On Thursday, officials with the College of Education at The University of Texas at El Paso and community leaders unveiled the Miner Teacher Residency Program, a full-year teacher placement designed to boost the readiness of aspiring teachers to better serve diverse students throughout the El Paso region.
With funding and technical support from University-School Partnerships for Renewal of Educator Preparation (US PREP), a national center funded by the Gates Foundation committed to high-quality university-based teacher preparation, UTEP is working with local school districts to pilot an innovative teacher preparation program within the College of Education.
Students seeking a teaching degree will now be eligible to take part in a one-year teaching residency program where they will spend an entire year in a real classroom, co-teaching with an experienced mentor teacher and engaged in an immersive coaching model led by field based UTEP College of Education faculty members. This will provide these aspiring teachers with the hands-on training and classroom management skills they’ll need before entering the workforce.
“This pilot effort is an incredibly important opportunity to provide student teachers with the most realistic, relevant, and rigorous preparation possible,” said Clifton Tanabe, Ph.D., dean of the College of Education. “We think this will be a game changer for our students and for the schools that hire them as first year teachers. Given the ‘closed loop’ educational ecosystem in El Paso – UTEP graduates comprise 75 percent of El Paso’s teachers, and El Paso students comprise 80 percent of UTEP’s student body – we expect this program to have a profound long-term impact.”
Aspiring teachers who go through the residency program will be part of an exciting paid internship initiative funded by Workforce Solutions Borderplex, the Council on Regional Economic Expansion and Educational Development (CREEED), and the El Paso Community Foundation.
“Our partnership with these generous local organizations will allow our students to focus completely on their training and not have to work the ‘graveyard shift, after working in the schools all day, just to make ends meet,’ said Tanabe.
19 UTEP College of Education students will make up the first cohort participating in the residency program. They will be placed within El Paso ISD and Socorro ISD classrooms and paired with seasoned and effective teachers to mentor them through their year-long program. The goal is to have all participants gain extended, hands-on practical teaching experience alongside a highly qualified, trained mentor teachers and faculty UTEP members, as well as priority consideration for full-time employment after they complete their residency.
“UTEP is a wonderful partner with EPISD in the development and training of innovative educators for the El Paso and West Texas region,” said EPISD Superintendent Juan Cabrera. “The Miner Teacher Residency Program will further our combined efforts to provide the children of the Border with the best-prepared corps of teachers who will use the latest research-based techniques to help our students meet their academic goals.”
“Team SISD is proud to be part of this innovative program to further invest in our future educators,” said SISD Superintendent José Espinoza, Ed.D. “Our commitment is to ensure SISD has highly qualified and effective teachers and we provide numerous opportunities for aspiring teachers to succeed thanks to powerful partnerships, such as this one, with UTEP and other local organizations and agencies dedicated to improving our overall educational community in El Paso.”
The new initiative replaces UTEP’s previous semester-long teacher training program with more intensive year-long placements in high-performing local elementary schools. It is based on the model pioneered in 2015 by US PREP, which has been utilized by programs at Texas Tech and Lubbock and the University of Houston, among others.
“CREEED was happy to facilitate the partnership between UTEP and US PREP earlier this year, and we are delighted to be supporting the new teacher residency program,” said Amy O’Rourke, Choose to Excel Director at CREEED. “To improve education outcomes and increase educational attainment in our region, we must invest in our teachers and aspiring teachers so they have the tools, training, and experience they need to lead students in innovative and transformative classroom instruction.”
After the success of this pilot program, UTEP hopes to incorporate the full year of hands-on in classroom training as part of all future teacher graduate requirements.
“The further you go in education, the better your professional prospects; it’s that simple,” said Joyce Wilson, President & CEO of the Workforce Solutions Borderplex. “If we want to attract high-paying jobs with advancement opportunities to El Paso, we need a workforce with the requisite level of training. That starts in elementary school with well-trained and experienced teachers.”
Student teachers under the semester approach and in the residency program will benefit from close supervision and regular feedback from teachers who will serve as their mentors and supervisors, all of whom were recruited, selected, and trained by UTEP. In addition, each elementary school hosting residency students will also host two full-time clinical faculty members to serve as site coordinators and liaisons between UTEP and the school districts.
“We are excited to bring the proven US PREP model for teaching training to El Paso,” said Stephanie Otero, Vice President of Operations of The El Paso Community Foundation. “The additional staff UTEP has hired to support the program will enhance communication, collaboration, and data sharing between the university and the school districts, making for a better experience for student teachers and better outcomes in their classrooms.”
Like the students they teach, most of the student teachers in the Miner Teacher Residency Program are Latinx and bilingual. A committee made up of college and district representatives selected the finalists from a pool of 40 applicants based on GPA, faculty input, and the candidates’ openness to learn and seek feedback.
Where, oh where has the summer gone? That’s the question that’s on the minds of thousands of students and parents as both Socorro ISD and Clint ISD open the 2019-2020 school year Monday.
CISD students, staff and teachers now join SISD in a near year-round-schedule, although Clint officials call the change a ‘balanced calendar.’
Via a news release, officials say Clint’s new balanced calendar will allow students to have breaks which are more frequent and evenly spread out throughout the academic school year.
“This calendar will also allow for intersessions in the fall and spring in which accelerated instruction and opportunities for enrichment can be provided for students,” district officials shared via an emailed news release. “The financial benefits of the balanced calendar will assist the District in funding needed activities aligned to adding instructional initiatives for all schools.”
Students will have intersession breaks beginning September 30-October 11 and March 9-13, with the last day of school falling on June 4, 2020. To view the complete Clint ISD Schedule, click here.
Just down the road, Socorro ISD students make their familiar trek back to the classrooms as well.
SISD officials say they will welcome more than 47,000 students for the 2019-20 school year on Monday, and they be greeted by more than 3,500 educators across their 49 campuses.
For SISD students, the new opportunities for the 2019-20 school year include a new open enrollment policy, the opening of a new elementary school, three new early college high schools, the new Dual Language Academy, more technological devices and resources to enhance student learning, and improvements and renovations at existing facilities through Bond 2017.
With the opening of three new early college high school programs, SISD will be the only district in the region to offer an early college high school program at each one of its comprehensive high schools.
The new early college programs are Empire Early College at El Dorado High School, Falcon Early College at Eastlake High School, and Pebble Hills Early College at Pebble Hills High School.
Early college high schools give students the opportunity to graduate with up to 60 college credit hours or an associate degree along with their high school diploma.
Two significant milestones are also in store for two of the district’s campuses, as Montwood High celebrates it’s 30th anniversary, while over in the High Desert, Eastlake High School will celebrate its 10-year anniversary this school year.
The district’s newest campus, Cactus Trails Elementary, is opening for the 2019-20 school year in the Pebble Hills area. It is the 49th school in the district and welcomes some 900 students in Pre-Kindergarten to fifth grade. The school was the first Bond 2017 project to be completed.
Austin — Five public school administrators from across Texas were selected as state finalists for the annual Superintendent of the Year (SOTY) award.
Sponsored by the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB), the SOTY program has recognized exemplary superintendents for excellence and achievement in educational leadership since 1984.
The 2018 finalists are Mark Porterie, Port Arthur ISD, Region 5; Tim Harkrider, Willis ISD, Region 6; Kenneth Border, Shallowater ISD, Region 17; Juan Martinez, Clint ISD, Region 19; and Brian Woods, Northside ISD-Bexar County, Region 20.
Martinez serves a population of about 11,500 students. He has been in education administration for 24 years and has served as superintendent of Clint ISD for five years. The committee noted Martinez’s sense of accountability for the district’s success and his view of his role as one of service. The committee also noted the district’s Cradle to College program through which the district reaches out to new parents with gifts to start their child off on the right foot.
Martinez earned his bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and doctorate from The University of Texas at El Paso.
Porterie has served as an administrator for two decades and has led Port Arthur ISD for four years. The committee cited Porterie’s efforts to stay in touch with both district staff and the community and his willingness to roll up his sleeves and tackle any job. Last year Porterie led his district of around 8,300 students through the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, enabling Port Arthur schools to bring the hard-hit community together. Porterie earned his bachelor’s degree at Lamar University, master’s degree at Prairie View A&M University, and doctorate at Nova Southeastern University.
At the helm of Willis ISD for five years, Harkrider serves about 7,400 students. He has eight years of administrative experience. The committee noted Harkrider’s commitment to putting students first when making decisions and his efforts to share the district’s story with the community. Committee members also cited Willis ISD’s mentor program for sixth-grade students, which pairs them with business partners through graduation.
Harkrider received his bachelor’s degree from Stephen F. Austin University and master’s degree from The University of Texas at Arlington.
Border has 18 years of administrative experience. He has been superintendent of Shallowater ISD for three years and serves approximately 1,700 students. His desire to see students enjoy their education was cited by the committee, as well as his belief that children are more than their test scores. Border also extends his compassion to his community with a program to support local senior citizens.
Border received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from The University of Texas of the Permian Basin and his doctorate from Baylor University.
Woods has led Northside ISD for six years, where he serves more than 106,000 students. He has been in education administration for 21 years. Of particular note to the committee was Woods’ commitment to advocacy for public education and his desire to grow the number of voices speaking up in support of public schools. He believes that public schools add value to their entire communities, and through Go Public, he works with fellow San Antonio-area districts to spread that message by sharing great stories about public education.
Woods earned his bachelor’s degree at The University of Texas at Austin and received his master’s degree and doctorate from The University of Texas at San Antonio.
The state selection committee, which interviewed regional winners August 24-25 in Austin, targeted such issues as advocacy, accountability, the importance of the various roles in a school district, and the district’s relationship with the community.
Candidates are chosen for their strong leadership skills, dedication to improving educational quality, ability to build effective employee relations, student performance, and commitment to public involvement in education. Superintendents from any of the state’s local school districts are eligible for nomination by their school boards.
Local nominees are submitted to a regional selection committee, which chooses one nominee to send to the state selection committee.
Regional winners nominated by regional selection committees are:
Daniel Treviño Jr., Mercedes ISD, Region 1
Max Thompson, Banquete ISD, Region 2
Jeanette Winn, Karnes City ISD, Region 3
Mark Henry, Cypress-Fairbanks ISD, Region 4
Susan Morton, Winnsboro ISD, Region 7
Michael Lamb, Sulphur Springs ISD, Region 8
David Vroonland, Mesquite ISD, Region 10
Robin Ryan, Grapevine-Colleyville ISD, Region 11
George Kazanas, Midway ISD-McLennan County, Region 12
William Chapman, Jarrell ISD, Region 13
Tim Seymore, Breckenridge ISD, Region 14
Ross Aschenbeck, Sonora ISD, Region 15
Bryan Davis, Dimmitt ISD, Region 16
Denise Shetter, Kermit ISD, Region 18
The 2018 Superintendent of the Year will be announced September 28 at the TASA/TASB Convention in Austin. The districts of the winning superintendent and state finalists will receive an award from Balfour, program underwriter.
TASB is a nonprofit association established in 1949 to serve local public school boards. School board members are the largest group of publicly elected officials in the state. The districts they represent serve approximately 5.4 million students.
On Wednesday it was announced that EPCC’s Dual Credit and Early College Program has been recognized as a finalist in the Examples of Excellence in the associate level.
“EPCC’s Dual Credit and Early College High School programs are having tremendous results in getting youth in our region on a path to higher education,” Dr. William Serrata, EPCC President said. “The data shows that students who take just one college course in high school are more likely to pursue a college degree and be successful.”
The EPCC’s Dual Credit and Early College Program gives students opportunities to earn college credit while still in high school.
EPCC’s Dual Credit and Early College High School program was one of only 21 finalists selected from more than 139 nominated programs from 27 states, DC and Puerto Rico.
The four 2018 Examples of Excelencia will be announced October 11th at the Celebración de Excelencia in Washington, DC.
“We are honored that Excelencia in Education has selected El Paso Community College’s Dual Credit and Early College High School Program as an Example of Excelencia. This nation-wide recognition highlights the work we are doing to provide students in our region the opportunity to take college courses while in high school,” Tonie Badillo, Dean of EPCC’s Dual Credit and Early College High School Programs said.
“These students have the opportunity to save time and money by getting a head start on their college career.”
Since being established more than a decade ago, EPCC’s Dual Credit and Early College High School program has addressed the region’s low educational rate in comparison with Texas and the Nation.
The program has become a nationally recognized model for its success rates. Students in EPCC’s Dual Credit and Early College programs have high graduation and completion rates in the courses they take and when they continue to 4-year institutions. The data shows that 58 percent of students who take just one college course in high school pursue an advanced degree versus 33 percent for those who do not.
Students in EPCC’s Early College High School Programs have a 75 percent success rate in completing their associate degree while still in high school which outperform the national and state averages which are less than 30 percent.
EPCC offers Dual Credit in the majority of area high schools. There are 12 Early College High Schools spread out through area school district partners including Canutillo ISD, Clint ISD, El Paso ISD, Fabens ISD, Socorro ISD and Ysleta ISD.
¡Excelencia in Education!is an organization that works to accelerate Latino student success, enhance our workforce, leadership, and economy. Examples of Excellence recognizes institutions and practices that bring attention to evidence-based practices that work for Latino students in education.
Dr. Juan I. Martinez, Clint ISD Superintendent, was named the Region 19 Superintendent of the Year by the Education Service Center for Region 19 earlier this month.
“The most concise way to convey his worthiness for this award would be that Dr. Martinez goes the extra mile for our students. Every decision, action, and initiative has them in mind,” said James R. Pendell, Clint ISD Board President.
Dr. Martinez has been with Clint ISD as Superintendent of Schools since 2013. He began his career in education as a teacher in 1994. He went on to become an Assistant Principal, Principal, Director of Personnel and Chief Human Resources Officer before leading Clint ISD.
Dr. Martinez, who holds a Bachelor of Administration in Computer Information Systems and a Masters in School Administration, earned his Doctor of Education from the University of Texas at El Paso in 2017.
The TASB Superintendent of the Year Award honors outstanding administrators for achievement and excellence in public school administration. Honorees are leaders who exhibit exemplary and visionary leadership toward improving student performance. They are chosen for their strong leadership skills, dedication to improving the quality of education in their Districts, and commitment to public support and involvement in education.
Dr. Martinez will represent Clint ISD and the Region for the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) State Superintendent of the Year Award in August and September at the 2018 TASA/TASB Convention.
Quick, name the Teacher of the Year for the United States from 2018. Okay, that’s hard. Name your State teacher of the year. Or your district teacher of the year. How about your local campus teacher of the year. My bet is that you probably have no idea.
Over the years, I have attended many ceremonies that recognize the local teachers of the year from all of the districts in the area. There are the elementary and secondary teacher awarded from 12 different school districts. At the end of the night, two of them are award the Regional Teachers of the Year, given some love form local businesses, then go on to a state competition.
You probably have attended events such as these in your life. They are more like beauty pageants than they are actual competitions. At the end, I almost always feel like breaking out into my best Bert Parks imitation…”There she is…Miss America…” almost. But I refrain myself.
The whole “Teacher of the Year” (TOY) process got me thinking about the idea of what exactly is a “Teacher of the Year” in the first place. Campuses and districts spend lot of time and effort selecting teachers of the year, then a district teacher of the year, then a state teacher of the year, then finally a national teacher of the year. That is a whole lot of teachers. And for what?
I understand and agree that teachers should be recognized, I really do. It is , in many cases, a crappy job in a lot of places and a lot of teachers are experts at making lemonade out of lemons. And for the most part, the teachers that win do indeed deserve the awards they get.
But as I sit there and watch these pageants take place, I began to think that the entire exercise is a wasted opportunity to leverage the brainpower of those amazing teachers being recognized.
For the most part, after the ceremony finishes, the 22 non-winning TOYs in the Region 19 area are sent back to their school districts, back to their campuses, back to their classrooms or libraries, and they go about their lives pretty much as if nothing had happened. Shakespeare would have said “much ado about nothing.”
How can we make the Teacher of the Year more meaningful? How can we take the combined knowledge of those that were assembled and use that to help other teachers? Here are a few ideas that I had:
Spotlight video: tell the teacher’s story.
The beauty contest told the audience almost nothing about the backstory of each teacher. Why did they actually make it to the TOY finals? What was their story? What was their reason for becoming a teacher? Many of these teachers have inspirational stories. When I myself was being honored as a finalist, I remember being awed by my fellow honorees, telling their stories, from a teacher that once taught blind sharecropper’s children in the Mississippi swamps, to another that came to the US as a war refugee after World War II.
Techniques video: Revisit each and every one of the TOY finalists and explore their classroom techniques. Almost every single one of them at the last ceremony I attended said something to the effect that they had made learning “fun.” What did that mean? How did they do that? Can that be replicated? Can they help teachers where learning in the classroom is not fun? Almost all can be seen using technology. How do they integrate tech in their classes?
Mentor new teachers. Each TOY should be asked to mentor a new teacher. Let them share their knowledge and what they have learned with new teachers. Who better to learn from that from the best teachers in the area?
Have media follow the TOYs around for a year, and allow them to become media spokespeople for a public book. This teacher is the YISD teacher we showcase as our best. Here is the EPISD best. Here is the Anthony ISD TOY.
Document the lives of our TOYs: “Among Schoolchildren” by Tracy Kidder is a great example of the life in the year if a teacher. What if that could be expanded with district TOYs across the nation?
What would an El Paso version of “Among Schoolchildren” look like? Can we create an online “recipe book” of all the TOYs so that their teaching knowledge lives longer than their momentary walk in the spotlight and acceptance speeches?
The point is, I suppose, is that if someone is talented enough to be named a “Teacher of the Year” somewhere, there must be something that this person has that can be shared with other teachers. There must be some techniques, some passion, some wisdom that that teacher can share with others that is of value.
My concern is that there are hundred if not thousands of “Teachers of the Year” across the US and that knowledge base is being squandered because they didn’t “win” the big prize. That is a lot of good information being wasted.
How do individual campuses use the campus teacher of the year to help improve teaching and learning on the campus?
How do individual districts use the campus teacher of the year to help improve teaching and learning in their districts?
How does each state use their TOY to improve teaching and learning in their state?
And while the National Teacher of the Year tours the nation giving inspirational messages, I don’t think that they do much more than that. I have never seen a national teacher of the year speak, and I have been in education for over 30 years. Have you?
Here is my proposal:
Each campus, each district should take the knowledge, the passion, the years of wisdom that each and every teacher of the year has and do something to share that with fellow teachers. Campuses should share with other campuses. Districts should share with other districts. States should share with other states.
Use our Teachers of the Year wisely. Let them teach all of us.
Author: Tim Holt is an educator and writer, with over 33 years experience in education and opines on education-related topics here and on his own award-winning blog: HoltThink. He values your feedback.
El Paso Community College’s (EPCC) Clint Early College Academy was selected to a new partnership with Microsoft’s Technology, Education, and Literacy in Schools (TEALS) program, which helps high schools build and grow sustainable computer science programs through partnerships between classroom teachers and technology industry volunteers.
Edmond Martinez, Principal of Clint ISD Early College Academy, a school that has long embraced the need for strong science, technology, engineering, and math programs, sees the teaching of computer science as a duty to the next generation, and encourages local technology experts step up to volunteer.
“We have a responsibility to create pathways for our students from high school, through college, and to professional positions,” Martinez said. “Technical knowledge and skills prepare our students for the jobs of today and tomorrow, to solve serious problems, and create new opportunities for humanity. It’s my hope that many of those in our community who have technology training will sign up to volunteer with TEALS this fall. What could be more rewarding than passing on your skills the next generation of innovators?”
“Our region is fortunate to have terrific schools, which will be even stronger with the addition of a program that teaches one of the key skills young people will need to be successful in our increasingly technology driven world,” said J.J. Childress, the El Paso manager of Microsoft’s TechSpark program to foster greater economic opportunity and job creation in six communities in the United States.
“We know teachers want to teach computer science, but it can be challenging to find the time and resources to learn the subject. TEALS addresses this by putting trained technology volunteers into classrooms to teach students, while helping teachers prepare to teach the subject on their own.”
Since 2015, the Council on Regional Economic Expansion and Educational Development (CREEED) has not only helped local students, but regional educators as well.
CREEED has awarded $259,000 through its Accelerated Certification of Teachers (ACT El Paso) Scholarship Program to help area high school teachers attain dual credit certifications.
To date, the program has funded 75 high school teachers who have completed certification or are currently studying to teach dual credit or early college courses in our region’s high schools.
Dual credit courses give high school students the opportunity to become acclimated to college coursework and to enroll in courses that earn them college credit while still in high school. CREEED has earmarked a total of $1M for the scholarship program, which aims to increase higher education attainment for El Paso students.
“We know that college-readiness is a clear indicator of whether our students will pursue and successfully obtain a postsecondary degree or certificate. The goal of this scholarship program is to increase college-readiness across the region by exposing more students to the rigor and idea of a college education,” said Richard A. Castro, Chairman of CREEED.
“By investing in our teachers to deliver high-quality dual credit courses, we are not only providing professional development opportunities to our educators, but giving our students a head-start at college coursework and ensuring our region is able to see economic prosperity in the future.”
ACT El Paso scholarships have been awarded to a total of 75 teachers in five El Paso County school districts: Canutillo Independent School District, Clint Independent School District, El Paso Independent School District, Socorro Independent School District and Ysleta Independent School District.
The scholarship funds were used by teachers to help pay for their credentialing process, which requires them to complete 18 graduate semester credit hours in the content area they will teach and successfully obtain a master’s degree.
Thanks to the scholarship program, Clint ISD will have a dual-credit credentialed Spanish teacher at every high school in its district by the end of this year.
“The scholarships help us address our school’s need for more dual credit certified teachers,” Clint High School Principal, Garrett Ritchey. “Although the scholarships go to the teachers, the students are the true beneficiaries.”
Currently, only one in six El Paso students who starts 8th grade earns a postsecondary credential within 11 years, which places El Paso as the second lowest performing of all Texas regions. Additionally, only 70 percent of students who enter The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) and 34 percent who enter El Paso Community College (EPCC) are fully prepared for college-level work. CREEED is working to improve these numbers by investing in initiatives that increase college readiness in our region.
Since 2014, there has been a significant increase (53%) of students taking dual credit or early college courses throughout El Paso County. While only 4,750 students enrolled in these courses at the start of 2014, that number jumped to 7,250 in 2017.
“The Ysleta Independent School District is appreciative of the funding that CREEED has dedicated toward THE MASTERS program, which offers our teachers a convenient, affordable, and supportive path for pursuing their master’s degrees and advanced certifications,” said Dr. Xavier De La Torre, YISD Superintendent of Schools.
“As of this spring, we will have 20 YISD teachers successfully complete their master’s degrees and advanced certifications through the program in either math, science, social studies, or language arts,” Dr. De La Torre said. “We firmly believe this will help our teachers significantly enhance their classroom instructional practices while positively impacting student achievement.”
Research shows that students who successfully complete 18 hours of dual credit courses are four times more likely to complete a college credential or degree program on time. College credits earned through high school dual credit courses are at no cost to the student, thereby lowering the overall cost of college tuition.
“We are proud of EPCC’s Dual Credit & Early College High School partnerships with our local Independent School Districts,” said El Paso Community College President Dr. William Serrata. “CREEED’s scholarships for educators have increased the number of high school faculty teaching college courses, helping our students earn credit towards college degrees even before while they graduate high school.”
CREEED aims to place teachers certified to offer dual credit courses in every high school in El Paso County.
ACT El Paso is part of the non-profit group’s larger plan to improve educational parity, enhance the quality of instruction, and see more students complete post-high-school degree or certificate programs throughout the El Paso region.
It’s another year in the history books, as 2017 fades and 2018 dawns.
From the streets of downtown, to the football fields of the schools around town, to the houses of worship throughout the Borderland and locations in between, our photographers were busy documenting our story.
Below are the best shots from our team of photographers: Chief Photographer Andres Acosta, and Kevin Venegas.
El Paso Community College (EPCC) adopted Frank Macias Elementary School in Horizon as part of its elementary school adoption program during a proclamation ceremony held at the school Wednesday, December 13, 2017.
EPCC President Dr. William Serrata welcomed Clint Independent School District (CISD) Superintendent Dr. Juan Martinez, Frank Macias Principal Dawn Davis and the student body to the program.
“A student is never too young to learn the importance of going to college,” Dr. William Serrata, EPCC President said. “Reaching out to elementary school students and their parents allows students to learn that higher education is within their reach and we build a college-going culture.”
Frank Macias Elementary School is EPCC’s fifth school adopted and first for CISD. “The mission of Clint ISD is to prepare all students to be successful citizens,” Dr. Juan I. Martinez, Clint ISD Superintendent of Schools said. “The mission does not end at high school graduation and includes making sure that our students are prepared to enter college and graduate from college.”
Previously EPCC adopted Campestre Elementary from Socorro Independent School District, Frederick Douglass Elementary from El Paso Independent School District, Ramona Elementary from Ysleta Independent School District and Canutillo Elementary School from Canutillo Independent School District. EPCC has plans to continue adopting elementary schools across its district.
EPCC officials added, “We are committed to increasing the number of students going to college in the region…by building strong elementary school and college connections through campus tours, workshops, presentations, outreach programs and parental involvement, EPCC is building a college-going culture where “college begins in kindergarten”.
Far-East El Paso residents and students alike are still beaming with pride after the unveiling of the sparkling new Mountain View High School Cafetorium and new Health Professions Academy (HPA) building.
Earlier this month, Clint ISD officials, invited guests and those residents and students celebrated the ribbon cutting on their new school, in an area that previously featured red sand and portables.
The new 10,582-square-foot Health Professions Academy (HPA) building and 25,645-square-foot state-of-the-art cafetorium will be home to the more than 800 students who attend Mountain View High School, and are drawn by such programs as college-level health certifications.
“We have just set the bar on a Tier-1-type medical building in a high school,” Principal Paul Harrington said. “There are about three schools in West Texas that could be on the same page as Mountain View High School that are considered HPA programming but even so, they don’t have the facilities; they don’t have the labs.”
Making it state-of-the-art was key.
“It’s not colorful like elementary level; it’s a professional setting, and basically, that’s the whole concept,” Clint Independent School District Superintendent Juan Martinez said. I was extremely impressed when it was completed. You almost feel like you have a little college – a totally different environment. We changed the face of the school.”
Having three dental chairs with accouterments such as offertories in one classroom is high caliber, Harrington said. The camera projects real-time procedures on the writable TV screen, something that actually happens in dental school.
“The excitement for our students is that it’s non-traditional. And the desks themselves are non-traditional as well because they are designed to be moved and work collaboratively. That really is the future of college education. “This is designed to be a (21st Century) lab,” Harrington said.
Students can connect their Chromebooks to the monitor.
Visiting students can watch procedures from viewing windows in the Mountain View health sciences hallway much like observers do in a hospital, without interrupting the medical or dental procedure. The hallway also becomes an extension of the classrooms.
“I love the student-friendly EMR (Emergency Medical Responders) and CNA (Certified Nurse Assistant) classes,” said Lorenza Lujan, a health sciences teacher who oversees the dental lab, showing how the 65-inch interactive touch screen monitor splits into video/writing capability.
PSC’s Firm Principal, Hector De Santiago, said two challenges that PSC overcame as the project designer were that the Health Professions Academy Building was on a tight site and that the construction involved several utilities, De Santiago said.
Victor Oshiro teaches Pharmacology, Emergency Medical Technician courses, Medical Billing & Coding, and Emergency Medical Responders courses at Mountain View. He is enthused about all the pharmaceutical equipment, from the basics to compounding medications.
“They can not only use the tables, but they can write on them,” he said. “We have all the equipment that a dispensing pharmacy would have to make compounds.”
Keeping students engaged and happy is part of what makes the campus a success. In the dining area, tables have plug-ins with USB capability. Students have a space to go outside, whether it is to congregate or do homework. It offers different levels of privacy, said De Santiago.
Just outside the Cafetorium, a canopy of 30 trees is part of an outside focal point for its lighting features, including illuminated charging stations for every student’s Chromebook. It creates a “wow factor.”
The principal predicts the day will come when this is going to be a nationally recognized medical magnet school.
“The only way to do that is every program, every building, every part of this campus is at this level,” he said. “This new facility has paved the way for all of us to improve.”