Superintendent Juan Cabrera presented the guiding principles educators in EPISD will use in the next five years to help students reach their academic and life goals during a special presentation to civic and business leaders.
“EPISD 2020: Creating Global Learners” is the official strategic plan the District will use for the next five years to help administrators and educators draft strategies for high-quality teaching and learning in our campuses.
Cabrera spoke about the plan to about 300 people at an event benefiting the EPISD Education Foundation.
“Much of our future work requires us to think outside the box and take risks,” he said. “In the long run, we know this will result in innovative teaching and learning that will better prepare our students for life after high school.”
EPISD 2020 focuses on three general areas:
• Broader Aims
• Engaging, Challenging and Active Learning
• Future Focus
Broader Aims means the District will no longer only focus in providing instruction to students. Rather, EPISD will move toward offering programs that provide career readiness, character building and social and emotional learning opportunities.
Instruction in EPISD will no longer be in the form of passive, sit-and-get lectures. Teachers will be trained to create lessons that challenge and engage students, and also offer them the opportunity to learn in active, hands-on manner.
Students also will learn using modern equipment in facilities that are conducive to future-ready instruction.
“As you can see, EPISD 2020 is a massive undertaking, but the plan will help us reach our student-learning goals.” Cabrera said.
“And in the long run, the plan will help us graduate students who are critical, knowledgeable and creative thinkers; informed problem solvers; effective bilingual communicators; responsible leaders and productive citizens; and socially and emotionally intelligent individuals.”
Cabrera added that in order to improve student achievement, the District has moved away from standardized testing as an instructional goal and instead has adopted three goals:
• Providing engaging and challenging lessons to make learning fun and varied;
• Building strong supports for teachers so that they are up to date on the latest instructional techniques and research; and
• Modernizing our learning environments so that all students, regardless of their ZIP code, have appropriate school spaces.
Cabrera in his address outlined some of the successes EPISD has had over the last 2½ years in transforming the District from one that faced serious fiscal and community engagement issues, into one that is nationally recognized as a leader in education innovation.
Those programs include the creation of PowerUp, which distributed 17,000 laptops to all high-school students and made instructional technology more easily accessible; and New Tech, which created two project-based learning schools at Franklin and Irvin high schools.
The superintendent also spoke about other Points of Pride like the creation of the Mesita Early Childhood Education Center at Vilas and the expansion of the Dual Language Program to all elementary and most middle schools.
Cynthia Gomez, a senior at Bowie High School, spoke at the EPISD 2020 luncheon about how the District had impacted her life and education after moving from Mexico to El Paso.
“Bowie and EPISD have opened so many doors. They have given me many opportunities,” said Gomez, who is graduating as a salutatorian in her class despite having learned English only last year. “I want to thank my teachers and EPISD for helping me reach goals.”
EPISD 2020 benefited the EPISD Education Foundation, which provides scholarships to graduating seniors and classroom impact grants for teachers.