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Canutillo ISD Writing Collaborative Featured in State Publication

Writing-to-learn has become an innovative instructional strategy at Canutillo ISD and the District’s success story has been published in the Write for Texas: Success Stories from a Literacy Initiative 2014-2017 publication.

This year, in collaboration between the West Texas Writing Project (WTWP) at the University of Texas at El Paso, Canutillo ISD led an ongoing district literacy initiative designed to support the improvement of reading and writing instruction.

The published snapshot showcases a successful aspect of the state-wide writing initiative at Canutillo to document and recognize the work of the Write for Texas site and to inform and inspire other educators to adopt similar practices. Canutillo English Language Arts (ELA) and Reading Coordinator Natalie Spalloni says it is a major honor to be included in the Write for Texas Literacy publication.

“The partnership with UTEP flourished into a professional collaboration across all our secondary campus educators,” Spalloni said. “It is refreshing to have a shared conception that writing to learn is a legitimate instructional strategy.”

The Canutillo Curriculum and Instruction team used educational articles to elicit dialogue about writing instruction in relation to collaborative strategies that the teachers practiced. In addition to supporting the teachers’ own professional learning, the activities selected could be adapted for student instruction.

Spalloni explained to the publication that writing across the curriculum typically refers to process writing that is meant to be published and reflects a purpose and format particular to a content area such as a Science lab report or a Social Studies essay. Writing-to-learn activities, however, are short, informal writing tasks such as a notecard, foldable or chart that help students think through or process learning about key concepts or ideas presented in a course.

Through the professional development offered by Spalloni, groups of teachers from very different content areas reached a shared understanding of the definition of writing-to-learn. They understood how the strategies could be used to promote and measure student learning. She said that teachers gave anecdotal reports about the positive impact of the workshops.

One social studies teacher who participated in a workshop about collaborative annotation was eager to implement the strategy the next day. A middle school teacher who was originally hesitant to implement writing to learn in science class later shared his success with using the techniques. He reported that student engagement had increased and he was impressed by the volume of writing that they produced.

“In the past, formal writing instruction was taught in isolation, but now we see how integrating either low or high stakes writing into all units of content instruction offers educators immediate, authentic feedback from students about their individual level of content understanding,” Spalloni added. “It is exhilarating when teachers from varying content areas see me in the halls and ask me if we are having a writing workshop.”

A link to the entire publication and Canutillo snapshot can be downloaded here.

Canutillo Alumni Award Thousands in College Scholarships

Seven graduating seniors from Canutillo High School and Northwest Early College High School received $1,000 scholarships each from the Canutillo Alumni Foundation for Education (CAFÉ) and the Classes of 1994 and 2006 to attend college.

Oscar Moreno, Canutillo High School class of 2006, said that when his class got together for their 10-year reunion, they came up with ways to give to current CHS graduates who are headed to college.

“This is a prime example of Canutillo greatness and pride,” Moreno said. “These students demonstrate great potential and I know they will be a positive reflection to our community. We are a united community built on humility, honesty, and care, looking to push our future generations to do great things, not only for Canutillo, but for the El Paso community in general.”

The Class of 1967 will be celebrating their 50th reunion on Saturday, July 29, 2017 at the Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino Ballroom. The alumni teamed up with the Canutillo Optimist Club to raise money for scholarships and the community.

Class of 1967 graduate Teddy Martinez says that her class tries to get together once a year and always has their community in mind.

“I am very proud to belong to CAFÉ and give out so many scholarships,” Martinez said. “We hope to increase participation from other classes to do the same.”

Since 2004, more than $109,000 has been raised by the group and awarded to about 144 students. The Canutillo alumni association holds an annual golf tournament in the fall to raise funds for the scholarship. The Classes of 1994 and 2006 also raised money as part of their reunion activities.

The reunion celebration is open to all the community and tickets are on sale for $30. Call Teddy at 503-3067 for more information.

Texas Education Agency Designates Canutillo ISD 6 through 12 T-STEM District

Canutillo ISD announced that the Texas Education Agency has designated Canutillo Middle School as a Texas Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (T-STEM) academy.

The middle school joins Canutillo High School, who is in its second year in the same T-STEM designation, making the District one of only a few in the state of Texas to have a sixth through twelfth grade T-STEM track.

T-STEM Academies are rigorous secondary schools focusing on improving instruction and academic performance in science and mathematics-related subjects and increasing the number of students who study and enter STEM careers.

Canutillo Middle School was designated based on a rigorous designation process by TEA requiring the campus to meet a number of benchmarks in relation to STEM such as mission-driven leadership, T-STEM culture and student and teacher retention. CMS Principal Mark Paz is excited about this (T-STEM) designation.

“This program will help students be better prepared for their transition to the high school STEM program,” Paz said. “This will also give colleges a good indicator that the students have gone through a rigorous process since the sixth grade.”

With the T-STEM designation, CMS will be provided with professional development and technical assistance to serve as demonstration schools and learning labs to showcase innovative instruction methods which integrate technology and engineering into science and mathematics instruction.

Earlier this month, the middle school was also awarded a Project Lead the Way Gateway grant for $20,000 made possible by Verizon Innovative Learning through the 2018-19 school year. Students will have unique learning opportunities in engineering, robotics, computer science, app creator, digital design, programing and coding based coursework provided by Project Lead the Way, a nonprofit organization.

“The Project Lead the Way grant will go a long way to help pay for the course curriculum and teacher training required for the program. Students will eventually graduate with the experience they need to succeed and do something amazing for our community in the future,” Paz added.

On May 25, CMS held a STEAM Fair for the elementary schools in the District to preview the projects that they will encounter when they come in. The fair featured robotics, student-created roller coasters, math activities, fine arts interactive projects, music performances, award-winning poster designs (Visual Arts) and more.

Incoming 6th graders can enroll in a free, STEM Camp held at CMS from June 19-22 from 8:30-11:30 a.m.where they will get a head start on STEM based projects, develop leadership skills, meet CMS faculty, and go on to participate in actual STEM based field experience. The program is open to all current 5th-7th grade students in Canutillo ISD and surrounding area.

Those who are interested in attending for the 2017-18 school year should apply by May 31.

Visit the school’s website at http://cms.canutillo-isd.org/STEAM for more information.

Canutillo ISD Recognized as an Honor Roll School District

Canutillo ISD is one of only 11 in Texas and the only district in the region to make the Educational Results Partnership and Institute for Productivity in Education‘s 2016 Honor Roll, which recognizes high performing schools.

CISD officials, via a news release, stated, “Canutillo ISD is an innovative and forward-thinking school district. The hard work that teachers and students do on a daily basis is being noticed throughout Texas and the nation, too.”

Three schools, Northwest Early College High School, Alderete Middle School and Reyes Elementary School were also honored as Star Honor Roll Schools.

District officials added, “What an accomplishment!  Just another example of how we are on the path to becoming a premier school district…this accomplishment showcases the hard work in Canutillo and also sends the message that El Paso is a center of high quality teaching and learning.”


Canutillo ISD Trustee Rodriquez Elected President of Mexican American School Board Members Association

Armando Rodriguez, a member of the Canutillo Independent School District Board of Trustees, has been elected as President of the Mexican American School Board Members Association (MASBA).

Rodriguez recently served as board vice-president and president elect before becoming the first member from the El Paso region to be elected president of MASBA.

MASBA is recognized by the Texas Education Agency and provides continuing education to Texas school board trustees. The organization aims to help school board members come together to find solutions, discuss legislation and current affairs as it relates to education and the Mexican-American culture. Rodriguez says their mission is to advocate for top quality public education for all the children of Texas.

“We are invigorated by issues affecting minorities and I have a heart for our students’ needs,” Rodriguez said. “I decided to take action by getting involved so our students’ voices are heard and addressed.”

In addition to his service on the Mexican American School Board Association, Mr. Rodriguez also serves in leadership positions, including the Texas Association of School Boards, and the former President of the Far West Texas School Board Association. Mr. Rodriguez is serving his fourth term on the Board of Trustees, where he has served as Secretary, Vice President and President.

A graduate of Canutillo High School and the University of Texas at El Paso, Mr. Rodriguez is a business development specialist with Venegas Engineering Management and Construction.

Socorro ISD beats Canutillo ISD 32 to 24; ‘Warm the Soul’ Overall Winner

Team SISD and Canutillo ISD leaders, board members, and employees faced-off for a friendly flag football match as part of the Socorro Independent School District’s annual Warm the Soul collection drive to benefit needy students.

The game ended with a victory for SISD who defeated Canutillo with a score of 32-24.

Since its inception in 2014, SISD’s Warm the Soul initiative has collected more than 600 pairs of new shoes for underprivileged children. This year, the district also collected blankets, scarves, socks, mittens and beanies.

SISD _ Canutillo ISD Warm the Soul3“Warm the Soul is a fun and unique event where Team SISD and Canutillo ISD join efforts to help students in need,” said SISD Superintendent of School Dr. José Espinoza. “Buying a new pair of shoes can be difficult for some families and we want to help with that need. A new pair of shoes, scarf, mittens or beanies will keep our students warm this season, boost their confidence, and allow them to focus on the education they deserve.”

The charity game, which kicked-off at 5 p.m. Nov. 16 in the Student Activities Complex, welcomed an array of players, including the two superintendents, board members, principals, coaches and other district staff who demonstrated their best athletic abilities and united for a good cause.

“This is my third year participating in Warm the Soul,” said Norma Myers, principal at O’Shea Keleher Elementary School. “Bridging two districts together to help students in need is great! We do it on a daily basis, but to do it this way is a lot of fun.”

After the game, Dr. Espinoza thanked Canutillo ISD and Team SISD staff for their donations and support. SISD Board President Gary Gandara, CISD Board president Stephanie Frietze, and trustee Armando Rodriguez, also thanked both teams for their participation.

“We appreciate Canutillo ISD for getting involved and bringing shoes to benefit our students,” President Gandara said. “This will definitely bring a smile to our students faces.”

SISD _ Canutillo ISD Warm the Soul1

Socorro, Canutillo ISDs to Face Off in Charity Flag Football Game

Team SISD and Canutillo ISD leaders, board members, and employees will face off for a friendly flag football match as part of the Socorro Independent School District’s annual Warm the Soul collection drive to benefit students.

SISD’s Warm the Soul event serves to collect shoes for underprivileged children. This year, the district also is collecting blankets, scarves, socks, mittens and beanies.

All participants in the game are donating new shoes, blankets and winter accessories to benefit SISD children. The public is invited to cheer on the teams during the flag football game, and admission is free with a donation of shoes, or three winter accessories.

The Warm the Soul project has collected more than 150 pairs of shoes in past years.

What:         Warm the Soul shoe drive and charity football game

Who:          SISD and Canutillo ISD leaders, SISD students

Where:       SISD Student Activities Complex |  1300 Joe Battle Blvd.

When:        Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2016  5 p.m.

Free Pre-K Still Available at 5 El Paso ISD Campuses

Spots for free pre-kindergarten classes are still available at five El Paso Independent School District campuses for any 4-year-old child who lives in El Paso County, regardless of their income or language capacity.

Availability for the half-day pre-kinder program exists at Barron, Crockett, Fannin, MacArthur and Schuster elementary schools. The programs have morning and afternoon sessions.

Registration for the EPISD free pre-kinder program will be from May 16-20. Parents who are interested in participating should call the school to schedule a visit and reserve a spot.

The program is open free of charge to any child living within the El Paso County boundary.

Canutillo ISD to Start Own Police Department

Last week during the March 22 Regular Board Meeting, the CISD Board of Trustees unanimously approved an item to create a CISD Police Department as part of CISD’s commitment to providing the safest and most secure environments for its students, faculty, staff and visitors.

“There is a big difference between having a recognized police department versus having a fully staffed and equipped police force,” said Dr. Pedro Galaviz, Superintendent of CISD. “We currently employ a variety of security officers and uniformed police officers to patrol our campuses and administrative buildings each day. The decision to outsource our uniformed police officers is not going to change anytime soon as our district budget does not currently allow us to purchase and support everything that a fully staffed police department needs. I appreciate the efforts of the CISD Administration and the Board of Trustees for allowing Canutillo to have this opportunity,” said Dr. Galaviz.

This decision was a preliminary first step to submit an application to the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE) to obtain the state’s accreditation for the Canutillo Independent School District Police Department.

Once CISD receives this accreditation, the district can then apply for a variety of federal, state or foundation grants that will allow CISD to augment the current or future police services and equipment offered to the district. This could include surveillance cameras, educational initiatives, and law enforcement equipment.

This application process will take approximately three months at a minimal cost to the District.


Canutillo ISD to host Community Dialogue for Facilities Master Plan

The Canutillo Independent School District invites all members of the greater Canutillo, Vinton, Westway and El Paso communities to participate in an engaging feedback session as part of the district’s comprehensive Facilities Master Plan.

Known as “Community Dialogue #1”, the public will have the opportunity to learn about CISD’s current and future state of affairs and lend their voice on critically important decisions affecting the district’s buildings and programs.

“The Facilities Master Plan is a critically important initiative underway at CISD that will impact the long-term nature of our operations,” said Superintendent Dr. Pedro Galaviz. “In order for us to provide the highest quality education to our students, we need to inform and receive feedback from our community stakeholders to the greatest extent possible. I personally invite everyone to attend.”

Professionals with Jacobs Engineering and DeJONG RICHTER, together with the Facilities Master Plan Steering Committee and CISD administration, will lead the community dialogue session.

The Facilities Master Plan is a five-year planning document to grow strategically together with CISD’s changing neighborhoods by proactively anticipating and meeting the needs of CISD’s students to ensure every child receives the highest quality education and support as possible. Everyone is welcome to attend this meeting.

What:        Facilities Master Plan Community Dialogue #1

When:   Wednesday, January 13, 2016, 6-8 p.m.

Where:      Canutillo High School Cafeteria

               6675 South Desert Blvd.

Parking is available in the main Canutillo High School parking lot. To access the cafeteria, take a right upon entering the main entrance. Spanish translators will be available to assist.

Author: Canutillo ISD

Canutillo ISD earns clean financial audit

Due to increased internal controls, enhancements to the purchasing process and financially sound management actions, the Canutillo Independent School District received excellent marks on its Annual Financial Report for the year ended June 30, 2015.

The audit encompassed all facets of CISD’s fiscal operations and was conducted by RPC CPAs & Consultants, LLP. This is the first audit CISD has received with zero findings and is an improvement from last year’s report in which auditors cited seven findings.

“This is excellent news for Canutillo ISD and all of our stakeholders and is a solid example of the work we’ve done to improve the way we do business,” said Dr. Pedro Galaviz, Superintendent of CISD. “Thanks to the leadership of the Board, and the thinking and leadership of all district personnel, we’ve improved the financial integrity of the district.”

“Good internal controls lead to good finances,” said Roxie Samaniego, CPA and Partner with RPC, following the November 16 regular board meeting of the CISD Board of Trustees in which her findings were released. “The Board and Administration made some tough decisions to improve the district’s financial integrity. This was the best audit we’ve seen at CISD.”

“Receiving a clean audit is the result of what every employee does everyday from the teachers, principals, custodians, bus drivers, and food service personnel,” said Martha Piekarski, CPA, and Chief Financial Officer of Canutillo ISD. “I’m very proud of our team and appreciate the hard work of everyone involved in this important annual effort.”

To view a copy of the 2014-2015 Annual Financial Report, please visit www.canutillo-isd.org/leadership/chief_financial_officer/transparency_reports

Author: Canutillo ISD

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