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Tuesday , January 28 2020
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Home | Tag Archives: El Paso ISD

Tag Archives: El Paso ISD

El Paso ISD celebrates 100th day of learning

Tuesday, EPISD elementary schools marked the first 100 days of learning with parades, active learning lessons and dress up activities.

The day also featured students dressing up like centurions or sporting t-shirts covered in 100 items to recognize the more than half way point in the school year.

“It’s important to celebrate each and every day that kids come to school,” said Erika Green, Putnam Elementary active learning leader.

“But the 100th day is special because it’s a milestone for our students to realize how much they’ve learned and done and how much they’ve grown from the first day until now.”

Green offered a variety of active learning stations focused on literacy and STEM to challenge students – all centering around the number 100. These activities are representative of many throughout the district.

“This is one of my favorite days of the year because I like doing all the activities,” said second grader Yuri Cunningham.

Story by Reneé de Santos   |   Photos by Leonel Monroy & Raymond Jackson – EPISD

Memorial celebrates life of Austin alumna killed in August 3rd attack

The life and legacy of an Austin High School alumna killed in the August 3 attack at the Cielo Vista Walmart was celebrated on Thursday during a poignant memorial that united her family with a new generation of Panthers.

Maribel Hernandez-Loya, a 1980 graduate, and her husband Leo Campos died that tragic August day. Her brother reminisced about her life and time at Austin – telling students of the good times they had in the very same gym that hosted the memorial, cheering on their fellow Panthers at pep rallies.

“I want her to be remembered as a beacon of what was happening here at Austin High School in the 1980s – goodness, happiness, no hate,” her brother Albert Hernandez said. “We don’t want her to be remembered by what happened on Aug. 3. We want her to be remembered as a beacon of light, a beacon of peace.”

The memorial was a project led by a group of Austin’s Panther New Tech/Sandra Day O’Connor Public Service Academy students who wanted to do something to honor one of their own.

“We wanted to figure out a way to honor her and celebrate her life,” said senior Dylan Mauldin. “One message we want students to walk away with is that no matter what generation you’re from, what year you graduated, no matter what you do or what your race, culture or religion is, we are one big family. Everyone respects each other here.”

Mauldin and student organizers offered words of hope, often touching on what it means to be a Panther and the culture that is now known as El Paso Strong.

“We know we can’t replace her, but we can support each other, celebrate her life and heal together,” senior Francesca Ramirez told the family before presenting them with flowers and a framed photo of Hernandez-Loya taken during her sophomore year at Austin.

Mariachis, the choir and the jazz band contributed to the uplifting tribute. The Austin High-based Nueva Frontera band perfectly ended the ceremony with a bilingual rendition of the song “We Belong Together,” made famous by Ritchie Valens.

“This represents our community,” said Yvette Shibley, Hernandez-Loya’s daughter.

“Not only are they sharing their love and extending it to my mom even though she had been out of school for a long time, there are also sharing it with her extended family. It’s been very touching. They’ve embraced us and there’s nothing better than that right now.”

But more importantly for Shibley is the legacy of this next generation and the difference they can make by spreading their love and acceptance. She finds that the majority of mass shooting assailants happen to be in the age group just older than the current class of high-school students. For her, the ceremony offered a sign of hope.

“I’m hoping these kids right now are going to take over that generation and take over all the craziness we’ve had in the past few years,” Shibley said. “They are trying to support us but more than anything I want to support them because we are counting on them. This our future.”

Story by Reneé De Santos   |   Photos by Leonel Monroy – EPISD

Chapin senior earns QuestBridge scholarship to Rice University

EPISD seniors keep raking in the dough for college.

Chapin High School’s Gabrielle Franklin recently received the prestigious QuestBridge Scholarship for a full-ride to Rice University in Houston this fall.

The Chapin senior, who is the top-ranked senior in her class, is one of two EPISD students from the Class of 2020 to receive the scholarship. Laurine Kim from Franklin also received the honor and plans to attend Vassar University in New York this fall.

“I’m so excited. I wouldn’t have been able to attend college without it,” Franklin said.

Kim and Franklin are among only 1,127 seniors to be a QuestBridge National Match recipient nationwide out of more than 15,000 applicants.

Franklin’s QuestBridge package to Rice is worth more than $200,000 in tuition, fees, room and board, books and other educational needs over the course of four years. Her original top three choices were Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University and Yale, but embraces the match with Rice.

“Rice was my dream school my freshman year, but I didn’t think I stood a shot until after QuestBridge,” said Franklin, sporting a Rice sweatshirt. “After QuestBridge, I learned that I can go somewhere like Rice without being in excessive debt.”

As a Pre-Engineering Magnet student, Franklin is already setting her path for double majoring in computer science and data analytics/analysis to become a computer scientist and develop software. But the possibility of joining the NASA program at Rice also has sparked her interest.

“I’d love to do it, so I can say ‘Houston, we have a problem’ legitimately,” she joked.

When not focused on studying for her five Advanced Placement courses, Franklin plays clarinet and oboe in the Chapin band, and participates in a variety of UIL competitions including debate, social studies and computer science.

Franklin is a military-connected student whose father retired from the U.S. Army last year to allow her to complete all four years of high school at Chapin. She admits that she was nervous about moving to the border region when her father was first transferred to Fort Bliss but quickly fell in love with the city.

“El Paso is amazing,” she said. “I didn’t know anything about the culture until I came here. As military students you don’t usually feel like you’re connecting to people, but I found a family here that I could relate to and have fun with on weekends.”

Story by Reneé De Santos  |  Photo by Erika Reyes  -EPISD

Franklin senior earns prestigious QuestBridge Scholarship

Franklin senior Laurine Kim received the prestigious QuestBridge Scholarship to attend Vassar College this fall on a full ride.

Out of more than 15,000 applicants, Kim is among only 1,127 seniors to be a QuestBridge National Match recipient nationwide and the only one in EPISD.  The QuestBridge is worth more than $92,000 a year in tuition, fees, room and board, books and other educational needs.

“It’s really exciting because one of the things I was most stressed about during my college application process was how am I able to go to these top schools that I really want to go to,” she said. “QuestBridge has opened so many doors for me to dream that I had the chance to go to the top schools.”

QuestBridge is a prestigious scholarship program that grants scholars with early admission to college partners and offers them full four-year scholarships based on academic merit.

“This scholarship will ensure that all of Laurine’s education will be completely covered and allow her to obtain a degree without the worry of family contributions or student loans,” said Richard Couder, EPISD college readiness facilitator. “I hope her selection motivates other outstanding EPISD students to apply for this and other prestigious scholarships.”

The Franklin senior plans to double major in sociology and music performance but admits that those plans may change once she arrives at the New York college.

Kim began her QuestBridge journey as a junior College Prep Scholar, which allowed her to attend a conference at Pomona College in California to network with other candidates, recipients and college admissions representatives.

“It was eye opening to talk to the those reading my application and meet so many other college prep scholars,” she said. “It was good exposure to students from all around the country. I felt I was more competitive because I went through the College Prep.”

Kim, an accomplished cellist, loves to spend her free time volunteering through school clubs and activities outside of school. She has had leadership roles at Franklin in the National Honor Society and Key Club.

“I’m passionate about educational experience and relieved to know the financial aspect won’t be hindering me from anything.”

Story by Reneé de Santos  |  Photo by Leonel Monroy – EPISD

Burges High’s Bella’s Bargain celebrates 2nd anniversary

Bella’s Bargain, the student-created and student-operated thrift store at Burges, celebrated its two-year anniversary with a bang and a visit from the alumnae who helped found it.

The store, located in the former custodian quarters at Burges, is an outlet of hope for students who may have trouble securing clothing and other items in order to attend school.

On top of affordable gently-used clothing offered at bargain prices, the store offers items like prom dresses and hygiene products. For those students who can’t afford to pay, the store offers the items at no cost.

This thrift store is like no other they offer free clothing, prom dresses, and hygiene products.

Bella’s Bargains began two years ago when Burges graduates and identical twins Isabella and Arabella Cadena decided to expand on a Girls Scout community service project they had created years before. Since then, the store has become a mainstay of the school and continues to operate under the leadership of new students — including the twins’ younger sister.

School leaders said the store offers a special service to the students of Burges, who benefit in two ways: having access to affordable or no-cost clothing and getting the opportunity to do community service.

Bella’s Bargain is open from noon to 1 p.m. every school day. Donations to the store can be dropped off at the Burges main office.

Story by Victoria Castillo  |  Photos by Leonel Monroy – EPISD

One Gas Foundation donation to fund EPISD teacher grants

The One Gas Foundation in partnership with Texas Gas Service awarded the EPISD Education Foundation a check for $10,000 for secondary teacher grants through Donors Choose

Teachers can apply for up to $2,500 in grant funding for innovative classroom initiatives through this project with the One Gas Foundation.

To view the descriptions and access the link to apply, visit the One Gas Foundation Public School Funding Program web page here. The deadline to apply is March 27, 2020.

The goal of the ONE Gas Public School Funding program is to improve the classroom experience in middle schools and high schools and provide opportunities to cultivate and enhance relationships with community leaders while improving workforce development. Priorities are given to classroom enrichment projects and instructional technology, and durable curriculum-based teaching materials and equipment. is an independent 501(c)(3) organization operating a nation-wide website that spotlights instructional needs in public school classrooms.

Through this partnership, Texas Gas Service can review the applications submitted by teachers and award funds for those they believe represent maximum classroom enrichment.

This competitive review process of STEM and STEAM proposals submitted by teachers involves internal evaluation of grant requests based on impact, innovation, socio-economic need and estimated duration of use.

Story and photos by Reneé de Santos – EPISD

Stanton Elementary gets visit from Cirque du Soleil dancers

Movement, acrobatics and dance were at the center of a special presentation the famed performers from Cirque du Soleil gave the students at Stanton on Tuesday.

Dancers in full costume from Cirque du Soleil’s OVO show talked to fourth graders and showed off a few acrobatic stunts from their upcoming show in El Paso.

The fourth graders, who are learning to dance through Kids Excel, impressed the two OVO cast members with a short but energetic performance.

“Meeting the kids was the highlight of my day,” said Svetlana Delous, in her spider costume.

For Delous and her dance partner Devin Debianchi (who wears a dragonfly costume), the visit was an opportunity to speak with young performers about the importance of following one’s dreams..

“We want to inspire them, motivate them to let them know things don’t always come easy on the first try,” Delous said. “For example, Devin can do a one-arm handstand but that’s not something you can jump in and decide that’s something you can do. The same thing translates to a math problem or you are having in life. If you don’t solve on the first try, try again and believe in yourself.”

The performers will return to El Paso on March 12-15 for their show at UTEP’s Don Haskins Center.

Story by Reneé de Santos  |  Photos by Leonel Monroy – EPISD

El Paso ISD names new principal for Moye Elementary

On Wednesday, the El Paso Independent School District announced the appointment of a new permanent principal for H.R. Moye Elementary School.

Julie Anne Chavez will begin her tenure as the leader of the Northeast campus on January 23.

Chavez is currently the assistant principal at Mesita Elementary and the Mesita Early Childhood Development Center where she has served as an instructional leader, Response to Intervention coordinator, teacher evaluator and Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports lead.

“Ms. Chavez has the training, mentorship and work ethic that will make her a great fit for the Moye Elementary community,” said EPISD Superintendent Juan E. Cabrera. “We continue to find great talent within our team of educators to fill the leadership roles at our schools, which speaks volumes about the commitment to high-quality teaching and learning happening in our classrooms.”

Chavez is a 15-year veteran of public education in the region. She began her career as a teacher and instructional specialist in the San Elizario Independent School District before becoming an assistant principal at EPISD’s Burleson Elementary in 2015.

Since 2016 she has been an assistant principal at Mesita, and she has served as summer school site coordinator at both Mesita and Charles Middle School.

Chavez is a former San Elizario teacher of the year and earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees with academic honors from the University of Texas at El Paso. Her degrees are in early childhood education and educational administration.

Story by Gustavo Reveles – EPISD

El Paso ISD student musicians earn all-state honors

A total of 13 student-musicians from EPISD high schools have been given All-State honors and will perform next month.

The all-state performance will be held in San Antonio’s Henry B. González Convention Center on February 15 as part of the 2020 Texas Music Educators Association Clinic/Convention.

The students were chosen for this prestigious honor through a competitive process organized across the state at district, region, and area levels.

“We are so Proud of the band, orchestra, and choir students of EPISD for representing themselves, their schools and their communities at the state level,” said Mark Saenz, EPISD’s instrumental music facilitator. “They truly exemplify the best of the best in our state. Congrats to all the music teachers and parents who are in these students lives helping them reach this honor.”

All-State Orchestra Students:

  • Travis Langford – Symphony Orchestra, Double Bass – Franklin
  • Thomas Langford – 5A Symphonic Band – Franklin

All=State Band Students:

  • Zachary Rosenbaum – 6A Horn, Coronado
  • Pablo Aun – 6A Tenor Trombone, Coronado
  • Vivian Cai – (Recording) – 6A English Horn, Coronado
  • Analina Uribe  – 6A Bassoon, Coronado
  • Conor Wilson – 6A TMEA Jazz Ensemble 1 – Bass Trombone, Coronado

EPISD All-State choir students:

  • Jose Escoto – Tenor 1, Coronado
  • Nathan Thompson – Tenor 2, Coronado
  • Guillermo Correa-Cervantes – Bass 2, Coronado
  • Noelle Porflit – Alto 1, El Paso High
  • Isabella Ramirez – Alto 1, Irvin
  • Victoria Villalobos – Alto 2, Franklin
  • Zoe Chessa – 1st Alternate Treble, Coronado
Story by Reneé de Santos  |  Photo by EPISD Fine Arts

El Paso ISD to showcase school programs at annual Discover EPISD Expo Saturday

Students and teachers from throughout the El Paso Independent School District will gather on Saturday to for the third annual Discover EPISD Expo.

According to district officials, the event gives families from all over the region the chance to learn more about the academic and extracurricular options schools in the District offer its students.

Students and teachers will showcase programs unique to EPISD, including magnet schools, New Tech campuses, dual-language education, single-gender education, universal pre-kindergarten, International Baccalaureate and dual-credit academies.

Demonstrations also will feature award-winning programs in fine arts, fitness and career-and technology education. The expo also will feature hands-on demonstrations, informational booths, student performances and door prizes.

“As an open enrollment school district, EPISD opens its doors to any student who lives in the county,” EPISD official added. “Staff will be on hand to answer questions about registration and transfer requests.”

The Discover EPISD Expo is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, January 18, at Bassett Place, located at 6101 Gateway West Boulevard.

Putnam Principal selected to participate in state assessment advisory panel

A new Texas law requiring the state to look at new instruments to assess the progress of students will get valuable input and guidance from an experienced EPISD school administrator.

Putnam Elementary School Principal Cynthia Sanchez was nominated and appointed by Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath to serve on the Educator Advisory Committee for the implementation of House Bill 3906, which requires the Texas Education Agency to develop academically appropriate state assessment instruments.

According to the Texas Education Agency,  House Bill (HB) 3906 “addresses several components related to assessments and administration that expands input from educators, provides more flexibility at the campus level for test administration, and more.”

The TEA website goes on to outline the committee’s duty and makeup.

This educator advisory committee will advise the commissioner and the agency on the development of academically appropriate state assessment instruments. The committee will be comprised of experts in curriculum and instruction, higher education, school leadership, and individuals with experience supporting special populations. The committee will provide advice on the design and implementation of changes contemplated for the state’s assessment program.

Sanchez was selected to participate because of her vast knowledge of pedagogy and student assessment.  She will attend the first meeting of the advisory committee later this month.

For the 2019-20 school year, Sanchez is celebrating her 25th year as an educator with EPISD, as well as her 11th year as an administrator.


Sock drive donations delivered to agencies helping homeless El Pasoans

When Richardson sixth-grader Evan Lopez came calling, the community came calling.

Evan has helped gather socks for homeless El Pasoans for years, knowing full well that in order to stay warm people need to keep their feet covered.

His sock drive, which expanded from his old school at Nixon Elementary to his current one at Richardson, helped gather more than 750 pairs of socks.

During the holiday break, Evan and his family delivered the donated socks — plus a couple of other items — to three agencies in El Paso helping the homeless. One of them is the Rescue Mission of El Paso.

Evan said he is thankful to everyone who donated items and helped spread the word about the sock drive.

District officials commended Lopez’s actions, saying “His commitment to school and desire to help his community makes him a clear example of someone who has the EPISD Proud Spirit.”

Story by Gustavo Reveles  |  Photo by Evan Lopez  – EPISD

Soldiers, Batman greet Stanton Elementary students returning to classes

The students at Stanton Elementary School returned to classes Wednesday after the end of the winter break, and they got a special treat as they walked in.

Waiting for them were a group of American heroes: members of the U.S. Army who were there to give them books, orange juice and encouraging words to help them start the second half of the school year.

The soldiers, all wearing their fatigues, even brought another superhero friend.

Batman was there to high-five kids and wish them luck in the spring semester.

EPISD students returned to school on Wednesday after the winter break.

Story by Gustavo Reveles  |  Photos by Stanton ES  –  EPISD

El Paso ISD Community Schools celebrates its volunteers

EPISD Community School volunteers were thanked for constantly going above and beyond in their efforts to help students and their families during a holiday luncheon last week.

The luncheon was just one way to thank the volunteers who make up EPISD’s efforts to connect students and families to community services aimed at helping them reach their academic and economic goals.

The volunteers help with outreach like job fairs, food pantries and adult learning courses.

Community Schools is a program that currently serves six campuses in EPISD, as well as the neighborhoods surrounding them. The campuses are: Bowie High School, Guillen Middle School and Hart, Aoy, Douglass and Zavala elementary schools.

“This is a great program to get parents involved in their children’s school,” said Juan Adame, a VISTA volunteer with Community Schools program. “They do so much to help our kids and our parents … it’s our turn to thank, them.”

The luncheon included holiday treats like doughnuts and coffee, as well as steaming hot menudo. Participants also chatted and played games to celebrate a job well done.

But for many of the volunteers, the fun will be short-lived. They want to get back to serving their communities.

“I like to help,” said Amber Fernandez, who often helps the program with food pantry deliveries. “This program has helped a lot of people. And a lot of people come out.”

Story by Victoria Castillo  |  Photos by Leonel Monroy –  EPISD

Bowie students open Bear merch store

The Oso Good Food Truck students debut their latest business venture Thursday, selling Bowie swag and other merch for alumni, students and staff in their new store.

The Bowie Cave, located within the school’s cafeteria, formally dedicated the store Thursday evening – nearly selling out the shirts, hoodies, beanies, mugs and other spirit merchandise. The store also will have a print shop for students and staff can order copies, laminate and posters. It also has seating for a student hang out.

“It’s a great new project we’re doing,” said senior Emily Badillo, marketing manager. “We’re really excited. I think it’s going to bring more students together. They’ll want to come to the store and chill or to buy something new.

The store will mostly be managed by students in the culinary club, but StuCo, courtesies and other students will have the opportunity to work in the store for retail experience and community service.

Profits from the store go back to the school.

“It’s not just for our club,” said chef Christopher Puga, who runs the culinary program. “The culinary student wanted to go outside the box. They already do customer service and they’ve been successful at it but their thought was let’s think about doing something for the whole school and not just something that benefits our program and the food truck. ‘What’s our next step?’”

The store will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on school days.

Puga said he also will be bringing in retail managers from area businesses to interact with the students, showing them that they are doing real-world applications.

The students expect the store to also be a source of pride for their alma mater. The store opened with approximately 10 different types of merchandise but will grow to at least 20 in January after winter break include a variety of clothes and accessories with the oso mascot – some specifically for alumni.

“This is a good way to buy stuff and represent Bowie,” said senior Emmanuel Meneses, general manager. “It’s a great thing.”

Senior Jennifer Candia, the store manager, agrees.

“We have great alumni,” Candia said. “When alumni see us out in the community wearing a Bowie shirt, they’ll get excited and ask if we go to Bowie. It makes us feel proud.”

Story and photos by Reneé de Santos – EPISD
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