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Thursday , January 24 2019
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Home | Tag Archives: Salvador H. Sanchez Middle School

Tag Archives: Salvador H. Sanchez Middle School

Socorro ISD Schools Expand ‘Little Free Libraries’ Program

Five more schools have opened Little Free Libraries outside their front doors to make books more accessible and boost students’ reading skills.

Robert R. Rojas Elementary, Ernesto Serna Elementary, Benito Martinez Elementary, Sgt. Jose F. Carrasco Elementary and Salvador H. Sanchez Middle schools have added the small doll-house-like structures, filled with books donated by non-profits, district police officers, librarians, teachers, staff and the community.

“Little Free Libraries are important for our schools because they help strengthen community bonds,” said Marcy Sparks, SISD’s library services coordinator. “It’s not just that students have more access to books, but it’s also taking responsibility to make sure it’s well cared for and anyone in the community can help lead in that effort. That’s why many of our leadership organizations, like the Boys and Girls Scouts, have sponsored a few of our libraries and help make sure they continue to provide reading material in a safe space.”

Sanchez Little Library

The district’s goal is to equip all elementary and K-8 schools with Little Free Libraries, Sparks said. There are currently about 20 of the small libraries at SISD schools.

“What I love about the Little Free Library movement is the visual reminder for our communities that reading is important,” Sparks said. “When our communities value literacy, then we all benefit.”

Drs. Steve and Georgia Lane, of Farmington, N.M., have been huge contributors to the literacy cause in SISD. Through the couple’s Three Rivers Education Foundation, they donated three Little Free Libraries that went to Rojas, Serna and Sanchez and thousands of books to those schools and others in the district.

“This is what the foundation is all about,” Georgia Lane said. “The SISD schools we work with had expressed a need, so we wanted to

Rojas Little Library

fulfill it. We want to help increase literacy in schools. We love what we do. It’s heartwarming to see how happy the students are. We want to make a difference in a child’s life.”

Benito Martinez Principal Greg Hatch took it upon himself to build his school’s Little Free Library. It was a week’s worth of hard work, but it was a true success, he said.

“I wanted to make sure my scholars had each and every opportunity to learn and excel,” Hatch said. “This year, we are placing an even stronger emphasis on reading. I have purchased novels for each and every grade level. I am pushing using authentic literature to teach reading as opposed to using dittos and passages. If I truly believe that my scholars learn reading by being authentically engaged in reading, then I must ensure that regardless of the day or the hour they have access to books. The Little Library ensures exactly that.”

The small cabinet, sitting near the entrance, is a big hit with students, who are happy to have one more place to grab a book.

“I have seen students make sure they take a book with them as they leave the campus,” Hatch said. “While working nights and weekends, I have seen students drop by and get a book during non-school hours. I believe that it truly is sending the message that reading is important and that the only way you get better at reading is by reading.”

For Carrasco Elementary, the SISD Police Department donated a Little Free Library. The school, named after the district’s first police sergeant who ensured students’ safety for more than 34 years, has a student population hungry to read.

Benito Little Library

“Librarian Cori Stothart approached us with the idea of the Little Free Library at which point we decided it was a no brainer,” said SISD

Police Chief Joe Castorena. “The little library was not the only item donated.  We also donated a large number of books that we had inherited previously when we took over the district’s former mobile library. Having all those items, we decided our kids should enjoy the benefits of reading. So, we did it.”

Stothart is so grateful for the incredible gift and continued support from Chief Castorena and the SISD police department.

“Our community’s heart is warmed knowing that they are taking care of us!” Stothart said. “Our scholars are amazed that they have 24-hour access to a completely free resource. I am especially grateful to be in a position to foster a greater understanding of what all libraries are truly about: equal access to information for everyone.”

Socorro ISD Earns Tech Lending Grant, Expands Laptop Distribution to More Students

Thursday afternoon, Socorro Independent School District officials announced that the district  had been awarded the 2018-2019 Technology Lending Grant by the Texas Education Agency to provide more students access to high-quality digital resources and courses.

The $150,000 grant has allowed SISD to expand its Digitally Nurturing Academics 1:1 program (one student to one laptop) to sixth-grade students at Salvador H. Sanchez Middle School, making it the first middle school in the district to give 100 percent of its students personal laptops for 24/7 access to digital learning.

“We are very excited to be the first middle school to provide laptops to every student,” said Iris Jimenez, the school principal. “All of our students will have the opportunity to experience and engage in blended learning through the many technology tools that are available to them.”

Along with the laptops, students at the school will have access to 65 hot spots for access to digital instruction materials off campus. The devices can be checked out for five days during the school year and as often as needed in the summer. Students will have the laptops in their possession every day, all year long.

“This will be my first laptop ever,” said Katia Chaidez, sixth-grade student. “I’m very happy because I will be able to learn new skills, gain knowledge, and get ahead.”

Students say the personal learning devices will prepare them for high school, where they also have portable computers for students at all grade levels.

“I feel excited about getting a laptop because I can learn more about technology and it makes learning fun,” said Aaron Sanchez, a sixth-grader at Sanchez Middle School. “It will prepare me for high school and college.”

The DNA 1:1 program started in 2014 with freshmen at Socorro High School receiving laptops to use for 24/7 learning. The DNA program and conversion to digital learning has expanded every year since the launch.

This year, all students at Socorro and Pebble Hills high schools received a laptop. Seventh- and eighth-grade students at SPC. Rafael Hernando III Middle School, eighth-grade students at John Drugan School, Socorro Middle, Sun Ridge Middle and Ernesto Serna School also were given laptops for the 2018-2019 school year.

The district will continue to expand the DNA program for all students at every high school and continue growing the middle school program, as well.

“Technology contributes to student success,” said Miguel Moreno, instructional technology coordinator. “SISD has always played a role in ensuring students have equitable access and resources to technology to prepare them for college and careers. We level the playing field for students with diverse backgrounds and needs.”

J.J. Watt Foundation Awards Funding to Sanchez Middle Cheerleaders

Salvador H. Sanchez Middle School cheerleaders will be wearing new uniforms thanks to The Justin J. Watt Foundation, spearheaded by J.J. Watt, the Houston Texans’ star defensive end.

Sanchez Middle School received more than $3,500 from No. 99’s foundation, which provides funds for after-school athletics for middle-school-aged children. The hope is that students will learn about accountability, teamwork, leadership, work ethic and perseverance in a safe and supervised environment.

“We are so grateful and very excited for the donation by Mr. Watt’s foundation,” said Sanchez Principal Rosy Vega-Barrio. “The old uniforms have been at the school for years. We wouldn’t have had new uniforms without the donation. It’s wonderful that they are getting a new look. Cheerleaders are representatives of our school and the voice.”

Sanchez Middle School will receive 36 new cheerleading uniforms for students in sixth, seventh, and eighth grade. The school should receive them in a couple of weeks, Vega-Barrio said.

School administrators were proud that the high-profile Texas athlete could make a difference for their school. They learned about the donation through a letter written and signed by Watt’s mom, Connie L. Watt, who helps run the foundation.

In the letter, she thanked Sanchez Middle School’s leadership team for what they do to help students and said they are eager to see the impact the uniforms will have on the lives of the children.

JJ’s motto “Dream Big Work Hard” is another motivation behind the foundations vision. He encourages students to dream big and then put in the work to achieve those dreams.

“We are so happy that this will give us an opportunity to talk to our kids about Mr. Watt and his foundation, so they will know how important it is to give back,” Vega-Barrio said.

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