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Home | Tag Archives: SISD (page 4)

Tag Archives: SISD

Chester E. Jordan celebrates with circus theme for ‘Rock Your School’

Faculty and staff surprised students by participating for the first time in “Rock Your School” at Chester E. Jordan Elementary School.

“Rock Your School” is a nationwide movement to take students out of their regular routine by making the curriculum for the day extra special with more action and engagement to get them excited about learning.

Students walked inside the school surprised to see it had been transformed into a circus with tents, balloons, streamers, glitter, and clown and elephant images along the walls.

Teachers took daily curriculum and transformed their subjects into amusing and thrilling activities.

“I am happy and excited that our school was able to do this event this year and we are very happy with the response,” said Monica Ramos, a first-grade teacher.

Throughout the event students participated in a variety of different activities, like cotton candy art in science class and using paintings of a circus to learn about history.

“They made class into a circus and it’s great,” said first-grader Mariana Salazar. “My favorite thing has been making art with cotton candy.”

Students were treated to popcorn, candy bags, and animal crackers as part of the day’s festivities.

“It was important to do it because we thought it would be encouraging and captivating to the students to do something outside of their daily routine,” said Sylvia Sundermann.

Chester Jordan faculty and staff stayed late after school the day before preparing decorations and costumes, as well as decorating classrooms and hallways in order to have it prepared to surprise students the next day.

Teachers say parents were a huge part of making the event happen, not only by keeping the surprise a secret, but by making donations of decorations, such as balloons and streamers.

Teachers were motivated to join the movement by a book they are reading “The Wild Card” by Wade and Hope King, in which the writers encourage teachers to think outside of the box and to use their talents to create a classroom environment that is fun and engaging for students.

“Today has brought out the best in them because it encourages them to come to school by making it more fun,” Sundermann said. “Seeing their reactions brought tears to my eyes and it made it that much more rewarding.”

Teachers at Chester Jordan encourage other educators and schools to join the movement and create a unique educational experience that will captivate students.

For more information on “Rock Your School” visit the webpage. The event took place September 19th.  Click to view ‘Rock Your School’ event photos

SISD to add 23 police officers, Assign police coverage to all elementary campuses

The Socorro ISD Board of Trustees voted to approve a recommendation from Superintendent Jose Espinoza, Ed.D. to update the job description for Socorro ISD police officers.

The change allows the district to move forward with plans to hire 23 new police officers, whom will be assigned to district elementary schools.

“In the Socorro Independent School District, our actions speak louder than our words when it comes to the safety and security of our students and staff which has always been our number one priority,” Dr. Espinoza said. “Over the last six years, we have continuously invested in safety improvements districtwide. We will now have police officers at all of our schools, including elementary campuses, to provide an extra layer of security for all our stakeholders.”

The district has posted the vacancies and looks to hire the new officers over the next few months. The new employees will go through district training once hired and then be assigned to an elementary school where they will be stationed during all regular school days.

“I extend my deepest gratitude to our Board of Trustees for continuously prioritizing safety in our district and supporting the plans I’ve brought forth to meet our number one strategic direction,” Dr. Espinoza added. “The fidelity and responsibility in which the Board and administration have managed district resources has put us in a position to be able to make this valuable investment.”

The district anticipates the investment in the 23 new positions will total some $1.15 million in salary, benefits, and equipment, which will come from the district’s General Fund.

Via a news release, Socorro ISD officials shared that the district has been “extremely proactive in implementing new safety and security measures in addition to this new initiative. Previous efforts include the reorganization of its police and security force which enabled a police officer to be assigned to every high school and middle school and a full-time security guard to every elementary school.”

“A new, state-of-the-art video surveillance system was also installed districtwide. Through the system, every campus is monitored 24/7 by the district police department with a minimum of 15 cameras at each school,” officials said. “A campus staff member is stationed at the main entrance of each campus to greet and monitor all visitors as well as deter intruders.”

“Every SISD school also has a sophisticated Hall Pass digital check-in system to implement background checks on all visitors, and panic buttons have been installed to instantaneously alert police in the event of an emergency situation. In addition, new entry systems are currently being installed to have visitors show identification from outside the building prior to being allowed to enter,” SISD officials added.

Certified police officers who would like to learn more about this employment opportunity are encouraged to visit and click on the “JOBS” tab to view the posting.

Socorro ISD invites students, dads to annual father-son conference

The Socorro Independent School District will have its annual Father-Son Conference – with this years theme of ‘Building Ties –  this weekend.

The conference will allow male students in the district to bond with their fathers or father figures while learning about opportunities and resources in Team SISD.

“The event celebrates and encourages a strong connection between boys and their dads, and improves family engagement and student performance,” SISD officials shared.

The conference agenda will include information about the district’s early college programs, advanced academics academies, and college and career opportunities.

Workshops on cyberbullying, self-esteem, and self-confidence also will be part of the program as well as games and team building activities.

The event is free, but attendees are encouraged to bring canned goods and non-perishable food donations. Light breakfast and lunch will be available.

The event is scheduled to run from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. September 28 at Pebble Hills High School, located at 14400 Pebble Hills Boulevard.

Socorro ISD seniors invited to FAFSA Night workshops

The Socorro Independent School District, in collaboration of the El Paso Chamber of Commerce, will have FAFSA night workshops during October and November at SISD high schools.

The workshops will assist seniors to apply for the 2020-21 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application form, which is available starting Oct. 1.

“We hope all SISD seniors take advantage of this great opportunity and attend the FAFSA workshops,” said Tammi Mackeben, SISD director of guidance and counseling. “The workshops will be extremely helpful to parents and students. Experts will be available to answer questions and assist with the process.”

More than $150 billion in federal grants, loans and work study funds for college or career schools are available through FAFSA. FAFSA applicants may qualify for one or more of those forms of financial aid. In addition, students who attend the SISD/Chamber of Commerce workshops are eligible to win a $1,000 scholarship.

The SISD FAFSA Nights will be from 4 to 7:30 p.m. on the following days:

  • Tuesday, Oct. 15 at El Dorado and Mission Early College high schools
  • Wednesday, Oct. 16 at Eastlake High School
  • Thursday, Oct. 17 at Socorro High School
  • Wednesday, Oct. 30 at Pebble Hills High School
  • Monday, Nov. 4 at Americas High School
  • Wednesday, Nov. 6 at Montwood High School

If students cannot attend the workshop, they can complete the FAFSA online at FAFSA is also available on the myStudentAid mobile app, which can be downloaded on the Apple or the Google Play Store. SISD high school seniors may attend any FAFSA workshop.

For more information about the FAFSA Nights, contact an SISD high school counselor or the Guidance and Counseling Department at 937-0322.

2019 FAFSA Night Workshops flyer

El Dorado student selected for El Paso Strong Reading Series

El Dorado High School student Demian Chavez participated in the El Paso Strong Reading Series in The Philanthropy Theater at the Plaza Theater in downtown El Paso.

Chavez submitted a monologue based on his own experience of the moment he heard about the Walmart shooting.

“The importance of these events can be very different for a lot of people,” said Chavez, a junior at El Dorado High School. “For the playwrights and the actors performing them it may be their best way of processing all of this and understanding what happened, meanwhile for the people in attendance it may be a way of healing.”

He was selected to read his monologue in the unique event that was created to give El Pasoans an outlet to express themselves in light of the tragic event that hit the El Paso community August 3.

The event was coordinated by visiting University of Texas at El Paso professor, Georgina Escobar, and was hosted by the Dramatist Guild and the UTEP Department of Theater and Dance.

Potential participants were asked to submit a five-minute short play with four characters or less.

Chavez shared that what inspired him to participate in the reading series was a conversation he had with a fellow student in drama who shared his post 9/11 experience and talked about how theater can help everyone in their own way to process, understand, cope, and heal after a tragedy.

El Dorado theater teachers Joe Cook and Vanessa Keyser encourage their students to break boundaries by expressing themselves through art and theater.

“We are absolutely very proud of Demian,” Keyser said. “He is one of the students who is really interested in community outreach here at El Dorado.”

Chavez said the last portion of the series, in which his submission was included, felt very dark, but necessary in order to express himself to a grieving community. Cook agreed with Chavez saying theater can help people heal, protest, get in touch with feelings, or make them feel good.

“Theater has more than one language, and there is something magical about live theater because it’s never the same,” Cook said. “It’s the only place where actors and the audience get together to create a show, which you don’t get in any other art form.”

Other ventures Chavez has undertaken includes directing a show at the high school this past spring and participating in “Children of Eden” with El Paso Community College during the summer.

The El Paso Strong Reading Series took place on September 18, 2019.

Socorro High School celebrates reconstruction with official groundbreaking

The Socorro High School community and Team SISD celebrated a groundbreaking ceremony to officially mark the start of the reconstruction of the flagship school, one of the most anticipated projects in Bond 2017.

“It’s exciting to be part of this historic event as we witness the end of one chapter and the birth of a new home for our Bulldogs,” said Socorro High School Principal Josh Tovar. “The new and improved campus will better prepare our students for the world of work and university.”

Superintendent José Espinoza, Ed.D., SISD board members, school and district staff, along with representatives from VLK Architects, Nine Degrees Architecture, and BTC were among those who gathered for the ceremony.

“Socorro High School is our oldest high school in the district, it’s our flagship school,” said Dr. Espinoza. “The work has already begun, so we are looking forward to seeing the reconstruction of this awesome, amazing high school.”

The first phase of the Socorro High School reconstruction started in July 2019, one month ahead of schedule. Contractors have started demolishing existing areas of the school to make room for a new academic and Career and Technical Education wing. That portion of the new building is scheduled to be occupied by students and staff in 18 months.

Bond Accountability Committee members also attended the event, including chair Robert Alvarez who addressed the audience expressing that BAC members have been proud to represent the community in Bond 2017 and are eager to see the completion of Bond 2017 projects. Some BAC members have close ties to Socorro High School, such as Thomas Sigala Jr.

“I’ve been able to see the past, live in the present and I now look forward to the future of the new high school,” said Sigala, who attended Socorro High School in 1988.

The lively event featured the Socorro High School NJROTC color guard, drum line, cheerleaders and the widely recognized mascots Chato and Chata. Current students are excited about the academic excellence that the new building will inspire in the future generations of students.

“Once we get the new school, I think it will leave an aura of high standards, so I feel students will perform better academically,” said Socorro High School junior Aaron Garcia.

Another Socorro High School junior Kathryn Hernandez agreed.

“A new building will help make the students more confident about coming to school and take pride in their school,” Hernandez said.

Completion of the reconstruction will be phased over a three-and-a-half-year period to be substantially completed by spring 2023. Once construction is finalized, the 54-year-old campus will encompass a state-of-the-art building with natural lighting, an open space concept, and multiple innovative learning spaces. The campus will be equipped with high quality security features, the latest technology resources, and modern furniture for 21st century learning.

“Some of our board members attended school here at Socorro High School, they have a lot of memories from when they were here,” Dr. Espinoza said. “Now, with this new facility being built the students that are currently in elementary are going to be able to come in and build their own memories.”

The SISD Bond 2017 was approved by voters in November 2017. Team SISD is progressing steadily with projects keeping a commitment to Promises Made, Promises Kept. The first of the Bond 2017 projects was completed earlier this year with the opening of Socorro ISD’s newest elementary, Cactus Trails.

The ceremony took place on September 17, 2019. To view Socorro High School groundbreaking event photos, click here.

Socorro ISD students explore careers at first-ever Job Con event

The Socorro Independent School District, in partnership with Workforce Solutions Borderplex, organized a first-ever Job Con event to help sophomore students learn about education pathways, fields of study and careers.

The event provided more than 2,000 students a day of hands-on career exploration at Eastlake High School. Students were exposed to careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), business and industry, public service, arts and humanities, and multidisciplinary studies, all which are offered by Team SISD.

“Sophomore year is the last year students can change their endorsement. That is why Job Con was the perfect event for our students at this grade level,” said George Thomas, director of SISD Career and Technical Education.

“Students got to learn about target industries, high-demand careers in the area, and the skills they need to acquire the professions.”

Layla Melendez, chief operating officer for Workforce Solutions Borderplex, said Job Con is the largest interactive job fair in El Paso.

“This is our favorite and biggest event,” Melendez said. “We get to show students what employers do, how they do it, and why they do it so they can follow in their footsteps and build a strong El Paso.”

Sophomores visited more than 60 stations and networked with plenty of business representatives, who had an array of displays, samples, and creative props to make the expositions enlightening.

“This was a great way to get an idea about what we want to be when we grow up,” said Omar Erives, a student at Montwood High School. “I always thought I wanted to be an electrical engineer but at this event I really liked what El Paso Aero had to offer.”

Avery Benitez, a student at Socorro High School, also found the event to be helpful.

“I didn’t know there were these many open doors in El Paso,” she said. “Now I can see that there is a lot to choose from. My favorite presentation was on building a computer because I like working with technology.”

Presenters were happy that students recognized El Paso has a thriving career market.

“El Paso has had a stigma that there is nothing to do or that we don’t have high-paying jobs,” said Jaime Blanco, owner of Double Scope Films, a production company. “That is a misconception. There is a lot of creative work in El Paso and we feel its important to let the youth know they have these options.”

SISD and Workforce Solutions Borderplex also wanted parents of students with special needs to learn about work opportunities for their children. They were invited to an information night the day before JobCon to learn about students’ rights, social security, transition to college and workforce integration.

Team SISD and Workforce Solutions Borderplex will partner again in the spring for a second JobCon on Feb. 12 at Eastlake High School.

Job Con event photos

Americas student council provides thank you lunch for Vitalant employees

The Americas High School student council coordinated a special event recently to do their part for the El Paso community after the August 3 shooting at the Cielo Vista Walmart.

About fifteen members of the student council catered lunch for Vitalant staff members at the non-profit organization’s offices. Vitalant provides blood and special services to patients; its main purpose is ensuring lifesaving blood is available when and where it is needed.

Lorraine Varela, Americas High School student activities director, said she and her students thought about the many people and entities that were involved and affected by the shooting, and wanted to help those who were working to save lives that day.

“Everybody is focused on the victims, but we thought about everyone else involved, like the employees who worked overtime trying to get those donations and process the blood,” Varela said.

Students made the calls to gather sponsors for the special lunch and were able to get the food donated by Surprise Party Hall and Diamond Catering.

Paulina Lujan, one of the students who helped spearhead the event, said the student council wanted to do their part for the community and didn’t want anyone who has served El Paso during the incident to go overlooked.

“The smile on the faces of these people tell us they know we’re thankful and I hope we get that momentum going for others in the community,” Lujan said.

The group also has been focusing on projects related to El Paso Strong.

She said in the aftermath they gathered to brainstorm ideas to give back to the community and created sub-committees to execute the projects. One of the committees invited the Americas student body to collect and paint positivity rocks, which they distributed at the memorial.

Another committee has designed a shirt, which they plan to sell and collect the proceeds to donate to the victim’s foundation.

“I’m proud of my kids for wanting to be a part of this,” Varela said. “Our tears are tears of joy but also of deep sorrow, but spreading positivity is our goal, and no matter the action, big or small, it makes a difference when you are out there trying to do good.”

The employees at Vitalant appreciated the meal, but the sentiment behind it more.

“I’m thankful for the students taking time out of their day to come here and feed us,” said Vitalant phlebotomist Ruby Ramirez, who was in training when news of the shooting broke. “It’s so sweet of them to come out and thank us.”

Partners in Education, school liaisons start year off right with orientation, exhibition

The Socorro Independent School District recently hosted its fifth annual Partners in Education Orientation and Exhibition at the SISD District Service Center.

The yearly PIE event gives businesses in partnership with SISD and school liaisons an opportunity to meet, get reacquainted, plan fundraisers or activities, and schedule appointments for the school year.

SISD Superintendent José Espinoza, Ed.D., greeted the partners in education and liaisons with a special presentation to highlight the district’s achievements, including its recent A rating and postsecondary readiness distinction from the Texas Education Agency. Board trustees Eduardo Mena and David Morales also were at the event to thank and welcome the partners and liaisons.

This year’s exhibition included Barnes & Noble, Craze, First Light Federal Credit Union, Peter Piper Pizza, and STAPLES, among many others. The businesses and organizations provide information, network with the liaisons and provide samples of their products.

“We started this as an opportunity to basically get the ball rolling at the beginning of the school year. It was designed to be a one-stop shop,” said Maya Kirtley, public relations specialist and Partners in Education coordinator. “School liaisons are able to come in, make those initial appointments and contacts with our business partners. We’re excited about this being our fifth year of this great orientation and exhibition event.”

The SISD Partners in Education program follows its motto of “in business for student success” by working to help the businesses that are partnered with the district and provide valuable resources and donations to the schools.

“As much as our partners help Socorro ISD, we want them to know we want to help them as well in any capacity,” Kirtley said.

Both the partners in education and the school liaisons said they look forward to the orientation event every year because it positively sets the motion for the rest of the school year.

“We get to interact and meet the vendors that are going to help us throughout the year and assist us with incentives to motivate the students to continue to grow academically,” said Helen Ball school liaison Mytzi Hernandez

Many partners expressed great appreciation for their partnership with SISD.

Mauricio Carrillo, franchise owner of Bahama Bucks in El Paso, said he looks forward to the annual opening event because it’s an opportunity to introduce himself and meet with administrators, teachers and educators, and he gets to meet up with old friends and make new ones.

“Any event the schools will have us for, we are proud to be a part of,” said Carillo, who has been a partner with SISD for 12 years. “It gives us a chance to show the community what we do, what we’re capable of doing and maybe along the way help train and develop future leaders.”

Team SISD has more than 300 Partners in Education that provide valuable assistance to the district and schools such as monetary and in-kind donations and mentor and community service to help students, teachers and schools.

Learn more about the SISD Partners in Education program, vist the web page.

Socorro ISD holds 6th annual ‘Walk for Success’ Weekend

Socorro Independent School District educators walked the district’s neighborhoods to reconnect with students who left school before graduating during the 6th annual Walk for Success event on Saturday, September 14.

“We started our first year with 300 students, this year we’re looking at bringing back about 123, so the number is decreasing … that number continues to go down because of the passion and commitment from our amazing team,” said SISD Superintendent José Espinoza, Ed.D. “With that attitude and mentality that we treat, and we educate those students as if they were our own children, that’s how you can earn an ‘A’, that’s how you become the only district in El Paso, the largest district in the state, to earn a post-secondary readiness distinction.”

The superintendent, board trustees, administrators, counselors, and some librarians, teachers and other staff visited SISD neighborhoods to talk to students and their parents/families, hear their situation case-by-case, and present solutions to their academic barriers.

The day started with all the educators coming together to hear from SISD Superintendent José Espinoza, Ed.D., board trustees Paul Guerra, Eduardo Mena and David Morales, Justice of the Peace Ruben Lujan and El Paso Community College President William Serrata.

Justice of the Peace John Chatman and Justice of the Peace and EPCC board chair Brian Haggerty also attended this year’s Walk for Success.

The more than 300 educators who participated were excited about heading out to the neighborhoods to encourage students to re-enroll in school.

“It was a great event. We made contact with all of our students,” said Derrick Brown, assistant principal at Eastlake High School. “Students and parents were ready to hear the information and one parent almost cried. Our team is getting ready to formulate a plan so we can recover that student and help them graduate.”

The impact that the SISD educators are making on students is significant. Having a principal, counselor, or teacher personally tell the students that they can come back to school and graduate is often the step in the right direction that they need.

A former SISD student Arleen Roa was visited by Americas High School principal Patricia Cuevas and other administrators from the school. Roa had left Americas after a former boyfriend convinced her to drop out and to try the Job Corps. But she said that didn’t work out for her, she fell on hard times without enough shifts at work to make enough money, and no motivation to go back to school.

“Today, Ms. Cuevas came to my house on a Saturday and told me my options. She told me that they were here for me. She and my teachers were always supportive,” Roa said. “They told me they knew I could succeed and that made me feel good. So, I’m going to do it. I’m going to get it done.”

Erica Olivas, coordinator at Pebble Hills High School, visited a student she had helped in the past. Olivas said it’s a good feeling to know the student is aware that the school employees care and they want what is best for him.

“We always kept in contact with him and his mom,” Olivas said. “Reaching out to him today was special. It is us providing extra support and extra reassurance so they know that we want them back and we want them to graduate so they can succeed.”

Students and or their parents received information on how to return to their comprehensive high school, or transfer to Options, the district’s alternative high school, which provides students a flexible schedule in a competency-based learning system. Another option for students is the district’s adult education program, which pairs students with workforce development opportunities and a GED.

If students or families were not reached at the home a door hanger with information was left so they could call the district and or school back. SISD educators also plan follow-up calls and visits to ensure they continue trying to get every student back.

“The student we tried to visit was not there, but we met with her parents and got information that will allow us to follow up,” said Andrew Halatyn, assistant principal at Socorro High School. “Now that we know when she’ll be home, we can meet with her and talk about the options and benefits of being a student at Socorro.”

Since the inception of Walk for Success in 2014, SISD has recovered more than 320 students and helped dozens graduate. The district’s graduation rate has increased to 91.5 percent, the highest in the region and in district history.

“We are the only district that has consistently run this program for six years,” said Cory Craft, SISD’s academic and compliance officer. “Not many people want to give up their time on a Saturday, but we do because we value our students and we see the results.”

To view Walk for Success event photos, click here.

Socorro ISD enrolls more than 500 twins, 10 triplets in 2019-20

SPC. Rafael Hernando III Middle School celebrated Spirit Week with a designated “Twin Day.”

The festivity encouraged hundreds of Cavaliers to dress identical to one another, which prompted Principal Valerie Hairston to showcase the 24 sets of actual twins at her school.

“I noticed we had many sets of twins at our school last school year, but we never counted them,” Hairston said. “Twin Day was the perfect opportunity to highlight our current twin and triplet students. I think it’s very cool that we have so many and I would find it incredible if anyone would have more.”

Hernando was the middle school with the greatest twin count; however, Montwood High School topped its number with 30 sets of twins. Districtwide, SISD enrolled 503 sets of twins and 10 sets of triplets during the 2019-2020 school year.

Sandra Andrade, a teacher at Dr. Sue A. Shook, the elementary with the most twins (19 sets), said having multiples in class is special because they get to witness the unique bond these students share.

“It’s neat to see how close they are and how much they care for each other,” Andrade said. “I sit the twins in opposite sides of the room but as soon as we line up, or when we go to the carpet, they are drawn back to each other.”

To differentiate identical students, Andrade looks closely at their hair, shoes and the color of their uniform polo.

“It helps when moms do their hair differently,” she said. “I pay close attention to the smallest of details to tell them apart.”

Despite being together even before birth, and the obvious genetic similarities, a pair of fraternal twins at Montwood say they are very different.

“My brother Steven and I are complete opposites … we are like night and day,” said Jacklyn Terrazas, a senior. “He has a soft, calm tone and I’m crazy and vibrant. We complement each other, and we are a perfect match.”

An SISD trio concurs. The students are enrolled in different programs and schools; one is in the Health Professions Academy at Socorro High School, another in the Socorro Early College program and the third sibling is part of Eastlake’s School of Advanced Technology Applications.

“My brothers and I are very different and we don’t agree on a lot of things but

I’m proud to be a triplet,” said Monica Guerra. “I was very shocked when I heard that we had that many twins and triplets. It’s nice to be part of the group.”

With multiples being prevalent in schools, twin and triplet students want to set the record straight.

“People have a misconception that we do everything the same or they think we can read each other’s mind,” Steven Terrazas said. “We share parents and we share a birthday, but we don’t have magical powers. What I can say is that we are close, and as the years progress our bond continues to grow.”

Socorro ISD high schools gear up to celebrate 2019 homecoming

Socorro Independent School District officials announced that their seven high schools are set to start homecoming celebrations with an assortment of events and activities this month.

Students, teachers, staff and alumni will celebrate a week of festivities at their respective schools, including dress ups for spirit week, parades, the big homecoming games and cleverly themed dances.

The 2019 homecoming schedule is as follows:

El Dorado High School
El Dorado High School’s festivities will be from Sept. 9 to 14. The Aztecs will be pulling their theme right out of a Disney movie with “Can I Have This Dance” from “High School Musical.” Dress up days will include “The Boys are Back – Wear Baseball Tees” and “Waka Wednesday – Dress Hawaiian.”

The parade will be at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 11 followed by the Birth of the Aztec Sun ceremony in the football field. A pep rally will be during eighth period Sept. 12 followed by the El Dorado vs. Andress homecoming game at 6:30 p.m. at the SAC. The homecoming dance will be from 8 to 11:45 p.m. Sept. 14 at the Empire.

Pebble Hills High School
The Pebble Hills Spartans also will celebrate their homecoming Sept. 9 to 14 with their theme “Don’t Stop the Music,” a tribute to music festivals. Dress up days through the week will range from “Gnarly Neon,” “School of Rock,” “Coachella Vibes,” and “Nostalgic Nineties.” Activities throughout the week will include window decorating for student organizations on Sept. 9, Movie Under the Stars at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 10, and the homecoming parade at 6 p.m. Sept. 11.

A homecoming volleyball game will be at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 12 against Carlsbad High School. The homecoming pep rally will be Sept. 13 during eighth period followed by the Pebble Hills vs. Chapin High School homecoming football game at 7:30 p.m. at the SAC.

The homecoming dance will be from 8 p.m. to midnight Sept. 14 in the Pebble Hill’s courtyard.

Socorro High School
The Socorro High School Bulldog’s theme for this year’s homecoming is In the Heart of Texas, which will be celebrated Sept. 16-21. Dress up days will include Tex-Mex Day, celebrating the beautiful influence of Mexico on our culture; Country Livin’, students will gear up in their cowboy attire; and Texas Sports Day, students may wear their favorite Texas sports team jersey.

Homecoming events throughout the week will include a Texas State Fair with food, games, music and fun from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Sept. 18 at the Bulldog Championship Park. The homecoming parade on Alameda Ave. will begin at 5:45 p.m. Sept. 19 and the pep rally will follow at Mad Dog Field at 7 p.m., where the homecoming king and queen winners will be announced.

The homecoming game will be against Burges High School at 7 p.m. Sept. 20 at Socorro High School. The homecoming dance will be from 7:30 to 11:30 p.m. Sept. 21 at the Pit.

Mission Early College
Mission Early College High School will celebrate homecoming week Sept. 16 to 21 with a pep rally Sept. 20 and the homecoming dance Sept. 21. Check back for more details soon.

Eastlake High School
The Eastlake High School Falcons will be celebrating their homecoming the week of Sept. 23 to 28 with the theme Around the World. Dress up days will include Tourist day, Cartoon Day, Western Day, Spirit Day, and Jersey Day.

Activities for the week include decorating classroom doors, a parade and a community pep rally Sept. 25 with games and performances to which attendees are encouraged to wear purple and orange. The homecoming football game against Pebble Hills will be at 7 p.m. Sept. 26 at the SAC.

There will be a volleyball tournament against Ysleta at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 28 and the homecoming dance from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Sept. 26 in the main foyer of Eastlake High School.

Montwood High School
Montwood High School homecoming will be Sept. 23 to 28 at the home of the Rams with this year’s theme of Rams Take Over the World. Students will be able to dress up in fun outfits throughout the week with theme days like Show your American Pride and Dress as a Tourist.

The school will be showing the movie “The Lorax” at 6 p.m. (or at sunset) Sept. 24 on the school football field. The parade and carnival will be at 6 p.m. Sept. 25 at the school.

The homecoming football game against Eastwood will be at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 27 at the SAC and the dance will be 8 p.m. to midnight Sept. 28 in the school gym.

Americas High School
Americas High School will celebrate homecoming week Oct. 21 to 26 with the theme of New York State of Mind. Check back for more details soon.

Socorro ISD adult education, CTE partnership success bringing opportunities for participants

A unique partnership between the Socorro Independent School District Community Education and Career and Technical Education departments has been garnering widespread attention for the success and opportunities it is bringing for adult students and the local workforce.

In the summer, the innovative program was showcased in two videos produced by Creative Cannon for Amarillo Community College, who is the Texas Peer Mentor Network program representative, at the Ability to Benefit and Leveraged Funding Conference in Austin.

The videos feature SISD student and administrator testimonials about how the adult ed/CTE program has helped them achieve their goals.

Prior to that statewide attention, SISD Community Education director Anthony Fraga and Career and Technical Education director George Thomas earned national acclaim as they met with the assistant secretary for career, technical, and adult education in the U.S. Department of Education and provided testimony for congressional representatives in February in Washington D.C.

In addition, most recently, the SISD Community Education department earned the 2019 Best of El Paso Award in the Adult Education School category by the El Paso Award program. The program identifies companies and organizations that achieve exceptional marketing success in local business communities and provides extraordinary service to their customers and community.

SISD’s Community Education and CTE collaboration with the Integrated Education and Training program is being lauded as a model for how other districts and communities can integrate existing funds and resources to benefit both students and employers. The successful program is focusing on increasing the skills of workers to meet the needs of the workforce.

SISD Community Education director Anthony Fraga initiated the innovative model in 2015, when the district started offering courses for adult learners in various fields being taught by instructors from SISD’s CTE program.

Students enrolled in the district’s Integrated Education and Training program can take free courses to pursue training and earn certifications in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC); electrician pre-apprenticeship, computer repair and maintenance; security services; office administration; hotel/ hospitality. New pharmacy technician and dental assistant programs were implemented this school year, and the district is pursuing the addition of a CDL school bus driver certification program.

Since the inception of the program, demand for the courses has increased steadily with the department greatly exceeding their state target of 76 students for the IET program. Last year, the department served 184 adult students in IET easily more than doubling that target.

The SISD Community Education enrollment total to date is 598 of which 70 students are in the IET vocational program this school year.

“Since receiving state and national notoriety, Mr. Thomas and I have been invited to present at national and state conferences, with the goal of inspiring other school districts to develop partnerships between their Adult Basic Education programs and their CTE programs,” Fraga said.

SISD Community Education staff members have been selected to serve on key local, regional and statewide boards, including the local Borderplex Workforce Development Board, State Advisory Council for Adult Education, State Advisory Council for Student Assessment, and state-sponsored leadership education training using the Baldrige Method. One of their teachers also was named the 2018 Texas Association for Literacy and Adult Education Teacher of the Year.

In addition, the community education and CTE staff were invited to present at the National Council on Workforce Education, Texas Workforce Commission State Conference, National Adult Education (COABE) in New Orleans, SXSW.EDU conference, and the National Skills Summit in Washington D.C. They also have coached other school districts through the Education Service Center Region 2 in Corpus Christi.

Thomas said the partnership was a natural for Team SISD, where departments regularly work together to solve problems and develop systems to better serve the community.

As part of SISD’s commitment to highly prepare students for college and career success, the CTE program invests significantly in teacher training, equipment and software through the federal Carl Perkins grant and other state and local funds. The federal government has encouraged federally funded programs to work together to support the training of the local workforces, which Team SISD has enthusiastically embraced.

“SISD CTE and community education have become the poster representatives of this federal initiative by using our trained teachers within their classrooms to support the community education evening career programs,” Thomas said.

The SISD collaboration allows the adult education program to benefit from the CTE resources, such as teachers, labs, and equipment, to provide the certification training at a lower cost with a higher student success outcome.

Adult students interested in enrolling in the free program may call (915) 937-1700.

Watch the Amarillo Community College/Texas Peer Mentor Network videos created by Creative Canon, featuring SISD Community Education and Career and Technical Education:

Student video  |   Administrators/teacher video

El Dorado yearbook teacher recognized at the national level

Vanessa Martinez, journalism teacher at El Dorado High School, is a recipient of the 2019 Rising Star Award by the Journalism Education Association.

Martinez is one of 12 teachers nationwide to earn the prestigious honor, which recognizes educators who show excellence in scholastic journalism and media advising. She was nominated for the award by Mike Taylor from Walsworth Yearbooks.

“I’m very honored and humbled to have been nominated for the Rising Star Award,” Martinez said. “I heard about it when I was a yearbook student because a lot of my mentors were Rising Stars themselves. To be in this place now feels surreal and incredible.”

Martinez graduated with a multimedia degree from the University of Texas at El Paso and has been a teacher for five years. Prior to becoming an educator, she worked as a copy editor for the El Paso Times and City Magazine.

Determined to build on an already successful yearbook club’s legacy, Martinez and her students worked hard, sometimes up to 20

Photo by Carolina Arredondo | SISD

additional hours each week, to publish their best work and garner prestigious recognitions.

The team has won back-to-back Silver Crown Awards from Colombia Scholastic Press Association and Best of Show for their 2018 yearbook from the National Scholastic Press Association. Under her leadership, students also have earned individual honors and have advanced to UIL regional and state competitions.

“Mrs. Martinez is a great role model and inspires us become better journalists,” said Leah Rodriguez, a senior at El Dorado and the yearbook’s editor in chief. “When I started the program, I didn’t know what I wanted to do but she saw something in me. She reinforced my strengths and weaknesses so I could grow into a good photo editor and writer.”

Though journalism is an elective, Martinez says the class prepares her students for college, careers and life.

“I love helping students find what they are good at, and I enjoy seeing them develop skills they can use no matter what career they pursue,” she said. “They will know how to meet deadlines, how to be strong writers, how to talk to people with confidence, and everything that comes with visual communication.”

Martinez will be formally recognized at the National High School Journalism Convention this fall in Washington, D.C.

To learn more about the Rising Star award, visit the JEA website.

SISD students, employees showcase photography skills in ‘Print Those Pics’ contest

Numerous Socorro Independent School District students and employees participated in the third annual Print Those Pics cell phone photography contest, which was celebrated with an awards reception at SISD’s District Service Center.

Unique, creative and commemorative images showcased the skills of students and employees from all over the district who submitted their favorite photographs taken on their cell phones. This year, 320 submissions were entered in the contest.

SISD Visual Arts Specialist Macka Jones coordinated the event which he created a few years ago.

“I just wanted to get people involved with art and I figured the easiest way to do it was to use something they all have, which is a cell phone,” Jones said.

Twelve winners were selected at this year’s ceremony. Nine were in the student division and three in the employee division.

This year’s judge was local professional photographer Mayra Razo, who specializes in maternity, newborn, child, and family fine art portraits.

Participants were eager to see their photographs showcased. Many had never considered entering or displaying their work before and were excited to see it being admired by students, employees and members of the community.

Jasmine Casas, a junior at Pebble Hills High School, was pleased to hear her photo had earned an award, especially since she’d never entered a contest and she’d never even displayed it on social media before.

“It’s a picture I took a couple months ago when I went to New York,” said Casas, who won third place in the high school division for her photo “Haze Above the City.” “That day was our last day there and it really captures New York City, because it captures the skyline and the negative space at the top, and it has the fog right about the skyline.”

Jones said he was very happy to see smiles, knowing that photography is an outlet for people to express their feelings and views through a medium that most everyone has access to.

“It’s bittersweet because some of the photographs were taken of the tragedy that happened a few weeks ago at the Walmart, but it just shows that it impacted our students. It shows how they went and turned that into a positive thing for people to see and they wanted to exhibit their artwork,” Jones said. “So, we’re seeing it through their vision.”

Examples of those photos include “El Paso Strong” by Rene Mendoza from El Dorado High School, whose photo featured a local El Paso Strong mural for which he won second place, and another also titled “El Paso Strong” by Sebastian Rangel from Socorro Middle School, which displays the Walmart memorial and won third place.

The Print Those Pics exhibit will be on display now until the end of September at the District Service Center.

The winners of this year’s contest are:

Student Division – Elementary
1st Place: Brent Poiteyint from Cactus Trails
2nd Place: Adel Andrea Malanche from John Drugan
3rd Place: Ava Marquez from Sgt. Roberto Ituarte

Student Division – Middle School
1st: Karely Torres from Bill Sybert
2nd: Heather Hernandez from Socorro
3rd: Sebastian Rangel from Socorro

Student Division – High School
1st:  Helena Rubio El Dorado
2nd: Rene Mendoza from El Dorado
3rd: Jasmine Casas from Pebble Hills

Employee Division
1st Place: Maria E. Sosa from Escontrias
2nd Place: Rosa Contreras from Sgt. Jose F. Carrasco
3rd Place: Alicia Torres from Sgt. Roberto Ituarte

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