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Home | Tag Archives: horizon heights

Tag Archives: horizon heights

Socorro ISD’s Bond 2017 Multipurpose Rooms Now in Design Phase

The planning and design for the Socorro Independent School District’s Bond 2017 projects are under way with input from community members and district leaders.

Most recently, Team SISD administrators met with archiPeli architects to review design schemes for the new multipurpose rooms that will be built at 16 SISD elementary schools.

The principals of the schools looked over the proposed plans to select a design that will meet the needs of students and staff at their schools.

 “The multipurpose rooms will serve as small gyms that give the schools an area for students and staff to use for physical education, staff development, and other activities,” said Tom Eyeington, SISD chief operations officer. “Currently, the 16 campuses use a single cafeteria space as a lunch room, auditorium and physical education space.”

The multipurpose rooms will have state-of-the-art features such as overhead doors, exterior canopies, and translucent panels ideal for natural lighting. With 4,360 square feet of flexible space, the new facilities will have room for an office and a storage room, said Fred Perez, archiPeli architect.

“It’s critical that we get feedback from the end users,” Perez said. “We wanted to give them options and have them select the final scheme.”

The elementary schools that will get a new multipurpose room are: Benito Martinez, Campestre, Elfida P. Chavez, Escontrias, H.D. Hilley, Helen Ball, Horizon Heights, Hueco, Loma Verde, Lujan-Chavez, Myrtle Cooper, O’Shea Keleher, Robert R. Rojas, Sgt. Roberto Ituarte, Sierra Vista and Vista del Sol.

School leaders were excited to see the designs, and said they are eager to use their new facility.

“We worked as a team and came to a consensus to decide which design was going to be in the best interest of our students,” said Fernando Miranda, principal at H.D. Hilley. “We are very excited to break ground! Bond 2017 projects are great for students and the community.”

One of the greatest benefits of multipurpose rooms is not limiting student’s physical education activity during times of inclement weather, said Rosemary Yates, principal at Elfida P. Chavez Elementary School.

“Our campus will see an enormous benefit from this multipurpose room,” Yates said. “During the winter it’s too chilly for our little ones to be outdoors, and in the summer it’s too hot.”

The multipurpose rooms also will contribute to more than just physical education.

“I would love to have more events for our community and our children,” she said. “We can organize science expos and have more stations during career day. The sky is the limit in terms of the kind of impact we can make running high level curriculum-based events.”

Construction of the multipurpose rooms will begin in spring 2019.

Socorro ISD Students Log Millions of Minutes in Reading for Nationwide Challenge

Students at H.D. Hilley and Horizon Heights elementary schools didn’t spend the summer just watching television or playing video games.

Instead, the youngsters read millions of minutes, earning the two campuses entry into the top 10 schools with the most reading minutes in the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge.

The two campuses recently celebrated their accomplishments. Horizon Heights students slimed their principal Jenifer Hansen and covered her with Silly String during a morning celebration. At H.D. Hilley, classrooms with the most top readers celebrated with pizza, popcorn and ice pop parties.

H.D. Hilley was the 2017 top winner for Team SISD with 1,577,099 minutes. Horizon Heights came in second with just 600 minutes less.

“It does say something about how quickly our schools have embraced the idea that reading can be a fun and an exciting activity to do whenever and wherever they are,” said Marcy Sparks, SISD’s library service coordinator.

Beginning each May and continuing through mid-September, the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge encourages students to read and log in all their minutes during the summer months.

In 2016, Mission Ridge passed Hurshel Antwine at the last second to finish in first place, which earned the school a visit from Scholastic’s Summer Reading Road Trip RV.

Proud principals

This year, Horizon Heights was leading throughout the summer, then H.D. Hilley snuck in during the last days of the contest to take the top spot. Overall, SISD district logged in almost 6 million minutes, improving the overall minutes earned in 2016 by almost double, Sparks said

For H.D. Hilley Principal Fernando Miranda, winning the reading challenge showed his students they could accomplish anything, even when it is sometimes challenging for students to find books outside of school.

“This is a huge accomplishment,” Miranda said. “It’s enormous. These students aren’t near a public library. The only free books students can check out is in our school library or the Little Free Library that sits in front of the school. That’s why this is such a big deal.”

Horizon Heights has participated in several reading challenges during the last several years, said Shannon Ortega, the school’s librarian.

“But this year our principal challenged the students, promising she would let them cover her in slime if we could reach a million minutes,” Ortega said. “We not only read that much but we are No. 10 in the United States and No. 2 in SISD.”

On the day of the sliming, Hansen showed up at school with normal everyday clothes and jewelry. Her only protection was a pair of goggles. As soon as she knelt in a kiddie pool, student after student poured the slime on her head and then shot Silly String non-stop.

“I knew I was going to be oohey, gooey and I was so scared,” Hansen said. “But that’s OK because I am one proud principal. My children know how much I care about them. This is about them knowing that their principal sets goals, too, for them. They have to set personal goals, but so do I for them.”

Spreading the love of reading

Jared Barraza, a 10-year-old from Horizon, was one of the lucky students picked to slime the principal. He earned the right because he read more than 5,000 minutes.

“I love to open a book,” Barraza said. “I enjoy the story. But reading also helps me with my school work and improves my vocabulary. I want to become a doctor, so reading is going to be very important for my work. How can I read about illnesses and other things if I can’t read?”

It’s this kind of thinking that Horizon Heights teachers, the librarian and the principal have instilled in their students. The saying around the school, thanks to Hansen, is “Readers become Leaders.” Her focus for the challenge was to make students read for pleasure and not let it become a chore.

“Are there benefits such as vocabulary, comprehension, fluency, absolutely?” Hansen said. “Reading is that foundation for all other curriculum, subjects in our school. But this competition was about reading for the love of reading. It is about a journey. When you open a book, it takes you to a location, to a place. This was about reading for the love of reading.”

Sparks believes more students are starting to feel that way. Across the district, more and more are picking up books and reading. School administrators and staff are doing an outstanding job of encouraging it and providing time for students to read.

“Our librarians are making a concerted effort to provide access to reading materials a lot easier, especially in areas without public library access,” Sparks said. “Eastlake feeder schools all got Little Free Libraries before the summer break and that may have helped. We have also been showing our students how to access eBooks and audiobooks from home.”

In addition, the challenge makes students feel part of something bigger than themselves, she said.

“We promote the event as reading for fun, and all summer students make choices about what they want to read – whether it’s an instructional manual for a new game or reading your favorite book for the third time,” she said. “It’s a freedom that embodies the excitement of summer!”

Staff Member at SISD’s Horizon Heights Nominated for White House Award

Horizon Heights Elementary School parent liaison Bonnie Soria Najera has been nominated by the National Education Association for the White House School Support Professional Champion of Change Award.

Najera, who last year was named the 2015-2016 Texas State Teachers Association Education Support Professional of the Year, will find out if she is a winner in April. If she is a Champion of Change, Najera will attend an awards presentation at the White House on May 11.

“The White House is looking for school support professionals in pre-K-12 and higher education who are doing extraordinary things every day in our nation’s schools,” said Lily Eskelsen, NEA president, in a statement. “We have nominated you because we believe the work you do for your students and community takes the vision of the whole student into action every day.”

Najera, who found out about the nomination recently, was shocked to be considered for the White House award.

“It is amazing just to be nominated,” Najera said.

Najera has been working as a parent liaison for the Socorro Independent School District for eight years. Her number one job is helping parents help their child achieve academic success, she said. But she also isbig on helping her school, the district and the community.

She hosts an annual Thanksgiving dinner for the people in the Sparks community. She was key in starting the citywide Uniform Swap and SISD’s Warm the Soul Shoe Drive after noticing a necessity at Horizon Heights.

“These are just a few examples of Bonnie’s acts of charity and kindness,” said Paso Del Norte Principal James Vasquez, who worked with Najera while he was Horizon Heights’s principal. “Her work goes far beyond what is listed in her job description. When she sees someone in need, not only does she take action, but she organizes and gets the whole community involved.”

Horizon Heights principal Jenifer Hansen is impressed with Najera’s desire to improve the lives of those less fortunate.

“Her passion to serve has made a difference not only in the lives of children, but in the members of the community,” said Hansen, who has worked with Najera for six years. “She truly is deserving of this honor.”

Najera takes all the accolades in stride. Her main concern is to help others, especially students.

“I just want to open people’s eyes to the things that are happening around them,” Najera said. “Sometimes they don’t know what is happening in a child’s life. Maybe there is no food to eat or no place for them to stay. The family may not have money for new shoes. I want people to become aware of what is happening so they can say ‘How can we help the kids?’ ”

Whether she wins or loses the White House award, Najera plans to continue reaching out to make life better for those in the community around her.

“There is so much help needed out there,” she said “What we do and say can make a difference in people’s lives. That’s why if someone needs me, I am there.”

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