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Home | Tag Archives: SISD (page 10)

Tag Archives: SISD

Socorro ISD Approves Boundary Adjustments, Campus Changes for 2019-2020 School Year

The Socorro Independent School District Board of Trustees approved boundary adjustments, which will go into effect January 2019 for new students and at the start of the 2019-2020 school year for current students.

“In planning for the boundary adjustments, Team SISD’s priorities are to be good stewards of all resources and to respect families in the existing school communities,” said Marivel Macias, assistant superintendent of administrative services.

“We focused on boundary adjustments that made best use of our existing campuses and adjusted for our new elementary school, while considering the needs of our students and families,” Macias said.

“Our commitment is to provide all students a high-quality education in a comfortable, safe learning environment.”

The boundary adjustments are being made in the El Dorado and Pebble Hills feeder patterns to maximize the use of existing facilities in those areas and to adjust for SISD’s newest elementary school, Cactus Trails Elementary School, which is set to open in the Pebble Hills area in July 2019.

Via a news release, Socorro ISD officials shared, “Team SISD is proactive in monitoring the growth in the district, demographics, and use of facilities in order to be poised to always provide students in all areas of the district safe and supportive learning environments.”

The boundary changes were carefully crafted taking into consideration many aspects, such as staffing, transition periods, student transportation, and potential facility renovations.

During October and early November, the district met with students, parents and community members at 10 community meetings to explain the proposed boundary adjustments and gain feedback from the stakeholders.

SISD also met with teachers, support staff, administrators, and district directors at 27 faculty and staff meetings to discuss the boundary changes.

The 2019-2020 boundary adjustments include the following changes:

  • Hurshel Antwine Elementary School will transition into a middle school for the El Dorado feeder pattern.
  • Paso del Norte K-8 School will become an elementary school for the El Dorado feeder pattern.
  • Sgt. Roberto Ituarte Elementary School will be the pre-k hub school in the El Dorado feeder pattern.
  • The new SISD elementary school, Cactus Trails Elementary School (PK-5), will serve students that currently go to James P. Butler and Chester E. Jordan elementary schools.

The changes were approved during SISD’s regular board meeting in mid- November; t learn more about the approved boundary adjustments, visit the district website.

Socorro ISD Host Annual ‘Fandom and Comic Expo Saturday

Students in Socorro ISD’s middle and high school schools are invited to the upcoming SISD Fandom and Comic Expo on December 1st.

SISD officials share that the unique event will allow students to engage in fun activities such as: cosplay contest, games, tournaments, interactive panels, and sessions.

Local vendors and artists will be at the event, including special guest speaker Carlos Anguiano. Anguiano is a technical art consultant from Mangosoft LLC who has worked on major projects, including Fortnite, Shadow of the Colossus, Avengers, and Transformers 2.

New to the comic expo this year is a steampunk design competition and the Harry Potter inspired Quidditch match.

SISD Reading Revel book clubs also will have a social where students can network with one another, and answer questions about the books they are reading.

To register for the SISD Fandom and Comic Expo, visit the district website.  The Comic Expo will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Eastlake High School.

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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.”

New SISD School Named Cactus Trails Elementary School, Mascot will be Diamondbacks

The Socorro Independent School District Board of Trustees approved the name of the district’s newest elementary school: Cactus Trails Elementary School.

The district’s 49th campus is being built in the Pebble Hills area and will accommodate about 800 elementary students. The new campus will serve the rapidly expanding east side of Team SISD and alleviate James P. Butler Elementary School, which now overflows students to other schools in the area.

The $28.4 million facility is scheduled to be open for the 2019-2020 school year.

Leslie Thomas, formerly the principal of Jane A. Hambric School, will be the principal of Cactus Trails Elementary School.

Trustees and Superintendent Espinoza also approved the school mascot and colors. The mascot will be diamondbacks and the school colors will be gray, teal and white.

Trustees voted at the regular school board meeting on November 13, 2018.

Socorro ISD, Immunize El Paso Partner to Host Flu Shot Clinics

On Friday, Socorro Independent School District officials announced that their schools, in collaboration with Immunize El Paso, will host flu shot clinics now through the end of the school year at SISD campuses.

“We have been working with Immunize El Paso for the last five years to help parents, teachers and the community protect themselves against the flu,” said Rebecca Madrid, SISD nurse manager.

The clinics are open to all students, parents, employees and community members. Children receiving immunizations must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

Medical insurances such as Medicaid, Medicare, CHIP, and other private insurances are accepted. Participants who are unable to pay won’t be denied services.

For more information about the SISD flu shot clinics, contact your school nurse.  2018-2019 flu clinic schedules

2018 SISD School Nurses

Socorro ISD Counseling Teams Win State Honor

Socorro Independent School District counseling teams are being recognized by the Lone Star State School Counseling Association (LSSSCA) for running highly effective programs.

This year, Socorro ISD counseling programs earned nearly half of the 2018 Lone Star counseling awards.

“There were 30 award winners across the state of Texas, 14 being from SISD,” said Tammy Mackeben, director of guidance and counseling. “We are very proud of our Socorro ISD school counseling programs that received the Lone Star Award. Each program completed the application demonstrating the data driven, comprehensive school counseling program they employ.”

The comprehensive application is evaluated based on the program goals, mindset and behaviors for student success, core curriculum action plan, lesson plans, program and an evaluation reflection, among other things.

LSSSCA awards have three categories: gold, silver and bronze. Each level is met with increased levels of rigor designed to elevate school counseling programs to national recognition through the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) Recognized ASCA Model Program (RAMP) awards.

Gold Lone Star winners were Helen Ball and Sgt. Roberto Ituarte elementary schools, Paso del Norte School, and SPC Rafael Hernando III Middle School. Silver Lone Star recipients were Chester Jordan, Purple Heart, Lujan-Chavez, and Hurshel Antwine elementary schools, Bill Sybert and John Drugan schools. Bronze Lone Star winners were Hueco and Mission Ridge elementary school, Col. John O. Ensor and SSG Manuel R. Puentes middle schools.

“Receiving this award is quite an honor,” said Ruth Harris, counselor at Mission Ridge Elementary. “Mr. Mendoza and I work hard to do our very best for our students. We support their needs and encourage them to do their very best.”

SISD counseling programs were excited to be recognized and happy to follow the national ASCA model to its entirety.

Melissa Galvez and Raquel Fraga, counselors at Sgt. Roberto Ituarte Elementary School, are committed to continue to assess their program and ensure they advocate for students on a daily basis.

“It took three years of planning and a lot of preparation, but the experience has made us better counselors,” Galvez said.

Award winners will be recognized at the LSSSCA annual conference November 6 in Frisco, Texas.

Story in Many Pics: Montwood Beats Socorro 69-38

In a Thursday Night matchup between the first and second schools ever opened in the Socorro district, the namesake Socorro Bulldogs traveled north to take on the Montwood Rams.

The Rams defended their home turf, defeating the Bulldogs 69-38.

As part of a very special series, Montwood High School football supporter and honorary team member Kieran Johnson scored in the second quarter.  (video below gallery)

Our very own Andres ‘Ace’ Acosta was there and we bring you his view of the game in this ‘Story in Many Pics.’

Socorro vs Montwood, November 1, 2018 SISD SAC, El Paso Texas, Andres Acosta | El Paso Herald-Post

Amazing moment for No. 1 Montwood High School football supporter and honorary team member Kieran Johnson when he scored in the second quarter of the Montwood v. Socorro varsity game tonight at the #TeamSISD SAC! Way to #EarnYourHorns!

Posted by Socorro Independent School District on Thursday, November 1, 2018

Story in Many Pics: Coronado Tops Socorro 48-20

The Coronado Thunderbirds flew across town to take on the Socorro Bulldogs Friday Night at the Student Activities Center.

The home-standing Bulldogs put up a fight, but the T-Birds would top the ‘Dawgs, 48-20.

Our very own Andres ‘Ace’ Acosta was there and we bring you his view of the game in this ‘Story in Many Pics.’

Coronado vs Socorro , SISD SAC, El Paso, TX, October 26, 2018, Andres Acosta El Paso Herald-Post

SISD Student Builds Pantry to Aid Hungry Families in Purple Heart Community

Eighth-grader Manuel Santos, who knows what it is like to be hungry, built a Blessings Box for Purple Heart Elementary.

The food pantry, similar to a Little Free Library and located at the front of school, is filled with canned goods and non-perishable food for students and families in need.

“What inspired me to create the Blessings Box was the fact that I used to be a child who sometimes wouldn’t have food to eat,” said Santos, a student at Sun Ridge Middle School. “I know that there are a lot of kids out there that need food, but they might not say anything. I wanted it to provide an extra meal for those who are hungry.”

Building the purple and gold colored food pantry was a community project to help Santos become an Eagle Scout. The young man spent two weeks constructing it thanks to supply donations from Home Depot and Lowes. His uncle, Roman Payan, Troop 137 Scoutmaster, and an assistant scout master, also helped.

“Now it serves its purpose to give back to my community,” Santos said. “I feel really good because I know that this community is very humble and families may need an extra meal and I was able to provide for that.”

The Heroes’ Blessings Box is the only one located at a school in the El Paso area. Across the country, they can usually be found in churches and recreational centers, Payan said. The first one was built in 2016.

Payan is proud of his nephew, whom he adopted in 2014. The young boy quickly understood what it meant to be a Boy Scout even though he joined scouting only four years ago.

“This Blessings Box is special,” said Payan, a retired teacher. “Manny knows about feeling hungry. When he was little, he would go from home to home trying to find a meal every evening with his mom. This community project comes to the heart of the situation because Manny understands that ‘I was there one time and now I can give back.’”

That caring message is equally important to Purple Heart students, said Deborah Luevano, the Communities in Schools coordinator and family and parent engagement liaison. From Pre-K to fifth grade, youngsters are learning that there are people who may be hungry in their own classrooms and community.

“We have seen a significant need from families that may be experiencing some type of crisis or on occasion a need,” Luevano said. “Some families may be in need more frequently. A person from El Pasoans Fighting Hunger told me that one in four kids in our area is hungry. We want to help them any time they may need it whether we are in school, on intersession or during summer break. We want to make sure the Blessings Box is always here and available to them.”

Initially, first-grade students and teachers sponsored the small food pantry, Luevano said. Many families and students brought in food and other staples to fill up its shelves. El Pasoans Fighting Hunger, who recently began a partnership with Purple Heart, also contributed. Other grade levels and the school’s Kindness Club are stepping up to help as well.

“I hope this becomes an inspiration for other schools so they also can provide to families in need,” Luevano said.

As for her thoughts on Santos, who never attended Purple Heart, but decided to help the elementary school, Luevano’s voice breaks and is close to tears speaking about the young man.

“He is an awesome citizen, student,” she said. “I think it really shows his character. He has come full circle and is using his own hands to give back. It’s just fabulous.”

The Purple Heart Elementary Blessings Box is located at the front of the school and is available to any family in need whether they are a Purple Heart family or not. Donations for the food pantry also will be accepted from community members.

Eastlake High School SATA Students to Present at National Event in San Antonio

Students and educators from Eastlake High School in the Socorro Independent School District are among an elite group selected to present to hundreds of attendees at the Project Lead The Way (PLTW) national conference – PLTW Summit – in San Antonio later this month.

Eastlake is one of eight groups from across the country chosen to present; they were selected based on the school’s exceptional implementation of their PLTW program.

“Our SATA program is very unique,” said Matthew Coles, computer science instructor at Eastlake High School. “Students learn something different in the computer science field every year, and we are honored for the opportunity to showcase their work at the PLTW Summit this year. Projects include, coding, web development, videogame development, and cybersecurity. We owe a debt of gratitude to PLTW and SISD for their huge part in developing our program.”

The School of Advanced Technology Applications (SATA) is an advanced academics academy at Eastlake High School. The computer science program provides students with the opportunity to learn about advanced technology through a problem-based curriculum that prepares students to be college and career ready.

PLTW is a nonprofit organization that provides a transformative learning experience for PreK-12 students and teachers, partnering with 11,500 schools across the U.S. to deliver hands-on programs in computer science, engineering, and biomedical science. Eastlake offers all three of PLTW’s high school programs – PLTW Computer Science, PLTW Engineering, and PLTW Biomedical Science.

Eastlake students will present on the main general session stage on Oct. 29 to more than 500 guests. They also will have the opportunity to network with PLTW alumni and leaders from businesses and higher education institutions interested in students with STEM skills.

“Eastlake High School is a true champion of PLTW’s relevant, engaging approach to learning, teaching, and community engagement,” said PLTW Senior Vice President and Chief Engagement Officer David Dimmett. “We’ve invited them to share their stories to inspire attendees and provide best practices that can be taken back to other communities to benefit students across the country. We are thrilled to have PLTW students and teachers from Eastlake High School join us at PLTW Summit.”

In addition to PLTW Summit San Antonio, there are three other PLTW Summit experiences taking place this school year:

  • PLTW Summit Kansas City, Nov. 14-16, 2018
  • PLTW Summit Anaheim, Feb. 1-3, 2019
  • PLTW Summit Indianapolis, Feb. 17-19

PLTW Summit, sponsored by Chevron, is the premier gathering for individuals dedicated to preparing students with the in-demand and transportable skills they need to succeed in college and careers.

Guests will include PreK-12 educators, students, university leaders, and business and industry leaders.

For more information or to register to attend, visit the website.

8th Graders Learn From Businesses, Industries During First-Ever Job Shadowing Event

Some 300 Socorro Independent School District eighth-graders participated in a unique job shadowing program in partnership with local businesses and industries in El Paso.

“We just wanted to get them involved in exploring what is out there for them,” said Brenda Gonzalez, SISD business and industry coordinator. “So, when they get ready to commit to their high school years, they will have chosen a career pathway they can study. We are trying to take them deeper into what businesses and industry do. This will help them to make a decision of what they want to do when they get to the ninth grade and take advantage of everything Team SISD has to offer.”

The students, who are from SISD middle and K-8 schools, took part in career exploration at the Hospitals of Providence, UTEP Health Services Department, Teachers Federal Credit Union, Western Tech, Inter-National Bank, and Casa Ford.

The program, the only one of its kind for middle schoolers in the area, is part of Team SISD’s commitment to ensure all students are prepared for college, careers and life, and gave the eighth-graders a real-life, hands-on experience to learn more about various jobs and careers.

For the first two days, the youngsters received a first-hand look at what certain jobs and careers entail and learned from mentors in various fields and industries. On the third day, they returned to their campuses to complete career reports and assessments based on their experience and began a personal career portfolio.

“The tour at TFCU was important for me,” said Adela Garcia, a student at Montwood Middle School, as she worked on her assessment. “I don’t want to go into banking, but I do want to open up a bakery someday. To listen to how important a good credit score is or why I need to have a savings account, helps me to get my life ready for when I need to apply for a loan for my business. This was fun and a good experience.”

Like Garcia, students learned about themselves and the businesses and institutions. They were amazed at the advanced equipment used for rehabilitation therapy classes at UTEP, fascinated at how bank employees uncovered counterfeit money at Inter-National Bank and surprised at the technical side to the heating and cooling system while visiting Western Tech.

“At Providence, we discovered there are many different roles,” said Alexa Luevano, a student at Desert Wind School. “You never think about it, but doctors and nurses are only part of a large staff. There are so many people involved from the operators who take the calls to the finance department. It was really awesome to be able to get to start thinking early about your future career.”

Magali Rodriguez, a William D. Slider Middle School student, took a tour of UTEP’s nursing program and TFCU. She was impressed at people’s professionalism.

“At UTEP, we met some students, got to go into a classroom and reviewed lessons, which was eye-opening,” Rodriguez said. “On the second day, we went to TFCU where they gave us a tour. We got to be part of the executive board meeting, which was really cool. I got to learn how they get to do banking every day.”

Some students changed their mind on what career they wanted to pursue.

“I thought I wanted to be a firefighter,” said Francis Salcido, an eighth-grader from Salvador H. Sanchez Middle. “But now I am thinking about becoming a speech therapist. I loved going to UTEP and seeing how they did things. It was a great experience and opened my eyes to something different.”

David Hernandez, a Desert Wind student, really liked the trip to Inter-National Bank. He was amazed at all the security and the vault.

“There is nothing more exciting than seeing how people work in a bank,” Hernandez said, who hopes to be an aerospace engineer. “I like how they manage the money and the story behind it. I am so glad we were able to do this and not just stay home during intersession. What would I be doing at home? Just watching TV, sleeping or boring stuff like that.”

Every business or industry who participated in the shadowing program were impressed by the students and Team SISD’s dedication to help its middle schoolers learn about a variety of careers.

“I wish we would have had something like this when I was in school,” said Richard Torres, a personal banker at Inter-National Bank. “They are starting to focus on their career at an earlier age. That can only be to their advantage.”

Cecilia Fierro, an assistant clinical professor for occupational therapy at UTEP, said SISD students asked numerous questions and seemed generally interested in her class.

“It is an amazing opportunity to get them engaged and thinking about what career path they are going to follow,” Fierro said. “The district is preparing them in advance and not allowing them to wait until the last minute. This is great exposure for them.”

Max Villaronga, CEO for TFCU, gave the eighth-grade students a tour of the financial institution’s recently opened main office building and the adjacent credit union. TFCU has been a Partner in Education with SISD for several years and has always stepped in to help students.

“This program shows how progressive SISD is,” Villaronga said. “I think it is fantastic that the district is interested in preparing them for the workforce at eighth grade. We are proud to partner with them on helping to show students what careers are available out there.”

While this is the first job shadowing program for SISD, Gonzalez is already planning another one for the spring intersession.

“Everyone just loved the idea and I want to give a chance to more eighth graders,” Gonzalez said.

The three-day event took place during the first week of the district’s fall intersession.  To view a gallery from the event, click here.

Story in Many Pics: El Dorado Downs Bel Air in OT 34-28

It was a fierce night at Socorro ISD’s SAC, as the Bel Air Highlanders battled the El Dorado Aztecs.

When the clock struck ‘0’ at the end of regulation, it was all knotted up and the teams went to overtime, where the Aztecs struck gold, downing the Highlanders 34-28.

Socorro ISD Invites Community Members to Fall Festivals

Residents and businesses are invited to celebrate the fall with Team SISD by attending the 2018 campus festivals.

The events include food, fun, information and games; and are being held throughout the district.

Paso Del Norte School
Paso Del Norte School will have its fall festival from 5 to 8 p.m. Oct. 26 at the school, 12300 Tierra Este. The festival will include student entertainment, costume contest, haunted house, book fair, family games, and holiday arts and crafts. Food and drinks also will be available. Vendor spaces are limited, the cost per table is $30.

For more information, contact Martha Melendez or Hazel Valverde at 915-937-6200.

SSG Manuel R. Puentes Middle School
SSG Manuel R. Puentes Middle School will have a fall carnival from 5 to 8:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 26. There will be food, games, vendors, and a haunted house. Tickets will be sold at the door for $1. For more information, call 937-9200.

Mission Early College High School
The Business Professionals of America organization at Mission Early College High School will have its Phoenix Fright Night from 6 to 10 p.m. Oct. 26 at the school, 10700 Gateway Blvd. Admission is $2.

The event will feature an escape room, haunted house, costume contest, games and other fun. Music and food also will be available. For more information, call 937-1200.
Mission Early College High School flyer

Sun Ridge Middle School
Sun Ridge Middle School will have a fall festival from 4 to 7 p.m. Oct. 26 at the school, 2210 Sun Country. The event will include a haunted house, costume contest, food, drinks and games. Tickets are $1 each. For more information, call 937-6600.

Vista Del Sol Elementary School
Vista Del Sol Elementary will have a fall festival from 5 to 8 p.m. Oct. 26 at the school, 11851 Vista Del Sol Dr. The event will include folklorico performances, cupcake decorating, face painting and more. Vendor tables are available for $20. For more information, call 937-7500.

O’Shea Keleher Elementary School
O’Shea Keleher Elementary will have a fall festival from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 26 at the school, 1800 Leroy Bonse Dr. The fun filled family night will include food, drinks, goodies, a book fair, entertainment, costume contest, and more.

Vendor tables are available for $25. Space and tables are limited. To reserve your table, contact Maribel Rodriguez at 937-7204 or 937-7200.
O’Shea Keleher Elementary School Fall Festival Flyer

Pebble Hills High School
Pebble Hills High School will have its fall festival from 5 to 8:30 p.m. Oct. 26 in the school courtyard. The event will feature a haunted house, costume contest, carnival games, food and pet adoptions.

For more information, contact Emily Cancellare at
Pebble Hills High School Fall Festival Flyer

Purple Heart Elementary School
Purple Heart Elementary will have a Family and Community Fall Festival from 5 to 7:30 p.m.  Oct. 26 at the school, 14400 GR Campuzano Drive. The festival will include a haunted house, family games, activities, tasty treats, creepy critters, jumping balloons, and spooktacular fun! Vendor spaces are available for $25.

Contact Deborah Luevanos at 915-938-2212 or at

William D. Slider Middle School
William D. Slider Middle School will have a fall festival from 5 to 8 p.m. Oct. 26. Vendor tables will be available for $20. Click on the flyer below for more information or call 937-5400.
William D. Slider Fall Festival Flyer

Socorro ISD’s Hilley Elementary Wins 2018 Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge

H.D. Hilley Elementary is tops in the nation when it comes to reading success. The Socorro Independent School District school was named No. 1 in Texas and the nation in the 2018 Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge.

Hilley students logged in 4.2 million reading minutes, a number no other U.S school could touch.

The Socorro Independent School District campus of about 600 students celebrated with a pep rally that included a Scholastic representative, the Peter Piper Pizza mascot Rocky, the Mustang cheerleaders, and the Socorro High School cheerleaders and drumline.

“It’s an incredible accomplishment,” said Lisa Hernandez, Scholastic’s local field representative. “What’s amazing is the students don’t have access to a public library in their community. It is certainly unusual. Everyone put forth a huge collaborative effort. The principal, librarian, teachers and parents made sure students were reading in the classroom and at home. It is very motivating.”

Students relied on the school library and their Little Free Library, a small wooden cabinet located in the cafeteria stocked with donated books they can borrow and return.

Every time they read, students logged in their minutes on the Scholastic website. The contest was from May 7 to Sept. 7.

“We didn’t expect to be ranked No. 1 nationally,” said Rosalyn Morales, librarian at the elementary school. “But we were all unified in making sure students were reading. There is no way we could have done this without all our teachers and parents support.”

Hilley’s top status was precarious throughout the summer. It competed with an El Paso middle school and an elementary in Fremont, Calif., Hernandez said.

“It went back and forth,” she said. “It was so close, but then Hilley blew by everyone.”

Last year, Hilley was No. 7 in the nation and first in Texas along with Horizon Heights Elementary, who was No. 8 in the U.S. Other Team SISD schools that have ranked in the top 10 for reading minutes nationally are Mission Ridge Elementary, Hurshel Antwine Elementary and Dr. Sue Shook Elementary.

“Socorro ISD is definitely leading the pack when it comes to reading,” Hernandez said. “Every year, they have one or two in the top 10. Now, other districts in the area are following them. It is such a good thing to promote reading during the summer and intersession. Students lose a lot when they don’t keep up with their reading.”

Hilley Principal Fernie Miranda was so proud of his students. During the pep rally, he showed up in a Superman costume. He wanted to show students that all Mustangs can be heroes, especially when they read.

“Reading is huge,” Miranda said. “It is everything that we do in life. It not only will carry them through school, but also it is going to set that foundation for whatever they want to become. Just so they can be at their optimal, maximum potential. … It all begins with the love of reading.”

Jonathan Kwan, a fifth grader from Hilley, spent the summer perusing chapter books and reading for comprehension. He loves autobiographies.

“I am an avid reader because my parents and teachers encourage me,” Kwan said. “Reading helps with my vocabulary, grammar and writing. It makes me more sophisticated. I am glad we won. It feels like we are the best in reading.”

To view a gallery of photos from the event, click here.

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Rhinos 2019/2020 728
West Texas Test Drive 728
EPCON_2020 728
Rugby Coming Soon 728
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