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Home | Tag Archives: EPISD

Tag Archives: EPISD

Video+Gallery+Story: El Paso ISD students impacted by consolidation visit their new schools

Students from the four schools scheduled to close in May as part of EPISD’s ‘Rightsizing for the Future’ initiative visited their new campuses on Thursday to help them become familiar with the facilities and the teachers they will have starting next school year.

The field trips included tours, goodie bags and – later in the evening – an open house for parents.

Students in grades pre-k through fourth from Alta Vista, Beall, Burleson and Schuster elementary schools visited their soon-to-be new campuses: Coldwell, Douglass, Zavala and Dowell, respectively.

“EPISD is focused on making this important transition as easy and seamless as possible for the students and families impacted,” said Superintendent Juan E. Cabrera. “Our receiving campuses are excited and happy to welcome the new students. I am confident that this transition will be beneficial for everyone.”

Dowell Elementary Principal Yeni Ontiveros personally high-fived every Schuster student that walked through the front door on Thursday. They’re all familiar faces since also is the principal at Schuster.

During her welcome remarks, Ontiveros announced to the Schuster Patriots that the Dowell Owls would officially become the Patriot Owls starting in the fall – an indication that the two schools were coming together.

“We’re very excited with this transition and this open house allows our Schuster students to become more familiar with their surroundings and the staff before the consolidation,” she said. “The students from both campuses are extremely excited to have new classmates. It’s been very positive.”

An energetic vibe spread throughout Dowell Elementary as faculty and staff greeted their new students and teachers from Schuster.

Principal Yeni Ontiveros showcased Dowell with a short video featuring messages from students. The Schuster kids cheered and smiled throughout the video – High School Musical’s “We’re All In this Together” played fittingly in the background.

Schuster teacher Stormy Daniels said the reception at Dowell helped calm some of the nerves her students have about the move.

“Even though they’re a little nervous, getting to go on the visit makes it that much more calming for them. They are making the connection as to what they have now at Schuster and what they’ll have at Dowell, so it’s not a scary thing.”

The students left with t-shirts featuring the Dowell Owl mascot – a memento from their visit and a further sign of unity. “I feel welcome because of all the things they did for us,” said Schuster fourth grader Fernando Reyes. “I’m excited because I got to meet new people and new teachers.”

The sentiment was shared throughout EPISD as Coldwell, Zavala and Douglass elementary schools offered similar tours to welcome the Alta Vista, Burleson and Beall elementary students.

The campuses are set to unite for the 2019-20 school year. The Coldwell teachers and students took in their Alta Vista counterparts by spending some quality time in their classrooms doing projects, icebreakers and other interactive activities to build the foundation for the coming year.

The lessons went seamlessly. With both students sharing purple as their school color, they already appeared to be one student body.

“We want them to make friendships and focus more on social-emotional learning,” said principal Jose Gijon. “It’s been fun for students and great for both campuses.”

Alta Vista fourth-grader Daniel Galicia looks forward to exploring his new campus and meeting new friends. He got to know his future classmate Mariah Reyes a bit more after a short question and answer exercise. But what most impressed him about the 2011 National Blue Ribbon School.

“It’s beautiful and big.” Mariah seemed to be the perfect ambassador for Coldwell. “I really think it’s going to be fun for me to have new friends and for them to experience this wonderful school,” she said. “I talk to them and make them feel like they are already part of the school. They have all these programs to help students here. If they’re having trouble, they do everything they can to help them. I really love our school.”

Down in the Chamizal neighborhood, the students from Beall Elementary eagerly walked into what will be their new home starting in August: Douglass Elementary.

Maria Guerra, the principal at both campuses, said the staff at Douglass beyond happy to finally meet the Beall students who will now be a part of the Dragon Family.

“We have the Bowie drum line and cheerleaders here to welcome them and to show them that no matter what school, we are all part of one happy family,” she said. “I know that the Douglass students are excited to welcome their new friends, and our goal is to show the Beall community that we are here to serve their needs.”

The mood was just as cheerful down the street at Zavala, which was welcoming students from Burleson. Zavala students lined up to welcome the buses carrying the students from Burleson.

“We worked hard to make them feel welcome,” said Zavala fifth-grader Jose Villanueva. “We want them to know they’re going to have a great time at this school.”

Story by Reneé de Santos   |  Photos by Leonel Monroy 

Op-Ed: Hey kids: Let’s learn a useless skill!

Here is a little game you can play with your coworkers: try to find a document at your work that is written in cursive from beginning to end. Go ahead I will wait.

How many did you find? I suspect that it was very close to zero.

Here is the next game you can play: Try to remember the last time you had to read a document that was written entirely in cursive. Go ahead, I will wait. Was it last week? Last month? Last year?

Can you even remember a time?

Here is another: When was the last time you were asked to write something in cursive for your work? Received an email in cursive? Read a book in cursive? Read a road sign, a billboard, a loan application, a mortgage, a car lease, a divorce decree? The truth is, unless you have a job as a calligrapher, you do not need to use cursive writing at all in today’s modern world.

Writing in cursive simply is a skill that is no longer necessary in today’s world. Sorry fans of longhand. The ship has sailed. The train has left the station. The toothpaste is out of the tube.

You are reading this online, in print type, where I would venture to guess nearly 100% of the writing is presented in non-cursive format. Have you been negatively impacted by that fact? Has your brain suffered? No, you don’t even realize that nearly all writing is in print format because print is so ubiquitous. Thank you Mr. Gutenberg. Your revolution is nearly complete.

Yet, despite a nearly 100% lack of any kind of need, starting next year in elementary schools all across Texas, resurrected like a character in the Walking Dead, cursive writing as part of the newly adopted English Language Arts TEKS will begin to be taught again.

Proponents of this “kids need to learn a dead skill” initiative cite several reasons for bringing it back. The first is the disproven notion that students need to know cursive writing in order to read historical documents like the Constitution. (Debunked about a year ago). In fact, you don’t need to know how to WRITE in cursive in order to READ in cursive. Those are two completely different skills.

A student can be taught to read cursive in about 30 minutes. You don’t have to know calligraphy in order to read the Coca-Cola logo, do you?

The second is that learning to write cursive somehow improves hand-eye coordination in little ones. Perhaps this is partially true, but so does learning to play an instrument, painting a picture, drawing, and playing video games. Data from research indicates that cursive writing has no greater benefit to students than any of those activities, yet we don’t have “video games” as part of the standard curriculum.

So why the push to bring it back?

The TEKS , those standards that your child is mandated by law to learn and school districts are obliged to teach, are not free from political influences and pressures. What your child learns in school is subject to legislative arm twisting, lobbying efforts by hundreds of organizations, and hearings by multiple committees and departments.

In a red state like Texas, we often are pressured by lawmakers to return to a fantasy world that never existed, where mom stayed at home dutifully vacuuming the carpet daily, dad brought home the bacon, and all the little white children were above average. You remember those days, don’t you?

Those days were the days when all the little children learned how to write in cursive, so that they could send Grandma a Christmas card each year, handwritten, making her so proud. You remember right? No you don’t.

The problem, of course, is that world didn’t really exist, except in the imaginations of politicians who continually mistake ’50’s and ’60’s TV sitcom families for reality. The fact, separate from the fantasy and the voices in their heads, is that many of the skills taught back then are not needed today. We taught Latin as a matter of course in many schools “back then.” We don’t teach Latin, except in some select places, anymore. And good riddance. Latina mortua est.

Cursive writing was put back into the TEKS because of some crazy longing for “the good old days” that really never existed except in the minds of east Texas white Tea Party Republicans. Qualem blennum!

Cursive writing, like Latin, is nearly dead. Want more proof? After 5th grade, there is not a single TEKS that revisits cursive writing. Not one. In any subject. In other words, the skill is completely ignored after students leave elementary school, never to be seen again. T

hat is 4 years (2-5th grades) that is wasted on a skill of very little value other than to make some east Texas blue haired ladies that taught elementary school in the 1950’s happy. For the next seven years a child is in school, they will not be asked to write a single thing in cursive. Not a single thing.

The STAAR test won’t be written in cursive, and the written responses can be submitted in cursive or printed format. Of course, if they are taking the test online, print is the default.

Teaching cursive handwriting should go the way of the educational Dodo bird. We have quite a few of those dead skills and classes that we, as a society, have tossed aside because time and technology have made them useless. Sliderules, keyboarding, “Home Ec” and how to shoe a horse are among the thousands of things we have relegated to the dustbin of educational history.

It’s time we send cursive writing there as well. Let’s teach kids skills that they actually will need to succeed in their futures, not some politician’s fantasy past.

***

Author: Tim Holt is an educator and writer, with over 33 years experience in education and opines on education-related topics here and on his own award-winning blog: HoltThink. He values your feedback.

Feel free to leave a comment.  Read his previous columns here.

FanCon brings comic book culture to Chapin

Smash Brothers tournaments, 3-D printing, green-screen video recording and even a traveling planetarium were only part of the attractions featured at the Big Daws FanCon — Chapin’s first ComicCon.

The event, which is modeled after the comic-book conventions that have become popular in cities throughout the country, was organized by the Chapin Library as a way to promote literacy and the love of reading.

At Chapin, the FanCon featured costume based on comic books and video games. But organizers also invited students to show off their pop-culture knowledge through the use of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, the arts and math).

Michelle Gutierrez, Chapin’s librarian and one of the organizers of the event, said the FanCon is one more way to show the relevance school libraries can have nowadays.

“We always want people to know that libraries are so much more than just checking out books,” she said. “The library has become a hub of the school.”

She said Chapin students do more than just access books and computers. Huskies often use the library to hang out during free time, access college readiness documents, socialize in a healthy environment and – with the creation of EPISD Makerspaces — tap into their creative side.

Chapin student Kody Cambell said the FanCon made him excited about attending a larger ComicCon in the near future.

“They’re real great,” said the 18-year-old senior. “They give us a community where we can come together and explore our common interest.”

Fan-Con was held last week, on the campus of Chapin High.

Story by Elena Fitzmaurice  |  Photos by Erika Reyes – El Paso ISD

Video+Story: EPISD breaks ground on new Bobby Joe Hill PreK-8 School

EPISD honored the life and legacy of the late Bobby Joe Hill, a trailblazer basketball player who led the 1966 Texas Western Miners to an NCAA championship, during the groundbreaking ceremony Friday on the site of the campus set to bear his name.

Hill, who was one of the five African-American starters that broke racial barriers in collegiate sports as part of legendary UTEP Coach Don Haskins team, was selected as the name that will carry the name of the Bond 2016 consolidation of Terrace Hills Middle School and Collins Elementary School.

His wife, Tina Hill, and other family members joined EPISD officials to celebrate the start of construction on the new, $35.4-million Northeast campus that is expected to be completed for the 2021 school year.

“I’m quite excited. It’s is unbelievable. It still hasn’t sunk in yet,” said Tina Hill, who taught at Terrace for 20 year and whose daughter attended both campuses. “It’s like coming back home.”

When talking about her husband’s legacy it’s hard for her not to mention his ‘66 teammates and the role education played in their lives.

“That entire team, all those guys besides basketball, they had wonderful character,” she said. “All of them pursued their education and came out with great careers. And that’s what we’re pushing on this campus.”

The naming of the campus also is significant to former Texas Western basketball player and Board President Bob Geske, who fondly recalls his days on and off the court with his teammate.

“Personally, this means a lot,” Geske said. “He was one of the finest people I ever met in my life.  He did so much for the community.”

In the Terrace Hills courtyard students stood around the architectural renderings of the new school pointing to the new features with pride about what it will become. During the ceremony, the middle schoolers watched from the second floor. A sea of Collins classmates sat below sporting construction hats with their new Hawk mascot ready to be united with the middle schoolers.

“I think it’s pretty exciting because since my brother is in this school and after school I can see him,” said third-grader Sebastian Contreras. “This school is going to be bigger so there’s a lot of places I can explore.”

Story by Reneé de Santos  |  Photos: L. Monroy & A. Beltran  |  Video by Raymond Jackson /  EPISD

New Texas Tech/Silva Partnership gives students early access to nursing degree

Starting next school year, a new partnership with the Texas Tech University Health Science Center El Paso will pave the way for EPISD students to earn a registered-nurse degree by the time they are 20 years old.

A new agreement with Texas Tech University Health Science Center gives incoming Silva Health Magnet students an opportunity to earn the pre-requisites necessary to enter the Gayle Greve Hunt School of Nursing upon graduating.

Incoming Silva students enrolled in the program can take up to 60 college credit hours to earn an associate’s degree through El Paso Community College. Upon successful completion, they can receive admission into the accelerated nursing program and earn their RN in 16 months.

“The beauty of this program is that Texas Tech has agreed to extend all of those credits and allow them to enter the bachelor’s of science in nursing program right after high school,” said Patty Benitez, a facilitator in the EPISD Office of Transformation. “It’s a great opportunity for our students. We foresee a high interest.”

Benitez worked closely with Texas Tech while serving as an assistant principal at the campus.

Beyond the educational opportunities, she touts the financial savings for students.

“It’s free of charge for students,” she said. “Silva will offer the whole 60 hours which includes tuition and books. EPCC also offers tutoring resources for our students.”

Dr. Manuel Santa Cruz, Texas Tech assistant dean and chair of the undergraduate program, joined with Benitez and Silva to announce the new partnership and explained the program’s widespread impact for the community.

“We are contributing to the need for nurses in the workforce,” he said. “There’s a huge nursing shortage right now in the community. If we look at the state of Texas, in the year 2022, we will be needing 20,000 nurses needed in state and in West Texas 3,000 to 4,000 nurses and that number continues to grow.”

The program begins in the fall with the incoming class of 2023. Texas Tech has agreed to reserve 10 percent of the admission class each year to students meeting all of the requirements.

Senior Disha Ganjegunte, a student leader involved with the development of the program, looks forward to the opportunities it brings to future Silva students.

“Texas Tech is just a huge part of us coming to Silva Health Magnet,” Ganjegunte said. “This is setting the foundation of not only excelling in academics but also getting that exposure to the medical fields with Texas Tech mentors. It’s a great opportunity that you now have a pathway to get to Texas Tech and actually graduate as a nurse.”

The future neonatologist sees the program as a solid pathway to many healthcare careers.

“Even if our students don’t want to be a nurse, just having that exposure and building up all those prereqs and going through the program, graduating as an RN, is a great resume builder,” she said. “It’s great for just building up all those skills you actually need to be a physician.”

Sophomore Emmanuel Ortega is considering pursuing a nursing degree at Texas Tech after he graduates. He sees the edge this new program gives students interested in a healthcare career.

“This is a huge opportunity and will open lots of doors,” he said. “A lot of students want to be doctors or nurses but they don’t know what it looks like. This is going to be hands-on, which is what you need to get into a medical field. And Silva, just its name, opens doors and I think this is going to so beneficial for the future.”

Story by Reneé de Santos  |  Photo by Erika Reyes – EPISD

El Paso ISD unveils new Bond 2016-funded safety and security programs

Visitors to any El Paso Independent School District elementary campus will have to go through an extra layer of security before even setting foot inside the front office, all thanks to newly safety and security equipment that is part of the EPISD Bond 2016 modernization program.

The new Secure Entry system requires that all visitors use a camera by the front door of each school to show their identification card and state the purpose of their visit. Once a District employee determines the visitor has legitimate business on campus, he or she will be allowed into the front office where their identification card will be checked against a sex-offender registry database.

The Bond 2016-funded upgrades are part of the District’s continued efforts to create safe spaces for learning.

“Parents expect us to provide safe and secure environments for their children, and thanks to the Bond have one of the best systems available at our elementary schools,” said Manny Chavira, EPISD’s Safe and Secure Schools Manager. “By providing these extra layers of security, we allow our employees to challenge any visitor that has no reason to be on our campus.”

Any visitor deemed ineligible to visit a school will be met by an administrator to determine further action.  The new system also works in conjunction with the EPISD Police and systems being used by other regional law-enforcement agencies, who can respond to a call if needed.

“This is the fabric of society now and we have to take these extra measures to make sure that we are ensuring the safety and security of our students and the faculty,” Chavira said.

Tom Lea principal Michelle Casillas likes security the new system gives staff and parents.

“We know exactly who is in the building at all times,” she said. “It gives our parents that sense of security in knowing that our kids are safe, that there isn’t anyone not authorized to be on campus. If we need to, we can call or text police services for assistance. They respond very quickly and been very supportive.”

At Tom Lea, parents arriving on campus pulled as they approached the cameras, ready for when the staff would ask.

“I like fact no one can get into my daughter’s school without proper identification,” said Ramon Reyes. “It makes you feel a lot more secure about my daughter.

Reyes finds the process to enter easy for parents but might not so easy for someone who doesn’t belong.

“It’s not a hassle to get your ID out. It’s for a better piece of mind,” he said.

The new system is part of the $750,000 voters approved for safety and security measures in the Bond 2016 modernization program.  All elementary schools have the new Secure Entry system, and the District is now working on expanding it to middle and high schools.

EPISD Police also provided tours of its new mobile command center during the demonstration.  The former bookmobile turned police station on wheels is equipped with phones, workspace and computers that can tap into the campus security cameras during emergencies. Giant screens lining the wall showed areas of the campus captured from the cameras in and outside the school and on the mobile unit and the blueprint of the building.

“The mobile unit gives us a place where all of our public safety partners can come in to create a unified command establish from beginning to end of an emergency incident,” Chavira said. “The security upgrades and the new mobile command center are all tools we have to ensure that we keep our students and staff safe and secure and can act quickly in the event of an emergency.

Story by Reneé de Santos  |  Photos by Leonel Monroy  |  Video by Angel Dominguez/EPISD

EPISD Education Foundation offering Classroom Impact Grants

Teacher Isabel Malone’s dream of creating an art club to foster the talents of her young students finally came to fruition this school year after she applied and was granted a Classroom Impact Grant from the EPISD Education Foundation.

The Powell Art Club meets regularly to allow fourth- and fifth-grade students to grow their talent using materials and tools bought through the grant.

Malone was one of 20 teachers to benefit from the Classroom Impact Grants last year.

“I wanted to be able to provide some motivation as well as a place to unwind and get creative,” Malone said. “I have zero art background and am influenced by my own experiences and ideas of how art can be freeing, experimental, and fun.  It relieves stress and tension and takes my mind off things.”

The students used a variety of media to design a silhouette of profile filled with images representing their likes including dogs, cartoon characters and other pop culture icons.

“My hope is that they take something away from their time in the Art Club that will stay with them, inspire them, and possibly pursue and explore more on their own,” Malone said.

Her students collaborated with each other, sharing the mediums and checking out each other’s work – all in tune to the to 1970s and 80s music playing in the background.

“I really enjoy it because I love to draw all the time I never get to show anyone my art, so this a way to show everybody my art,” said Sanjuana Herrera.

Fourth grader Taylor Ross enjoys the extra time to explore her creativity.

“I draw constantly,” she said. “I love drawing. When I go home I draw a lot. The club helps me learn about water colors and different materials you can use for art.”

Peyton Fry, also in fourth grade, likes that the club provides a no judgement zone.

“I like it because I’m able to draw whatever I like without being judged on what I want to draw or how I draw,” she said.

Malone plans to apply again to expand the program next year.

The Classroom Impact Grant application will be open April 5 through June 15. Teachers can apply for up to $1,000 to do an innovative project in their classroom. Grants recipients will be announced in September.

Go to episd.org/educationfoundation beginning April 5 for more information.

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

Dallas Cowboys, Texas Lotto team up to bring football clinic to EPISD, YISD at El Paso High

Historic Jones Stadium at El Paso High School will play host to a free football clinic for over 200 El Paso and Ysleta ISD student-athletes.

Now in its third year, The Dallas Cowboys High School Clinic presented by the Texas Lottery will give students from high schools represented the opportunity to learn both on- and off-the-field lessons.

At the clinic, Dallas Cowboys Youth Camp Coaches will instruct students on techniques and skills.

Camp Coaches will also be joined by a Dallas Cowboys current player to assist in sharing football insights and other life lessons.

Student-athletes were selected by their coaches for the high school football showcase.  Officials with the clinic share that the two school districts are expecting great competition during the day.

The clinic will start at 8 a.m. on Saturday, March 30 at El Paso High School’s Jones Stadium.

• WHAT: Dallas Cowboys High School Clinic – El Paso, TX – Presented by the Texas Lottery.

• WHEN: 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 30.

• WHERE: Historic Jones Stadium at El Paso High School, 800 East Schuster.

• WHO: Dallas Cowboys Youth Camp Coaches with over 200 EPISD and YISD student-athletes.

Crosby students deliver Hope Boxes to patients at Children’s Hospital

Inspired by the book about a Japanese girl surviving leukemia, the students at Crosby Elementary School decided to put their Active Learning Framework skills to good use and visit a local children’s hospital.

The fourth-grade students, guided by teachers Lisa Robles, Maria Villa and Sandy Michaels, delivered Hope Boxes to patients at El Paso Children’s Hospital the week before spring break.

Their inspiration was the book “Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes” by Eleanor Coerr. The story tells of a girl with leukemia who believes that origami paper cranes could help her cope with the disease.

Crosby students built their hope boxes, which were filled with hand-made gifts like sock bunnies, melted-crayon artwork, animal jar lanterns, painted picture frames and rock art.

“They worked in groups and used their active learning skills to find do-it-yourself videos to create the items that went into the boxes,” said Crosby Active Learning Leader Catherine Caruso. “The hope is that the boxes would bring joy and a smile to the faces of the patients at the hospital.”

The students delivered the boxes with the help of their parents.

Story by Gustavo Reveles  |  Photo courtesy of Crosby Elementary – EPISD

Video+Story+Gallery: Braden Aboud Foundation gives shoes to Cooley students

Nearly 500 students on Wednesday walked home from Cooley Elementary School wearing brand new Nike tennis shoes, all in memory of a 14-year-old El Paso teen who passed away in 2007.

The Braden Aboud Memorial Foundation delivered the pink and gray shoes to Cooley as part of their effort to improve the lives of children in El Paso.

“This is our favorite day of the year … the day we give shoes away,” said Amy Marcus, the foundation’s shoe giveaway chair. “We love to come out to EPISD schools and work with the District to provide does to deserving students.”

Cooley Principal Elizabeth Prangner said the school developed a merit system to help students earn their new shoes.  All students at the school completed the required character-counts components that helped them win the shoes.

The students received one pair of shoes and five pairs of new socks to match.

Gary Aboud, Braden’s dad and one of the executive directors of the foundation, said the socks came from funds donated by the El Paso Rotary Club and an anonymous donor.

Teachers at Cooley said the shoes are a welcomed gift.

“Now these guys can go out and enjoy life and do great at physical education,” said teacher Lourdes Arenas.

Story by Gustavo Reveles  |  Photos by Leonel Monroy  |  Video by Angel Dominguez/EPISD

El Paso ISD’s Young Women’s Academy students design parkour shoe for Nike

Four Young Women’s STEAM prep sixth graders put their best parkour foot forward in a national Nike shoe design competition and walked away with fifth place.

The four sixth graders, who were among hundreds of teams nationally that submitted a shoe designed for parkour athletes, spent weeks researching parkour before developing their Gecko Shoe.

Parkour athletes are known to run, leap and climb working their way from one point to another in a complex environment, without any equipment and trying to do it in the fastest and most efficient way possible. Their shoe needed to reflect this and give parkour athletes the edge to be competitive and spry.

“Our inspiration for the actual design of the shoe was geckos because they have a lot of grip and they run around a lot, so it kind of reminded of us of parkour,” said Elyssa Flores. “We did a lot of research. We wanted to make sure the materials still worked would be best for different types of things that they do.”

The four students were among 11 teams throughout the YWA campus competing but the only to catch the judges’ attention.

“Although we can’t give individual feedback, we can say that the judges took into account the criteria shared with students, as well as looked through their individual lenses of sport researcher/designer, athlete, or educator,” said Jamie Larsen from the SportsLab Team in a letter to YWA. “The top designs checked off all or most of the criteria, as well as caught the eyes of the judges in some way to make them stand out.”

STEM teacher Haleigh Kneedler watched the students pour through extensive research, develop the eye-catching gecko-inspired designs and definitely sees why their project received recognition.

“I’m ready proud of them,” she said. “They are really hard workers and innovative thinkers.”

Madison Mendoza talked with ease about the needs of the parkour athlete and what kind of shoe best fit their needs.

“It’s a lot of work,” she said. “Itdoesn’t matter only what the shoe looks like so much as the materials that into it. It has to have grip and it can’t be too heavy and it has to be sturdy so it doesn’t rip when you’re jumping around a lot.”

Addison Rodriguez added: “It’s about how the foot moves and how comfortable it is. It required a lot of research on what goes into the materials and a little bit of math because you have to put the pieces together.”

Each of the teammates spoke like experts when talking about their new-found knowledge of parkour, its techniques and shoes.

“My teammates worked hard to get into competition,” said America Guzman. “We were surprised to make this far but we all worked together to make this shoe succeed and we were really good teammates to each other.”

The whole experience gave the students a new appreciation for parkour and even sparked an interest in trying the sport.

“It’s like a playground,” Mendoza said. “But you make your own playground.”

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

El Paso ISD Lunch Ladies Donate Hair to Charity

More than 40 lunch ladies from cafeterias spanning all of the El Paso Independent School District gathered here on a recent Saturday to so something that didn’t involve a kitchen.

The EPISD Food and Nutrition Services employees came together to have their long, beautiful hair chopped off in the name of charity – Children With Hair Loss.

The hair was properly cut and treated by cosmetology students at the Center for Career & Technology Education, who also gave all participants a complimentary manicure to show their gratitude.

The 40 women – including some students – donated nearly 620 inches of hair to Children With Hair Loss, a nonprofit organization that provides free wigs to children with medical conditions affecting hair growth.

Children With Hair Loss is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization that provides human hair replacements at no cost to children and young adults facing medically-related hair loss.

Food services employees organized the event in an effort to give back to the community.

Story by Gustavo Reveles  |  Photos: Food & Nutrition Services -EPISD

 

Franklin High’s Mock Trial Team competes in State Tourney

The Cougars once again won the District Mock Trial Competition and represented the city in the Dallas Bar Association’s State Mock Trial tournament this weekend.

This is the third straight year Franklin has taken first place at the district tournament and participated in the state competition.

Mock Trial is a tournament for aspiring lawyers and legal fans where participants are given a ficticious case and must then develop and present both the prosecution/plaintiff and defense. The students then play the roles of the attorneys and witnesses.

Members work together to learn the facts of the case and create strategies for trial and then compete in local-area meets.

The 2019 Franklin Team is:  Mia Beldner, Gabriel Agustin Del Campo, Michael Fallon, Luisa Garcia, Andres Hinojos, Derek Jones, Sam Magana, Jorge Pompa, Alec Tellez and Alec Trujillo.  The Franklin sponsor is Alison Cundari.

Two members of the El Paso District Attorneys Office, Amanda Enriquez and Elizabth Howard, serve as the team’s lawyer coaches.

At the State Competition in Dallas this weekend there were 28 teams from around Texas competing for the honor to represent Texas at the National High School Mock Trial Competition, in Athens, Georgia, this May.

While the Franklin Team did not break the Top 10 this year at the State Competition, they know that their hard work paid off this year and look forward to competing again next spring.

The regional competition was organized by the regional coordinator, Claudia Duran, on Feb. 8-9 at the El Paso County Courthouse.

Gallery+Story: Battle of the Bluebonnets sparks friendly reading competition

EPISD’s very first Pat Arnold Battle of the Bluebonnets on Thursday helped kicked off what is sure to become an annual tradition among students who love reading.

The contest — which asks participating school teams to answer questions about the books named as finalists for the Texas Bluebonnet Award by the Texas Library Association — had its first edition in the EPISD Boardroom with several elementary schools participating.

EPISD librarians organized the contest and named it after Pat Arnold, a former EPISD librarian who passed away last year and had shown tremendous dedication to literacy in the District.

Round by round students answered questions about books like “Amina’s Voice” by Hena Khan and “Bravo! Poems About Amazing Hispanics” by Margarita Engle in front of a crowd of book fans from throughout the District.

In the end the champions of the first edition of the EPISD Pat Arnold Battle of the Bluebonnets was Mesita Elementary.  Second place went to Fannin Elementary and third place was Bradley Elementary.

Story by Gustavo Reveles  |  Photo by Leonel Monroy  – EPISD

NFL player visits EPISD’s Hawkins Elementary

Coming to school every day paid off with more than knowledge for some of the students at Hawkins on Wednesday.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Farrington Huguenin and former University of Texas at El Paso football player Kevin Perry visited the South-Central school to give a motivational speech to the entire student body.

Huguenin trains in El Paso with Perry and was compelled to come to Hawkins after some students made Valentine’s Day cards for him, Principal Adriana Ruiz said.

“We were so happy and honored to have them come and talk to our kids about the importance of education,” she said. “It’s important for our students to see people they admire be successful and we want them to know that the key to success is education.”

The students who have had perfect attendance this month got a special perk: a pick-up football game with both players.

Huguenin and Perry also brought with them school supplies to donate to the students and several autographed footballs to give out.

Story by Gustavo Reveles | Photos by Leonel Monroy- EPISD
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