Friday , August 18 2017
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Tag Archives: Socorro ISD

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.

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 or call the school at(915) 937-3386 or click HERE.

Socorro ISD WIN Academy Students Celebrate year of STEAM Training via Tech-E Program

More than 350 elementary and middle school students, who are enrolled in the district’s WIN Academy, had a graduation of sorts from the Tech-E program, a year-long interactive computer programming session at the University of Texas at El Paso.

Each child received a certificate and congratulations from SISD Superintendent Dr. José Espinoza and UTEP officials, who partnered with Team SISD to provide the innovative the Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math classes.

The Tech-E program began in the fall 2016 to demonstrate and create opportunities for Team SISD’s WIN students to develop skills in STEAM.

“It’s been incredible,” said Alisa Zapata Farmer, SISD’s Chief Academic Officer. “Not only does this teach students about technology and science, they get to see what it’s like to be on a university campus. They’ve learned about working together. They learned about creativity, teamwork and critical thinking. We are so thankful they are partnering with us.”

Tech-E has been such a success that next year two to three more schools will be added to the program, Farmer said. Socorro Middle School, Desert Wind School and Mission Ridge Elementary School students participated this year.

“We want to expose more students to the program,” she said. “It’s such an important aspect of learning for today’s student.”

The current cohort of students will continue the program and a new group will start next school year.

“It’s been very successful,” said Pedro Espinoza, an instructional technologist in UTEP’s academic technology department. “It grew from a small summer camp into this big program with the Socorro Independent School District. We are happy to have them here. We hope that in the future we can make this program grow even more.”

The WIN Academy, which stands for Work hard, have an “I can do it” attitude, and Never give up, is an award-winning SISD program designed to help vulnerable children succeed in school and close achievement gaps among students across the district.

With the Tech-E program, WIN students were exposed to a wide range of technologies so they will be better prepared for a career and/or future choices in STEAM fields with real-world, hands-on experience.

“Every field that is out there and even those coming that we don’t even know about in the next five to 10 years have technology, science, engineering, arts and math embedded in them in some way,” said Mike Pitcher, Tech-E coordinator and UTEP’s director of academic technologies.

During the year-long program, students also learned about the importance of cyber security, how to use a 3-D printer and how to build, program and play games on a Raspberry Pi, a credit-card-sized computer that plugs into a keyboard and monitor.

On their last day, they participated in different activities and challenges that tested not only their science abilities, but their math as well.

“They were able to implement anything they have learned and benefitted from the program and take it to the next level,” said Irene Guerrero, a fifth-grade WIN Academy teacher at Mission Ridge. “They were able to complete different tasks and compete for points.”

Students have learned how to apply different skills in STEAM, but more importantly, they learned about teamwork.

“They know how to collaborate with one another and at the same time learn about STEAM along the way,” Pedro Espinoza said. “The program is conducted in a fun and engaging way.”

Guerrero believes Tech-E is an essential program that will have long-term benefits for students.

“The students love it. What they have learned here, they are able to not only apply to the classroom, but also to real world situations,” Guerrero said. “And it is getting them ready for college. Understanding what is it I like to do? Where am I at right now? Where do I see myself in the future?”

Fifth-grader Jesus Valenzuela likes relating what he has learned at UTEP to math class. He hopes to return to the program next school year.

“It’s absolutely awesome,” Valenzuela said. “It’s great because we have a myriad of advantages that other students don’t have. I wish other kids could have also had it.”

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 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

Pebble Hills NJROTC Ranked Third ‘Most Outstanding’ Unit in Nation

The Pebble Hills High School NJROTC has been named the third best unit in the nation, a designation they earned for their outstanding scores in their annual military inspection, school support, and countless hours of community service.

“We have always held our standard high and worked toward this goal so it’s great to finally achieve it,” said Sarah Adams, senior cadet from El Dorado High School. “NJROTC is unlike any other organization. It develops responsible and disciplined youth and helps build your character.”

Pebble Hills earned the third place award from among 672 NJROTC units nationwide. They also were selected as the 2017 Area Nine Most Outstanding Unit. In addition, the group has been named a distinguished unit with academic honors for its high level of performance for six consecutive years.

“I’m extremely proud of every single one of our cadets that have contributed to this unit and made a difference in our district and community,” said Justo Mendoza, senior naval science instructor at Pebble Hills. “Our unit has made its mark nationwide by placing third amongst some very good NJROTC units in the nation. We will continue to work hard next school year and hope to grow and continue making a positive impact in our district and community.”

The award-winning unit is 116 members strong and is composed of students from Montwood, El Dorado and Pebble Hills high schools. Together, the cadets have earned more than 9,500 combined community service hours for contributions of work in the community.

Socorro ISD Student Art Exhibit Opens May 27

Officials with the Socorro Independent School District are inviting the public to their annual student art exhibit featuring more than 650 pieces of art work created by students from Pre-Kindergarten to 12th grade on May 27.

The event will showcase the largest collection of sculptures, paintings, drawings, photography, print making, crafts, wearable art, since the exhibit inception 30 years ago, said Macka Jones, SISD visual arts specialist.

“We are very excited about the participation this year,” Jones said. “This is a great opportunity because it shows another aspect of education. The students get to incorporate what they learn in the classroom into their art.”

The pieces were chosen from among more than 2,450 submitted to the Fine Arts Department. A group of judges narrowed the exhibit down to 650.

What:         30th annual SISD student art exhibit and open house

Who:          SISD student artists, teachers, parents and community members

Where:       District Service Center  12440 Rojas Dr.

When:        Saturday, May 27  10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Sun Ridge Student Designs Winning App to Assist Migrant Families in El Paso

Laura Rosiles, an eighth-grade student at Sun Ridge Middle School was recently named one of 40 finalists in the nationwide contest, ProjectCSGIRLS, which promotes technology and computer science among young female students.

Rosiles is one of four Texas students and the only one in the El Paso area to earn the distinction for her project: an application which helps migrant families in the El Paso community find shelter during the work season.

“I’m very excited about my project,” Rosiles said. “Immigration is a major topic and every year thousands of immigrants come looking for a better life and have no family or support. This app will reach out and help many people.”

Her application, Aiding Immigrants, allows users to select a city to locate and learn about immigration shelters in the area. She was inspired to create the app after her school’s gateway to technology instructor Roberto G. Morales, and campus librarian Rebecca Carrillo introduced the project.

“Laura has never been a student in my class but I’ve known her since sixth-grade due to her involvement in science fair and the Lego robotics team,” Morales said. “Her accomplishment does not surprise me and she developed this app with the intention of helping others, a characteristic that all of us should strive to replicate.”

Because the project was not class assigned the student had to work on it during her own time. Rosiles said she didn’t mind because computer science is something she is very passionate about.

“Many people assume computer science is a guy’s job but technology is for everyone,” she said. “I had previous coding experience so I designed most of the application on my own, but I did look at YouTube videos or ask my mentors like my dad and teachers at school for help when I got stuck.”

Rosiles will be recognized for her innovation on June 3-4 at the ProjectCSGIRLS gala in Washington where she will give a presentation about her application to attendees nationwide and compete for the top five grand prize award.

“This will help me gain experience so that I later develop my app even more,” she said. “I’ve been brainstorming ideas on how to make it better. I would like to have different language options and create a way for the organizations to contact the individuals.”

ProjectCSGIRLS is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to closing the gender gap in computing and technology. To learn more about the organization, click here.

Socorro ISD Survey Results Show ‘Continued Improvements’ in School Climate

Positive responses on the 2017 Socorro ISD Campus Climate Survey increased by 15 percent from the district’s first comprehensive survey administered with students, parents, and employees just four years ago.

“Every voice counts in Socorro ISD,” said Dr. José Espinoza, SISD Superintendent of Schools. “The tremendous participation in this comprehensive survey demonstrates our community’s engagement and partnership in ensuring every student succeeds in Team SISD. This level of engagement, along with the tremendous work of our amazing faculty and staff, is what has led to the quantum improvements that have taken place in our district the last four years.”

The surveys were administered through SurveyMonkey in late-January through mid-February and were available in English and Spanish. Four individual surveys were available for parents, campus employees, elementary students (grades 3-5), and secondary students (grades 6-12). In all, nearly 39,000 individuals completed the survey.

  • Elementary Students – 8,695
  • Secondary Students – 20,014
  • Parents – 6,701
  • Campus Employees – 3,481

Overall, the survey results demonstrate Socorro ISD stakeholders’ pride in their school district and appreciation of Team SISD’s commitment in ensuring student safety, a supportive and rigorous learning environment, and high morale.

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“I am extremely proud to serve our amazing community which has taken an active role in helping us continuously move our district forward,” Espinoza added. “The data and input we receive through these surveys are invaluable in ensuring we are living up to our commitment to treat and educate all students as if they were our own children. While the responses were overwhelmingly positive and show that we truly have ‘Achieved Success as a Team’ over the last four years, we acknowledge that work still remains to be done to ensure we meet the needs of all our students, parents, and staff.”

The survey data will be used, together with qualitative data gathered through other community engagement efforts, to assess the current state of the district and adapt district and campus plans to meet the needs of Team SISD.

Individual campus leadership teams are reviewing their specific results to develop a Campus Action Plan listing strengths and areas for growth identified from the survey results as well as specific strategies on how to maintain or improve the school’s culture. The action items also will be incorporated in each school’s Campus Improvement Plan. Campus Action Plans will be posted online in June 2017.

School Safety Responses
Collectively, there was an increase of 52 percentage points in positive responses regarding school safety. Ninety-six percent of elementary students (86 percent in 2013), 90 percent of secondary students (70 percent in 2013), and 93 percent of campus employees (79 percent in 2013) responded that they feel safe at school. Ninety-two percent of parents (84 percent in 2013) responded that they believe their child feels safe in and around their school.

Student Responses
Ninety-six percent of elementary (87 percent in 2013) and 85 percent of secondary students (64 percent in 2013) believe that they attend a good school. Twenty-six percent more students answered that they believe their teachers care about them than in 2013; 97 percent of elementary (92 percent in 2013) and 83 percent of secondary students (62 percent in 2013). Ninety-seven percent of elementary and 94 percent of secondary students answered that their teachers/schools have high expectations of students, which increased by 20 percentage points combined from 2013.

Parent Responses
Ninety-one percent of parents agreed that teachers/schools have high expectations of students (83 percent in 2013); 91 percent of parents stated that they like their child’s school (83 percent in 2013); 90 percent said they are satisfied with their child’s academic progress (83 percent in 2013); and 92 percent stated that they believe their child likes his/her school (86 percent in 2013).

Eighty-nine percent of parents responded that they work as a team with teachers to educate their children (81 percent in 2013). Ninety-one percent of parents believe that their child feels like he/she belongs at their school (86 percent in 2013).

Campus Employee Responses
The number of employees that believe the climate or atmosphere at their school is positive and helps students learn increased by 18 percent (86 percent in 2017 compared with 68 percent in 2013).

Eighty-six percent of employees believe that staff members work as a team and 87 percent say their school promotes trust and collegiality (72 percent and 69 percent in 2013, respectively); and 91 percent believe that their campus administrators treat them with respect (80 percent in 2013).

View the complete 2017 Socorro ISD Climate Survey results online at