership skills in physical education and core content classes.

Fort Worth

Camp Fire First Texas — $49,773 – Texas Outdoor Education Center leads day and overnight adventure camps for elementary and high school students in Fort Worth ISD, combining outdoor skills training and nature education. Selected high school students will be trained to help lead activities for the elementary students and participate in additional camping opportunities.


Buffalo Soldiers National Museum — $36,046 – Buffalo Soldiers Inner City Youth Outdoor Exploration Program guides 300 youth ages 10 through 17 in outdoor recreation, basic survival and equestrian skills in a year-long series of monthly trainings and travel to historic sites where Buffalo Soldiers lived and fought.  Participants help restore prairies and wetlands at Sheldon Lake State Park and put on a Texas wildlife exhibition at the museum.

Citizens’ Environmental Coalition — $37,199 – CEC Educator Program promotes environmental literacy by combining multiple days of teacher professional development with 27 follow-up school field trips for students to learn firsthand about watersheds and prairies, and then participate in service projects such as seed planting and invasive species removal. More than 1,100 students and 60 teachers are reached in this project. A Student Conservation Association intern is trained to assist in the program.

Nature and Eclectic Outdoors — $25.189 –Healthy Outdoor Communities partners with inner-city schools to offer field trips to parks, overnight family campouts in state parks and service projects on public lands. Creation of outdoor classrooms coupled with teacher training and career day events help 500 underserved youth gain natural science and outdoor skills.


City of Lewisville — $21,296 – Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area Field Day provides ten facilitated field days at a nature preserve and park for adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder who are residents of an assisted living and transitional facility to equip them with the skills needed to live a healthy and engaged life. The sensory-friendly recreational opportunities include fishing, nature journaling, camping, kayaking and hiking. A Chance to Hike is a monthly nature walk designed for members of the special needs community to safely engage with the outdoors.


Livingston ISD — $39,715 – Livingston ISD Under the Stars at Creekside Elementary teaches outdoor skills to all its students during grade-specific instruction in fishing, archery, camping, canoeing, outdoor cooking, stargazing and camp storytelling. Family evening stargazing and campouts on campus are offered several times during the year. Planting wildflowers and creating a monarch butterfly waystation on campus reinforces learning about nature and monarch migration. School staff are trained by TPWD to teach archery and fishing skills.


North Dallas Adventist Academy — $22,600 – Outdoor Education Project combines three components: leading 50 urban high school freshman biology students to Big Bend to learn about nature and wildlife while camping and hiking the area; an outdoor class and club practice outdoor skills and camp out at state parks for four weekends per school year; and a group of 75-100 high school students assists Groundwork Dallas with a river improvement service project.

San Marcos

San Marcos Consolidated ISD — $49,323 – Outdoor Education Program 2020 – 2021 provides extensive outdoor skill instruction at all elementary schools and in middle and high school outdoor adventure classes. More than 4,600 students learn archery, fishing, nature photography, camping, orienteering and mountain biking. Additionally, district staff trained by the Texas Outdoor Family program offer students and families free day and overnight workshops at nearby parks. San Marcos CISD expanded its successful high school outdoor education program to all elementary, middle and high schools in the district to provide these opportunities.

Santa Rosa

Santa Rosa ISD — $49,319 – Santa Rosa ISD Outdoor STEM Youth Leadership Project engages 150 at-risk minority students in a variety of outdoor activities including the Texas National Archery In Schools Program offered at all three elementary, middle school, and high school campuses. Also, students have a chance to participate in outdoor recreation day trips and overnight camping trips to multiple state parks, exposure to natural resource careers and weekend family archery academies.

South Padre Island

Fishing’s Future — $40,152 – New Adventures for All partners with local organizations serving special needs youth and disabled veterans to offer family fish camps for 500 participants and their families. Fishing skills and conservation are all part of the experience. In addition, they train 40 new volunteer instructors who continue to serve the community.


City of Tyler — $12,597 – Outdoor Adventure Series workshops for area youth teach archery, fishing, orienteering, animal tracking, backpacking/hiking and birdwatching. The series culminates in a Texas Outdoor Family camping trip at Tyler State Park for participants who attend at least three workshops.

To find out more about the CO-OP program, visit the program’s website.

At Northwest Early College High School girls run Computer Science World

Girls at Northwest Early College High School are taking the computer science world by storm. In a field where boys usually dominate, the Northwest girls are changing the norm.

For the first time a Canutillo ISD student received national recognition from the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT). Northwest senior Alondra Baquier has been named a national honorable mention for the 2020 NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing.

NCWIT annually recognizes about four hundred high school women in computing from 48 states. Of the 21 girls who are local affiliate winners in El Paso, six are Northwest students.

Northwest AP Physics and AP Computer Science teacher Catherine Tabor encourages young female students to participate in computer science and STEM-related activities.

“Technology is the future, and it is such a broad field that the more women in the field, the more diverse and reactive the products can be,” Tabor said. “We need diversity in computer science. You code what you know. If there are no women involved in a project, the projects tend to contain intrinsic bias.”

According to Tabor, since 2009, the percentage of women computer science undergraduates in the United States has declined from 20.7%

Photo courtesy Canutillo ISD
Photo courtesy Canutillo ISD

to 18.7%. The Texas Advanced Computing Center at the University of Texas at Austin profiles students in computer science across the state. In a 2018 study, the Center found that only about 24% of students enrolled in computer science courses are female. But, Baquier and other female computer science students at Northwest are bucking the trend at about 52%.

“I don’t realize it here, because there are a lot of girls in the clubs,” Baquier said. “But, when I go to other competitions for robotics or coding challenges, I see mostly guys competing.”

Baquier and her teammates, Northwest juniors Kamilla Madera and Lianna Estrada have also been awarded third place for the 2019 District 16 Congressional App Challenge. The girls developed a mobile app addressing animal cruelty with a focus on circus animals. Estrada pointed out that most of the teams at the app challenge were comprised of boys and they were the only team of girls who placed.

“Northwest helps promote us girls to go into computer science and STEM-related fields and that is very special,” Estrada said.

Madera is also passionate about wanting more equality in technology and STEM environments.

“It’s very cool being able to see women take a stand and rise above, not rise above men but be able to collaborate with them,” Madera said.

The Northwest girls are also currently working on a virtual reality gaming project to enter the Sun City Challenge, a high school virtual reality and 3D printing competition to re-engineer, design, and educate the community on the power of renewable energy.

Baquier’s future plans include attending a four-year college and getting a major in computer science and minor in electrical or mechanical engineering. She wants to get a job in a company that focuses on producing new technologies to make projects of her own.

Author: Lhaisha Contreras – Canutillo ISD

Canutillo ISD Garcia Elementary student honored for saving neighbor during dog attack

“Be Safe. Be Kind. Be Ready,” is what Gonzalo and Sofia Garcia Elementary students are taught in school. One student showed these actions and values outside of the campus, and his actions were recognized during a rally.

“Luis really demonstrated our motto, ‘Be Safe, Be Kind, Be Ready’,” Garcia Elementary Principal Theresa Heimer said. “Our chant is a reminder to all students that they need to be safe and responsible in any kind of situation, be kind to all those we meet and greet, and be ready to act in all kinds of situations.”

On the evening of November 25, third-grader Luis Villalva helped save his neighbor, Elvira Frias, who was being attacked by a dog outside her home.

As she yelled for help, Luis and his mother came to her rescue and the dog released her. Frias thanked Luis for being there and helping her in this frightening event.

During the school’s monthly Ravens Pride Pep Rally, Luis was honored and was greeted by his family, law enforcement, and the students and staff at Garcia Elementary.

The celebration took place Friday, December 20, in the Garcia Elementary cafeteria.

Canutillo ISD set to celebrate 60th Anniversary with December Diamond Jubilee

Canutillo ISD has come a long way since its establishment in 1959 and the entire community is celebrating its history, the people and the many accomplishments over the years.

Throughout the year, Canutillo ISD has been celebrating their 60 years of excellence and to mark the milestone, the Canutillo Alumni Foundation for Education (CAFÉ) will host a Diamond Jubilee Saturday, December 14, 2019. The event will include dinner and feature live music, dancing, door prizes, a silent auction. The entire community is invited to attend.

The 60th Diamond Jubilee event coordinator and Canutillo alum, Sergio Martinez, says that this event is a tribute to all of the accomplishments the District has achieved recently.

“There have been so many good things coming out of the District lately and we, as a whole community, join with them to celebrate what Canutillo has become today,” Martinez said. “This event honors the heritage and people of the past and the present.”

Headlining the dance party will be El Paso band and Canutillo natives, Mainstreet.

Tickets are $50 general admission, $400 reserved table, or $1,000 Diamond Sponsor, and only available through Friday, December 6.  To purchase tickets and get more information, click here.

Back in 1959, the area was a rural community surrounded by cotton fields in El Paso’s Upper Valley. Canutillo had fewer than 200 students walking the halls of a single school building. Canutillo students interested in continuing their education after eighth grade had to travel almost 15 miles to attend El Paso High School.

It wasn’t until 1963 that Canutillo ISD graduated its first senior class.  The new school district experienced growing pains through the 1960s until bonds were passed to support expansion.

The high school on Bosque Road opened for the 1974-75 school year. Canutillo Middle School on Talbot Road was completed in 1980. In 1987, voters passed a $7.1 million bond issue for construction of Jose H. Damian Elementary School and Deanna Davenport Elementary School in Westway.

The growth continued. Bill Childress Elementary School opened in 1996 and Canutillo Elementary School was added in 1998. Then, the new $7.3 million Canutillo High School was opened in 2005.

By 2006, Canutillo Middle School moved into the old high school and Jose J. Alderete Middle School was added. Gonzalo & Sofia Garcia Elementary School welcomed students in 2008.

Also in 2008, Canutillo ISD and El Paso Community College joined efforts to open Northwest Early College High School, CISD’s second high school, which provides high school students the opportunity to obtain a high school diploma and associate’s degree in just four years. Then, Canutillo’s most recent campus, Congressman Silvestre and Carolina Reyes Elementary School opened in 2015.

Today, fueled by an increasing student population and forward-thinking leaders, Canutillo ISD has emerged from its modest beginnings to become a top-rated, premier school district with ten innovative campuses serving more than 6,200 students.

Northwest Early College High School earned a 2018 National Blue Ribbon Award. And, the District was selected as a finalist for the statewide 2019 H-E-B Excellence in Education award for the first time as an outstanding small district.

The accolades continue. In August, Canutillo ISD became the only traditional school district in the El Paso region to earn back-to-back “A” ratings in accountability from the Texas Education Agency. For the second consecutive year, the District received an Exemplary A-Rating with a grade of 91 in overall performance for the 2018-2019 school year. This makes Canutillo ISD the highest rated among districts in Region 19.

District leaders are pleased with the recent accomplishments that could be considered one of the most memorable and accomplished seasons Canutillo ISD has ever experienced.

“The Canutillo and surrounding communities have really taken notice of the remarkable progress our district has achieved over the years,” said CISD Board President Sergio Coronado. “We have a lot to be proud of and are thrilled for the prospect of an even brighter future.”

CREEED Invests $75k in Canutillo Mathematics College Readiness Initiative

The Council on Regional Economic Expansion and Educational Development (CREEED) has awarded Canutillo Independent School District (CISD) $75,000 to support a dramatic expansion of its middle school mathematics college readiness program. 

The funding will help increase the number of students who can take Algebra I while still in middle school. 
“Algebra is widely considered the gatekeeper subject,” said CREEED Chairman Richard A. Castro. “Students who complete a mathematics course beyond Algebra 2 are four times more likely to receive a college degree, but that is challenging when you don’t have any exposure to Algebra before high school.  CREEED’s grant helps prepare El Paso students for high school and college.”
Under the new CISD mathematics college readiness plan, all eighth-grade students who “meet” or “master” seventh grade standards on the annual STAAR mathematics test will be enrolled in Algebra I. 
In addition, some students who scored as “approaches” on the STAAR exam will be enrolled in Algebra I and provided additional assistance in the advanced coursework.  
Only 24% of CISD eighth-graders completed Algebra I last year. Today, almost one-half of CISD eighth-graders are successfully completing their first semester of Algebra I.  
“The question is no longer if our students should take algebra, but when,” said CISD Superintendent Dr. Pedro Galaviz.  “Thanks to CREEED’s support, CISD will be able to transform expectations, making the completion of Algebra I in middle school the norm rather than the exception.”
Canutillo is also investing in advanced teacher training as part of the new program, which will be rolled out over the next five years. 
With CREEED’s financial assistance, CISD plans to make Algebra I available to all students who scored at the “meets,” “masters,” and “approaches” levels by 2024.  
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