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Wednesday , October 16 2019
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Home | Tag Archives: EPISD

Tag Archives: EPISD

Gallery+Story: Rebote bounces into EPISD high schools

It’s not just football season in EPISD.

Tournaments in the lesser-known, old-school sport of rebote, or wall ball, are in full swing at campuses throughout the District.

Rebote has been a staple at some EPISD campuses for decades. You’ll find the courts on campuses busy before school, at lunchtime and after school.

The fast-pace game has rules similar to racquetball but these players hit the outdoor handball courts with a rubber ball taking shots with both hands, which requires strong ambidextrous skills to be competitive.

“The students are very passionate about rebote,” Chapin assistant principal Jose Carlos said. “They take it very seriously and don’t mess around. I want to make sure we can give it to them because if we can keep them here with that passion, then we’re doing a good job.”

Bowie, Jefferson/Silva and Andress high schools are among the campuses with competitive rebote.

At Chapin, the tournament season is just getting off the ground. Carlos started coordinating tournaments to encourage attendance and getting to class on time. Friday marked their first of many to come.

“We’re trying to build a relationship with the kids, trying to improve attendance and just wanted to show a positive atmosphere here during lunch time,” Carlos said.

The Chapin administrator came from Jefferson where he was both an educator and alum. He knew the tradition at his former campus, where he coordinated competitions also tying participation to attendance.

“When I came to Chapin, I was naturally drawn to these kids,” he said. “You know, just watching them. It’s impressive.”

Chapin junior Jeremy Flores got hooked on the sport after a friend took him to play at Lincoln Park. He and his doubles partner lost a close one in the finals last week.

“I like coming out here and playing with my friends,” he said. “I think it’s a good idea to do tournaments. I’m happy that it happened and I was ready for today.”

Chapin senior Cesar Alvarado started playing as a freshman, steadily improving his game through the years by honing his hand eye coordination, stamina and dexterity.

“I like it because it has running, stability, conditioning … everything,” Alvarado said. “We have a good team here. And we’re getting better at it.”

Carlos hopes the rebote tradition continues and would like to see competitions between EPISD schools.

“Any schools out there doing rebote tournaments, Chapin High School challenges you,” Carlos said. “We’ll make sure it’s a positive thing for all of our kids.”

Bowie is ready for the challenge. The campus has collaborated with Carlos and is also using rebote as a tool to boost attendance. Assistant principal Marty Roland Lara and student ou reach specialist Julian Salinas started doing a round robin last week to try to hit a 95 percent attendance goal. Competitive games will continue on Fridays.

“Our kids are our investment and if I can find something to leverage them to come to school, we have to do it,” Roland Lara said. “If they find success in rebote, I know they’ll be coming to class. ”

Bowie senior Sammy Medina is psyched about the competition.

“I personally feel like wallball is the future,” he said. “I’ve been seeing 80 year-olds and 50 year-olds play handball and they’ve inspired me to play. The fact that we’re doing a tournament in high school, I can’t find the words. It’s just exciting.”

He plays before school, lunchtime and afterschool and sees the courts packed with Bowie students.

“I like the energy you feel when you’re playing against your opponent,” he said. “The sport makes me feel alive.”

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

Austin, El Paso High JROTC cadets participate in U.S. Army race

JROTC cadets from two EPISD schools were in the nation’s capital this weekend representing El Paso in the 35th annual U.S. Army Ten-Miler, one of the world’s largest military-sponsored race events.

Nine students from Austin and El Paso high schools traveled to the Washington, D.C., area to participate in the race this weekend. They were among the more than 35,000 runners that participated in the race.

“This is the fourth year that EPISD students represent El Paso in this important race,” said SGM Velton Locklear, an assistant with EPISD’s JROTC programs. “We are proud to have some of our cadets demonstrate the strength of our programs at a national level.”

The cadets were the only students from El Paso to participate.

The participating cadets from Austin were Jared Alonso, Josue Caballero, Abigail Castro, Daniel Castro and Diego Rodriguez. The El Paso High cadets participating were Christina Acosta, Quejon Frias-Merritt, Elias Palomares and Isabella Ramirez.

The cadets were joined by their instructors, 1SG Anthony Dinkins from Austin and CSM Danford Elliott from El Paso High.

Congratulations to all runners! HOOAH!

By Gustavo Reveles  |  Photos by EPISD JROTC

Principals named for two EPISD elementary schools

On Friday, EPISD Superintendent Juan E. Cabrera announced the appointment of principals at two district elementary schools.

Christina Chapa is the new principal at Paul C. Moreno Elementary School and Michelle Corral is the new principal at Clardy Elementary School.

Their appointments are effective October 21.

“Ms. Chapa and Ms. Corral are two outstanding educators with a proven track record in EPISD,” Cabrera said. “I am confident that under their leadership and the support from the community, both Moreno and Clardy will continue to thrive and reach unprecedented success.”

Chapa is currently the assistant principal at Bond Elementary School and has previously served as a testing coordinator, literacy coach and teacher at several schools throughout the District. A former Teacher of the Year at Tippin Elementary School, she is a cum laude graduate from Concordia College in Moorhead, Mn., and has a master’s degree in educational administration from the University of Texas at El Paso.

Corral currently serves as the assistant principal at Mesita Elementary School and has previously been an instructional coach, curriculum writer and math teacher at several EPISD schools. She has a bachelor’s degree and a master’s in business administration from the University of Phoenix, and she is a graduate of EPISD’s 21st Century Principal Academy.

Moreno had been served by interim principal Robert Pancoast and Clardy by interim principal Millie Williams.

Story by Gustavo Reveles – EPISD

Irvin student wins 2020 Census writing contest

When the efforts to do an accurate count of everyone living in the El Paso region start, the U.S. Census employees doing the work will be inspired by the words of an Irvin Rocket.

Jimena Esqueda, a student at Irvin, won the 2020 Census Spoken Word Poetry Contest and she read her poem Thursday morning during a ceremony to mark the opening of the census office in El Paso at Armijo Park in Segundo Barrio.

The poem touched on the impact the 2020 U.S. Census will have on a community like El Paso, which relies on federal funds to provide much-needed resources to families throughout the region.

The writing contest was sponsored by TFCU, which provided Jimena with a $100 gift card.

For more information about the 2020 Census, visit the census website at

Story by Gustavo Reveles | Photos by EPISD

Celebrity chef helps EPISD cafeterias craft menu for upcoming National School Lunch Week

EPISD cafeteria managers spent the morning learning and sampling recipes from El Paso Inc. Chef of the Year Rudy Valdes to share with their students next week during National School Lunch Week.

The head chef at Pan y Agua Restaurant Group was surrounded by eager EPISD food service staff who watched the celebrity chef whip up some simple-yet tasty fare made with home-grown fresh fruits and veggies inside the Ross Middle School kitchen.

“It was very exciting for our Food and Nutrition Services supervisors, quality control managers, and cafeteria management staff to attend a demonstration where a local professional celebrity chef showed them preparation techniques for his original recipes,” said Judy Estrada, the assistant director of food services.

Those fresh selections include yogurt with pomegranate arils, fresh peppers paired with dipping sauce, watermelon and basil aguas frescas and baked cinnamon apples.

The fresh produce came from nearby New Mexico farms while Anita’s Pomegranates supplied their fruit.

“Our students are really interested in sustainability and so by promoting the fact that we’re trying to use local farm produce that’s right here, we’re supporting our local economy and also promoting sustainability,” Estrada said.

Valdes, whose four children attend Bond Elementary, offered some tips and tricks for food preparation while chopping up the produce and getting it ready for sampling.

“We’re all about any opportunity we have to introduce kids to local produce and eating things they wouldn’t normally eat,” Valdes said. “I’m excited that I got to participate today but come day-of, it’s the great people in the cafeterias and lunchrooms that are going to have to do it.”

He noted that his presentation offered samples for 20, crediting the managers for doing the much tougher task of providing for thousands of students.

“It’s an incredible group that is incredibly skilled in what they do and they have infinite knowledge but sometimes a little tweak is all it takes,” Valdes said.

“I’m extremely thankful for them for their willingness to put in the work to put this food in front of the kids.”

Magoffin Middle School cafeteria manager Monica Torres enjoyed Valdes’ presentation and sampling the sweet and savory snacks. She was particularly impressed by the yogurt with pomegranate.

“I always think we have to top the yogurt with granola but I was amazed at the taste,” she said. “I’m really thankful we had a celebrity chef giving us his time. It was nice of him. He wants to change healthy eating habits and he took his time to show us how to do it. I was like ‘wow.’”

Story by Gustavo Reveles  |  Photos by Leonel Monroy  –  EPISD

Pumped Up Kicks: Rotarians provide new shoes for students at 3 EPISD schools

Christmas came early for third graders at Lamar, Aoy and Hart elementary schools Wednesday morning. San Antonio lawyer Cesar Ornelas through the Camino Real Rotary Club donated 200 pairs of shoes to the students as part of their El Paso Strong efforts.

“Growing up I was one of these kids,” said Ornelas, who also has an El Paso law office. “I didn’t have new shoes. I had holes in my shoes. My part of giving back to the community is giving shoes just because I didn’t have them growing up.”

The shoes made a difference for the students at all three campuses. Lines of smiling students greeted Ornelas and the Rotary Club members as they handed over boxes of new Filas, New Balance and Pumas.

“I’m happy they bought this for us,” said Zuljeilyn Ortiz, just before getting her shoes. The Hart third-grader kept smiling and saying how happy she was to get new shoes.

It wasn’t too long before she and her classmates had slipped off their old sneakers in favor of the new ones.

“They’re smiling. Some kids are crying,” Ornelas said. “It brings a warm feeling to my heart.”

Hart Principal Angelica Negrete thanked Ornelas and the Rotary crew for thinking of her campus.

“This is wonderful for our students,” she said. “They love the shoes and will remember the people who donated them. They will truly benefit from this gift. It will make them more comfortable and confident.”

A letter written and read by third-grader Amanda summed up how grateful she and her classmates are for the sneakers.

“Thank you for choosing our campus. We really appreciate the shoes. Thank you! We will always cherish these shoes and love them.”

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

Franklin principal named Outstanding Ex by UTEP Communication Department

Homecoming celebrations for Franklin were extended by another weekend, albeit this time around it was on the campus of the University of Texas at El Paso.

The UTEP Department of Communication awarded Franklin Principal Shawn Mena the Hicks-Middaugh Outstanding Alumni Award during Miner homecoming celebrations this weekend.  Mena received the award during a ceremony at UTEP’s Cotton Memorial Building on Saturday.

“Ms. Mena’s influence as an educator and communication practitioner has already had a lasting influence on so many students from your early teaching and coaching career to your return to El Paso as principal at Franklin High School,” said Dr. Richard Pineda, the chair of UTEP’s Department of Communication and a former student of Mena.

“At every level of education – from high school to community college and the university – you have been a shining example of the power of communication, the value of debate and discourse and the impact of communication education at the University of Texas at El Paso,” he added.

UTEP officials said they awarded Mena the award in recognition of her commitment as an educator and communication scholar as an undergraduate student at the school, an intercollegiate debate that represented UTEP, and an alumna of the department’s master’s degree in communication studies.

By Gustavo Reveles  |  Photos by UTEP

Fore! Aoy pre-kinder students get golf lesson

The next Lee Treviño or Nancy Lopez may be a pre-kindergarten student at Aoy today.

At least that’s what an EPISD physical-education program that teaches young students the basics of gold hopes.

The young 4-year-old students were for the first time included in the First Tee El Paso unit of golf basics as part of their P.E. classes. The program has been available to EPISD schools on a rotating basis for years, but it didn’t include pre-kindergarten classes until this year.

“This is great. We love exposing all the students to as many different sports as possible,” said Adrian Flores, a physical-education teacher at Aoy in Segundo Barrio.

“The beauty of this program is that it introduces golf to students who may not otherwise have a chance to practice the sport.”

The specialized golf equipment fits right into the hands of the little students and it is designed to help teachers show basics like teeing, driving and putting. The equipment was acquired by EPISD through a grant.

Flores said the unit lasts about four weeks and then the equipment is shipped to another school for their use.

“EPISD is a true leader in active learning and that’s also the case in physical education,” he said. “The District offers students innovative and forward-thinking approaches to physical education so that they can have a healthy lifestyle for the rest of their life.”

Story by Gustavo Reveles  |  Photos by Leonel Monroy – EPISD

Mitzi Bond Elementary students celebrate National Walk to School Day

Students at Bond Elementary School on Wednesday woke up a little earlier than normal to celebrate a holiday that not many people know about.

October 2 is National Walk to School Day, and dozens of Bond students, along with their families and teachers, gathered at a nearby Whataburger to have breakfast together and then safely walk over to the school located at 250 Lindbergh Avenue.

The holiday has become a favorite event for the Bond community each year, and the students enjoy the thrill of having a nice stroll through their neighborhood on their way to learn.

National Walk to School Day is celebrated the first Wednesday of each October as a way to promote exercise among young children and their families. Walking is one of the best forms of exercise. It isn’t hard on our joints and feet like running and jogging but still gives us all the advantages.

The goal of this day is to raise awareness and support for the health, community and environmental benefits of regularly walking or biking to school.
















Author: Gustavo Reveles  |  Photos by Bond ES – EPISD

Gallery+Story: Marathon Kids – Grant helps Hawkins students track running distance

It’s going to be a marathon year for the students at Hawkins Elementary School.

Actually, it’s going to be four of them.

Hawkins is the recipient of a Marathon Kids National Grant that will channel $3,675 to pay for 245 students to track their running of 104.8 miles throughout the school year. That’s the equivalent of four marathons.

The students will receive prizes from Nike with every marathon they complete.

“The cool part about it is the kids can run here at school, they can do it afterschool, they can run at home, their parents can get involved in it, the teachers can get involved,” said teacher Cassandra Arroyos, who wrote the grant. “They’re going to run four marathons in a year where most people never even run one.”

The program works for students of all fitness levels, giving them opportunities to set and reach their goals.

“I hope it shows them that they can accomplish things that seem impossible to them – whether that’s in sports or academics or just any pursuit outside of school,” Arroyo said.

The campus hasn’t officially announced the 100-mile project to students yet, however, physical-education coaches are already tracking the laps they take in class and counting them towards the marathons. They scan the students’ ID cards to mark each passing lap they complete.

“I play soccer and you never give up and you keep running,” said student Oziel Paz.

The third grader, still a little sweaty from required first three laps, asked coaches if he could take another lap – just for fun.

“I like to run,” he said.  “I even run after school.”

His classmate Guadalupe Coronado prefers running to walking.

“It’ll make you get more energy,” she said. “I like running because when you run, you can feel the air in your face.”

Author: Reneé de Santos  |   Photos by Leonel Monroy  – EPISD

Gallery+Story: Rock art project helps send El Paso Strong message

Art can have healing powers. And thanks to a partnership with a local business, students at Tom Lea Elementary School used their creativity to bring them peace following the attacks on our city.

As part of a Social and Emotional Learning lesson, art teacher Christina Sordini gave a river rock to each student at the school to paint in honor of the 22 victims of the August 3 attack at the Cielo Vista Walmart.

Using bright colors and El Paso Proud motifs, the students – and staff, too – painted each of the river rocks with messages of love and pride in their community.

The lesson was made possible thanks to the donation of 740 pounds of river rocks from Jobe Materials, a local company that produces landscaping materials.

The artwork was displayed as a sign of support to El Paso at the front of the school.

Story by Gustavo Reveles  |  Photos by Tom Lea ES – EPISD

Brave Books features August 3-inspired poems from YWA students

A local bookstore is showcasing the poetic and thought-filled words of eight Young Women’s Academy (YWA) students who delved deep into the emotional impact of the attack at the El Paso Walmart on August 3.

“They were inviting young people to share their thoughts and experiences and memories of the day,” said Rebecca Guerrero, YWA’s English Language Arts facilitator. “I knew it was something we had to participate in because I was feeling like I needed a way to express how I was feeling about the event. And I knew my students were going to be feeling the same way.”

The bookstore, Brave Books, organized the Frontera Rising Youth Writing Invitational to allow the sharing of ideas, feelings and talent using social media. The students visited the store last week to record themselves reading their poetry, which the store will be sharing through on their Facebook page in the coming days.

The invitation was open to all area youth who wanted to share their thoughts about the Cielo Vista Walmart shooting, the victims and its affect on the community.

“We felt that it was important that our youth take the time to process and respond to the traumatic effects of the violence that occurred by exercising the creative means of writing, reading and sharing their responses with the public,” Jud Burgess said. “They responded with deeply personal and moving reflections that covered a wide range of emotional reactions, all true to themselves.”

The project turned into a good social emotional learning lesson for Guerrero’s students.

“They should be the voices that we hear when it comes to sort of grappling with this event that happened on Aug. 3,” Guerrero said. “We have very intelligent, opinionated young women and I knew that they were going to need an outlet to start to process what happened in their community so we wrote personal narratives and poems, critiqued them in class and share them.”

Freshman Andrea Tellez wrote Isn’t it Just Amazing? – an uplifting poem that chronicles the events and ends with hope.

We won’t give up

We’ll make the world a better place!

A place where we are all equal no matter your race

Or gender

So, let me ask you

Isn’t it amazing?

“We were all devastated,” Andrea said. “I wasn’t sure how to express myself at first. I hope this helps people understand how we feel and how deep it goes and it’s ok to show how you feel.”

Her classmate Amaris Epinoza titled her poem A World I Want to See, and it subtly tackles gun control issues and focusing change. She wraps up her poem with an line that reads: “So, it doesn’t take long for me to see that we want to get closer to the world I want to see.”

“We shouldn’t stray away from these types of topics,” she said. “It’s important we get to vent and use writing and poetry to talk about these situations.”

The works and the thought each of the writings impressed the bookstore owners.

“They were all emotionally moving and brutally honest,” said Jud Burgess, one of the owners of the store. “We believe that they will aid and inspire El Pasoans who watch them read their essays to continue on their own path to healing.”

Other students participating in the project were:

  • Kelechi Alozie, eighth grade
  • Brittany Carr, eighth grade
  • D’Anise Chavez, eighth grade
  • Aina Marzia, eighth grade
  • Alexis Navarro, ninth grade
  • Solange Peralta, ninth grade
Story by Reneé de Santos  |  Photo by Leonel Monroy  –  EPISD

El Paso ISD creates Accelerating Schools Division

EPISD Superintendent Juan E. Cabrera this week announced the creation of the Accelerating Schools Division that will offer tailored academic support to 16 campuses.

The Accelerating Schools Division will go into effect on Oct. 1 and will include nine elementary schools, six middle schools and the College, Career & Technology Academy — an EPISD specialized campus that caters to students who need accelerated instruction to complete their high-school graduation requirements.

“These schools have specific academic needs and the new division will help the District create strategies and training to help teachers meet the learning goals of their students in a much more focused way,” Cabrera said. “The Effective Schools Division is aligned to current state guidelines for these campuses, and its creation will help EPISD better meet the needs of both students and teachers.”

Cabrera also announced that Anna Torres, the current interim superintendent of elementary schools, will now serve as the Assistant Superintendent of the Accelerating Schools Division. In her role, she will be tasked to create sustainable systems for successful student outcomes.

Nancy Tovar, the current executive director of human resources, will now serve as Assistant Superintendent for Elementary Schools, and oversee the campuses previously led by Torres.

All 16 member campuses of the Accelerating Schools Division will continue to receive operational support from EPISD’s current assistant superintendents.

Story by Gustavo Reveles – EPISD

Jefferson/Silva students show love, support to childhood cancer patients

To commemorate September as Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, the students and staff at Jefferson/Silva High School delivered a big, visible sign of love to their neighbors at the El Paso Children’s Hospital.

Gold Ribbons raise awareness to childhood cancers, and the school formed a huge golden ribbon out of students, staff and friends on the field of Silver Foxes Stadium.

“Anything we can do to show support to the patients at Children’s Hospital, we’re going go ahead and do,” said Silva teacher Sharon Venegas. “This is a wonderful opportunity to raise awareness and show our neighbors that we are thinking about them.”

The event included not only staff and students from Jefferson/Silva, but also officials from the hospital and even parents of patients currently undergoing treatment.

For the third straight year, Silva’s Club 365 organized the Golden Foxes event.

Author: Gustavo Reveles  |   Photos by Leonel Monroy – EPISD

Barça Bound: Lincoln student invited to train with FC Barcelona

The soccer skills of Lincoln seventh-grader Andrea Ramirez caught the eye of recruiters from the world-renowned F.C. Barcelona during a summer camp in Dallas and now the athlete is headed to Spain next week to train with their coaches.

Ramirez was named the goalie most valuable player in her age and gender division during the camp, which lead to the Barça invitation. She will join MVPs from throughout the country at the camp in Europe.

While there, she will breathe and live soccer with girls from the U.S. and Spain.

“I like the intensity of the game and like that I’m going to get to meet girls from different parts of the world,” she said. “I hope to get more experience and more knowledge about my position. I also want to see their different styles of play.”

Ramirez began her soccer career at age 4, playing on a church team in Dallas and progressed to club ball play for the El Paso Cosmos FC in 2014.

She wasn’t always the goalie but she had expressed interest in the position to avoid the constant running involved in playing left and right wing. When the team goalie didn’t show one day, she jumped in without hesitation.

“I don’t really like running. I get tired a lot and run really differently so I was like ‘I want to play goalie,’” she said. “And then it turns out, I was really good at it.”

Her goalie coach Javier McDonald, president of El Paso Cosmos FC, attributes her success to her talent and drive to put in hours of extra work after games and regular practices to really hone her skills.

“Andrea takes this very seriously,” McDonald said. “Since May, I’ve seen her explode – becoming a great player. Where others may play for fun or recreation, Andrea is dedicated and focused on what she’s doing in soccer. It’s been a priority.”

The camp will be held at the Barcelona facility, giving the young players a glimpse of the lives of the professionals that walk the field.

“It’s going to be a great opportunity for her not just for soccer but also to learn another culture,” McDonald said.

The goalkeeper plans to continue blocking goals for many years to come. While she plans to pursue higher education, she does hope that someday the United States Women’s National Soccer Team comes calling.

“Because it’s the national team,” she smiled.

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