Friday , August 18 2017
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Tag Archives: SISD

Socorro ISD’s Hernando, Sanchez Middle 8th Graders Receive Laptops

Nearly 500 Socorro Independent School District eighth graders were eager to receive their own personal laptops recently as part of the district’s Digital Nurturing Academics one student to one laptop program, also known as the DNA 1:1 program.

The students from SPC Rafael Hernando III and Salvador H. Sanchez middle schools are the first SISD eighth graders to get a laptop they can use 24/7 on school work and homework during the next five years.

The DNA 1:1 program was expanded for the 2017-2018 school year to include more than 4,000 students from the two middle schools and Socorro, Pebble Hills, Americas, El Dorado, Eastlake, Montwood, Mission Early College and Options high schools. The program is part of the district’s Operation Future Ready, a proactive plan to provide advanced technology resources and digital learning to all students.

“It’s important that Team SISD students become globally competitive,” said Erica M. Aragon, an instructional technology specialist with SISD. “By having laptops at their fingertips, students become more and more tech savvy. We are teaching our students to think critically and communicate effectively.”

For the first time since DNA 1:1 began in 2014, every freshman at all SISD high schools and every Socorro High School student (from ninth to 12th grade) has a laptop.

“We have already seen how effective it is in high school and the amazing impact it has had on instruction,” said Melissa Trejo, instructional technology specialist. “So, the decision was to bring the program to the eighth grade so we can prepare students even earlier.”

Angela Romero, 13, was the first Hernando student to receive a laptop from the district. She currently uses her mom’s laptop for homework and is excited to now have her own. The 13-year-old and her friends were giddy when they found out the laptop was a touchscreen.

“I feel the same way I felt when I got my viola in the sixth grade,” Romero said. “I was so happy, but a little nervous. It’s a lot of responsibility. But we are really, really fortunate to have this. It’s going to help me a lot. It’s going to make studying a lot easier.”

At Sanchez Middle, Abraham Gonzalez has always had to use the school’s computers for homework or to finish extra assignments. Now with his own laptop, he can concentrate on essays, math and other subjects at home.

“It’s going to be so much easier,” Gonzalez said. “I will be able to use online help. It’s going to help me be a better student.”

Salvador H. Sanchez Principal Rosy Vega couldn’t sleep the night before the laptop distribution. She knew what a big deal this would be for her eighth graders. Teaching and learning are going to be transformed at the school, she said.

“We are not only opening the door for kids to transit easier to high school, but they are going to be learning the skills they need to be competitive beyond it,” she said. “We are also opening the door for our teaching staff to think outside the box when planning for delivery of instruction. It now will embody technology. The four walls of the classroom have now expanded. This allows everyone to be connected globally.”

Luis Villanueva, an eighth-grade math teacher at Sanchez Middle, can’t wait to see the laptops in use in his classroom.

“Students are going to be more engaged,” he said. “This is real progress. By learning this at an earlier age, the students will be used to it in high school and it makes them college and career ready.”

Click here to view additional photos at SPC. Rafael Hernando III Middle.
Click here to view additional photos at Salvador H. Sanchez Middle.

Socorro ISD Earns 3 Stars from Texas Comptroller for Financial Transparency

The Socorro Independent School District has earned three Transparency Stars from the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts program, which recognizes local governments for going above and beyond in their financial transparency efforts.

“We are proud of this recognition because it shows we are committed to maintaining a fiscally responsible budget, investing in our students and employees, while remaining transparent with our community,” said Tony Reza, SISD Chief Financial Officer.

The stars earned are for traditional finance, debt obligations and contracts and procurement. SISD is one of two school districts in the state that earned the three stars.

Via a news release, district officials added, “Team SISD is committed to maintaining financial integrity, full disclosure and responsibly managing taxpayer funds, and has earned other various other recognitions in this realm.”

For seven consecutive years, Socorro ISD has earned an A in the School Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas. SISD scored 98 points out of 100 possible points on the ratings, the highest among school districts in the region. The rating cites the district as accountable in financial management practices and providing the maximum allocation for instructional purposes.

The district also earned the 2016 Texas Association of School Business Officials Award of Merit for Purchasing & Operations for maintaining professional standards in the acquisition of goods and services.

In addition, the Fitch Rating Agency reaffirmed strong bond ratings for SISD maintaining its underlying financial rating of AA. Factors that support the AA rating include the district’s above average revenue growth, revenue raising capacity, strong gap-closing capacity and low fixed costs.

Moody’s Investors Service assigned SISD an Aa2 underlying bond rating based on a stable financial outlook and an Aaa enhanced rating based on a guarantee from the Texas Permanent School Fund. Moody’s cited the district’s robust financial position, large and growing tax base, and manageable pension burden.

Socorro ISD, GECU Partner to Open First Branch in District

The Socorro Independent School District and GECU will celebrate the grand opening of the first SISD student-run credit union Monday.

“We are thrilled to provide another amazing opportunity for our students to gain real-world experience and skills for a lucrative future in college, careers and life,” said SISD Superintendent Dr. José Espinoza.

“This is a powerful partnership with GECU and I am proud of the great collaboration in our community to give our students an exceptional education in the Sparta Business Academy, at Pebble Hills High School and in Team SISD! We look forward to the experiences and advantages this GECU branch will bring for our students and employees,” Dr. Espinoza added.

The partnership between SISD and GECU will allow students at Pebble Hills High School, which houses the advanced academics program called Sparta Business Academy, opportunities to learn financial literacy, how to budget, operate savings and checking accounts and gain work experience in a financial institution.

The branch will be open for students, faculty and staff. Senior students will be able to work during their practicum time at the branch and have opportunities to work at other branch locations.

Socorro ISD Freshmen Receive Laptops to Use Throughout High School Career

The Socorro Independent School District is celebrating its successful, ongoing Operation Future Ready efforts, especially the Digitally Nurturing Academics 1:1 laptop program, which gives freshmen students their own laptop to use throughout high school.

“Through Operation Future Ready initiatives, SISD has shifted traditional instruction to modern, digital-age learning,” said Superintendent Dr. José Espinoza. “We are excited to place technology in the hands of more students and will continue to develop tech savvy and globally competitive learners.”

Started in 2014, the DNA program has expanded to all SISD high schools and two middle schools, providing more than 4,000 students a laptop computer to use 24/7 for in-class assignments and homework this year.

“Our DNA 1:1 program reached two milestones this year,” said Miguel Moreno, coordinator of instructional technology in SISD. “This is the first year that SISD freshmen at every high school received a device and also the first year that all students at Socorro High School will have a laptop.”

Claudia Cobos, a senior at Socorro High School, said she is grateful to have been provided a digital device and web-based learning tools.

“Having a laptop has really helped me in school especially now that I’m a senior,” Cobos said. “My grades have improved, turning assignments in is easier, and I have access to researching colleges and universities without going to the public library or staying after school.”

In order to ensure teachers are prepared to use the latest technology and successfully implement digital instruction, the district conducted the 2017 DNA conference “Level Up: Taking Learning to the Next Level” July 26 at Pebble Hills High School.

This year, educators from all high schools, middle schools, and various elementary and K-8 campuses participated in the district’s second technology conference.

The program was first implemented at Socorro High School with 782 freshmen. Over the course of four years, more than 8,500 students at Socorro, Pebble Hills, Americas, El Dorado, Eastlake, Montwood, Mission Early College, and Options High Schools, and SPC. Rafael Hernando III and Salvador H. Sanchez Middle Schools have received a device.

Socorro ISD Retirees get Fond Farewell for Longtime Dedication

Team SISD marked the retirement of several of its employees with a reception just last week, at the District Service Center.

The event included a reception and a formal recognition at the July school board meeting. Socorro Independent School District retirees, their families, Superintendent Dr. José Espinoza, cabinet members and members of the board of trustees were part of the celebration.

“We are here to celebrate you,” said Cynthia Najera, SISD board vice president, addressing the group. “Your contributions are invaluable. Your years of experience and dedication helped build the foundation of this district.”

Retirees mingled and greeted one another and administrators while enjoying appetizers and music at the reception.

“This is nice,” said Rafael Amaro, a retired SISD police officer. “I really love this district. I loved my job. I loved working with the kids. I miss it.”

Amaro was a district employee for 16 years. As a police officer, he walked the hallways of every SISD school during his career. His last school was Col. John O. Ensor Middle.

“It was time to retire,” he said. “The funny thing is I still wake up at the same hour I used to wake up to get ready for work. I was treated so good here. Everywhere I go, I always brag about Socorro ISD. It’s my district. It’s my family. I will never forget it.”

For Joyce Zarowski, 38 years was a good number to retire on. She plans to spend time with her grandchildren, two great grandchildren and her mother, who just turned 90. She also plans to take good care of herself, eating better, exercising and relaxing.

“I wanted to spend some quality time with my mother for as long as I am able and my grandchildren,” Zarowski said. “I am doing some consulting work. So, I am not bored.”

SISD is the only district Zarowski has ever worked for. She retired as a director of human resources but held numerous jobs, including bilingual teacher, instructional specialist, assistant principal and principal.

“SISD is very much like El Paso,” Zarowski said. “It’s a very large small family. Just like El Paso is a very large small town. Everyone knows each other. Everyone loves each other. It’s like a family We are there to care for one another, support each other. I just felt very comfortable. I felt respected.”

To view pictures of the event, click HERE.

Socorro ISD Police Services Invites Community to Celebration Friday Night

Socorro Independent School District Police Services invites the community to meet new Chief Jose Castorena at a celebration at the police headquarters.

“I look forward to maintaining our top priority of providing a safe and supportive learning environment for all students,” Castorena said. “I will continue to effectively lead our team of police officers to keep our schools safe and ensure our officers are making a positive impact in Team SISD.”

Chief Castorena has been with SISD Police Services for more than 26 years. Community members also will be able to connect with police officers who work at each school feeder pattern in the district.

The free family-fun event also is a birthday celebration for police services’ mascots, Lawra and Lawrence. Jumping balloons, popcorn, birthday cake, hot dogs and face painting will be part of the fun.

What:             Socorro Independent School District Police Services community event

Who:               SISD Police Services Chief Jose Castorena, SISD Police Services staff, Team SISD members and the public

Where:           SISD Police Services Department  |   1180 Joe Battle

When:             Friday, Aug. 4, 2017  |  5 to 7 p.m.

Socorro ISD Named District of Distinction for Math Literacy Program

Socorro Independent School District is celebrating another honor, as they have been nationally recognized for a district-wide program that promotes math literacy and builds math comprehension.

SISD’s Math as a Second Language Academy earned a Districts of Distinction honor, an annual recognition created by District Administration magazine to honor school districts that are leading the way with new ideas that work.

This is the second award for the academy. In June, it won the 2017 School of TechXcellence Award awarded by District Administration magazine, HP and Intel, for having an innovative, effective and replicable technology program in math instruction that is contributing to student success.

“We are honored,” said Rachel Sendek, SISD’s instructional officer for elementary mathematics, who co-created the academy in 2015-2016. “But we didn’t do this for awards. We did it because there was a need. Data showed our students were struggling with math language.”

At first, the academy was created to assist teachers who taught Limited English Proficient, bilingual, English as a Second Language and migrant student populations in the Socorro High School feeder area and at Desert Wind School. By 2016-2017, the program evolved to include all feeder areas and teachers in the district.

“The program was working well and teachers were telling us they really liked it,” said Rod Portillo, an instructional officer for secondary mathematics, who worked with Sendek to create the program. “So, we decided last year to expand it districtwide.”

The math/language academy, designed for third to 12th grade students, implements reading, writing, vocabulary and technological strategies into math curriculum to assist teachers. Students and teachers use tablets and Chromebooks to work on math-related vocabulary comprehension before tackling actual problems. Digital devices also are used for practice work.

Since the initiative began, there has been an 8 percent increase in district math benchmarks for grades three to 12. The scores of elementary students alone have recorded an increase of 18 percent.

For its upcoming third year, Team SISD will work on structuring and targeting the program. Sendek and Portillo continue to be invited to various conferences across the country to introduce the academy, they said.

“There is a big problem nationwide with math literacy,” Portillo said. “Whenever we go to a conference to present the academy, our sessions are usually packed with teachers. Getting these awards is an honor. It validates that there is a need for it.”

More importantly, the program helps SISD teachers and gets students a step closer to being college and career ready.

“Our job is to help our teachers with strategies so they can make our students successful,” Sendek said. “The best award is seeing our students become successful. These recognitions are just a bonus.”

To read more about the national recognition, click here.

Monday Marks ‘Back to School’ for Socorro ISD

The Socorro Independent School District will welcome back more than 46,000 students to 47 campuses on Monday, July 31, 2017.

SISD officials say, “Team SISD is committed to offering students endless opportunities for a well-rounded educational experience using the latest technology advances, more personalized learning programs and numerous courses to earn college credit.”

The district is expanding and refining many programs and resources for student success for the 2017-2018 school year.

The successful WIN program is now offered at 19 campuses across the district and provides students, who struggle in a traditional education setting, more instructional time with a digital device and digital curriculum, and a teacher who loops with them for multiple years.

The WIN Academy has expanded this year to H.D. Hilley Elementary School, Salvador H. Sanchez Middle School and Socorro High School.

With the opening of Trailblazers Early College at Americas High School, TEC offers students an opportunity to earn an associate’s degree or 60 college credit hours and a high school diploma in a comprehensive high school environment. Team SISD offers the most early college high school programs in the region.

SISD Officials say, “More and more Team SISD students are earning college credit while in high school by taking dual credit courses. The rigorous classes challenge students and allow them to get ahead and save money.”

Courses are available at all SISD high schools. In the 2016-2017 school year, students and their parents saved over $9 million in college tuition.

Every comprehensive high school in SISD offers an advanced academics academy to give real-world experiences and specialized classes and training.

Students have a choice of a Business Academy at Pebble Hills High School; School of Advanced Technology Applications at Eastlake High School; SYNERGI4 at Montwood High School; International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme at El Dorado High School; Health Professions Academy at Socorro High School; or Libertas – Law Academy at Americas High School. For the first time this school year, the IB program at El Dorado High School is open to out-of-district students to apply for enrollment.

The district’s newest advanced academic academy has partnered with GECU to open a mini branch on-site for students and district employees beginning Aug. 14. Sparta students will have the opportunity to work at the branch and be exposed to an actual working environment in the business and finance field.

Team SISD is working proactively to manage the rapid growth in the district and plan for the future while maximizing existing facilities to ensure all students are provided high-quality, safe and equitable learning environments.

SISD’s successful $297.4 million Bond 2011 program resulted in the construction of three new elementary schools, one middle school, the completion of Eastlake and Pebble Hills High Schools and improvements throughout the district.

The district completed all Bond 2011 projects on time and well under budget saving $37.4 million, which allowed for the modernization of four middle schools and the construction of a new elementary school that will open for the 2018-2019 school year in the Pebble Hills area in far east El Paso.

Operation College Bound ensures every campus embraces a college-bound culture, raising awareness and offering activities on post-secondary education. Students are motivated and guided to reach their college aspirations.

In turn, Team SISD develops globally competitive students who graduate from high school prepared for the college and career of their choice. As part of Operation Future Ready, Team SISD continues to invest in technology and has expanded its Digitally Nurturing Academics Program (DNA 1:1), placing laptop devices in the hands of more students in the district.

For the first time this year, all SISD freshmen at every high school will receive a personal laptop to use for their four years in high school. Also, for the first time, all Socorro High School students (freshmen to seniors) have a personal laptop for 24/7 digital learning. The DNA program started with Socorro High freshmen in 2014.

Team SISD’s CTE students earn about 6,000 industry-recognized certifications annually in nationally recognized programs showing proof they are ready with the skills and knowledge to succeed in the workforce. SISD offers 16 career clusters and more than 45 specialized tracks for student to choose from.

The district’s Career Awareness Showcase and College, Career, and Job Expo showcases the educational and career opportunities available to students while in high school and after graduation.

All four-year-old students in Team SISD are eligible for free half-day Pre-Kindergarten regardless if they meet state requirements for free pre-k.

In addition, Team SISD offers free full-day pre-k on a first-come, first-served basis to those who qualify, and a tuition-based half-day program to those who do not qualify for free pre-k to combine the free half-day with a tuition-based half-day for a full-day option.

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.

Socorro ISD Honors Parents who Participated in Latino Family Literacy Project

The Socorro Independent School District recently recognized more than 125 parents who participated in the Latino Family Literacy Project during the 2016-2017 school year.

The family reading program, offered in 11 SISD schools, is designed to engage and establish reading routines between parents and their children.

It also offers parents of middle and high school students information regarding high school and college courses their children can take, and assists them with the college application process.

“This is a great program for parents to be involved at the campus level,” said Karina Schulte, SISD’s bilingual director. “We are helping parents to come in and learn how to better support their kids through literacy.”

The goal for the 2017-2018 school year is for the literacy program to be included at all SISD schools, Schulte said.

At the recognition, SISD Superintendent Dr. José Espinoza spoke to families, congratulating parents for being involved in their children’s education and the importance of families reading together.

Annette Roa, a mother of two students at Bill Sybert School, joined the program because her family was looking for something they could do together. She loved getting to know the other parents.

“The most important thing was it opened the doors for us to read together as a family,” Roa said. “We would go home, sit down and start reading. We were really amazed. My son also picked up the Spanish language in the process, which was another reason we got involved. The atmosphere was awesome. It was just something cool and fun to do with my kids.”

In addition to a catered dinner, families were entertained by Socorro High School’s mariachi group and the Mission Ridge Elementary School ballet and folklorico team.

El Dorado High’s IB Program Enrollment now Available for Out-of-District Transfers

The International Baccalaureate program at El Dorado High School is now accepting out-of-district transfers, which allows incoming freshman or sophomore students from throughout the region to apply for the world-class, rigorous curriculum that develops inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young adults.

The unique program offers students a challenging program of international education and rigorous assessment preparing them to be compassionate, lifelong learners in an ever-changing global society. It is the only program that allows students to earn dual credit for Tier 1, Ivy League and international universities.

“In IB you have the opportunity to get college credit for Ivy League schools … so it is a rare opportunity for our students,” El Dorado principal Cynthia Retana said. “It also prepares them for global learning. Students can go on to college in other countries after they go through the IB program.”

The IB program is recognized globally, which makes it an attractive option for students from military families who may move anywhere in the world. The IB program credits from El Dorado transfer to any other IB program in the world and the dual credits allow students to be ahead of the game even at universities abroad.

In addition, the El Dorado IB program is free. It allows students an exceptional opportunity to gain the awareness, perspectives and commitments necessary for global engagement and success.

“The most important thing El Dorado provided me was the IB program, which has made me more than just a student that gets good grades,” said Christian Tiscareno, a 2017 graduate of the El Dorado IB program. “It has taught me important things that have really opened up my mind and has really made me feel confident in saying that I do feel college ready.”

Freshmen and sophomores will take pre-IB courses that prepare them for success in the IB Diploma Programme courses that they take during their junior and senior year.

The program requires students to complete an 18-month log of community service commitments, an extended essay with extensive research and exploration, and completion of a Theory of Knowledge course and essay that must be presented with a variety of support materials and media.

IB students work together in a close-knit learning environment, completing community service projects and taking college trips together.

“It is an incredible program, and it’s not just academically driven, it is community-service based and research-skills based,” said Paulina Hernandez, El Dorado social studies teacher and IB program coordinator. “We also encourage our students who are in extracurricular activities to apply for IB. They don’t have to give that up to be in the program.”

To apply for the El Dorado IB program, please contact Paulina Hernandez at pherna07@sisd.net or call the school at(915) 937-3386 or click HERE.

Socorro ISD’s Benito Martinez Elementary Buries Time Capsule

The Benito Martinez Elementary community wanted to give the residents of the year 2042 a glimpse of what education was like in the years 2016 and 2017.

At the end of the school year, the campus filled an ice chest with letters, mementos, an American flag and a STAAR T-shirt among other things, glued it shut and buried the time capsule in the front patio of the school.

“We have been collecting items all year long to bury in our time capsule,” said Principal Greg Hatch. “In the first year that Benito Martinez was opened, they did the same thing and then buried a time capsule at the end of that year. We dug up the time capsule at the end of last year.”

The reason for the event was teaching students the importance of setting goals for the future. Many of the writing samples were students’ ideas about what they want to be, where they want to be, and what their dreams are, Hatch said.

“We wanted the kids to consider the future and what did they imagine it would be like in 25 years,” Hatch said. “We also thought that kids 25 years from now would be just like my kids, who had no idea what it was like for the Benito Martinez kids that buried their time capsule 25 years ago.”

Back then, students could have no idea what fidget spinners are. There were no personal computers in every classroom. Digital learning and tablets at our fingertips were something of the future. The writings and items placed in the time capsule captured what life is like for students today.

“This was a way to leave a little bit of ourselves behind for the future,” Hatch added.

Hatch wrote a letter to the future principal. He described everything that was in the box, including a yellow T-shirt in honor of two students who were battling cancer. A faculty picture and a letter from Assistant Principal, Bruce Mooy, to his newborn son, also were added.

“My main contributions were my hopes and my dreams that I wrote to the future principal, hoping that this great group of scholars I have here today can chase those dreams that they wrote about, be able to meet them, fulfill them and be wonderful, contributing members of society,” Hatch said.

Stephanie Alvarado Acosta, a fifth grader at Benito Martinez, wrote a letter for the time capsule that said she wanted to be either an author or a veterinarian.

“I am glad I did it,” Alvarado Acosta said. “It was so interesting. I like that it helps others see what was in the past and what we want to be in the future.”

To view all the pictures from the ceremony, click HERE.

Socorro ISD Volunteers Honored for Tireless Support of Students, Schools

Team SISD’s volunteers and parent volunteer groups contributed thousands of service hours to the 47 schools and many departments in the school district this school year.

These unsung heroes were honored for their dedication and service at the annual Volunteer Recognition and Awards Luncheon at ESC Region 19 Head Start Multi-Purpose Center.

“Every volunteer is instrumental to our success!” said SISD Superintendent Dr. José Espinoza. “We couldn’t be the best school district in town without your help. Thank you for your relentless dedication and assistance.”

The district has 9,253 registered volunteers who put in 122,351 service hours during the 2016-2017 school year. They help in whatever way they can from coordinating fundraisers to giving enrichment lessons to elementary school students. They work alongside faculty and staff to enhance and enrich educational opportunities provided to our children.

“The thousands of hours they contribute to our schools, sports, fine arts and other programs has had a tremendous impact on our students’ academics and social well-being,” said Rachel Tarango, SISD’s volunteer program coordinator. “They are dedicated and happy to be our extra pairs of hands for the district.”

About 500 people attended the recognition luncheon, in which one person from every school was recognized as Campus Volunteer of the Year. In addition, Team SISD honored its top five parent organizations and the Youth Volunteer of the Year. Two new awards also were announced: the Military Volunteer of the Year and the Healthier Team SISD award. Finally, the Elementary Volunteer of the Year and the Secondary Volunteer of the Year were announced.

Valerie Huh, who was named Secondary Volunteer of the Year, said volunteering to her means trying to support SISD in as many things as possible.

“It’s been wonderful to be at Puentes (Middle School),” Huh said. “This is the best middle school in SISD. There is such a positive atmosphere. You just want to jump in and be a part of what is going on. This is just the best place for children.”

The Elementary Volunteer of the Year, Janelle Gonzalez, has been a volunteer at H.D. Hilley Elementary since she graduated from high school in 2012. She has always helped at the school because her mom is a teacher there.

“This is not work for me,” said Gonzalez, who plans to be a teacher. “I love kids. I love helping them. I love the classroom. It’s just a part of me. It’s something that is familiar. I can’t imagine doing anything else.”

Team SISD’s volunteer program is among the top in the state. For the past two years, two SISD volunteers were recognized with the Heroes for Children Award, a statewide recognition that honors individuals making the difference for students and schools. Joe Ramirez from Eastlake High School and Yamile Gonzales at Ernesto Serna School were honored in 2015 and 2016, respectively.

2017 SISD Volunteer Award winners

Parent Organization winners
•Americas High School Orchestra Boosters
•Eagle Eyes from Col. John O. Ensor Middle School
•John Drugan Super School Volunteer Program
•Montwood Ram Band and A-Team Boosters, Inc.
•Heroes Volunteer with Heart from Purple Heart Elementary School

Youth Volunteer of the Year
•Abigail Hernandez from Montwood High School

Military Volunteer of the Year
•Soni Fairley from SSG. Manuel R. Puentes Middle School

Healthier Team SISD
•Helen Ball Elementary for its Wellness Wednesday Program

Elementary Volunteer of the Year
Janelle Gonzalez

Secondary Volunteer of the Year
Valerie Huh

Campus Volunteers of the Year:
•Americas High School — Verenice Valerio
•Benito Martinez Elementary — Dawn Sisneros-Herrera
•Bill Sybert School — Debbie Portillo
•Campestre Elementary — Yolanda Villalobos
•Capt. Walter E. Clarke Middle School — Patricia Martin Del Campo
•Chester E. Jordan Elementary — Rosie Alarcon
•Col. John O. Ensor Middle School — Linda Miner
•Desert Wind School — Ivette Navarro
•Dr. Sue Shook Elementary — Winifred Dee
•Eastlake High School — Sergio Ulloa
•El Dorado High School — Ana Martinez
•Elfida P. Chavez Elementary — Diana Bertesina-Rojas
•Ernesto Serna School — Brenda Hernandez
•Escontrias Elementary — Daisy Garcia
•H.D. Hilley — Janelle Gonzalez
•Helen Ball Elementary — Ariadne Herrera
•Horizon Heights Elementary — Haydee Hernandez
•Hueco Elementary — Ofelia Murrillo
•Hurshel Antwine Elementary — Nancy Villalobos
•James P. Butler Elementary — Isabelle Pyatt
•Jane A. Hambric School — Amparo Resendiz
•John Drugan School — Francisco Torres
•Keys Academy — Maria Garcia
•Loma Verde Elementary — Jessica Loya
•Lujan-Chavez — Rene Velez
•Mission Early College High School — Marcela Martinez
•Mission Ridge Elementary — Silvia Mendiola
•Montwood High School — Mario Albert Candia
•Myrtle Cooper Elementary — Jack Tranter
•O’Shea Keleher Elementary — Sandra Lopez
•Paso Del Norte School — Elsa Molinar
•Pebble Hills High School — Catalina Espinosa
•Purple Heart Elementary — Ruben Bautista
•Robert R. Rojas Elementary — Brenda Alcantar
•Salvador H. Sanchez Middle — Yesenia Mercado
•Sgt. Roberto Ituarte Elementary — Carlos Calderon
•Sierra Vista Elementary — Lucia Andozola
•Socorro High School — Valarie Ortega
•Socorro Middle School — Julia Mendoza
•Spc. Rafael Hernando III Middle School — Tammy Bennett
•SSG. Manuel R. Puentes Middle School — Valerie Huh
•Sun Ridge Middle School — Javier Cruz
•Vista Del Sol Elementary — Graciela Ibarra
•VASSP — Angelica Apodaca
•William D. Slider Middle School — Mabel Evans

To view gallery of awards luncheon, click HERE.

Socorro ISD wins 2017 School of TechXcellence Award

The Socorro Independent School District won the 2017 School of TechXcellence Award by District Administration magazine, HP and Intel, for an innovative, effective and replicable technology program in math instruction that is contributing to student success.

Team SISD received the designation for the success of its Math as a Second Language 4 English Language Learners Academy, which promotes math literacy and builds comprehension of math among English Language Learners.

Socorro ISD is one of 19 schools and districts from 14 states selected for the award.

“Being honored by a national program for the instructional work we do with our teachers speaks volumes about our district,” said Alisa Zapata-Farmer, chief academic officer. “Our instructional team is constantly working to bring professional development that is relevant in order to meet the needs of all students. The large majority of the workforce today requires workers to have some type of knowledge on how to use technology, therefore; it is important that Team SISD remain innovative and incorporate technology into our lessons as much as possible to prepare our students for a global society.”

SISD’s program implements reading, writing, vocabulary and technological strategies into math curriculum to assist teachers who work with the Limited English Proficient, bilingual, English as a Second Language, and migrant student population in the district.

Since the start of the Math as a Second Language for English Language Learners Academy in 2015, student math benchmark scores for grades 3 to 12 have increased by eight percent.

“In developing the program, we researched what would be the best approach to teaching math skills and concepts that our students would comprehend and retain,” said Rachel Sendek, instructional officer for elementary math. “This academy helps teachers be better prepared to teach our second language learners by providing them strategies they can apply towards mathematics.”

Read the District Administration Magazine feature on Socorro ISD: https://www.districtadministration.com/techx/awards/socorro-isd-el-paso-texas

Socorro ISD Receives Award from Texas Library Association for unique Comic Con

Socorro Independent School District’s Library Services and its librarians were awarded the Texas Library Association’s 2017 Branding Iron Award for organizing the first-ever Comic Con.

It is the first time any public school library service in the El Paso region has ever won the award since its inception in 2007, according to the TLA website.

SISD Comic Con Receives Award“I am honored to receive the award that brings recognition to SISD and our libraries!” said Marcy Sparks, Library Services Coordinator for SISD. “I am truly excited about the win because the concept of a district hosted Comic Con was so unique and was more successful with our students than I could have imagined!”

Comic Con, held last December at the District Service Center, was a districtwide program that enhanced students’ literature knowledge and career awareness by showcasing creative talent from a variety of vendors and well-known artists.

The TLA Branding Iron Awards honor the creative work libraries do to promote their programs, resources, and events. SISD’s Library Services received its recognition in the Special Events category.

“I submitted an extensive amount of information about the Comic Con for the award application, including our planning materials, logo and flyer and coverage of the event,” Sparks said. “I am proud of how Team SISD pulled together to make it a great success.”

SISD Comic Con Receives Award1

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