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Wednesday , August 15 2018
Home | Tag Archives: EPISD

Tag Archives: EPISD

TEA Releases School District Grades; 4 El Paso Districts Earn A’s, Region’s Overall Average is ‘B’

On Wednesday, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) released the 2018 state accountability ratings for more than 8,700 campuses statewide.

Locally only four school districts – one traditional and three open enrollment charter schools – stood atop the list with an ‘A’ for a grade.

Leading the pack was Harmony Science Academy with an overall grade of 94, followed by Burnham Wood Charter School with a 92.  Vista Del Futuro Charter also earned a 92, however the TEA did not award them an ‘A,’ only that they ‘Met Standard.’

Canutillo ISD topped the traditional districts with a 91, followed by Paso Del Norte Academy with a 91 as well.  Via a news release, officials with Canutillo ISD shared their excitement.

“This new high rating tells us nothing new about the exemplary performance of our students under our outstanding teachers and staff,” Canutillo ISD Superintendent Dr. Pedro Galaviz said. “We have been seeing the evidence of significant improvement in student progress at our schools for quite some time now.”

According to the release from the TEA, campuses receive a rating based on performance in three areas:

  • Student Achievement measures what students know and can do by the end of the year.  It includes results from state assessments across all subjects for all students, on both general and alternate assessments, College, Career, and Military Readiness (CCMR) indicators, like AP and ACT results, and graduation rates.
  • School Progress measures how much better students are doing on the STAAR test this year versus last year, and how much better students are doing academically relative to schools with similar percentages of economically disadvantaged students.
  • Closing the Gaps looks at performance among student groups, including various racial/ethnic groups, socioeconomic backgrounds and other factors.

Seventy percent of the accountability rating is based on the better of Student Achievement or Student Progress (whichever is better is the only performance measure counted). The remaining 30 percent is based on performance in the Closing the Gaps area.

To learn more about the A-F accountability system, click here.

Note that while 2018 campus ratings continued under the Met StandardMet AlternativeStandard or Improvement Required labels, district ratings are based on an A-F scale. The A–F rating labels will be applied to campuses at the end of the upcoming school year.

Districts, charters, and campuses can appeal the rating assigned on August 15. TEA will release the final 2018 ratings based on the outcomes of the appeals in December. To view the 2018 state accountability ratings for districts, charters and campuses, visit the TEA website.

In the graphic below are the region’s schools, sorted by letter-grade average, as selected on the TEA website.

**editor’s note** Graphic was created by combining all El Paso County schools, adding Fort Hancock and Dell City, via the TEA’s sorting data, via the letter grades.

To view the specific schools, use the box below to search out each individual school via the searchable tool below.

Select a school or district below to get started. Use to see how well different schools and districts are doing. Each report provides an in-depth look into how campuses and districts are performing overall and in different areas.


Video+Story: EPISD, TxDOT Caution Drivers: School Zones Active Beginning Monday

EPISD Police Services and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) teamed up Friday at Cooley Elementary School to remind drivers about school zone traffic laws and how they apply beginning on Monday, the first day of school.

“We are proud of our effective partnership with EPISD and their effective traffic safety efforts,” said Jennifer Wright, TxDOT public affairs officer. “Pay attention, stay off cellphones and watch out for buses and kids. We also want parents to have a conversation with their children about traffic safety: cross only in at intersections and designated crosswalks, make eye contact with drivers before crossing and look before getting out of the vehicle.”

EPISD Police are certified Texas peace officers and patrol campuses throughout the District to enforce traffic laws.

“We all have to work collectively to make sure everyone is safe going to and coming from school,” said EPISD officer Raul Ramos. “We will be enforcing all traffic laws, so we want to inform the public on how to avoid causing any accidents.”

The three most common violations officers encounter in school zones are speeding, passing and distracted drivers. The officers coordinated a demonstration to dispel any confusion about what is considered passing.

“A lot of people think it’s okay to pass in a school zone as long as you stay under 15 miles, but that is incorrect. If your front bumper breaks the plane of the vehicle next to you, that is considered passing,” Ramos said. “If you are passing another vehicle, you cannot see if there is a child in the crosswalk.”

For more safety tips and information, visit TxDoT’s or EPISD websites.

Story by Alicia Chumley | Photos by Leonel Monroe Jr. | Video by EPISD

Lincoln, Morehead 1st Int’l Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme Schools in EP

El Paso ISD’s Lincoln and Morehead are now officially International Baccalaureate campuses — the only El Paso middle schools to offer the prestigious world curriculum.

“EPISD continues to grow its portfolio of education options for students, and the addition of the Middle Years Programme at Lincoln and Morehead highlights our desire to offer the best possible academic opportunities to all students,” said Superintendent Juan Cabrera.

“These programs create a pipeline to our current high-school IB programs that will have long-lasting impact on education in our community.”

The International Baccalaureate organization announced on Thursday that both Lincoln and Morehead have officially been admitted into the Middle Years Programme designed to give students in sixth- through eighth-grades a rigorous, high-quality curriculum that helps prepare students for a world economy.

The IB Middle Years Programme requires students to receive high-rigor instruction on eight subjects, including: language acquisition, literature, social studies, science, math, art, physical education and critical thinking/design. Students in the program also must engage in a collaborative project involving two subject areas, and complete a long-term project that includes their chosen field of study.

The announcement today caps a two-year admission process for Morehead and Lincoln. A third EPISD campus, Richardson Middle School, also is seeking to become an IB school in the near future. EPISD offers IB programs at Coronado and Andress high schools.

Lincoln and Morehead will begin its IB courses on Monday, when the 2018-19 school year begins. For more information about the programs call Lincoln at 236-3400, and Morehead at 236-3500.

To learn more about the IB Middle Years Programme, click here.

Story by Gustavo Reveles A. | Graphic by Gabriela Warren – EPISD

El Paso ISD Touts New Online Feature that Helps Parents Find the Right School

Even with the first day of school in EPISD right around the corner, district parents still have an opportunity to get their child enrolled in one of the many programs offered throughout the district.

School Finder, a new tool in the EPISD website, can help students and parents find the right school for them using their academic interests, neighborhood and grade level.

“EPISD has created a vast network of options for parents and students when it comes to academic and extra-curricular programs, and we know that maneuvering through this process can be difficult,” said Superintendent Juan E. Cabrera. “That’s why a tool like School Finder is important. It lets parents and students tell us what factors are important to them, and we can determine then which campus may be the best fit for them.”

Parents can use School Finder to locate the perfect fit for their family by quickly entering their child’s academic interest and grade level. School Finder will tell them which schools best suit their needs, provide detailed information about each school, and give information to start the registration process.

Officials with the district add, “EPISD offers an array of specialty programs like International Baccalaureate at the middle- and high-school levels, single-gender campuses, healthcare and STEAM magnet programs, New Tech schools for project-based learning, and PK-12 dual-language education. The District also offers universal Pre-K and Pre-K for 3 year olds.”

Online registration for EPISD is ongoing and can be reached by logging on to Transfer applications for students who live outside of the EPISD boundaries but wish to attend our schools also can be accessed online by clicking on the Registration tab on the EPISD website.

EPISD is an open-enrollment district and offers free enrollment to all its academic programs to any El Paso County student.  First day of school in EPISD is Monday, August 13.

Video+Story: EPISD Electrical Skills Students put Lessons to Use During the Summer

Students in EPISD’s electrical skills program traded their summer sunglasses for safety goggles during their break to hone their craft and earn a little cash along the way.

Eight student workers from the CCTE electrical skills program spent up to 20 hours a week this summer putting into practice what they learned in the classroom during the school year.

Inside the campus’ auto and body shops, the students replaced outdated fluorescent lighting with new, brighter energy-efficient LED fixtures. Other duties had students painting, wiring new cosmetology workstations and installing new switches and projectors in classrooms.

The group of interns traveled to other schools, under the guidance of teacher Victor Ramirez, to fulfill much needed electrical projects throughout EPISD.

“They take a lot of pride in the work they are doing,” Ramirez said. “They can go back and say that ‘I worked at that school and I did this certain room or project.’”

Austin High senior Claudia Whitedog wants to teach music when she graduates from college but knows the value of the skills she’s developing at CCTE – especially installing lighting and switches.

“I spent a week trying to figure it out and then when I finally got to turn on the light switches and they lit up, I was like, ‘that’s awesome.’”

Whitedog joined the program to have a summer job to further develop her electrical skills.

“I know what I’m doing,” she said. “I’d rather do this than running around at a restaurant trying to seat people or cook something or stock shelves. I like that there is something new to do here every day.”

Pablo Ordoñez enjoyed learning about electrical technology and the job opportunity it gave him after graduating from Coronado High School this spring.

“It makes you feel good because you’re making your school better and then you can look back and say, oh, ‘I did that.’ I had a good experience,” he said, under the newly installed LED lights. “CCTE is an amazing school. You can learn anything you want to learn here and you get a lot of great experience.”

While Whitedog and Ordoñez don’t plan to become electricians after college, Ramirez touts the value of the opportunities available at CCTE. The electrical technology teacher was introduced to his trade as a CCTE student in the 1970s, worked in the industry after graduation and then returned to the campus to teach future generations of electricians.

“I have a lot of students who have learned to sheet rock and paint and tile along with electrical work so when they get graduate and own their homes, they usually don’t have to pay anybody to do it because they learned how to do it here,” Ramirez said. “It saves them a lot of money in the long run and they can learn how to build things and then they can apply it to whatever they want to do.”

These industry certifications available at CCTE can translate into careers immediately after graduation.

“You can get out of high school and go right into the industry,” Ramirez said. “Take cosmetology for example. A lot of the students here, they’ll be able to go into the salons right away once they passed their license and a lot of them put themselves through college that way.”

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

Video+Story: Nearly 200 Receive Diplomas During EPISD’s Summer Graduation

The final touch for El Paso ISD’s (EPISD) Class of 2018 came on Thursday morning when nearly 200 students from every high school in the District received their diploma during summer commencement exercises.

The ceremony celebrated those students who fulfilled graduation requirements during the summer and are now eligible to take the final step out of high school.

“This is a very special day,” said Elizabeth Saenz, deputy superintendent of academics and school leadership. “This is a group of hard working, forward thinking and innovative students who are better prepared to take on the challenges of the 21st century than ever before. We hope this is only the beginning.”

Students from all of EPISD’s high schools were represented at the event, which was attended by district superintendent Juan Cabrera, board members, leadership, and of course, graduating seniors’ friends and family.

Andress High School senior Analissa De Los Santos was happy to share the milestone with her loved ones.

“I feel really good. It means a lot because I worked really hard and am graduating a year early,” she said. “I am excited to start school at NMSU in the fall and study nursing.”

Burges High School grad Hendrix Calleros is looking forward to the next chapter in his life.

“I feel really excited to have completed this goal I have been working on,” he said. “These four years have been a great experience. I am grateful to all the teachers and friends I have made along the way.”

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

Registration for El Paso ISD’s 2018-19 School Year Continues

Ahead of the first day of school – Monday, August 13 – student registration for the upcoming 2018-19 school year continues in the El Paso Independent School District.

“Our system is easy to use and designed to help parents who work and may not have the time to come to a physical campus to get their children registered for school,” said Cheryll Felder, the director of EPISD’s Student and Parent Services. “The online system is streamlined and we have a help desk available for any parent who may need assistance in navigating the registration process.”

Parents of returning students can register their students via the online system available on the EPISD website. Instructions and help for online registration is available by clicking the “Registration” tab.

Parents can upload all necessary documents like proof of residency and immunization records digitally and avoid any potential lines at on-site registration on campuses.   Parents who opt to register their children in person may do so at their campus, however they do need to call the school for hours of operation and registration schedules.

Student transfers are still being processed and can be requested online by clicking the “Registration” tab on the EPISD website; or in person in the EPISD Student and Parent Services Office located at 6531 Boeing Drive, Building B.

For more information on registration, email or call 230-2080.

Video+Story: New Technology Helps EPISD Custodians Blast Illness-Causing Germs

Custodians have a new disinfecting tool in their arsenal to zap germs and keep students and employees healthier this school year.

This week, custodians from middle and high school campuses began training on the E-Mist Electrostatic Infection Control System. The new technology uses a wand to deliver a disinfectant, which wraps on to touch points through electrostatic technology. Custodians will no longer spray on and wipe off disinfectant – a practice they have used for decades.

“EPISD is the first and only District in West Texas to employ these types of proactive measures as far as disinfecting and providing that clean and healthy environment for students and staff,” said Amanda Burns, director of custodial services.

“With this new technology, what would take about 15 minutes will now take about one minute tops.”

Custodians gathered Wednesday at Magoffin Middle School for a demonstration and training on the new equipment. Consuelo Cervantes, an assistant head custodian at Chapin High, applied the mist to lockers down the main hallway.

“It’s going to help us a lot,” Cervantes said. “We do a lot of cleaning and with this, it’s faster. And it’ll help a lot with the restrooms.”

Carmen Mata, assistant head custodian at Magoffin, likes that the new technology allows a more efficient clean without disturbing keyboards or items on the desks of employees.

“It’s a quick way to disinfect without touching personal stuff,” she said. 

This system provides custodians a quick turnaround for classrooms especially during flu season.

“If a student has fallen ill at school, when the class goes out to PE, we can go into the classroom and disinfect it so that when the kids come back, the classroom is clean,” Burns said.

E-mist also is being used at central office, the warehouse and other District facilities. Elementary campuses also are employing the GermBlast system, a similar disinfectant system that also uses new technology to kill illness-causing bacteria and viruses.

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

Video+Story: El Paso ISD Begins Laptop Distribution for Middle, High School Students

More than 12,300 MacBook Air laptops are making their way into the hands of EPISD students this week, as part of the District’s continued efforts to provide opportunities for more modern and active learning.

The laptops, which are funded through the 2016 Bond initiative, will be distributed to students in sixth through 11thgrade. EPISD currently enjoys a 1:1 distribution of computer devices for students at every grade level.

“Thanks to the voters of the District we have been able to provide state-of-the-art technology to our secondary students,” said Superintendent Juan Cabrera. “EPISD students have the tools necessary to become successful in a global economy. The MacBooks will compliment teacher-led instruction to help students reach their academic goals.”

This is the second year EPISD will be distributing MacBook Airs.

“It was important for us to choose a device that was going to have high reliability, good quality, and that was going to be durable for students who are entering the sixth,” said Alice Ramos, Chief Technology Officer.

“We wanted to make an investment that was going to be a quality device that students can hopefully keep with them through high school.”

Ramos also explained how device tie in the District’s Active Learning initiatives.

“Teachers can integrate technology effectively and students will have the proper tools at their fingertips to be prepared for 21st century learning,” she said.

Cielo Illarramendi, an incoming Charles Middle School sixth grader, was all smiles after receiving her new MacBook Tuesday morning. She admitted the idea of the computer made her a bit nervous – as the new technology means a step further away from pencil and paper.

“I’m excited to use my MacBook at school this year,” she said. “I’m hoping to learn how to make apps or maybe learning how to separate your assignments so you can keep track of all that.”

Representatives from the Technology Department and Curriculum & Instruction guided students through the distribution process, which ended with a short demonstration by geniuses from the Apple Store.

The distribution will continue through August 2.

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

EPISD’s New Chief Quality Officer On a Mission to Identify Budget Savings

Ret. U.S. Army Col. Alan Wiernicki, the former deputy commander of the 32nd Air and Missile Defense Command at Fort Bliss, is the new Chief Quality Officer for the El Paso Independent School District.

Wiernicki, a 27-year veteran of the Army, will provide leadership and expertise to ensure administrative and reporting procedures and systems operate effectively throughout EPISD. The new position will be responsible for the measurement and effectiveness of District processes.

“EPISD is one of the largest institutions in the region and its operations are multi-faceted and complex,” Superintendent Juan Cabrera said. “As the former deputy commander of a large defense unit in the Army, Col. Wiernicki has the experience and knowledge to help us streamline our processes and provide even better service to our students and families.”

Wiernicki will be tasked with developing and implementing procedures and training to help District personnel improve internal processes with a specific focus on creating measurable outcomes to gauge success. He also will oversee EPISD’s maintenance department.

A career officer in the Army, Wiernicki has vast experience leading large organizations. His expertise will help further strengthen EPISD’s partnership with Fort Bliss. Wiernicki also will have an office at Chapin High School to serve as a military hub and lead collaborative efforts with Fort Bliss.

“EPISD made a great selection by hiring Al Wiernicki as their new Quality Control Officer. As a soldier, I had the privilege of serving with Al in both deployed and garrison environments and can attest to his exceptional character, integrity and leadership abilities,” said ret. Col. Bob Burns, the Deputy Garrison Commander at Fort Bliss.

He added: “Al is an absolute professional with a proven track record of making every organization that he led better than when he arrived. He has the passion for education, and having served as the Fort Bliss Liaison to the EPISD school board in the past, he will be familiar with the processes and ready to make an immediate positive impact.”

Wiernicki earned a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and Latin American Studies from the State University of New York in Cortland. He also has master’s degrees in public/business administration and national strategy from Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant and the National War College in Washington, D.C.

Wiernicki has served as professional teacher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and was the senior advisor to the commander to the Kuwait Air Defense Forces under the Office of Military Cooperation in the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait.

His posts at Fort Bliss included being the commander for the 2nd Battalion, 43rd Air Defense Artillery Regiment, the chief of staff for the 32nd Army Air Defense Command, and the brigade commander for the 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade.

Story By Gustavo Reveles Acosta  | Photo by Leonel Monroy  – EPISD

El Paso ISD Announces New Principals, Staff for Select Schools and Departments

On Thursday, the El Paso Independent School District announced the assignment of new principals and staff at several schools and departments for the 2018-19 academic year.

Former Armendariz Middle School principal Larry Muñoz is the now the principal at the Raymond Telles Academy.

Muñoz replaces former Telles principal Chris James, who is now the principal at the Delta Academy. Former Delta principal Ernie Watts retired at the end of the 2017-18 school year.

Dr. Cynthia Ontiveros, the principal at the Young Women’s STEAM Research & Preparatory Academy, will serve concurrently as the principal at Armendariz. The Young Women’s Academy and Armendariz share a campus.

Former Henderson Middle School principal Elizabeth Maldonado is now an administrator in the EPISD Middle Schools Division. Jason Yturralde will serve concurrently as the principal at Henderson and his current position as principal at Ross Middle School.

Former Canyon Hills Middle School principal Jennifer DeGraaf is now an administrator in the District’s Student and Family Empowerment Department, where she will assist with EPISD’s Social and Emotional Learning initiatives.

Carlos Gomez, a longtime EPISD administrator, will serve as interim principal at Canyon Hills.

Story by Gustavo Reveles – EPISD

Video+Story: EPISD’s CCTE Students Work to Prepare Computers for Start of School Year

When teachers and students return to school in August, computers throughout the District will be working properly and efficiently thanks a to small group of unsung heroes.

These summertime warriors are traveling throughout EPISD schools to troubleshoot, image and update computers and laptops so that all technology is geared up and ready for the start of the 2018-19 academic year.

And while these tech wizards are experienced and well trained, they are all still EPISD high-school students participating in CCTE’s work-based learning program.

“These guys are hard working and know what they’re doing,” said Travis Hamilton, a telecommunications and networking teacher at CCTE. “The work that they’re doing over the summer is helping EPISD be ready to get started come the first day of school. Without them, this task would be very difficult.”

The work-based learning program gives students the opportunity to be hired by the District as actual technicians. The students will work on more than 4,000 computers in all of EPISD’s high school and middle school computer labs this summer. During the school year, the students work from 4 to 8 p.m., working on computers remotely from CCTE or in person.

“In the classroom, there’s limited hands-on experience. They can practice taking apart a computer a number of times, but when they get out they see the different kinds of problems that they may run into,” Hamilton said. “It really gives them that extra experience of what to expect in the field, and they can put it on their resume.”

Coronado student Brady Patrick serves as the program’s senior team leader, making sure everything runs smoothly at each location.

“Our first year we are trained to identify hardware issues, so we can take a computer that has a physical malfunction and figure out what part is having the issue,” he said. “In our second year, we learn about networking issues and how to troubleshoot those.”

Students image each computer and work with teachers to ensure the labs are ready to go when classes start in August.

“Later on this summer we are going to have the teachers tell us what software they really need, so we can go ahead and install those,” he said.

Patrick appreciates the knowledge and skills he has built, which he thinks will help him land a well-paying job while he attends college. 

“The CompTIA A+, which is the certification we are training to receive, is comparable to six months experience,” he said. “So, if you start as a junior, you come out with two years of IT experience, which really gets your foot in the door in a lot of places right out of high school.”

Incoming senior Dawson Dominguez is starting his second year in the CTE program.

“I absolutely love this program. I have learned so much from when I first started,” he said.

He plans on pursuing a career in cyber security when he graduates.

“This next year we are doing Cisco and network security, which will help me with my goals,” Dominguez said. “It’s going to help me learn commands and how to fix things. I would recommend this program. You may go in thinking you know a lot about computers, but you will learn so much more than you thought you knew. It’s absolutely amazing.”

Story by Alicia Chumley  |  Photos by Leonel Monroy  |  Video by Raymond Jackson – EPISD

Video+Story: Coronado FFA Students Stay Busy ‘Down on the Farm’ Over Summer Break

School may be out for the summer, but learning and hard work never take a break at EPISD’s only FFA Farm.

Coronado High School Senior Jonathan Carrizal earlier this week took the wheel of the giant swather, cutting the alfalfa surrounding the 36-acre farm on Lindbergh Avenue. A few yards away, fellow T-Bird Chris Thatch, a sophomore, bathed his calf Magnus to get it prepped for competition.

The working farm gives students a chance to earn credit while learning about agriculture and develop skills for life. Teachers Armando Flores and Jennifer Matejcek spend their summer days on the farm – nurturing the livestock, crops and keeping up the grounds where calves, goats, a pig and chickens live. Students work and volunteer all summer working with the animals and preparing the hay for their livestock and public sale.

“The common misconception about that program is that you have to be a farmer or rancher to be involved in FFA,” said Flores, a lifelong farmer who lives on farm grounds. “That’s not quite the case. We’ve got lots of urbanized students participating with us. We emphasize creating great leaders and great public speakers that can go out into the workplace and be great employees for businesses out there.”

Carrizal stepped out of the swather after plotting perfect lines of trimmed hay.

“I’ve had a farm as long as I can remember. I know how to work and what to do,” he said. “I like the lifestyle. It’s a beautiful day.”

An experienced farmer, Carrizal puts his knowledge and rodeo skills to use to represent Coronado in competitions. This month, he earned fourth place in the Texas FFA Rodeo for team roping – a skill he’s been honing since age 4.

“It’s going to help me in the future,” he said. “It’s what I want to do, and it’ll help me get there.”

Thatch, on the other hand, came to the farm with no experience. He spent much of the morning blowing out the hair of his calf, which he plans to enter in the show steer category in competitions and take to market to sell. Like some students raising and competing with livestock, Thatch actually owns Magnus.

“I just live in a normal, small house in the city, so I would never have an opportunity to do any of this stuff without this place,” he said, while finishing up Magnus’ bath ritual. “You can make a lot of money if you win.”

Thatch isn’t sure the farm life is in his future but he knows the experience will give him a boost later in life.

“If I move into something like agriculture, owning steer or running a ranching or something, I’ll know how to handle these things,” he said. “And for college, they like to see that you stuck with something, so I’ll try to do this all four years of high school.”

The farm also just recently took in two baby goats, which Matejcek began training to walk and brace – key elements for competition later in the fall. They jumped and pulled on their leashes but the experienced rancher knew just how to rein them in.

“I wish more kids would understand the opportunity they have here and try it out,” she said, bracing a 3-month-old goat to show off the muscle definition in his legs and back.

Matejcek enjoys the show portion of FFA and the experience it gives students to learn about animal husbandry: how to work with the livestock, keep them healthy, groom them, raise them and build up their muscle for show and eventual sale. Like Flores, it’s a lifestyle she enjoys and wants to share with students.

“When we go to market, we sell to generate money for our program,” she said, describing how the livestock are great buys because the animals are well taken care of by students. “You’ll never have a bigger turkey than one you buy from a student.”

It also gives those students like Carrizal, who grew up on a farm, a chance to advance his skills so they can raise livestock on their own or get a jump start on a career as a veterinarian.

“There’s no other program like it in EPISD,” Flores said. “I venture to say that we probably have one of the most technologically advanced ag programs when it comes to equipment in Texas. We’re very fortunate that we’ve got a full-on production farm, and it’s in the middle of El Paso.”

And while the farm life is a big part of the agricultural program, Flores stressed the importance of the leadership curriculum taught in the classroom at Coronado, including parliamentary procedure and public speaking.

“Our students excel in that because we really try and knock it out of the park when it comes to public speaking,” Flores said. “When we can get our kids to be good public speakers and be able to get in front of a crowd, that’s going to make our programs shine above all others.”

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

Wiggs Middle School Student Represents EPISD in National Spanish Spelling Bee

For incoming seventh-grader Iker Pérez, perseverance is spelled E-N E-S-P-A-Ñ-O-L.

The Wiggs Wolverine represented his school, the El Paso Independent School District and El Paso a whole in the Concurso Nacional de Deletreo en Español, or the National Spanish Spelling Bee. The event was began last Thursday and ended on Sunday in San Antonio.

Pérez, who earned his spot among the nation’s top Spanish spellers by winning the competitive EPISD Spanish Spelling Bee in March, made it through the first rounds of the spelling bee before bowing out.

“He did an excellent job, as the competition was extremely challenging,” district coordinator Guadalupe Pineda said.

Pérez last word got the best of him. He was unable to correctly spell lengüeta, which means shoe tongue in Spanish.

However, Pérez left the competition proud of his participation and ready to commit to another year of Spanish spelling bee. School officials said Pérez already is practicing for a return trip to nationals.

Pérez was not alone in the trip. His parents, his older brother and Wiggs teacher Jerusha Hunt traveled to San Antonio to support him. They all wore custom made orange-and-blue jerseys donning the EPISD seal and a special Wiggs Spanish Spelling Bee logo.

Nearly 50 contestants from 11 states participate at the national level. This is the eighth year that the Spanish spelling bee is organized.

Author: Alicia Chumley / Photos courtesy EPISD

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