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Home | Tag Archives: EPISD

Tag Archives: EPISD

Recent Coronado grad places at state FFA virtual convention

School has been out for more than a month, but EPISD’s FFA students are still racking in state accolades — COVID-19 restrictions or not.

Recent Coronado graduate Hannah Tuttle took second place in the Extemporaneous Public Speaking and earned fifth place for Prepared Public Speaking out of 312 participants at the virtual, Zoom-based Texas FFA State Convention last week.

Huttle selected agriculture technology and its effect on food production as the topic for her speech explaining how to make food production more efficient and using innovation to create a more sustainable agriculture.

“I am so grateful to have developed this skill because even if I do not end up doing these things, public speaking has helped to shape me into the type of person I am today,” said Huttle, who plans to attend Baylor and major in business this fall. “I have not only learned how to be a good speaker, but a good listener, and overall a better communicator in all aspects of my life.”

Her prepared speech titled “Microchipping and Branding: Why Microchipping is more Efficient,” which earned her fifth place, discussed the advantages to microchipping livestock as opposed to tagging them or branding them.

“Hannah has been working on her public speaking and honing her leadership skills since her freshman year,” said agriculture teacher Armando Flores. “Talent, trainability and competitive spirit have made Hannah extremely successful in our FFA program. She has repetitively competed at the state level for FFA contests which is no easy task.”

Other Coronado students earning awards at the FFA competition were Kathryn Goodrich and Sarah Roderick, who placed 11th in their respective categories.

Story by Reneé De Santos

EPISD: Class of 2020 rakes in $87 million in scholarships despite pandemic closures

EPISD’s historic Class of 2020 raked in nearly $87 million in college scholarships and other funding for post-secondary training — an impressive haul given the impact the COVID-19 pandemic had on the second half of the semester.

In total, graduating seniors amassed $86,715,363 in scholarships, grants, military, exemptions, dual credit fee waivers and other waivers.

“The mere fact that students continued to pursue applying and securing scholarships during the COVID-19 lockdown speaks to their level of commitment to their pursuit of a post-secondary education during challenging times,” said Manuel Castruita, director of Counseling and Advising.

“We want to recognize and applaud the work of students, professional school counselors, college readiness coordinators, teachers and parents for their work with and on behalf of student during what was a very challenging end of the 2019-20 school year.”

The El Paso Directors of Guidance recognized that during the pandemic some students may have experienced hardships in applying for scholarships and other forms of financial assistance of which schools may not have been aware.

For that reason, this year’s post-secondary education funding report is not believed to be a true reflection of the actual haul earned by the Class of 2020 throughout the region.

Still, Castruita said an impressive number of EPISD seniors applied for and received funding for college and other education after high school.

Of the EPISD’s 4,889 seniors, 1,657 were among the students receiving funding for post-secondary education. This includes: 701 scholarships; 323 grants; 1,125 dual-credit waivers; 30 military scholarships; and 359 other waivers.

“We were happy to celebrate with our seniors during our in-person graduations late in June,” said Superintendent Juan E. Cabrera. “We now this school year did not end the way they envisioned, but their determination and willingness to thrive despite any obstacle is evident in the impressive amount of scholarship money they earned during a very difficult time in our world.”

Below are the campus totals:

Campus Scholarships Graduates
Andress $2,086,655 367
Austin $3,290,421 349
Bowie $659,922 375
Burges $9,775,753 375
Chapin $10,413,667 483
Coronado $19,057,235 770
El Paso $11,186,820 418
Franklin $15,823,165 699
Irvin $4,811,483 340
Jefferson $538,965 254
Silva Magnet $4,220,479 166
TMECHS $4,694,552 88
Raymond Telles Academy $70,476 6
Story by Reneé De Santos  |   Photos by Leonel Monroy  – EPISD

El Paso ISD’s ‘Reopening survey’ now open for parents

On Friday, officials with the El Paso Independent School District released their survey to let parents decide which style of learning they wish their children to have at the start of the 2020-21 school year is now open.

Parents are asked to log on and make a selection for each child enrolled in the District. A link to the survey was emailed to parents and can also be found on the EPISD Reopening web page.

A learning option must be made for each child enrolled in EPISD.

Those options are:

• A staggered schedule that combines virtual and on-campus instruction. Students will go to the campus twice a week and continue learning virtually from home the rest of the week;

• Virtual learning that provides full at-home instruction using the EPISD@Home portal; and

• In-person learning five days a week on either a half- or full-day basis for students in select special programs such as English-language learners, students in grades pre-k through second and specific students with disabilities.

Parents can review the three options and see sample schedules for elementary and secondary students on the EPISD Reopening web page.

To make a selection, parents will need their child’s student identification.

Earlier this week, district officials announced that they would give parents the option of three different types of learning as classes resume on Monday, August 3.

EPISD middle, high school students can sign up for virtual cybersecurity camp

With camps going virtual these days, it’s no surprise that EPISD’s CyberPatriot Camp will be on-line this summer.

The free camp will be offered for middle and high school students from 9 to noon from July 20-24.

“Fortunately, because of the nature of the camp, we can hold it virtually to protect the health of our students,” said Maj. (Ret) Todd Parsont, Franklin Air Force JROTC instructor. “If successful, it could be a model for the upcoming school year as well and beyond.”

Students enrolled in the camp will learn about protecting against computer viruses, malware, hackers, cyber forensics and networking – critical skills in today’s digital society.

The CyberPatriot program was created by the Air Force Association to inspire K-12 students toward careers in cybersecurity or other science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines critical to the nation’s future.

Franklin’s JROTC program has been successfully competed in this program for many years.

“The camp teaches vital cyber skills that prepare the participants for future employment in a career field critical to our entire country,” Parsont said. “Almost every industry and business rely on digital information that must be protected.  The camp also prepares high school and middle school students to compete in the CyberPatriot competition.”

To sign up, email Parsont at

Story by Reneé De Santos – EPISD

EPISD unveils plans to reopen schools for 2020-21 year; In person, virtual or hybrid models to be used

Monday afternoon, officials with the El Paso Independent School District announced its plan to reopen schools on August 3 for the start of the 2020-21 school year.

EPISD will reopen with learning happening in person, virtually or a combination of both as part of guidelines spelled out by the Texas Education Agency.

“If we’ve learned anything from this experience with the pandemic is to keep plans flexible and be ready to pivot at any given point,” said EPISD Superintendent Juan E. Cabrera. “We will continue to monitor local health conditions and work with city and health officials to plan a return to school that is safe for both our students, teachers and parents.”

The District will phase in a return with various instructional models, including combining in-person learning with EPISD@Home — the District’s distance learning model — and 100 percent remote learning.

Some special academic programs will be offered full-time, in-person courses.

The District will send out a survey to parents later this week in which they will select the preferred instructional model available to them.

Parents can choose either staggered schedules (hybrid) or distance learning. Some groups, as identified by the District, may be offered face-to-face instruction.

Once selected, the learning option will be locked in for at least the fall semester or until health officials determine it is safe for students to return to campuses full-time.

The reopening of EPISD will be done in accordance with rules from the state given the continued high rate of COVID-19 infections in El Paso and Texas.

EPISD will communicate the details of each option available to parents in the coming weeks.

“Whether in person or virtual, we do know that all options will offer engagement with teacher and fellow students,” Cabrera said. “We thank the parents and students in advance, and we want to reassure the community that the safety and health of our students and teachers is our top priority.”

For more information, visit the EPISD website.

EPISD looks to community to help find new name for Lee Elementary School

Just last week, the El Paso Independent School District Board of Trustees voted to rename Lee Elementary School and now the District is looking for public input as it searches for a new name for the Northeast campus.

“The Board’s decision to move away from the Robert E. Lee name provides EPISD with an opportunity to give the school a name that honors and celebrates the community it serves,” said Superintendent Juan E. Cabrera.

“The District welcomes this chance to rectify the hurtful practices school boards decades ago used to name campuses. We know the community will come up with a name that better reflects the values of El Paso today.”

EPISD policy states that name suggestions will be considered using the following guidelines:

• A school may be named after an individual that has made exceptional contributions to public education, preferably to the District or society.
• The individual must represent exemplary human qualities or serve as a model of excellence for the students who will attend the school.
• The individual shall not be an employee at the time of consideration or selection of the name.
• Diversity shall be given consideration in selecting a school name.
• Names of geographic areas, landmarks or academic-educational functions also may be considered.

Trustees will use EPISD Policy CW (LOCAL) to gather and consider potential names for the school. Members of the public can submit a school-name nomination to

Please note that the link to download an school renaming application can be found via this link.

Bowie ceremony caps six days of EPISD graduations

The Bowie Class of 2020 took their home field Saturday night, together for the last time, to officially receive their diplomas and close this year’s EPISD Graduation Season after six days of socially-distant ceremonies.

The graduating class of 294, earning nearly $100,000 in scholarships, was led by valedictorian Elijah Prieto and salutatorian Pricilla Merez. Both spoke along with All Bowie Girl Alejandra Lopez, All Bowie Boy Justin Diaz and class president Karanth Reyes. The students’ words captured the heart of their class motto, “Oso, oh so unforgettable.”

“Let this not be the last time to step on Bowie grounds, never forget where you come from,” Lopez said. “I wish you all the best and just know that where ever life takes you, you are a Bowie Bear. I believe in each one of you here today and I’m very proud of our entire unforgettable class.”

Others focused on high-school memories and friendships forged at Bowie.

“I’m torn between an overwhelming feeling of joy and equally feeling of sadness great excitement fills my heart, that we all finally graduating and ready to begin the next chapter of our lives,” Prieto said. “At the same time, a void is being left and great pain ache my soul reminiscing fun memories we have created – the laughs we shared, the tears we shed and the friendships we created. It leads me to ask if I will ever have these same connections again.”

Before the class officially turned their tassels, Reyes left his classmates an uplifting message:

“For showing determination and positivity during one of the most difficult historical events in the generation. Just know that the world is amazing, loving and beautiful and it is waiting for us with open arms. No matter which road you choose, no matter how long it may seem, let your heart be your guide along the way, if you want to fulfill your dreams.”

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

Jefferson/Silva graduates take the stage on the last day of EPISD graduations

The seniors of Jefferson High and Silva Health Magnet came together one last time to celebrate the collective accomplishments of both school and officially take their graduation walk on Saturday morning.

The class of 2020 includes Jefferson’s 223 graduates and another 164 from Silva. Combined, the classes earned nearly $1.4 million in scholarships.

Both valedictorians touched on the resilience of their respective classes and how it will ultimately lead to success.

“Becoming successful is not easy. It takes sacrifices, and if anybody says otherwise, they probably don’t deserve it,” said Jefferson’s valedictorian Carlos Carrete-Castellanos. “It all boils down to three defining characteristics: determination, responsibility, and perseverance. These traits will allow you to accomplish anything in life: climb the highest mountain, sail the deepest sea, and sometimes, just sometimes, even cross a border.”

He left his classmates with these words of wisdom: “Anyone can win a fight when the odds are easy, it’s when the going gets tough, when there seems to be no other chance, that’s when winning counts.”

His Silva counterpart, valedictorian Damini Patel also reminisced about the past four years balancing academics with extracurricular activities and high school fun. He referred to his fellow graduates as: “A class filled with resilience, humor, kindness, and humility that never fails to rise to the occasion. There is no doubt in my mind that each and every one of you will make a compelling impact on society.”

The ceremony also recognized Jefferson salutatorian Ania Odette Fierro and Silva salutatorian Karen Nevarez; All Silva Boy and Girl Gyan Narayan and Kennadi Trevino; and All Jefferson Boy and Girl Marcos Calleros and Leslie Muñoz.

Nevarez introduced the traditional tassel turn, officially marking the moment the seniors became graduates and encouraged her classmates to toss a carnation into the air to commemorate the moment.

“We leave as a united Silver Fox family,” she said. “See you at the 10-year reunion.”

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

Austin High graduates first Panther New Tech cohort

The Austin High Panthers’ class of 2020 took the field under the Friday night lights to celebrate its official graduation — the first one under the Sandra Day O’Connor Academy Panther New Tech Program.

The class of 312, led by valedictorian Adrian Allende and salutatorian Isacc Calay Lightborn, earned $1.5 million in scholarships.

Allende and Lightborn were key speakers during the ceremony, offering pre-recorded message of resilience and reminding their class of their place in history. The graduation observed social distancing rules in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Today signifies our class’ incredible resilience,” Allende said. We are an icon for future generations. In the future, the actions we carried out and the decisions we made in these difficult times will be looked up by historians.”

Lightborn used his fear of the future to challenge his classmates to follow their dreams and reach to their goals.

“I know that fear kills more dreams than actually failing ever will,” he said. “For that reason, I will continue to run, sprint and dash to my finish line no matter what because greatness doesn’t come to those who wait for it.”

All Austin Boy Dylan Mauldin and All Austin Girl Natasia Salcido also spoke during the ceremony reminding classmates of the memories and challenges they faced. Salcido concluded the ceremony noting the tragic events that unfolded in El Paso on Aug. 3 at the beginning of their school year to the pandemic they face at the end.

“Everything in between will be memories that will last a lifetime,” Salcido said. “It’s a beautiful thing to see how many of us have persevered through every hardship and successfully reached this achievement. Congratulations class of 2020. May your new journey be full of nothing but blessings and opportunities.”

Story by Gustavo Reveles  |  Photos by Leonel Monroy – EPISD

Andress High School commencement closes fourth day of EPISD Graduation Season

The Andress High Eagles’s Class of 2020 closed off Day 4 of EPISD Graduation Season – the last school to have its commencement at the Franklin High School stadium before the socially-distant ceremonies move to Bowie for the next two days.

Valedictorian and All Andress Girl Andrea Daniela Bazan and All Andress Boy Ivan Vera spoke before their class of 325, commemorating their milestone while reminiscing about their pre-pandemic school days.

“We began senior year listening to the endless 2020 puns about having the perfect vision but 2020 didn’t turn out to be so clear, with our future plans up in the air and our senior year stolen from beneath our feet,” said Bazan, who plans to attend UT Austin this fall. “Although we only experienced 3/4th of our senior year, we accomplished remarkable things – meaning perseverance and persistence are nothing new to us as we have learned to work through it all as individuals and as a team throughout high school.”

Bazan, also the All-Andress Girl, gave props to the Andress faculty and staff that guided the class of 2020 through four years of high school.

“Our teachers saw us as more than a piece of paper and a scantron,” Bazan said. “They saw us as people — not ID numbers or test scores — and taught lifelong lessons beyond what any curriculum could. On behalf of the class of 2020: thank you.”

The Eagles racked up more than $2.7 million in scholarships.

They will live up to their class motto, a quote from cartoonist Ashleigh Brilliant: “Nothing we do changes the past, everything we do changes the future.”

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

Video+Story: Franklin’s Class of 2020 graduates on home turf

The 655 Franklin Cougar graduates spread across their very own football field on Wednesday ready to walk the stage and claim their diploma for what will be the first-ever commencement on home turf for the West Side school.

The class, led by valedictorian Yuko Isabel Ward and salutatorian Shakila Edalatpour, took in nearly $16 million in scholarships. Most notable is the prestigious QuestBridge Scholarship awarded to Laurine Kim, who will attend Vassar College on a full ride.

Remarks kept focus on their theme: “Today is the tomorrow we dreamt about yesterday.”

“We stand, gathered together to celebrate the accomplishments of the most resilient class in the history of secondary education,” said Edalatpour. “These days have passed by much too quickly, it’s almost impossible to believe that we’ll be in college the next semester we step into a classroom. These times have been uncertain, and it’s okay to say that we truly have been robbed of the best time of our lives.”

On a lighter note, she added: “I speak on behalf of all of us that when we said, ‘Senior Ditch Day’ –  this is not what we meant.”

Ward reminisced about her days on campus, and how the events and obstacles helped them grow over their four years.

“Through it all, we learned and grew into the people we are today,” Ward said. “Every minor inconvenience, every challenge overcome, every good memory has shaped us. When we leave here today, our high school career is truly behind us. We will face new challenges. And, as we learned to do in high school, we will succeed.”

Also speaking during commencement were All Franklin Boy Fabian Ramirez and All Franklin Girl Summer Sullivan. Senior class president Lauren Menchaca led the tassel turning ceremony, encouraging her classmates to toss their carnation in the air to symbolize their official end to high school.

“We did it,” she said.

Story by Gustavo Reveles |  Photos by Leonel Monroy – EPISD

EPISD Board revises 2020-21 academic calendar, adding flexibility due to COVID-19

The El Paso Independent School District Board of Trustees on Tuesday revised the 2020-21 academic calendar to better prepare for the potential need for closures due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“The new calendar gives us the flexibility to deal with a potential second outbreak of the COVID-19 virus so that the impact on teaching and learning is minimized,” said Superintendent Juan E. Cabrera.

“We know the new calendar will take some getting used to, but I am confident that our students, teachers and community will work together to help us cope with uncertainty during these difficult times.”

EPISD officials said the strategically placed breaks throughout the year will allow them to asses and plan for student learning, anticipate future disruptions, provide remediation for students who need it and train staff.

The changes mean students and instructional staff will start the year earlier than in previous years. They also create intersessions throughout the school year.

The first day of school for students will now be August 3. Teachers will report for duty on July 27.

The last day of instruction will be on June 8.

Other highlights from the new calendar include:

· A fall intersession on Oct. 5-16.
· A spring intersession on March 8-12.
· Winter break will be Dec.18-Jan. 5.
· Spring break will remain March 15-19

According to district officials, the newly approved calendar increases the instructional days to 180 from 177. It also increases the instructional minutes to 76,830 from 76,610.

EPISD officials add that the calendar is “aligned with recommendations from the Texas Education Agency regarding pandemic preparedness and is aligned with the calendars other districts in the region are approving.”

final_2020-21 EPISD Student Calendar 6.04.20


Video+Gallery+Story: CCTA kicks off EPISD’s Class of 2020 graduation season

EPISD kicked off long awaited Class of 2020 Graduation Season on Monday with a socially-distant ceremony for CCTA filled with emotion, candor and inspiration.

The ceremony was one of two at the majestic Jones Stadium on the campus of El Paso High School this year. The outdoor ceremonies were necessary in response to health guidelines in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The non-traditional high school academy celebrated the accomplishments of the 95 graduates – many of whom overcame personal obstacles and great hardships to earn their diploma. Among those is valedictorian Brianna Bonilla.

The school recognized All CCTA Boy and Girl Shalom Celeste Nava and Tomas Carranza; and CCTA Principal Phoenixes Jose Santiago and Nicole Garcia.

Bonilla spoke poignantly about her journey as a teen mom and how the birth of her child gave her reason to come back even stronger.

“I’m so proud of all graduates at CCTA who overcame their own obstacles on their journey to this point,” she said. “You have proved to everyone that teenage pregnancy, financial hardships, anxiety, depression and even a global pandemic are not reasons to give up.”

She challenged them to work hard and continue to reach their goals.

“My experiences have taught me that setting goals and persevering are the recipes for success.  My time at CCTA has taught me that there are no excuses to not continue our education no matter what your circumstances are,” she said. “Always remember to keep going because the sky is the limit.”

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

EPISD School Board to consider changes to 2020-21 calendar

During next week’s Board Meeting,  members of the El Paso Independent School District’s board will consider revising the approved 2020-21 academic calendar to help the District better prepare for the potential need for closures due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The proposed changes would bring in students and instructional staff earlier than in previous years and create intersessions throughout the school year. The calendar is aligned with recommendations from the Texas Education Agency regarding pandemic preparedness, as well as with the calendars of surrounding districts.

The first day of school for students will be Aug. 3, if the proposal is approved.

Currently, the first day of school is set for Aug. 10. Teachers will report for duty on July 27, instead of Aug. 3. The last day of school will be June 8, instead of May 27.

“The safety and health of our students is the main guiding principle for the proposed changes,” said Superintendent Juan E. Cabrera. “The new calendar allows us the flexibility to adjust and prepare ahead of a potential second wave of infections due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Other highlights from the proposed calendar include:

  • A fall intersession on Oct. 5-16.
  • A spring intersession on March 8-12.
  • Winter break will be Dec.18-Jan. 5.
  • Spring break will remain March 15-19

The proposed calendar increases the instructional days to 180 from 177. It also increases the instructional minutes to 76,830 from 76,610.

EPISD officials said the strategically placed breaks throughout the year will allow them to asses and plan for student learning, anticipate future disruptions, provide remediation for students who need it and train staff.

The EPISD Board of Trustees meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, June 16, 2020.

Story by Gustavo Reveles – EPISD

Lincoln student completes prestigious national leadership program

Coronado High rising freshman Katie Kimberlin is already getting a jump on her leadership skills and community service activities.

The former Lincoln Warrior is among 69 students from throughout the state who successfully completed membership in Education in Action’s 2019-20 Lone Star Leadership Academy Alumni Council for the second year. Lincoln principal Haidi Appel nominated Katie for the program and has seen how it has allowed her to grow as a leader.

“Katherine Kimberlin is an amazing student.  She exemplifies everything we would want to see in a student especially at our IB campus,” Appel said. “She has a heart of gold and really cares about people and the world around her.”

Katie received training at the organization’s Lone Star Leadership Academy summer camp, then created the Warrior Cheer Camp service project to benefit children in her community.

“This project was chosen as a fun activity to expand on our current skills and to inspire the students at Mitzi Bond Elementary to want to join the cheer team at the new Don Haskins School,” said Katie, who will made Coronado’s JV cheer team. “It was also a great way to expand our leadership skills and celebrate the last of the Lincoln Warriors with the future Sun Bears, as our campus will be changing from a middle school to a K-8 campus next year.”

The two-day cheer camp was developed with two of Katie’s cheer teammates from Lincoln Middle School. Together, they taught the elementary students how to warm-up and stretch, different cheer motions, a cheer and a dance. The camp culminated in a final performance.

“The girls are amazing,” said Bond teacher Cristy Dore. “They’re so patient and great teachers.”

Katie had planned to become a Youth Facilitator at a Lonestar Leadership Camp this year but with COVID-19 cancelling the summer camp, she hopes to take on the role next summer and continue developing her leadership skills.

“The program has helped me learn my strengths as a leader and how to overcome challenges with teamwork,” she said.

Story by Reneé De Santos – EPISD
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