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Monday , July 16 2018
Home | Tag Archives: El Paso ISD

Tag Archives: El Paso ISD

El Paso ISD Hosting Summer Institute for Teachers

Not all teachers stay clear of the classroom during their summer break.

That’s the case for more than 260 educators from throughout the El Paso Independent School District, who this week spent the day at Franklin for the Summer Institute to brush up on a variety of topics and bring fresh ideas to their classroom.

Teachers participating in the third annual Summer Institute also received a day credit – allowing them to extend their summer break to August 6 instead of returning on August 3.

“This year’s Teachers Summer Institute features a choice of more than 60 sessions a day focusing on curriculum, district resources, fine arts, health, physical education and technology,” said Kathy Seufert, director of staff development.

“Teachers gain valuable information that will help them get the next school year off to a great start.”

White Elementary teacher Maria Esperon took the “Exploring with Clay” session taught by her colleague Bertha Guerrero. Like a pro, she modeled her air-dry clay into a turtle and even helped her neighboring teacher attach ears on a bunny.

“I took this session because I knew I could incorporate it into what I teach and thought it would be relaxing for my students,” Esperon, a special education teacher said. “I like the fact that you can choose what you would like to take at the Summer Institute. I never had the opportunity to do art. I think it’s good for all kids.”

Esperon also attended the institute just in case she decided not to return until August 6.

“I thought it would give me one day of freedom but I’m sure I’ll be at Zach White (on August 3) in my classroom,” the dedicated educator said.

Also at Franklin, Gifted and Talented teachers attended sessions to receive their GT update.

Powell teaching coach Lauren Cano’s STEM session gave teachers a collaborative lesson on building a tower with colorful pipe cleaner. Among her students on Tuesday was her mom, Leslie Horvath, who teaches at Crockett Elementary School.

“It’s a little unusual to have my mom in the class because I’m used to always going to her for help,” Cano said. “But this is something we started at Powell and by sharing what we are doing, I’m able to give back.”

Horvath happily took instruction from her daughter.

“It gives me a great sense of accomplishment,” she said. “It’s nice to watch her give me ideas to take back to my classroom.”

Story by Reneé de Santos  | Photos by Alicia Chumley – EPISD

Summer Band Camp lets Ross, Wiggs Students Practice Their Skills

For students Ross and Wiggs middle schools, the summer break meant much more than long naps and time in front of the television. For these students, most of whom are new to band, the first part of the long break was spent jamming on percussion, woodwind and brass instruments.

“The summer band camp helps students stay in shape over the summer. Our main goal is to keep them playing,” Wiggs band director Jaime Orpinel said. “We want them to keep those skills up and start the year strong.”

Although the final concert has a patriotic focus, students are allowed to cut loose and play music outside of their usual repertoire.

“We like to do pop selections that are fun for the kids to play,” Orpinel said. “These songs have little thing they aren’t even aware they are doing, such as chromatic scales. The camp also gives students an opportunity to expand on their playing and even learn different instruments.”

The camp is divided into beginning and advanced classes. New students can get a jump on playing their instruments before the start of the semester and returning band students can work on techniques they have learned throughout the previous school year.

Ross eighth-grader Michael Genera loves practicing his skills on the tuba. This is the second year he participates in summer band camp.

“I have been playing for two years, and it’s awesome because music really expands your mind,” he said. “This is a great program to get you out of the house and instead do something. I get to hang out with my band mates and play with students from other schools.”

Former summer band students volunteer every year to help serve as mentors and motivate students to continue playing at the high school level. El Paso High students welcomed Wiggs student Amber Carrillo into the fold.

“I already feel like I am part of the band. The band family has already said, ‘hey come play with us,’” Carrillo said. “Summer band shows your commitment to the band program and that you really want to do it.”

The three-week summer band camp ended with a combined concert, featuring music from the Beatles and the Marches of the Armed Forces.

Burges Students Compete in National JROTC Academic Bowl

Four JROTC students from this East-Central school packed their bags for a trip to Washington, but this was no vacation.

The incoming seniors competed in the 2018 Army JROTC Academic Bowl, also known as JLAB, where they won two of the nine competitions there and ranked among the top 3 percent of all JROTC teams in the country.

The Mustangs who competed were Camila de Leon, Jeremiah Davis Bell, Ryan Cruz and Dylan Jimenez.

“It’s a great honor to represent Burges JROTC and EPISD on a national level,” said JROTC instructor Jose Hernandez. “Our motto is ‘Our discipline got us started, and our passion keeps us going.’ That’s what got us this far.”

The competition officially started last November with more than 1,000 teams participating in Level I and Level II. Only the top 32 teams are chosen to compete at the championship.

“I believe we have a really strong team,” Hernandez said. “They know who’s good at what so they each can focus on their individual subjects.”

Cruz, who has been in JROTC the last three years, joined the academic team his sophomore year.

“As far as I know, this is the first time Burges has qualified for a competition like this,” Cruz said. “So, we are hoping this sets the standard for years to come.”

The team has been preparing by watching competitions from previous years and studying nonstop.

“It’s very rewarding because when we first started we didn’t expect to get this far,” Jimenez said. “We have been going over study material online. There’s nothing specific to study for because they will ask you anything from bodies of water around the world to Greek mythology. You really just have to be prepared for anything.”

Camilla de Leon excels at language arts – something she puts to good use as part of the academic team.

“Since we are not given specific things to study, we would get together and study things we are learning in class,” she said. “We also would drill each other on facts, anything from math, English, history and current events.”

For fellow teammate Jeremiah Davis Bell, the team has become much more than just academic achievement.

“We all have our own individual strengths, and we help each other however we can,” he said. “We are like family. We are brothers and sisters.”

He hopes the competition will help showcase the school.

“It feels awe inspiring to represent the District,” he said. “I see it as a chance to show other schools around the nation that anyone can make it if you put forth the effort.”

Story by Alicia Chumley  |  Photo by Leonel Monroy – EPISD

Via EPISD’s ‘SNAP’ Program, English Language Learners Sharpen Their Skills

English Language Learners in the El Paso Independent School District are improving their language skills with a SNAP!, the Summer Newcomers Academy Pilot program.

The Guillen Middle-based program uses project-based learning with students who are learning English to get them ready for the incoming 2018-19 academic year.

“This is a way for our English Language Learning students to practice their language skills through fun, engaging activities,” teacher Luis Diaz said. “The kids keep coming back. Every day they are excited to learn.”

Diaz wrote the curriculum for the three-week program with fellow Wiggs Middle School teacher Jerusha Hunt, focusing on learning about math, science and language through comic books and graphic novels.

“Comic books and graphic novels are high interest,” Hunt said. “You can make a lot of inferences from the pictures, so they are not intimidated by how much English is on the page.”

Students are not only reading about superheroes, they are creating their own. They were tasked with writing and illustrating a comic strip and designing a t-shirt logo for their superhero … or villain.

Incoming sixth-graders Jorge Vaquera and Daniel Guzman teamed up to create their original characters and storyline.

“We wrote about two superheroes. One of them turned evil,” Vaquera said. “The good one is named Shalf and he’s a telepath. Nibor is bad, but he is really strong.”

His favorite project so far has been designing the logo for his comic, but he has also really enjoyed the science, technology, engineering and math component of SNAP!

“I have liked everything about the camp so far, but I have learned a lot about math and science,” he said. “If I wasn’t here I would be laying down at home. It’s better to be here so I won’t be bored.”

Students have learned fundamental math and science terms, such as mass, density and graphing, through fun projects.

The first week, they built comic book-inspired canoes out of cardboard, testing their buoyancy in kiddie pools. The second week, the students built a rocket out of a plastic bottle to launch and graph its trajectory.

Ulises Monkada couldn’t wait to see how far up his “Rocket U” would go.

“I have been so excited since Monday,” he said. “We have been doing so many things. There are two days of learning and two days of constructing our projects. This program is really fun because we work on a lot of projects and work in groups.”

The most important thing, Monkada said, is that they get to work on perfecting their English.

“We get to work on our English, and I like it because it’s not just sitting in class,” he said. “We are having so much fun, and we are getting ready for sixth-grade.”

Story by Alicia Chumley  |  Photos by Leonel Monroy – EPISD

Cultural Arts Academy Focuses on Ancient Japan

Students participating in the EPISD Cultural Arts Academy this summer will travel nearly 1,000 years to the past to experience ancient Japan’s culture and art.

The academy — a 32-year-old summer enrichment camp attended by hundreds of EPISD middle-school students interested in art, music, literature and history — will focus on Japan’s Heian period that lasted from 794 to 1185 AD.

“This year we are taking a more global approach and exploring periods of great change in both the western and eastern parts of the world,” program director Elisa Barton said. “We focused on this time period in Japan because it’s really a turning point in the country’s history.”

The program will marry east and west with a performance of Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” and selections from the Noh repertoire, such as “Hagoromo” and “Kurozuka.” Students have also immersed themselves in Japanese art and literature, creating their own origami puppet movies and writing their own takes on eastern folk tales.

The three-week program will culminate in a performance on June 27 at Chapin High School.

This is the second year Nolan Richardson middle-school student Hunter Webber participates in the Cultural Arts Academy.

“My favorite part is the theater,” he said. “I like acting, and it’s been cool to learn more about different cultures.”

He hasn’t minded the shift in programming and location.

“I think it’s neat we get to learn something new every year,” Webber said. “It puts a new take on the Renaissance idea.”

Magoffin middle-schooler Americas Huerta is new to the program, but she is already making plans for next year’s camp.

“I think it’s fun. I have already made a lot of new friends,” she said. “I really like that they let use our imagination instead of being at home just watching TV.”

Huerta used a fine brush to create a Noh mask, making sure to get the details of the cherry blossom tree on the mask’s papier-mâché surface.

“I got inspiration from one of the girls in the presentation,” she said. “Her makeup was very pretty and dramatic.”

Art teacher Jen Moreno introduced students to the concept of Japanese theater by showing them different kinds of performance masks.

“The majority of the kids don’t get to venture out and learn about different cultures,” she said. “This is an opportunity for them to experience something they have never seen before.”

The performance will take place at the Chapin High School theater at 6 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Story by Alicia Chumley \ Photos by Leonel Monroy – EPISD

Silva Magnet Summer Camp Helps Students Pursue Their DREAMS

Middle-school students took a two-week break from their summer vacation to learn about forensics, nutrition and robotics at Silva Health Magnet.

The 200 students are enrolled in the annual Developing Research and Early Aspirations Medical Scholars or DREAMS summer camp.

The program, which began last week, gives incoming sixth graders a chance to explore DNA, solve a fictitious crime, learn to do chest compressions and exercise while learning about staying healthy. The program is open to students who were enrolled in Title 1 elementary campuses.

Program coordinator Ashley Sheldon, a counselor at Terrace Hills Middle School, sees how students flourish in the program, making meaningful connections and grasping new concepts.

“If you go watch a student who has never programmed a robot figure out how to get a robot through an obstacle course, you see the joy in their eyes and the confidence that they didn’t have even the week before,” she said.

Alyssa Rocha – each of her fingertips stained with black ink – magnified her fingerprints to get a closer view during a lesson on forensics. She and her classmates held up their blackened fingerprints while teachers and Silva volunteers walked around the classroom handing out baby wipes.

“I think this is good,” she said, examining her finger-printed masterpiece. “It makes kids get more intelligent and learn more.”

In the hallway, students hunched over laptops programming robots in an obstacle course marked on the floor with masking tape. In another classroom, students studied calories and fats. Sheldon likes the fact that the program is at Silva – giving potential Silva students a glimpse into the classrooms and health-related curriculum. 

“They learn a lot about fingerprints, DNA and things that they were not previously exposed to,” she said. “They love that the physician from the medical school will provide the samples for them to examine. It makes them feel like they’re on their way to medical school.”

Recent Silva graduate Miguel Saucedo returned to Silva this summer to volunteer with the middle schoolers. He’s enjoyed watching them discover and explore the different elements of the camp as they work together to solve problems and figure out practical solutions.

“DREAMS doesn’t just open their minds,” he said. “It opens their imagination and makes them go over the horizon.”

Dejia Quinonez, who will be attending Armendariz in the fall, originally wanted to do a soccer camp but thought DREAMS might open her eyes to a possible career and make new friends.

“So far, it’s been really good,” she said. “We’re learning healthy stuff and exercising. I like the robotics because we’re learning how to put them into races. You really get to put your mind into it.”

Story by Reneé De Santos \ Photos by Alicia Chumley – El Paso ISD

El Paso ISD Officials: School Closures Vote to be Postponed

Thursday morning, the El Paso Independent School District Board President Trent Hatch announced the postponement of Thursday night’s discussion and vote on the proposed campus closures.

Via a news release, officials stated, “After extensive discussions with EPISD administration, Superintendent Juan Cabrera requested the postponement of the vote because it was determined that a near balanced budget could be presented for approval to trustees at tonight’s regular board meeting.”

President Hatch said the postponement will give the district more time to prepare for a potential closure of schools in the near future.

“I am grateful that administration, working with our teacher associations, identified cost-saving measures to get us closer to a balanced budget,” Hatch said. “Over the last few weeks, we have heard from the community regarding school closures and we want them to know that we take their input seriously,” he added.

“However, we are still committed to right-sizing the district because we want to invest in our students and teachers and secure the financial well-being of EPISD.”

Administration will continue drafting plans for the possible transitioning of students and staff upon approval of school closures by the board. EPISD will plan additional community meetings and informational sessions.

EPISD’s Parent & Child Learning Series Provides Learning, Fun Opportunities for Summer

El Paso ISD’s Parent and Child Learning Series is back this summer to help give students fun things to do while they’re on break.

The Family Engagement department launched the learning series last year, teaming up with several EPISD schools and public libraries to offer the program to the El Paso community. The program started last week and runs through June 28

“We are providing an opportunity for parents to get more involved with their children,” Zavala PEL Edna Herrera said. “We have a lesson plan we follow for the program that incorporates reading and a fun activity they can do together.”

Classes are offered at Zavala Elementary and Guillen Middle schools, as well as the Memorial and Dorris Van Doren branches of the El Paso Public Library system.

Parent Maria Chacon likes doing hands-on activities with her two children Caleb and Melody. They have already attended two of the learning sessions at Zavala.

“I think it’s a really good idea,” she said. “During the activity yesterday, I learned a lot about my kids that I didn’t know. Sometimes at home we don’t have time, so it’s been great being able to do stuff like this with them.”

Caleb is enjoying his time with his family before he starts sixth-grade at Henderson in the fall.

“I like that we are together,” he said. “It’s fun to read with my mom and sister. Sports books are my favorite.”

At the Memorial Public Library, the lesson plan includes a nutrition lesson, courtesy of Common Threads – a nationwide organization that teaches families the importance of creating healthful meals through its Cooking for Life program.

Program coordinator Linda Flores showed families the difference between go, slow and woe foods.

“We are doing our Small Bites program, which is our nutrition education for pre-k to eighth-grade students,” Flores said. “We start with some hands-on activity related to nutrition, and then we go ahead and have them make their own healthy snack.”

The Parent and Child Learning series will continue until the end of the month.  For more information, call the Family Engagement Department at 915-239-2553.

Check out the schedule below for dates and locations:

Zavala Elementary School

Tuesdays through Thursdays

8:30 – 10:30 a.m.

Guillen Middle School annex

Tuesdays through Thursdays

9 – 11 a.m.

Memorial Public Library

Tuesdays through Thursdays

12 – 2 p.m.

Dorris Van Doren Public Library

Mondays through Wednesdays

12:30 – 2:30 p.m.

Story by Alicia Chumley  |  Photos by Leonel Monroy – El Paso ISD

Video+Story: EPISD’s Social & Emotional Learning Camp Benefits Military Students

Thanks to a Department of Defense Education Activity grant and the El Paso Independent School District (EPISD) Social and Emotional Learning continues for district students this summer.

The grant provides summer enrichment for military-connected students at EPISD, welcoming them to attend SEL-centered camps at the University of Texas at El Paso.

Students were able to choose from among a variety of one-week camps, such as Empowerment 4Girls by Women, Leadership Institute, Youth Empowerment Sports Camps and among others.

“The camps are helping our student learn about self-esteem and self-empowerment. They will learn about positive choices and how to manage their emotions,” program manager Ericka Armendariz said. “Not only do they learn about sports, but they get to learn how to be a good team mate and help out others.”

The camps kicked off last week and will continue until July 27.

“It’s for military students, but the focus this year is different,” Armendariz said. “Last year, we gave students the opportunity to learn more about engineering, so we had robotics camps.”

This the second year Ross Middle School student Sydney Cole participated in the summer DoDEA camp.

“It’s pretty fun because I get to do fun activities, and I get to play sports that I like,” she said.

“It’s better to come here because I would just be sitting in my room coloring and drawing. When I come out here, I get to meet new people and participate with them instead of being my shy self. I have made a lot of new friends.”

Bassett Middle student Samuel Romero couldn’t wait to sign up for the program when he heard about it.

“I joined because one, summer chores, you know. Two, because I thought it would be a neat experience. I’ve never been to camp,” he said. “I love that everybody here is like a family. We get along well.”

Romero recommends students take advantage of these fun summer camps next year.

“They should come to the camp to learn leadership skills and how to play certain sports like soccer, dodgeball and volleyball,” he said. “You can enhance your speed.”

Story by Alicia Chumley  |  Photos by Leonel Monroy  |  Video by Angel Dominguez/EPISD

Video+Story: Students, Community bid Farewell to Burnet Elementary

On a day filled with memories, stories and even a few tears, students and teachers at Burnet on Friday gathered to mark the end of an era.

Burnet will merge with Travis, Powell and Logan elementary schools starting this fall, and students in this neighborhood will create new memories and traditions at their new combined campuses.

Students released 63 brown, gold and white balloons – one for each year the campus on Thomason Avenue was open – right as the last bell of the school year rang at Burnet.

“This is a celebration of the wonderful things that happened on this campus for so many years,” said Millie Williams, the interim principal at Burnet. “It is also a celebration of the great things that our students will accomplish as they move forward to their new merged schools.  They’re going to be in good hands.”

Festivities began mid-day for students to celebrate the legacy of the school and its current and former students with a parade and cookout. Evening events gave students, faculty, staff, alumni and the community a chance to reminisce and say a final farewell.

Students and guests left the campus with a special Burnet bear in remembrance of their school.

Each grade level marched around the campus for a parade, giving them a chance to have a final walk through of their school. After the parade, students headed outside to play games and have one last play day with their Burnet friends. They played with not a care in the world, easily forgetting the circumstances of the festivities.

“Today has been amazing. We had lots of fun,” fifth grader and All-Burnet Girl Noelly Cobos said. “It’s been a good way to celebrating the closing of the school by not being sad – just having fun.”

Former principal Carmen LaFarrell sat in the cafeteria, reminiscing about her days as principal in the 1980s. She had perfect recall of her role as the school’s leader, proudly talking about her reading and parental engagement programs.

“This school was very college-oriented,” she said. “We would say ‘when you go to college, not if you go to college.’ That was engrained in them the first day. I think that inspired them. This was a good school for the community.”

Grace Guzman spent Friday afternoon volunteering at her alma mater with her sisters cooking hotdogs and making sure the students enjoyed their last day. She glanced over at the fully-grown, mature trees providing subtle shade in the 100-plus heat.

“I was here when they planted those trees. I think I was in first grade,” said Guzman, a Burnet student in the 1960s. “I remember the big holes they dug.”

Guzman remembers her time at Burnet with fondness, recalling the good teachers involved in her education.

“It was like a security blanket,” she said. “It was a small school but very tight.”

Third-grade teacher Yolanda Fernandez spent 25 years teaching at Burnet – all but one year of her teaching career in EPISD.

“This is where I grew as a teacher. I’ve been here half my life,” said Fernandez, who also taught at Rusk Elementary.  “It’s sad for me but then I know we need to move on.”

The veteran teacher plans to follow Burnet students to Travis to continue serving the families she’s come to know and love.

“We’re a big a family here,” she said. “It is like breaking up a family but we will see each other again because a family never really breaks apart.”

Story by Reneé De Santos  |  Photos by Alicia Chumley  |  Video by Raymond Jackson/EPISD

El Paso ISD Students Earn Terry, Gates Scholarships

Five EPISD students have received the prestigious Terry Foundation scholarship to attend the University of Texas at El Paso this fall, while a student from El Paso High School will get a full-ride at Standford University after being named a Gates Millennium Scholar.

The Terry Foundation in partnership with UTEP awarded the full-ride scholarship to 14 Texas high-school graduates who show promise as future leaders. The following students earned the Terry Scholars distinction: Gabriel Roman Herrera and Sheridan Crenshaw, Coronado High; Proga Fahmi Hassan, El Paso High; Luis G. Hinojos, Franklin High; and Danielle S. Narimissaei, Silva Health Magnet.

“It makes me feel really honored to have been selected for this award out of a huge pool of students,” Hinojos said. “It’s not just an award to attend school. You are welcomed into the Terry family, so you get counseling, partnerships, friendships. I am very fortunate to be part of this incredible support system.”

Franklin senior Luis Hinojos was honored to be selected out of more than 400 applicants.

He hopes to pursue a degree in political science and a minor in biomedical engineering before attending law school.

“I don’t have to worry financially for my undergrad studies, which will be a great lead in when I pursue law school,” Hinojos said. “My goal is to become a medical lawyer.”

To be eligible, students must meet academic criteria, as well as demonstrated leadership and financial need. UTEP has already started making the rounds, presenting awards to students at their campuses.

For El Paso High senior Proga Fahmi Hassan, the scholarship helped her decide to stay in El Paso to pursue her studies.

“I didn’t think I would get I because I had done everything to go to UT Austin. Receiving this award definitely changed my plans,” she said. “At the end of the day, I love what the Terry Foundation stands for because of all the community service the organization does.”

Hassan also wants to go into the biomedical field and eventually go to medical school.

“I didn’t realize how many more opportunities there were for me at UTEP compared to UT. This is the best place for me,” she said. “Now I don’t have to worry about money, so I can focus on school.”

The El Paso High student is excited to walk across the stage next week at graduation.

“I am going to remember my teachers the most. The school is so beautiful, the teachers are the ones that made the biggest impact on me,” Hassan said. “They made you excited about whatever subject it was they were teaching. There’s so much support here.”

Fellow El Paso High student and class valedictorian Pierce Davis has been awarded the Gates Millennium Scholarship – one of only 300 students to receive the award nationwide.

“It felt to me like all that hard work in high school had really paid off. It made a huge difference for the university that I wanted to attend,” Davis said. “I called my parents right away to let them know that everything was going to be alright because I got the Gates scholarship. It was a really cool feeling. They were really thrilled about it.”

The senior has big plans after high school – attend Stanford University and eventually become a neuroscientist or bio-engineer.

“I have always been a STEM person. That’s the reason I chose Stanford because they are one of the few schools that has this bio-engineering major,” he said. “It is something that really interests me because it opens up a lot of doors.”

He is looking forward to starting his studies in the fall but will always call El Paso High home.

“It’s a bittersweet moment. I’m leaving the place I have called home for the past four years,” Davis said. “I really realized what a great community we have here and what a great job the district does of building that foundation for a lot of high school students that are transitioning to the next level of higher education. I think the biggest takeaway for me is that I know if I come back I am still going to have that support system. I am going to have the morals and the foundation that the District instilled in me.”

Story by Alicia Chumley – EPISD

El Paso ISD Education Foundation Awards $70K in Scholarships to Seniors

The EPISD Education Foundation visited 13 senior awards assemblies this year to surprise 67 graduating seniors with a $1,000 scholarship.

Board members awarded scholarships at all 10 traditional high schools, Silva Health Magnet, Transmountain Early College High School and the College, Career and Technology Academy delivering scholarships during graduation season.

“Every year, we look forward to the senior award assemblies and presenting scholarships to our students,” said Russell Wiggs, foundation president. “We’re happy to be able to play a little part in helping our students get a college education.”

The $70,000 included scholarships from the Foundation’s partner funds – the Irvin Alumni Association, Paso del Norte Foundation, Del Norte Lion’s Club, EPISD Council of PTAs and the Coach Archie Duran Memorial Scholarship.

All scholarships were for $1,000 with the exception of the two PTA Scholarships, which were $500 each.

“When I was awarded the Foundation Scholarship I was overjoyed,” said Michelle Paxon, a Silva Health Magnet graduate.

“This scholarship gave me hope to believe that there is a way for me to reach my dream – college. I have always planned to get into medical school, and I now understand that being able to achieve that dream requires a lot of money. With scholarships like the Foundation scholarship, I now know that there is hope towards reaching such a goal and I am thankful to have received this scholarship.”

Since 1994, the EPISD Education Foundation has awarded more than $2 million in scholarships in scholarship and grants to benefit EPISD students and teachers.

Scholarships are being made possible through the Foundation’s major sponsors: Engage to Learn, El Paso Electric, the Hospitals of Providence, Wet and Wild Waterworld, Hunt Family Foundation, Peter Piper Pizza, Teachers Federal Credit Union, Hellas, Jacobs, Imagine Learning, K-12 Insight, Gibson Ruddock Patterson and Mounce Green Myers.

Story by Reneé de Santos

El Paso ISD Lists Properties for Sale on District Website

Just days after announcing a major budget shortfall due to declining attendance, El Paso ISD officials published an on-line catalog of properties up for sale.

The properties range from vacant properties near existing campuses, to now-unused cottages, to two closed elementary schools. All the properties had previously been identified as surplus by the district.  Most of the properties are in Northeast El Paso.

On the district’s website, under the general information tab, officials posted the following statement:

The Board of Trustees of the El Paso Independent School District, in an effort to decrease operating costs and minimize the District’s capital footprint is seeking to liquidate or re-purpose a number of surplus real estate assets. The facilities on this website have been formally identified by the board as surplus and no longer needed for school purposes.

No prices were listed for any of the properties, nor were terms or documents related to bidding or purchasing the properties.

On Thursday afternoon (May 31st), EPISD Board President Trent Hatch and other officials announced the $7million shortfall due to declining attendance across the district.

During the news conference, officials said additional school closures were also being considered to bridge the funding gap. They pointed to the loss of 1000 students this school year, and an additional 1000 projected to be lost for the 2018-19 school year, and the trend is expected to continue in the following years.

As for the fate of other schools that may be closed in the wake of the budget shortfall revelation, no decision has been made by the district or the Board of Trustees.

According to our news partners over at KTSM,  EPISD will hold community discussions after the scheduled Board of Trustees meeting on June 21st to help identify campuses which could be affected.

Video+Story: Groundbreaking Ceremony Marks Starts of Major Construction at Crockett

While the school year may be coming to a close, work at most EPISD Bond 2016 campuses is not taking a summer break.

District officials, campus staff and students participated in a groundbreaking ceremony at Crockett Elementary School for the first of the major construction projects that are funded by the voter-approved Bond 2016 program.

Students in yellow construction hats helped turned the dirt over for the start of a $6.9-million renovation and upgrade to the historic Central El Paso school.

Some of the work includes renovations and repairs to the historic façade of the building, new playgrounds and perimeter fencing, new drop-off zone and parking areas, roof replacement, construction of 21st century technology classrooms, and ADA and electrical upgrades throughout the school.

“We have been looking forward to this for quite some time,” principal Elco Ramos said. “We were able to include all the things we had identified from the bond advisory committee, so we are very excited to finally have this in the works.”

Trustee Susie Byrd, who represents the neighborhoods that surround Crockett, talked to the students about her years as a student at the Central school.

“I remember playing kickball on this playground and skinning my knee all the time, but now you guys will be able to play on some grass,” Byrd said. “We want to provide a place where all you’re focused on is learning and staying engaged with your teacher. That’s really what the goal of this project was. We want you to go to a school that you’re proud of – where you go to feel safe and comfortable.”

Fourth-grader Carlos Albidrez is looking forward to the improvements, especially being able to get to school on time.

“I feel really good. I feel like it’s going to help us because it’s going to be easier getting into school,” he said, noting that the current drop-off zone creates long lines of cars. “It’s really going to clear up traffic when you get to where you drop off your kids.”

Fellow classmate Julian Priego can’t wait to run through the new grass once its planted.

“I think it’s going to be a lot more safe because with rocks around people can throw them,” Julian said. “It’s going to be more fun and safe with grass.”

But perhaps some of the most important work will be in the preservation of the historic building, which turns 100 in 2020, as well as the upgrades in classrooms the school will receive.

As part of Bond 2016, new 21st century classrooms will be built in the school.

“This is a beautiful, old school that deserves to be preserved and admired,” said Board President Trent Hatch. “But that doesn’t mean the kids who attend this campus don’t deserve the latest in technology and instruction. Bond 2016 will help us get that here.”

This is the first in a series of groundbreaking for major construction projects funded by Bond 2016.

The Board of Trustees will soon begin approving contracts for major school construction and renovations that include significant upgrades to 17 campuses.

Story by Alicia Chumley  |  Photos by Leonel Monroy  |  Video by Angel Dominguez – EPISD

EPISD Names New Principals for Coronado, Cooley

The El Paso Independent School District announced Tuesday the appointment of two veteran educators as principals at Coronado High School and Cooley Elementary.

The new principal at Coronado is longtime educator and administrator Marc Escareno. Elizabeth Prangner will assume the role of principal at Cooley on a permanent basis after serving as acting principal for several months.

“EPISD understands that the role of a school principal is a deeply important one, and I am confident that we have selected two amazing leaders to serve the students and communities at Coronado and Cooley,” said Superintendent Juan E. Cabrera.

“Mr. Escareno and Ms. Prangner have a history of commitment to the children of El Paso that will serve their staffs and students well. I have confidence they will do a great job.”

Escareno is currently an assistant principal at Franklin High School, and has previously served as principal at Kohlberg Elementary and interim principal at both Franklin and Bowie High School.

A former English and social studies teacher at Burges High School, Escareno has an undergraduate degree from the University of Maryland and a master’s degree from the University of Texas at El Paso. He is a U.S. Air Force veteran.

Prangner is an experienced educator with nearly 30 years of experience as a teacher, assistant principal and principal. Before her assignment to Cooley, she served as principal at Hart and Alta Vista elementary schools. She taught bilingual education at schools in El Paso, Grand Prairie and Dallas.

She also taught GED and other adult-education courses at federal correctional institutions in Fort Worth and Anthony, Texas. She has a bachelor’s degree and two master’s degrees from UTEP.