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Home | Tag Archives: Canutillo ISD

Tag Archives: Canutillo ISD

Canutillo ISD Superintendent commended by Board of Trustees, Contract extended

Student outcomes have been the primary focus of Canutillo ISD Superintendent Dr. Pedro Galaviz since he arrived at the District in 2013. And, the Board of Education has praised the results.

“The District has seen tremendous success under Dr. Galaviz’ leadership,” said Board President Sergio Coronado.  “He is a true educational leader who keeps true to his belief of always keeping students in the forefront. We’re privileged to have Superintendent Galaviz leading our district.”

Trustees voted 5 – 1 Monday night to extend Dr. Galaviz’ contract and included a 4% increase, which is equal to what district administrators received.

According to CISD officials, under Dr. Galaviz, the district is on the national map due to several accomplishments. Canutillo ISD is the only school district in the region to earn back-to-back ‘A’s in accountability from the Texas Education Agency (TEA).

For the second consecutive year, the District received an Exemplary Performance A-Rating with a grade of 91 in overall performance. This makes Canutillo ISD the highest rated among districts in Region 19.

Canutillo ISD also received a top tier credit rating upgrade. Moody’s Investors Service upgraded their credit rating to Aa3, from A1. The District improved its credit rating and is now among the best-rated school systems in the region.

“I am proud to serve this amazing community. Their unwavering support and dedication to the students are what makes this a special place,” Dr. Galaviz said. “I believe these actions represent a vote of confidence in our team’s vision, progress, and performance. I appreciate the hard work of our students, teachers, staff, parents, and trustees for making CISD a premier school district.”

In addition to this year’s amendment, for future evaluation cycles, if Dr. Galaviz receives a satisfactory evaluation, one year will be added to the end of the contract term and his base pay will be automatically adjusted with the same raise, if any, approved for other district administrators.

Canutillo ISD expands Pre-k program

Tuesday morning, officials with Canutillo ISD announced that the district would be expanding its pre-kindergarten program for this school year.

The District is now offering a new, full-day pre-k program free of charge at all of its elementary campuses for qualified El Paso-area families for the 2019-2020 school year.

Increased funding for full-day pre-kindergarten for families who meet certain criteria was made possible by the passage of House Bill 3 during the 86th session of the Texas Legislature and signed into law in June.

Canutillo ISD Superintendent Dr. Pedro Galaviz and district leaders are excited about this new change.

“It’s a great opportunity to get kids off on the right foot,” Galaviz said. “Canutillo understands the importance of a strong foundation for students.”

Parents can now begin registering for full-day pre-k online. There are some requirements to be eligible for the program.

Children must be four years old by September 1 and meet one of the following requirements:

  • Does not speak or understand English;
  • Eligible for the free or reduced-price lunch program;
  • Homeless;
  • Has a parent that is active duty military or active duty reserve;
  • Is or ever has been in the conservatorship of the Department of Family and Protective Services following an adversary hearing;
  • Has a parent that was an active duty member of the armed forces, state military forces or reserve component who was injured or killed while serving on active duty.

More information on the pre-kindergarten program, including the documents needed for enrollment can be found on the Canutillo ISD website.

Canutillo ISD ‘Super Readers’ attend summer literacy academy

Canutillo ISD’s ‘Super readers’ had the opportunity to improve their super powers at a special summer literacy academy at Congressman Silvestre & Carolina Reyes Elementary School.

Canutillo ISD English Language Arts Curriculum Coordinator Natalie Spalloni said that the students will be taught why it is important to read and explained the goals of the academy.

“The goal of the Super Readers Academy is to create a community where readers feel safe to take risks as readers,” Spalloni said. “Readers will be surrounded by rich book talk, animated demonstrations, and social-emotional support while acquiring technical skills necessary for proficient reading.”

The Super Readers Academy provides support to help more students meet and exceed the district goal that 90% of all first and second grade students will be reading at grade level.

The free academy was made available to kinder through second grade Canutillo ISD students who were nominated by their campus.

The focus is to improve phonological awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension, and writing. An emphasis on differentiating instruction to meet the needs of all students, including struggling learners, is a highlight of Super Readers Academy.

The second annual academy has been redesigned to better meet the needs of the students by using a Scholastic program called LitCamp.

The curriculum works on seven strengths: belonging, curiosity, kindness, friendship, confidence, courage, and hope. It uses a strength-based model to build children’s literacy and resilience skills side by side in small groups.

During the academy, teachers read out-loud to students twice a day, along with students reading independently each day. Children read about three books a day for eight days.

“We are excited to bring such a great summer option to our students,” Spalloni added. “They will grow and get the opportunity to be a part of something special that will benefit them in all subjects.”

Author: Elizabeth Caro  – Canutillo ISD

Three Canutillo ISD schools make the 2018-19 Texas Honor Roll

Three schools in the Canutillo Independent School District have made the honor roll.

“We continue our strong reputation and work hard every day to become a premier school district,” said Dr. Pedro Galaviz, Canutillo ISD Superintendent of Schools. “Our principals create the conditions for teachers and students to thrive, leading to recognitions like this.”

Jose Damian Elementary, Canutillo Middle School, and Northwest Early College High School have been named to the 2018 – 2019 Educational Results Partnership Star Honor Roll for their high achievement in student success.

While these campuses are already on the national map for high quality teaching and learning, for high schools, the Honor Roll recognition also includes measures of college readiness.

Northwest Early College High School, who has been selected to the Star Honor Roll four consecutive years, was named a 2018 Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education – the highest honor given to a school by the federal government.

Along with their debut on the Star Honor Roll, Canutillo Middle School was designated as a T-STEM academy by TEA, making the District one of only a few in the state of Texas to have a 6th – 12th grade T-STEM track.

Jose Damian Elementary, also on the STAR Honor Roll for the first time, is in its second year of being a STEM focused school and prides itself on its focus on intervention, acceleration, and closing the achievement gap.

The program, sponsored by the Campaign for Business and Education Excellence (CBEE), is part of a national effort to identify higher-performing schools and districts that are improving student outcomes. It recognizes schools and districts that have demonstrated consistent high levels of student academic achievement, improvement in achievement levels over time, and a reduction in achievement gaps among student populations.

Canutillo ISD, Project Vida partner to open health clinic

Canutillo area residents will now have greater access to integrated health care in their community thanks to a new partnership between the Canutillo Independent School District and Project Vida Health Center.

The federally-qualified Canutillo Northwest Health Center is now open at 7000 Fifth Street in Canutillo and will provide primary health care and behavioral health to patients of all ages.

A licensed professional counselor will be available for integrated behavioral health care.

Canutillo ISD Executive Director of Student Support Services Dr. Monica Reyes is proud of the district’s participation in making the health center a reality.

“When our superintendent, Dr. (Pedro) Galaviz, said he wanted greater access to integrated health care services for our community, we went straight to work and established a partnership with Project Vida,” Reyes said. “We are pleased to continue to further support our students and their families with complete wrap-around services that now include accessible health care.”

David Godinez, Program Manager of Navigation and Behavioral Health in Schools for Project Vida Health Center says that the program enables more convenient access to services that would otherwise be out of reach for communities that reside further from city services.

“Project Vida aims to fill the gap with access to fully integrated primary and preventive care,” Godinez said. “The fact that we are able to open a health center in the heart of Canutillo will accommodate and benefit this community greatly.”

The clinic is now open four days a week, and as demand increases, organizers say that services will expand to six days a week. Patients without insurance are charged for services according to their ability to pay based on sliding scale fees.

Canutillo ISD Superintendent Dr. Pedro Galaviz believes that the new center will greatly improve the overall physical and mental well-being of students and their families.

“When our kids and parents are healthy, they have less to worry about, and they can be more successful in school and in life,” Galaviz said.

Community organizers will celebrate the opening of the new health center with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday, May 21, 2019, at 10:00 a.m.

Canutillo students win top honors in essay contest

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.

Author: Lhaisha Contreras – Canutillo ISD

CISD’s Rodriguez to lead Hispanic outreach for national school board organization

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 ISD Named Finalist for 2019 H-E-B Excellence in Education Small District Award

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.

Canutillo isn’t the only local district to be honored by the nomination, Socorro ISD is up for two H-E-B honors as well. To read that story, click here.

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.

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.

Author: Elizabeth Caro, Intern Canutillo ISD

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.”

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.

For those wishing to donate, they can visit the Community Foundation’s website. 

The performance is scheduled for April 17-21, 2019.

CREEED, Canutillo ISD to Bring Computer Science Education to all Middle School Students

On Thursday, Canutillo Independent School District announced a new partnership with GameSalad for Education and the Council on Regional Economic Expansion and Educational Development (CREEED) to expand computer science education to its middle school students over the next five years.

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.”

Canutillo Principal Honored With National Award

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.

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.

Author: Lhaisha Contreras – Canutillo ISD

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