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Home | Tag Archives: Socorro ISD

Tag Archives: Socorro ISD

SISD announces 2019 Elite 8, honors Campus Teachers of the Year

The Socorro Independent School District celebrated the 2019 Campus Teachers of the Year and named the Elite 8 finalists in the 2019 SISD Teacher of the Year Awards program during a special reception this week at the District Service Center.

The Elite 8 finalists are four elementary teachers and four secondary teachers who will contend for the top honors at the SISD Teacher of the Year Gala April 27 in the Judson F. Williams Hall at the El Paso Convention Center.

The elementary finalists are Perla Lozoya from Dr. Sue Shook; Amanda L. Ayala from Helen Ball; Patricia Velarde from Purple Heart; and Abraham McMillan from Robert R. Rojas. The secondary finalists are Amber Marie Duran from Desert Wind; Eric Agness from Bill Sybert; Luis Iturriaga from SPC Rafael Hernando; and David Bustamante from El Dorado High School.

The celebration brought together all 47 Campus Teachers of the Year, Superintendent José Espinoza, Ed.D., the Board of Trustees, and school principals.

“It is an awesome achievement to be named a Campus Teacher of the Year,” Espinoza said. “Every single teacher in this room is a champion for students. We are very proud of them, and we can’t thank them enough for the work that they do. Their passion, drive, and commitment for teaching and learning is remarkable.”

Campus Teachers of the Year were nominated by a democratic election process at each school. The Elite 8 finalists were selected by a committee of students, parents, administrators, and former SISD Teachers of the Year.

The Elite 8 teachers will go on to another round of the Teacher of the Year process, where a selection committee will select the 2019 SISD Elementary Teacher of the Year and the 2019 SISD Secondary Teacher of the Year.

Tickets are now on sale for the 2019 SISD Teacher of the Year Gala. The cost per ticket is $30. Tickets can be ordered from campus secretaries through April 5.

The Teacher of the Year Gala is an adults-only event. No one under 18 years of age will be permitted.

Donation puts Little Free Library at Ernesto Serna School

Thanks to a generous donation, students at Ernesto Serna School celebrated the opening of their Little Free Library at a special ceremony this month.

“This has been a wonderful experience and we are glad to have partnered with SISD to accomplish the mission of our grant,” said Steven Lane, regional coordinator of the foundation. “The little free libraries have been the greatest part of it all because it puts books in the community.”

The Little Free Library makes books more accessible for children and community members. It was donated by Drs. Steven and Georgia Lane, of the Three Rivers Education Foundation in Farmington, N.M., through a federal grant.

Steven Lane encourages students to read with their family 30 minutes every night so they can become lifetime readers.

“Sometimes families don’t have the finances to go to Barnes and Noble, but this little library will provide them access to high quality literacy all the time,” he said. “Children can borrow a book, and put another in its place, so the little library will never be empty.”

Serna students were excited to read the new books and were ready to make their first book donation.

“I’m happy to have this because we can read at home instead of being on the phone,” Brianna Diaz, a second-grade student. “I was able to donate a book about animals, and I got another book so I could read it to my baby cousin.”

Students, staff and the community are encouraged to continue donating books for the library. The library is located outside of the school near the campus portables and is available for any students in the community.

The foundation also donated Little Free Libraries to Robert R. Rojas Elementary School and Salvador H. Sanchez Middle School.

Socorro ISD All-State musicians showcase talents at TMEA convention

Ten Socorro Independent School District band and choir students were named 2019 Texas Music Educators Association All-State musicians.

The SISD honorees will perform with band and choir ensembles at the state convention this weekend at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio as part of the 2019 TMEA Clinic/Convention.

Being an All-State musician is the highest honor a Texas music student can receive. This year, 1,792 students were selected for the prestigious title through a competitive process that began with more than 70,000 students from around the state.

“To rehearse and perform with the best of the best musicians will provide a lifelong experience that may lead to scholarship opportunities and professional careers in music,” said Ronald Pingor, assistant director of fine arts.

The highest-ranking musicians will get to perform in one of 15 Texas All-State bands, choirs, or orchestra ensembles. Students also will have the opportunity to work with nationally recognized conductors.

“I’m very proud of both of my students and their achievements,” said Joe Estala, choir director at Pebble Hills. “Being an All-State musician requires a higher amount of concentration than the average student in a regular classroom. It’s very inspiring to watch them practice and perform.”

Students hope the experience will open doors for their musical career after high school.

“I’m honored to be recognized as an All-State musician,” Talavera said. “This was one of the goals I wanted to accomplish before I graduated from high school. I can’t wait for the rehearsals! We are going to learn from so many amazing people. There is also going to be a college fair that weekend and I want to learn about the different music schools available. I hope one of them is in my future.”

SISD’s All-State musicians are Fernando Montes, Sebastian Ortega, and Kayla Rubio from Americas High School; Robert Harris from El Dorado High School; Abigail Talavera from Eastlake High School; Steven Phan from Montwood High School; and Juan Lara, Rosendo Vasquez, Raul Romero, and Diane Tiscareno from Pebble Hills High School.

Socorro ISD Super wins Tech Savvy Superintendent State Award

Socorro Independent School District Superintendent José Espinoza, Ed.D. has been named the 2018-2019 Tech Savvy Superintendent by the Texas K12 CTO Council.

“Our focus never wavers from ensuring our students are truly prepared for college, careers, and life. By incorporating digital devices, online instruction, and innovative technology in our classrooms, we’re giving them a head start to succeed in a fast-paced future that will rely more than ever on technology,” Espinoza said.

“I am honored to be recognized by the Texas K12 CTO Council because it showcases the excellent work our students, teachers, and administrators are achieving with new tools and resources. Team SISD is certainly at the forefront of digital teaching and learning.”

According to SISD officials, Espinoza was awarded for “promoting and supporting innovative uses of technology in Team SISD. He has been a leader in integrating digital learning and the latest technological resources to improve student learning, empower educators, and ensure SISD students are prepared for a technology-based, global society.”

With this state accolade, Espinoza now will be considered for a national recognition from the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN). The Texas K-12 CTO Council is the state chapter of CoSN and the premier organization for chief technology officers in Texas schools.

In January 2015, Espinoza signed the U.S. Department of Education’s Future Ready Schools Pledge to be aligned with the federal ConnectED initiative and to affirm SISD’s commitment to invest in technology to advance teaching and learning, fully train educators to utilize new resources, and offer more technological devices for student use.

Since then, the district’s Operation Future Ready efforts have resulted in more personalized digital learning for students and the use of technological resources in classrooms across SISD.

The district’s commitment to provide opportunities in technology has led to what SISD officials say are “unprecedented student achievement and academic gains.” Most notably, SISD is one of only three among the largest 50 districts in the state to earn the postsecondary readiness distinction in the Texas Education Agency’s latest school accountability ratings.

District officials added, “With Espinoza’s leadership, SISD has made great strides in expanding the Digitally Nurturing Academics DNA 1:1 (one laptop to one student) program at middle schools and all high schools in the district, providing personal digital learning devices to all students in the one-of-a-kind WIN Academy, providing WiFi hotspots for students to check out and take home to increase internet accessibility, qualifying for federal E-rate funds to maintain and upgrade the district’s network infrastructure, and providing an annual technology conference for all teachers so that they are knowledgeable and confident to use new technology in the classroom.”

The award was announced at the TX CTO Council Winter Meeting in conjunction with the Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA) Mid-Winter Conference on Jan. 27 in Austin.

Socorro ISD Earns Two H-E-B ‘Excellence in Education’ Honors

The Socorro Independent School District has been selected in two major categories as a finalist for the statewide 2019 H-E-B Excellence in Education awards.

Team SISD was recognized as an outstanding large district and the SISD Board of Trustees was recognized as an outstanding school board.

The recognition marks the first time a school board of trustees from the El Paso-area has been named a finalist in the awards program since it was opened to school districts across Texas outside of H-E-B markets.

In addition, this is the third time SISD has been named a finalist in the H-E-B  awards program.

SISD is one of only five finalists among large school districts and the board of trustees is one of only five school boards in Texas to be named finalists in the prestigious awards program, which recognizes exceptional school districts and governing boards.

“We are proud and humbled to receive this awesome acknowledgement of the amazing work achieved by our excellent teachers, administrators, and staff, which is always supported tremendously by our incredible Team SISD community,” said SISD Superintendent José Espinoza, Ed.D. “Our three-time recognition as a district coupled with the recognition for our outstanding school board reaffirms our unwavering commitment to provide the highest quality education for students to succeed now and in the future.”

The H-E-B Excellence in Education Awards program was launched in cooperation with the Texas Association of School Administrators in 2002 as a positive way to support public education in Texas. In 2018, the H-E-B Excellence in Education Awards awarded more than $700,000 in cash prizes, gift cards and grants to finalists and winners, according to the H-E-B website.

Since its inception in 2002, the program has awarded over $10 million to Texas educators, schools and

districts. It has become the largest monetary program for educators in the state, spotlighting best practices and celebrating the passion and creativity of Texas educators.

The large school district winner will receive $100,000 and one or more school boards may receive a special judge’s award totaling up to $25,000.

School districts are honored for their commitment to student achievement through innovative programs, parent/community involvement, and professional development opportunities for teachers and administrators.

School boards are awarded for leadership in the community based on academic/student progress within the district, identification of community needs, and specific actions taken based on those needs, and new and creative methods for community engagement.

“We are extremely honored to earn this wonderful recognition. It is a testament to the great success in our outstanding school district,” said SISD Board President Cynthia Najera. “Team SISD’s consistent student success and overall achievements demonstrate to the El Paso-region and all of Texas that we certainly are providing endless opportunities for students, staff, and the community.”

SISD will be awarded $5,000 as a finalist in the large school district and $5,000 as a finalist in the school board category. A panel of H-E-B Excellence in Education judges will visit SISD in February. The site visit will include a tour of two SISD campuses, meetings with the superintendent and board of trustees, and lunch with representatives from the school district.

After visiting the five finalist districts, H-E-B will announce the winner in May.

The SISD Board of Trustees are President Cynthia Ann Najera, District 2 representative; Vice President Angelica Rodriguez, District 3 representative; Secretary Antonio “Tony” Ayub, representative at-large; Trustee Hector F. Gonzalez, District 1 representative; Trustee Paul Guerra, District 4 representative; Trustee Gary Gandara, District 5 representative; and Michael A. Najera, representative at-large.

Socorro isn’t the only local district to be honored by the nomination, Canutillo ISD is up for an H-E-B honor as well. To read that story, click here.

Socorro ISD’s Adult Education, CTE Partnership Lauded as National Model

Socorro Independent School District administrators will be presenting at a congressional briefing in Washington D.C. on a unique partnership between the district’s Community Education and Career and Technical Education departments that is garnering more success and opportunities for adult students and the local workforce.

The pioneering initiative is being showcased as a national model and was recently featured in a National Skills Coalition briefing titled “Better Together: How adult education/CTE collaborations benefit workers and business.”

SISD Community Education director Anthony Fraga and Career and Technical Education director George Thomas will meet with the assistant secretary for career, technical, and adult education in the U.S. Department of Education and provide testimony for congressional representatives February 6 in Washington D.C.

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 adult education 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; and office administration.

“The certifications that we offer to our students are on the list of in-demand occupations here in this region,” Fraga said. “After they finish

Photo courtesy SISD

our program, we can turn to our workforce development board and they’ll provide us opportunities for our students to interview with employers.”

Since the inception of the program, demand for the courses has increased steadily with the department exceeding their state target of 76 students for Integrated Education and Training (IET). In the most recent year, the department served 184 adult students in IET easily doubling that target.

Across the nation, the focus is on increasing the skills of workers to meet the needs of the workforce, which is exactly what the SISD model is achieving, Fraga said.

“Our program is focused on getting students completed with the certification program or to transition to college,” he said. “We put them on a career pathway now.”

State and national leaders are looking at the SISD model to show other districts and communities how to integrate existing funds and resources to benefit both students and employers, which came about from the strong interpersonal relationships and teamwork that is well established in Team SISD, Fraga said.

Photo courtesy SISD

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

“For our partnership to be used as an example of a national model is a very proud moment for me,” Thomas said. “Mr. Fraga and the adult education office has done a wonderful job in recruiting and placing the adults in programs that they have a true interest in.”

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

The successful partnership has contributed to a cost savings of some 70 percent compared to contract vendors, allows for more than three times participation in the adult ed programs, and has yielded a certification rate for the adult learners of nearly 100 percent.

“We support our teachers with the instructional strategies that assist them in creating positive outcomes for our students,” Thomas said. “It is this training that provides the skills to ensure that our students are highly successful.  Our teachers also have a mindset to teach all students to success and that sets them apart from most instructional service providers.  They are the most equipped to support our adult English as a Second Language learners.”

Currently, some 1,100 students are enrolled in all programs offered in the Community Education department, which includes the IET program and ESL and GED programs.

Socorro ISD Launches ‘Make it Count’; Perfect Attendance Earns Fun Reward Days

Starting next week, the Socorro Independent School District will give students with perfect attendance a special treat in the spring as part of its annual Make it Count attendance reward program.

The district will have a 12-week challenge to motivate students to strive for perfect attendance from January 14 to April 18.

Students are encouraged to be at school every day to Make it Count in the classroom, to improve their academic success, and to celebrate their accomplishment with a fun activity at the end of the school year.

Students with perfect attendance will be rewarded with various events designed for different grade levels. Elementary students will get to meet their favorite superheroes and watch movies at the Student Activities Complex during a Superhero Family Night on May 10.

Middle school students will be rewarded with an Xtreme Day of fun attractions from 6 to 9 p.m. May 24 at the SAC.

High school students with perfect attendance will earn a pool party May 13, 16 or 17 during the school day at the SISD Aquatic Center.

To learn more about Make it Count rewards, visit the district website.  For information on the individual rewards, click on the links below.

Read more about the Superhero Family Night
Read more about the Xtreme Day
Read more about the Pool Party at the SAC

Socorro ISD Students to Provide Free Tax Filing for Community

Tax season is here, and students in the Socorro Independent School District are once again set to help community members file their tax returns, free of charge.

Students providing the services are IRS income tax certified, and many of them have experience, said Nicole Matsuda, business teacher at Socorro High School.

“Last year, Socorro High School students helped about 100 families file their return and they’re ready to help even more people this year,” she said. “They want to give back to the community that has given so much to them.”

SISD students, with the help of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program, will offer tax preparation services from February 1 through April 15 at Americas, Eastlake, Socorro, Montwood and Pebble Hills high schools.

To receive services, taxpayers with an annual income of $54,000 or less can show up to one of the sites from 4:30 to 7 p.m. to file their 1040 EZ, 1040A and 1040 forms.

The process for a typical return takes about 30 minutes.

Individuals should take a photo identification card, original social security card for everyone listed in the income tax return, W-2 wage statements for the 2017 year, 1099-SSA, 1099-R and 1099-G, work expenses, 1095 health coverage, direct deposit information, the 1098 for student loans, proof of child dependent care expenses, and property tax statements.

If filing a joint return, both individuals must be present.

Americas High School, 12101 Pellicano Dr.
Feb. 5, 7, 12, 19, 21, 26 and 28
March 5, 7, 26 and 28
April 2, 3, 9 and 11
Eastlake High School, 13000 Emerald Pass
Feb. 5, 6, 12, 13, 19, 20, 26, and 27
March 5, 6, 12, 26 and 27
April 2, 3, 9 and 10
Montwood High School, 12000 Montwood Dr.
Feb. 5, 7, 12, 19, 21, 26 and 28
March 5, 7, 26 and 28
April 2, 3, 9 and 11
Pebble Hills High School, 14400 Pebble Hills Blvd
Feb. 4, 7, 11, 18, 21, 25 and 28
March 4, 7 and 28
April 1, 4, 8, 11, and 15
Socorro High School, 10150 Alameda Dr.
Feb. 4, 5, 11, 12, 18, 19, 25 and 26
March 4, 5 and 26
April 1, 2, 8, 9 and 15

SISD Students to Showcase STEM Skills at ROBOCOM 5.0 Saturday

The Socorro Independent School District will have its annual robotics competition, ROBOCOM 5.0, on January 12 at Pebble Hills High School.

Based on the rules of the First Lego League (FLL), it allows elementary and high school students to immerse themselves in real-world science and technological challenges.

District officials share that this year’s theme is “Into Orbit.” Student groups will create a project that will show how humans can survive in space for the long-term.

Fifty-two teams from all SISD elementary, PK-8 and middle schools will participate, and all high schools have students supporting the event. Each round will feature different teams competing.

All teams will be recognized at the roll call and winners will be announced at the awards ceremony.

Twenty-five teams will advance to the regional competition organized by UTEP on January 26. These teams then have the opportunity to advance to a higher level of competition outside of the El Paso region.

The ROBOCOM 5.0 schedule is:

Round 1 Competition – 9:00 a.m.
Round 2 Competition – 11:00 a.m.
Round 3 Competition – 1:00 p.m.
Round 4 Competition – 3:00 p.m.
ROBO Roll Call – 6:10 p.m.
Awards Ceremony – 6:30 p.m.


Lumbre Motorcycle Club Donates Winter Coats to Campestre Elementary Students

One hundred Campestre Elementary School students received new jackets thanks to a fundraiser by a motorcycle club.

The Lumbre Motorcycle Club, a non-profit group who raised the money through enchilada plate sales, donated the coats to Campestre. The group did the same thing three years ago, said Angie Morales, the counselor at Campestre Elementary School.

“We are so thankful for Lumbre,” Morales said. “In our community we see students who really need a jacket. When we had our first cool weather, I saw some students in really thin jackets or no jackets. It makes me so happy to see the faces of these students. They are happy.”

Carlos “Keebler” Castaneda, president of Lumbre, said his club of 13 members knows the need in this area is higher than other parts of El Paso.

“We do this for the kids,” Castaneda said. “I get very emotional. They say thanks, hug you and you cry. They don’t expect these kinds of things.”

The parents and students were grateful for the jackets that will help shield them from the winter weather.

“What a nice thing for them to do,” said Jesus Gonzalez, grandfather to Vicente Gonzalez, a second grader at the school. “We ride our bicycles everywhere and this jacket will keep him warm.”

Principal Rosie Vasquez is not surprised that Lumbre donated jackets, she said.

“It warms my heart to see what they have done,” Vasquez said. “Now, my kiddos will be able to come to school and not be cold this winter.”

Socorro ISD Celebrates Spirit of Giving Throughout District

As the holidays are a time for helping, sharing, gift-giving and spreading good cheer, the Socorro Independent School District embraces those traditions and ensures that their students learn the importance of giving back to their communities.

“Helping others who are less fortunate is essential to making a student a better person,” said Terrie Maya, El Dorado High School’s student activities director. “At SISD, we have great academics, but we also provide great community service projects. There are many endless opportunities to make our communities better and help the people who live in them.”

El Dorado recently completed their annual Aztec Angels project. More than 200 dolls, bikes, trucks and other toys were collected by each of the school’s third period classes to provide gifts for students identified by the Salvation Army.

It’s the school’s biggest community project. Students saved money from their jobs, did fundraisers or got the community involved in helping.

“It makes me really happy because some of these kids have never received a gift,” said Aolani Fierro, a senior at El Dorado. “Some of these kids have never had a Christmas before, so I am really proud that El Dorado was able to grant that for them, even if it’s a little gesture.”

The Eastlake High School Key Club brought holiday cheer to needy high school students in the district. The students set up a giving tree with 106 ornaments that represented homeless high school students in the district. Students, faculty, staff and administration picked ornaments and bought warm clothing such as hoodies, socks, blankets and beanies.

Key Club sponsor Anna Vasquez said she learned from Lorena Cartagena, SISD’s homeless-foster care liaison, that she was having a hard time getting gifts for homeless students in high schools.

“Everybody wanted to donate toys to the little ones,” Vasquez said. “So, we decided we would adopt those students.”

Every Falcon involved in the project was happy to get the opportunity to bring some cheer to the students.

“Everybody deserves to feel joy during Christmas, even if it’s a little bit,” Vasquez said. “Whatever their hardships are in life, I feel like one little present will help these students to know that somebody cares for them. Somebody wants them to feel joy during Christmas.”

Sophomore Diego Chavez said he hopes their gesture inspires others to do the same.

“It’s not just about us,” Chavez said. “It’s about helping the community out. Everyone should get involved.”

Pets were the theme for Bill Sybert School’s holiday giving. The school featured a run-a-thon to raise money and awareness to help animals at the Humane Society. Teachers, parents, students, staff, and community all did their part. There were even dogs available for adoption from the Society.

“As a principal, it is important that I instill kindness and love for others in scholars,” said Gabriela Elliot. “I aim to reach them not just at the academic level but also socially and emotionally. I always tell them we are making this place a better place, one Scorpion, one action, one day at a time, and I am proud to say that my scholars exude kindness and constantly surprise me with their innovative ideas and generosity. I am one proud principal!”

In addition, Team SISD had its 10th annual Winter Warm Up Clothing Drive. Employees chose a name and then provided a coat or jacket and a warm clothing item like socks, a beanie, mittens or a blanket to a student in the district.

“There’s a definite need to help our Team SISD students,” said Maya Kirtley, coordinator of the drive. “Our District Service Center employees always rise to the occasion to take care of our students and help where they can. It’s amazing to see the generosity of our employees and how they ask about the event before we even start promoting it. We’re a family and we see our students like our children. It’s a feeling that is evident all year long.”

Annual Fitness Day a Hit with SISD’s Jane A. Hambric Community

Earlier this semester, Jane A. Hambric School hosted its annual Family Fitness day, an initiative that promotes wellness and health among students and the community.

“This is such a great event,” said Joanne Anguiano, principal at Hambric. “We want to motivate students to be healthy. This is also is an amazing way to involve the community. There are so many parents and students having fun with all the games. I love it.”

As part of the district’s commitment to offer students a well-rounded education and strengthen home, school and community partnerships, the event encourages students to make healthy lifestyle choices.

The school also celebrated receiving two grants: $4,000 from Fuel to Play 60 and $2,000 from Action for Kids. 

Students and parents participated in fun football games, such as tire run, kick off and football throw — all located on the football field. Heart rate monitors also tracked heart rates as part of the fitness day.

“This is an awesome turnout,” said Erica Armijo, physical education teacher at the school. “We try to change it up every year. Our goal is to encourage a lifelong healthy lifestyle for our students.”

Edward Saavedra and his daughter, Ashley, a kindergarten student, enjoyed all the different activities.

“It’s great because it gives me more time with her,” Saavedra said. “It’s fun and it gets everyone moving.”

In addition to a day of physical activity, Walgreens gave flu shots and Gymnastics Elite, Texas Dental, Cigna, Young Marines and the Girl Scouts provided information on their services.


To view more photos from the event, click here.

Khalid Surprises Ernesto Serna Students with Gifts, Holiday Cheer

An assembly at Ernesto Serna School turned into an exciting surprise for students and staff when world-famous artist and songwriter Khalid made an appearance at the school.

The Socorro ISD alum surprised more than 700 students with gifts and holiday cheer.

“Socorro ISD supports me a lot so I try and extend my gratitude in multiple ways,” Khalid said. “It’s super special for me to give back to El Paso. The fact that I get to come to school and get to hand out gifts to all these kids is special. Maybe today they woke up in a bad mood but they left in a better mood, as long as that purpose is accomplished that’s all that matters.”

The Ernesto Serna community thought the event was a reception to honor their charitable deeds. Earlier this year, the campus raised $2,000 to contribute to the Make-A-Wish Foundation and help a child’s dream become a reality. The school also participated in a toy and canned food drive to help others in need.

SISD Superintendent José Espinoza, Ed.D., Board Trustee Paul Guerra and Principal Alejandro Olvera thanked students for their generous donations and support. Moments later, Dr. Espinoza announced to students that they were in for a special treat from someone who wanted to give back to them.

Dr. Espinoza called up Khalid’s parents and his sister and thanked them for their generosity and kindness. He went on to introduce the highly acclaimed singer.

“He’s a proud Team SISD alum, MTV Video Music Award winner, Billboard Music Awards winner, Teen Choice Award winner, iheartRadio Music Award winner, American Music Award winner, an Americas High School graduate. He’s the talented musical artist, Khalid!” Espinoza said.

Students were thrilled when they saw Khalid make his grand entrance. The school bleachers were filled with tears of joy, looks of awe, wide eyes, and bright smiles full of excitement.

Brandon Valenzuela, a seventh-grader at the school, said meeting the Grammy-nominated artist has been a dream come true.

“I was crying when I saw him,” he said. “It was my dream to meet him, and I can’t believe he chose us. He is so nice. To me, he’s perfect.”

Khalid gave a countdown and all students, kindergarten through eighth-grade, unwrapped their Christmas presents. They received cosmetic playsets, drawing dashboards, LOL dolls, fire trucks, and more.

Another student, Diego Martinez, received a guitar.

“I love music and I love my guitar,” said the fifth-grader. “I was so happy that I hugged him and kept saying thank you. I will always remember this moment and this gift. I’m going to be even more excited when I hear his songs!”

Principal Olvera said his students were star-struck and thankful to have received a gift from Khalid.

“At Ernesto Serna we take pride in helping others and today we were blessed with this opportunity where Khalid came to our school to spend this time with our kids and invested in our children,” Olvera said. “This really meant a lot!”

For Khalid, giving back to his home town was a humbling experience and an opportunity to share an inspiring message.

“Persistency is the key to success,” Khalid said.  “It’s about not giving up. I always say this, ‘the one day you could have given up, the next day could have been your blessing”, and a lot of people don’t get to see that, and some people don’t make it to that… You have to work for what you want. Be true to yourself, your goals, your dreams and everything will line up as you want it to be.”

To view more photos of the event, click here.

Annual Socorro ISD Art Exhibit Lets Employees’ Talent Shine

Team SISD employees showed off their talents at the third annual SISD Employee Art Show earlier this season.

Dozens of creations were entered in the exhibit. The pieces included a variety of media that were displayed at the District Service Center from photography to oil paintings.

“I think it was a great opportunity to showcase the work of our employees,” said Macka Jones, SISD’s visual arts specialist. “We have a lot of employees that do this when they are off as a hobby. I really enjoy seeing what they turn in.”

Linda Martinez contributed a photograph she took of her daughter at a Fourth of July fireworks show in Dallas this year. The kindergarten teacher at Sgt. Jose Carrasco Elementary School was inspired by last year’s exhibit.

“It’s exciting because I saw the previous ones while at the DSC for training and I was like ‘I want to be a part of that,’” Martinez said. “I found out more information about it and that is what made me want to be a part of it. I am proud that it is on the wall.”

Martinez said having employees participate in events like an art exhibit helps boost morale and allows people to get to know their colleagues.

“It makes you happy to walk through these halls and see this amazing work,” she said. “Just like me, it makes you want to be a part of it. It makes you excited to be a part of such a great thing like the Socorro school district.”

Claudia Castaneda, art teacher at Eastlake High School, enters the exhibit every year. She likes when she sees others participating in the event.

“It allows people to show their talent and their passion,” Castaneda said. “I like it because it keeps you going as an artist.”

To view more photos from the event, click here.

SISD’s Annual Career Awareness Event sets 4th-8th Graders on Path to Future Success

Socorro ISD fourth- through eighth-grade students spent a recent Saturday discovering college and profession possibilities at the fourth annual Career Awareness Showcase at Pebble Hills High School.

The event exposes students to different programs in the district so they can make an informed decision when selecting their endorsement for their high school career path. Students learned about Team SISD’s endless opportunities, including the Career and Technical Education program, advanced academics academies, dual credit courses and early college high schools.

“The Career Awareness Showcase is an opportunity for our students to learn about careers that they might not have considered,” said George Thomas, SISD’s Career and Technical Education director. “It really helps them and their parents when it comes time to choose their endorsement prior to high school.”

Students were able to hear about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), business and industry, public service, arts and humanities, and multidisciplinary studies.

More than 70 presenters, including current high school students in various SISD programs; and business and industry professionals, answered questions about the district’s programs or their line of work.

Mike and Danielle Fisher made sure, Justin Walters, 10, attended the showcase. The Bill Sybert School fifth grader wants to be a pilot in the United States Air Force. He wore a vest with all his stepdad’s military medals and honors he earned while in the military.

“I wanted to find out more about the career I want to have,” Walters said. “I like to travel and I like the military, so becoming a pilot would help me achieve that.”

The Fishers were impressed by the event and said it was beneficial for their son and other students.

“This is excellent exposure,” Mike Fisher said. “It makes sure students are prepared for what they want to do in the future. I have never seen anything like it before.”

Danielle Fisher said she applauds SISD’s effort to teach their young students about college and career readiness.

“This allows students to have bigger and better opportunities before entering college,” she said. “It makes them think and gives them a chance to achieve their dreams. It’s really an amazing event.”


To view photos from the event, click here.

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