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Home | Tag Archives: team sisd

Tag Archives: team sisd

Socorro ISD continues to grow, District surpasses 47,000 enrollment milestone

The Socorro Independent School District reached a new milestone when third-grader Jesus A. Rodriguez enrolled at Robert R. Rojas Elementary in the Socorro feeder pattern.

The student population topped 47,000 for the first time on March 28 as Rodriguez walked in the door.

“The way they welcomed my son was definitely a surprise and it made us feel very special,” said Lyzzett Hernandez, Jesus’ mom. “I did my research before enrolling my kids in this school, and everyone said great things about it. As a mom, that is what you want for your child, for them to receive the best education possible.”

Rojas administrators welcomed Rodriguez, his mom, and sisters and presented them with school spirit gifts to commemorate the special occasion. Socorro High School students and staff made a special trip to the school to welcome the new family.

The drumline played for the future Bulldogs, while cheerleaders, flag team and Missionettes cheered and chanted, holding posters that read, “Welcome to Team SISD.”

“Team SISD is certainly a destination district as families are choosing to live in our community, where we proudly provide endless opportunities for our students to be prepared for college, careers, and life,” said Superintendent José Espinoza, Ed.D. “It is an honor to serve this rapidly expanding side of El Paso, Horizon City and the City of Socorro. We remain committed to giving our students and their families the best experience in their educational journey.”

Rojas Principal Jaqueline Salas is excited about welcoming new students to her school, and making history in SISD. She also said her school takes pride in reassuring students of their value on a daily basis.

“We strive to make our students feel special every day,” Salas said. “Our school is a safe place for our students to learn and grow. We can’t wait for them to take advantage of all the programs in our school and district.”

Officials share that Socorro ISD continues to be a “fast-growing school district, adding 1,000 students in the last three years, despite more school choices in the area.”

Click here to view the 47,000 student event photos

Socorro ISD Campuses highlight Tech during Digital Learning Day

Recently, students and schools within the Socorro Independent School District took part in Digital Learning Day with interactive, technology-based teaching and learning.

“We are celebrating students by showcasing their creative, innovative, inspiring projects that have been wonderful,” said Erica Aragon, instructional technology specialist. “There are an array of different activities. The whole point is to motivate and inspire our students to pursue their dreams and to get them ready for college and careers.”

With more than 300 students present, the district also highlighted projects that integrate technology in the classroom at the second annual Academic Technology Showcase “Building Wonder” at the District Service Center.

The event showed the ways students use digital lessons and technological resources to enhance their learning, including samples of 3D printer work, multimedia, animation, graphic design and video production. They also competed in an app challenge and a video contest as part of the showcase.

WIN Academy students also participated in a Sphero competition. The students were challenged to develop an amusement park for their Sphero robots using computer coding skills and their technology expertise. They demonstrated their creations and digital learning at the technology showcase.

“Technology helps students become more engaged in curriculum,” Aragon said. “It gets them motivated to actually learn more about any digital tool that they are using. Through technology, they also can learn about content, fine arts, physical education and so on.”

Samantha Villareal, a sixth grader at SPC Rafael Hernando III Middle School , showed off a math program that she created, which helps students learn and understand different math concepts, at the showcase. It was the second time she has participated.

“I am just excited to be here and to do it again,” said Villareal, who wants to go into forensics when she grows up. “I have a lot of fun with it. And it’s really encouraging knowing there is a good community around supporting girls to do STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).”

Digital Learning Day also was in full gear in classrooms across the district. Students in all grade levels participated in numerous lessons throughout the day. They participated in coding, desktop publishing, robotics and programs such as Office 365, Nearpod and Prodigy, said Miguel Moreno, the district’s coordinator of instructional technology.

“We really wanted to highlight how technology is the avenue to learning and students connecting with one another,” Moreno said. “We want to highlight the things we do in the district. Every student has access to technology. Not many districts can say that.”

Through its Operation Future Ready efforts, SISD constantly works to advance digital teaching and learning, to fully train educators to utilize new resources, and to offer more technological devices for student use.

Jose Salinas, a third-grade WIN Academy teacher at Desert Wind School, said he uses technology all the time in the classroom. Currently, students are learning how to code using Ozobots.

“It keeps me inspired to keep learning about technology,” Salinas said. “I can teach them, so when they grow up, they can pursue careers in STEM.”

At Mission Ridge Elementary, Grecia Decena, third grade, said she enjoys the iPads and computers used in her classroom. She loves Prodigy because students use characters to battle each other using math problems.

“I’m not very good with math, but this makes it easier for me to learn,” Salinas said. “I never had any classes with all this technology before. It’s actually very fun.”

Fourth-grade Mission Ridge teacher Christina Reveco said she is appreciative students have access to a lot of different devices. It gives them an opportunity to use technology on a daily basis.

“That will really help them in the future,” she said.

Digital Learning Day at Desert Wind School photos  |   Digital Learning Day at Dr. Sue Shook Elementary photos

SISD continues partnership with EPCC, UTEP to provide enrollment services for seniors at home campus

On Monday, officials with the Socorro Independent School District, in partnership with El Paso Community College and The University of Texas at El Paso, announced the dates for their Operation College Bound enrollment services for seniors this spring at all six comprehensive high schools in the district.

“Our priority for every student in Team SISD is to ensure they are college and career ready. This incredible partnership with EPCC and UTEP gives our seniors a head start to enrolling in postsecondary education and helps them move forward to make their college and career dreams a reality,” said SISD Superintendent José Espinoza, Ed.D. “In Team SISD, we treat and educate all students as if they are our own children, and I am proud we can provide this service so they can be prepared for the future.”

Socorro Independent School District seniors will be able to finalize the enrollment process to attend El Paso Community College and register for new student orientation for The University of Texas at El Paso at their own high schools on March 26 and April 1 through 5.

The event premiered last year at SISD high schools to provide on-site enrollment services directly to the students at their campuses. It was the first time the process was conducted in any school district in the region.

The Operation College Bound event gives SISD seniors the ease and convenience to enroll in college in a familiar environment with assistance from representatives from the college and university.

The seniors at every comprehensive high school in SISD will attend an enrollment day at their school.

They will be led through the enrollment process, which will be set up in the gyms, classrooms and computer labs at the schools. The EPCC and UTEP staff will guide the students through the process and answer questions. SISD high school administrators and counselors also will assist with the events.

“EPCC is proud to partner with the school districts and UTEP to ensure graduating seniors in our region go to college,” EPCC President Dr. William Serrata said. “Operation College Bound helps students enroll and receive the information they need to make a successful transition from high school to higher education.”

UTEP will be available to talk with students about the transition from high school to college, answer any questions that students may have, and offer information about new student orientation, financial aid, housing, student life and student engagement.

The event also will include a showcase of UTEP programs to highlight exciting academic opportunities that students may pursue while attending the university.

“The University of Texas at El Paso is dedicated to providing access to higher education opportunities for all students in the community we serve,” said UTEP President Diana Natalicio.

“As a top tier research university, our academic programs are highly competitive, ensuring our success in preparing UTEP students to play leadership roles in their fields of study. Our Operation College Bound partnership with the El Paso Community College and the Socorro Independent School District reaffirms our shared commitment to build a solid educational foundation for young people in our region, from PreK through graduate school.”

The first event will be at 9 a.m. Tuesday, March 26 at Socorro High School, 10150 Alameda Avenue.  The other Operation College Bound registration days will be:

April 1 at Eastlake High School

April 2 at Americas High School

April 3 at Montwood High School

April 4 at El Dorado High School

April 5 at Pebble Hills High School

Socorro ISD: Free Pre-K, Kindergarten Registration Day set for April 6

The Socorro Independent School District will have a pre-kindergarten and new kindergarten student registration day for the 2019-2020 school year from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 6 at elementary schools across the district.

SISD offers free half-day Pre-K to all students who live in the district, even if they don’t meet the state requirements; the district also offers free full-day Pre-K based on a first-come, first-served basis.

The full-day program is free for those who qualify based on economic, language, homeless or military (active) requirements as established by the state.

Families who do not qualify for free Pre-K but would like to enroll in full-day are entitled to a free half-day and tuition-based for the other half. The tuition is $181.68 per month for a 10-month school year.

New kindergarten students (not currently enrolled in SISD Pre-K) will have the opportunity to apply for SISD’s new Dual Language Academy. The academy will be available for students in kindergarten and first grade for the 2019-2020 school year at Dr. Sue Shook and Myrtle Cooper elementary schools.

The following documents will be required during the Pre-K and new kindergarten registration:

  • student birth certificate
  • immunization record
  • social security card
  • a current utility bill
  • an identification for the parent or legal guardian registering the child

Registration will take place April 6 at the elementary home schools as indicated below. Cactus Trails Elementary School students will register at Pebble Hills High School.

Registration for Pre-K students will continue April 8 at designated Pre-K hubs and elementary campuses that serve Pre-K. New kindergarten registration also will continue April 8 at the designated home campuses.

Parents of children who turn four years old by Sept. 1, 2019 and live within the district boundaries can register them for free Pre-K.

Parents of children who turn five years old by Sept. 1, 2019 and live within the district boundaries can register them for kindergarten in SISD schools.

Click on the SISD street search to search which school your child should attend based on your home address.

Pre-K and new kindergarten registration locations on April 6:

Benito Martínez Elementary
2640 Robert Wynn St., 79936Bill Sybert School
11530 Edgemere Blvd., 79936

Cactus Trails Elementary School  at Pebble Hills High School, 14400 Pebble Hills Blvd.

Campestre Elementary
11399 Socorro Rd., 79927

Chester E. Jordan Elementary
13995 Jason Crandall Dr., 79938

Desert Wind School
1100 Colina de Paz, 79928

Dr. Sue Shook Elementary
13777 Paseo del Este, 79928

Élfida P. Chávez Elementary
11720 Pebble Hills, 79936

Ernesto Serna School
11471 Alameda Ave., 79927

Escontrias ECC
10400 Alameda Ave., 79927

H.D. Hilley Elementary
693 N. Rio Vista Rd., 79927Helen Ball Elementary
1950 Firehouse Dr., 79936

Horizon Heights Elementary
13601 Ryderwood Ave., 79928

Hueco Elementary
300 Old HuecoTanks Rd., 79927

James P. Butler Elementary
14251 Ralph Seitsinger, 79938

Jane A. Hambric School
3535 Nolan Richardson, 79936

John Drugan School
12451 Pellicano, 79928

Loma Verde Elementary
12150 Ted Houghton, 79936

Lujan-Chávez Elementary
2200 Sun Country Dr., 79938

Mission Ridge Elementary
150 Nonap Rd., 79928


Myrtle Cooper Elementary
1515 Rebecca Ann Dr., 79936O’Shea Keleher Elementary
1800 Leroy Bonse Dr., 79936

Paso del Norte Elementary
12300 Tierra Este Rd., 79938

Purple Heart Elementary
14400 GR Campuzano, 79938

Robert R. Rojas Elementary
500 Bauman Rd., 79927

Sgt. Roberto Ituarte Elementary
12860 Tierra Sonora, 79938

Sierra Vista Elementary
1501 Bob Hope Dr., 79936

Vista del Sol Elementary
11851 Vista del Sol Dr., 79936

SGT. Jose F. Carrasco Elementary
14900 Tierra Mirage., 79938



The district has designated the following Pre-K hub schools to serve as the home campus for Pre-K students from other schools:

  • Cactus Trails will serve Pre-K students from Cactus Trails and James P. Butler Elementary School.
  • Myrtle Cooper will serve Pre-K students from Myrtle Cooper, John Drugan and Loma Verde.
  • O’Shea Keleher will serve Pre-K students from O’Shea Keleher, Bill Sybert, Jane A. Hambric, Helen Ball and Elfida P. Chavez.
  • Robert R. Rojas will serve Pre-K students from Robert R. Rojas and Ernesto Serna School.
  • Sgt. Jose F. Carrasco will serve Pre-K students from Sgt. Jose F. Carrasco and Lujan-Chavez.
  • Sgt. Roberto Ituarte will serve Pre-K students from Sgt. Roberto Ituarte, Chester E. Jordan and Paso del Norte.

Vista del Sol will serve Pre-K students from Vista del Sol and Sierra Vista

14 Socorro ISD teams advance to state Destination Imagination contest

Fourteen teams from Socorro Independent School District will compete in the Texas Destination Imagination after coming out on top at the 2019 West Texas Destination Imagination Regional Tournament at Eastlake High School.

“It’s just such an incredible contest,” said Stephanie Carrasco, SISD advanced academics coordinator. “There is a lot of creativity. It is very student oriented. Students have to come up with the idea and design the props. The ideas they come up with leave you in awe because really this is their own thoughts, their own ideas. The tenacity they have to see it completed is just amazing.”

The teams, who will compete March 22-23 in Corpus Christi, participated in academic challenges in the fields of technical, science, fine arts, improvisation, engineering and service learning.

Destination Imagination is a global creative problem-solving organization that prepares kindergarten to high school students for college and career readiness through 21st century thinking and learning principles.

Participants solve challenges by generating ideas with team members through research, exploration and presentation of solutions. Students in grades kindergarten through second grade compete in an early learning challenge.

Those in grades three through 12th take part in two challenges: a central challenge, which they have been working on months prior to competition, and an instant challenge, which is spontaneous, and they learn about on day of the contest.

“Students are developing a great sense of teamwork and collaboration and develop skills that are going to be supportive all throughout their careers,” Carrasco said. “They have research skills that they develop and they use those in their English class or they use those in a job later on. They think creatively to really think through problems and how to solve those problems.”

Jude Rodriguez, a fourth grader at Escontrias Elementary, began work on his challenge in September. He was happy with his performance on the day of competition.

“I like doing Destination Imagination,” Rodriguez said. “Competing adds a little bit of a challenge to my life. Plus, you learn a lot.”

Here are the 14 SISD teams going to the state tournament and their competition challenges:

Americas HS
Medical Mystery – Scientific

Eastlake HS
Medical Mystery – Scientific

El Dorado HS
Monster Effects – Engineering

El Dorado HS
Escape Artists – Service Learning

Col. John O. Ensor MS
Medical Mystery – Scientific

SPC Rafael Hernando MS
Monster Effects – Engineering

Hurshel Antwine Elementary
On Target – Technical

Lujan Chavez Elementary
Escape Artists – Service Learning

Mission Early College HS
On Target – Technical

Montwood HS
Game On – Fine Arts

O’Shea Keleher Elementary
Monster Effects – Engineering

Paso del Norte School
Heads Up – Improvisational

William D. Slider MS
Game On – Fine Arts

Sun Ridge MS
Escape Artists – Service Learning

Thirteen SISD teams were recognized in the Rising Stars activity – Pop Up!

Benito Martinez Elementary
H.D. Hilley Elementary
Hueco Elementary
John Drugan School
Horizon Heights Elementary
Escontrias Elementary
Loma Verde Elementary
Lujan Chavez Elementary
Sierra Vista Elementary
O’Shea Keleher Elementary
Robert R. Rojas Elementary
Purple Heart Elementary
Dr. Sue Shook Elementary

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.

SISD to Open ‘Academia de Dos Idiomas’ at Two Schools for 2019-2020

The Socorro Independent School District announced Wednesday that they will open a dual language academy at the start of the 2019-2020 school year.

“Team SISD is the right choice for endless opportunities and we are pleased to announce that those opportunities will soon include a dual language academy,” said José Espinoza, Ed.D., SISD Superintendent of Schools. “We will provide high-quality instruction for students to learn to read, write and speak a second language. Coupled with our effective Operation College Bound efforts, this rigorous, multicultural education will prepare our students for future success in a global society.”

The new academy will be offered at Myrtle Cooper and Dr. Sue A. Shook elementary schools. Instruction will be in English and Spanish for two sections of kindergarten and first-grade students. SISD plans to grow the academy every year thereafter.

“We anticipate a huge demand for Academia de Dos Idiomas among both our native Spanish and English speakers,” said Lucia Borrego, Chief Academic Officer. “This is an exciting opportunity for our students as it will help them become global citizens that are competitive in a diverse market economy.”

Benefits of being a dual language learner include proficiency and literacy in both languages, high levels of academic achievement, greater creativity, attention to detail, problem solving skills, and confidence.

The enrollment process will be based on various criteria and a lottery system. Students who join the academy will participate in a summer bridge camp with activities and learning to prepare them for the next school year.

Information nights have been scheduled for parents to learn more about the academy. The information nights will be:

  • 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Feb. 7 and 20 at Myrtle Cooper Elementary, 1515 Rebecca Ann Dr.
  • 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Feb. 13 and 25 at Dr. Sue A. Shook Elementary, 13777 Paseo Del Este.

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.

Socorro High’s Health Professions Academy Welcomes Freshman Class with White Coat Ceremony

The Health Professions Academy in the Socorro Independent School District had its 27th annual White Coat Induction Ceremony for more than 100 freshmen students entering the program at Socorro High School.

The event is the formal recognition of students chosen for HPA and as future healthcare providers. During the ceremony, the students are presented with a stethoscope and white coats. A parent or family member is invited to be on stage to help them put on their coat.

“This marks the transition,” said Fabiola Armendariz, HPA coordinator. “This acknowledges their beginning as a healthcare student and hopefully in a health profession.”

HPA is among the seven advanced academic academies available for SISD students.

The academy allows students to do clinical rotations at University Medical Center, Del Sol/Las Palmas Medical Centers, Adobe Animal Hospital, St. Giles Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Oasis Nursing Home, Walgreens and CVS pharmacies, Socorro Medical Clinic, Team SISD high schools medically fragile units, and assist school nurses across the district.

Fourteen-year-old Ariana Casillas was excited to receive a stethoscope and her white coat. She has dreamed of becoming a pediatrician since she was a little girl.

“This is my first step in achieving that dream,” Casillas said. “I hope to attend Texas Tech University. I’ve already learned how to take a pulse. It’s going to be hard, but it is worth it in the end.”

Her mother, Diana Casillas, is proud of her daughter’s goals.

“She is taking advantage of all Socorro (Independent School District) has to offer,” Casillas said. “That’s the big difference from other places. They prepare you at a young age. They prepare you with the foundation of a career. Where else are you going to get that, but here.”

To view more pictures from the event, click here.

Socorro ISD Counseling Teams Win State Honor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SISD’s Mission Early College Recognized as a 2018 National Blue Ribbon School

The U.S. Department of Education has designated Mission Early College High School in the Socorro Independent School District as a 2108 National Blue Ribbon School.

“I’m pleased to celebrate with you as your school is named a National Blue Ribbon School,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos in a video message to the honorees.  “We recognize and honor your important work in preparing students for successful careers and meaningful lives. Congratulations on your students’ accomplishments and for your extraordinary commitment to meeting their unique needs.”

Mission Early College is one of 349 schools across the nation that has earned the recognition. The recognition is based on a school’s overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.

Mission Early College was named a National Blue Ribbon School based on the Exemplary High Performing School category.

The coveted National Blue Ribbon Schools award affirms the hard work of educators, families and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging and engaging content.

All schools are honored in one of two performance categories, based on all student scores, subgroup student scores and graduation rates:

  • Exemplary High Performing Schools are among their state’s highest performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests.
  • Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing Schools are among their state’s highest performing schools in closing achievement gaps between a school’s student groups and all students over the past five years.

Up to 420 schools may be nominated each year. The Department invites National Blue Ribbon School nominations from the top education official in all states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Department of Defense Education Activity and the Bureau of Indian Education.

Private schools are nominated by The Council for American Private Education (CAPE).

Now in its 36th year, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed recognition on more than 8,800 schools.

On November 7-8, the Secretary and the Department of Education will celebrate with 300 public and 49 private school honorees at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C.

Socorro ISD To Host 9th Annual Father, Son Conference

The annual Socorro ISD Father-Son Conference, “Building Ties,” returns for its 9th year this weekend at Americas High School.

District officials say the conference is geared toward all sixth- through 12th-grade boys and their father or a father figure, and purpose of the conference is to help strengthen the bond between a parent and his child.

The conference will run from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. September 29 at Americas High School (12101 Pellicano Drive) and will allow attendees to see the programs and opportunities available to students at SISD.

The agenda will include early college programs, advanced academic academies, college and career opportunities, cyberbullying, and self-esteem and self-confidence workshops. The event also will feature games and team building activities.

During the conference, the district’s Police Services, Emergency Management department and Guidance and Counseling will have a school safety presentation to share the district’s safety procedures and emergency operations.

Conference goers also will receive valuable information on how to help Keep SISD Safe, Emergency Operations Plan, Standard Response Protocol (SRP), mental health safety protocols, and other safety activities.

In addition, safety protocols for lockout, evacuation, lockdown, shelter, and hold will be discussed. Everyone will be reminded that if they “hear something, see something, or know something, to say something” or click on the red Keep SISD Safe tab.

Free breakfast will be served at 8 a.m. and free lunch at noon. Canned goods and non-perishable food donations, to benefit those in need, will be accepted.

To register, visit the district website or in person at any SISD campus with the communities in school or campus liaisons. For more information, interested residents can contact Fernie Vasquez at (915) 937-1609 or or Jesse Smith at (915) 937-2835 or at

Guest Column: Socorro ISD Superintendent Espinoza Congratulates TeamSISD Members

Congratulations to the Socorro Independent School District (SISD) community for earning the Postsecondary Readiness Distinction Designation, the only distinction awarded at the district level, in the latest Texas Education Agency (TEA) accountability ratings.

The distinction considers factors such as student performance in elementary, middle, and high school; graduation rates; participation in college readiness assessments such as ACT/SAT, advanced placement, and IB examinations; and graduates in Career and Technical Education as well as those identified as college, career, and military ready.

I’m very proud to report SISD is the largest school district in Texas and one of only three districts among the largest fifty school districts in the state to earn the coveted postsecondary readiness distinction.

With this distinction, TEA confirmed the commitment SISD has made to College and Career Readiness at all grade levels.

Our outstanding students, teachers, parents, board members, and entire staff have demonstrated exceptional teamwork, dedication, and relentless pursuit of academic excellence that led to this significant distinction along with our district’s overall grade of 88.

Make no mistake about it!

The data clearly shows SISD is one of the TOP school districts in Texas.

The news gets even better for SISD students.

In 2006, SISD only had one early college high school, which was Mission Early College High School. In the past three years, SISD opened early colleges at Socorro, Montwood, and Americas High Schools.

TEA recently informed our district that we are approved to begin the planning for an early college program at El Dorado, Eastlake, and Pebble Hills High Schools.

The addition of three more early college programs will make SISD the first district in Region 19, and one of only a few school districts in the state, to offer an early college at every comprehensive high school within the district.

Early College High Schools provide students the opportunity to graduate with 60+ free college credit hours and an associate’s degree before they leave high school.

Absolutely nothing says a student is ready for college better than a student actually attending college while enrolled in high school.
Parents may not be aware the rising costs of college tuition are turning many students’ dreams of going to college into a nightmare.

According to a Houston Chronicle article titled, College Tuition on the Rise in Texas; far exceeding household income growth, “Tuition and fees at the state’s public colleges has more than doubled since 2003, when the legislature gave universities the authority to set their own prices. On average, Texas college students paid $8,256 a year in tuition and fees in 2015, up from $3,361 in 2003.”

Team SISD has gone to great lengths, even taking a page out of charters’ marketing playbook in which they set up tents outside of our schools, to inform our community about the endless opportunities and great benefits available in our district.

We want parents to see with their own eyes the state data reports that show SISD has hundreds of students graduating with twelve plus college credits, whereas some charter schools have zero percent.

Specifically, SISD students collectively earned more than 27,000 college credits valued at over $9.5 million in college cost savings in the 2017-2018 school year alone.

These are exciting times in SISD with early college programs and advanced academic academies that provide our students with real world experiences unmatched elsewhere.

This year we opened the Aztec Architectural Academy, the only one of its kind in the region, at El Dorado High School to give students the opportunity for an advanced pathway to earn a degree in architecture.

Also new this year, SPC. Rafael Hernando III Middle School received candidate status as an International Baccalaureate (IB) Middle Years Programme that will give our middle school students a global experience with international studies and civic mindedness as well as a smooth transition to El Dorado’s IB program.

With our increased enrollment for the 2018-2019 school year, it is evident many parents agree SISD is the right choice for endless opportunities that ensure our children’s academic success.

On behalf of Team SISD, thank you parents for your continued support of our school district.

With your valuable contributions, we will continue to set new milestones and achieve success as a team.

Dr. Jose Espinoza Ed.D., Socorro ISD Superintendent


The El Paso Herald-Post welcomes guest columns, open letters, letters to the Editor and analysis pieces for publication, to submit a piece or for questions regarding guidelines, please email us at

SISD Helps Instructional Aides to Earn Teaching Certification with TEA Grant

Socorro Independent School District has received the Texas Education Agency Grow Your Own grant, which the district is using to help 10 instructional aides to advance their careers.

“We are honored to have received the TEA Grow Your Own grant through which we are awarding 10 of our employees this scholarship opportunity,” said Superintendent José Espinoza, Ed.D. “Investing in our future teachers is investing in our students. As a district we continue to promote individual career growth, and help our employees receive continuous support so they can succeed.”

The grant is designed to increase the number of qualified and diverse candidates into the teaching profession by helping recipients complete their teaching certification.

SISD was one of only 25 school districts in the state, and the only one in the region, to win the Grow Your Own grant.

The grant recipients, who are currently serving as special education and bilingual instructional aides in SISD, will receive up to $5,000 for the successful completion of their teaching certification program, and can be reimbursed up to $10,000 for earning their bachelor’s degree and certification.

They also will have the opportunity to transition into full-time teaching roles for positions that match their qualifications.

“I’m very excited to have earned this grant because I really wanted to prove to my kids that I can finish school,” Melendez said. “I can go to school full time, and hopefully graduate December 2019.”

Grow Your Own grant funding also will benefit 36 SISD students in the Texas Association of Future Educators program. The future educators will receive $300 each to attend state TAFE competitions.

“We look forward to these outstanding members of Team SISD completing their credentials so they can begin teaching in Socorro ISD,” Espinoza said. “They were selected for this opportunity because of their dedication and commitment to treating and educating all students as their own children, which aligns directly with our expectation for all teachers who serve our community.”

District officials add, “All Socorro ISD teachers are certified and highly qualified. On average, SISD teachers have 11 years of teaching experience, and an average of nine years serving in the district…the Socorro ISD turnover rate of nine percent is well below the state average of 16 percent, according to the 2016-2017 Texas Academic Performance Report.”

Grow Your Own scholarship recipients are: Kourtney Edwards, Horizon Heights; Raul Calderon, Helen Ball; Raymond Barraza and Jazmine Gomez, Loma Verde; Perla Rodarte, Lujan-Chavez; Valerio A. Etbaal, Mission Ridge; Irma Bouche, John Drugan School; Yvette Melendez, Salvador H. Sanchez; Becky Rodriguez, Montwood High School; and Diana Rocha, Pebble Hills High School.


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