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Tag Archives: team sisd

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.


Socorro ISD Earns Tech Lending Grant, Expands Laptop Distribution to More Students

Thursday afternoon, Socorro Independent School District officials announced that the district  had been awarded the 2018-2019 Technology Lending Grant by the Texas Education Agency to provide more students access to high-quality digital resources and courses.

The $150,000 grant has allowed SISD to expand its Digitally Nurturing Academics 1:1 program (one student to one laptop) to sixth-grade students at Salvador H. Sanchez Middle School, making it the first middle school in the district to give 100 percent of its students personal laptops for 24/7 access to digital learning.

“We are very excited to be the first middle school to provide laptops to every student,” said Iris Jimenez, the school principal. “All of our students will have the opportunity to experience and engage in blended learning through the many technology tools that are available to them.”

Along with the laptops, students at the school will have access to 65 hot spots for access to digital instruction materials off campus. The devices can be checked out for five days during the school year and as often as needed in the summer. Students will have the laptops in their possession every day, all year long.

“This will be my first laptop ever,” said Katia Chaidez, sixth-grade student. “I’m very happy because I will be able to learn new skills, gain knowledge, and get ahead.”

Students say the personal learning devices will prepare them for high school, where they also have portable computers for students at all grade levels.

“I feel excited about getting a laptop because I can learn more about technology and it makes learning fun,” said Aaron Sanchez, a sixth-grader at Sanchez Middle School. “It will prepare me for high school and college.”

The DNA 1:1 program started in 2014 with freshmen at Socorro High School receiving laptops to use for 24/7 learning. The DNA program and conversion to digital learning has expanded every year since the launch.

This year, all students at Socorro and Pebble Hills high schools received a laptop. Seventh- and eighth-grade students at SPC. Rafael Hernando III Middle School, eighth-grade students at John Drugan School, Socorro Middle, Sun Ridge Middle and Ernesto Serna School also were given laptops for the 2018-2019 school year.

The district will continue to expand the DNA program for all students at every high school and continue growing the middle school program, as well.

“Technology contributes to student success,” said Miguel Moreno, instructional technology coordinator. “SISD has always played a role in ensuring students have equitable access and resources to technology to prepare them for college and careers. We level the playing field for students with diverse backgrounds and needs.”

Socorro ISD’s Bond 2017 Multipurpose Rooms Now in Design Phase

The planning and design for the Socorro Independent School District’s Bond 2017 projects are under way with input from community members and district leaders.

Most recently, Team SISD administrators met with archiPeli architects to review design schemes for the new multipurpose rooms that will be built at 16 SISD elementary schools.

The principals of the schools looked over the proposed plans to select a design that will meet the needs of students and staff at their schools.

 “The multipurpose rooms will serve as small gyms that give the schools an area for students and staff to use for physical education, staff development, and other activities,” said Tom Eyeington, SISD chief operations officer. “Currently, the 16 campuses use a single cafeteria space as a lunch room, auditorium and physical education space.”

The multipurpose rooms will have state-of-the-art features such as overhead doors, exterior canopies, and translucent panels ideal for natural lighting. With 4,360 square feet of flexible space, the new facilities will have room for an office and a storage room, said Fred Perez, archiPeli architect.

“It’s critical that we get feedback from the end users,” Perez said. “We wanted to give them options and have them select the final scheme.”

The elementary schools that will get a new multipurpose room are: Benito Martinez, Campestre, Elfida P. Chavez, Escontrias, H.D. Hilley, Helen Ball, Horizon Heights, Hueco, Loma Verde, Lujan-Chavez, Myrtle Cooper, O’Shea Keleher, Robert R. Rojas, Sgt. Roberto Ituarte, Sierra Vista and Vista del Sol.

School leaders were excited to see the designs, and said they are eager to use their new facility.

“We worked as a team and came to a consensus to decide which design was going to be in the best interest of our students,” said Fernando Miranda, principal at H.D. Hilley. “We are very excited to break ground! Bond 2017 projects are great for students and the community.”

One of the greatest benefits of multipurpose rooms is not limiting student’s physical education activity during times of inclement weather, said Rosemary Yates, principal at Elfida P. Chavez Elementary School.

“Our campus will see an enormous benefit from this multipurpose room,” Yates said. “During the winter it’s too chilly for our little ones to be outdoors, and in the summer it’s too hot.”

The multipurpose rooms also will contribute to more than just physical education.

“I would love to have more events for our community and our children,” she said. “We can organize science expos and have more stations during career day. The sky is the limit in terms of the kind of impact we can make running high level curriculum-based events.”

Construction of the multipurpose rooms will begin in spring 2019.

Socorro ISD Welcomes Over 47k Students Back to Class

Thousands of students returned to the Socorro Independent School District Monday for the 2018-2019 school year.

“Team SISD is a destination district,” said SISD Superintendent José Espinoza, Ed.D., who has been nationally recognized for his innovative, highly successful approach to education. “We are ready for a new year bringing new and exciting endless opportunities to our students to help them become college and career ready.”

Some 3,500 educators at 48 campuses greeted the youngsters, with district officials adding “[teachers are] ready to provide them opportunities so they can succeed now and in the future.”

Parents were also very much looking forward to the start of school in SISD.

“I did my research before we came to El Paso,” said Mamie Peña, a mother of two students in SISD schools and military spouse. “I knew this was the best district. I know a lot of military families that are at SISD for the same reason I am here. This is the district I wanted my children to go to. They had everything my children needed. That’s why I moved here.”

From new schools to new programs for this school year, Socorro ISD offered parents and students a variety of options. Some of the new things around the district include:

SISD’s 48th school – Sgt. Jose F. Carrasco Elementary – opened its doors in the Pebble Hills area and welcomed 750 students;

SPC. Rafael Hernando II Middle School’s International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme (IB MYP), a middle school program that will give students a global experience with international studies and civic mindedness;

El Dorado High School’s Aztec Architectural Academy, the first advanced academics academy of its kind in the region that will allow students to gain a foundation in the fields of interior design, construction, civil engineering, and architecture.

SISD officials add, “El Paso’s fastest growing district continues to have the overall No. 1 student performance based on the latest assessment scores from the state, which shows the district outperforming the state and region overall in STAAR/EOC exams…SISD also has achieved its highest graduation rate ever at 91.5 percent.”

For more information on SISD, visit their website or Facebook page.

Socorro ISD’s ‘Pre-K Registration Day’ Sets District Record

The numbers are in and a record 1,222 pre-k students were registered at elementary schools during the Socorro Independent School District’s Pre-Kindergarten registration.

District officials share that the number is a 26 percent increase from last year, and they mark the registration push as “highly successful.” Currently, about 1,900 children are in SISD’s pre-k program.

“We are proud that we had a very good turnout,” said Marivel Macias, assistant superintendent of administrative services at SISD. “All the campuses were elated at the numbers. Early childhood education is key and here we are looking at all these future SISD scholars. This was a true team effort.”

The district is still registering students for free half-day Pre-K to all students who live in the district and will be four years old by Sept. 1, 2018, regardless if they don’t meet state requirements.

Last year, SISD introduced full-day Pre-K classes across the district. The classes are based on a first-come, first serve basis. They are free to those who qualify based on economic, language, homeless or military (active) requirements as established by the state.

Families, who do not qualify for free all-day Pre-K, can enroll their children in a free half-day and tuition-based for the other half. The tuition is $181.68 per month for a 10-month school year.

By registering early, parents of pre-k students are at an advantage and soon will be receiving more information about the upcoming school year, she said.

“They can learn about what uniforms they need and other information,” Macias said. “They are ahead of the game.”

Photo courtesy SISD

At Escontrias Early Childhood Center, parents and future students were not only greeted with an organized, efficient registration system, but the school had the Socorro High School mariachis and cheerleaders, Socorro Middle drumline and free hot dogs and chips for everyone.

“We wanted to make this a great experience for the parents,” said Belinda Calderon, school counselor. “We wanted to show them we care. Every single teacher is here today. We want parents to know their kids are important to us that is why we are all here.”

Jaime and Veronica Moran were at Escontrias to register their son, Jaime Daniel. They sat enjoying the mariachis and the food.

“This is our favorite school,” Veronica Moran said. “We feel comfortable bringing our son here.”

Elvia Gomez, mother of Leo Serrano, 4, agreed. This will be her third child to attend Escontrias. She likes the teachers and administration, calling them good, polite and helpful. Her son is so excited about attending school, she had to buy him a Spiderman backpack two months ago.

“I had other choices,” said Gomez, who works for another district. “I didn’t have to bring him here. I wanted to. This is the best choice.”

The Sgt. Jose F. Carrasco Elementary staff were registering their new students at Pebble Hills High School. More than 50 families of pre-k

Photo courtesy SISD

students showed up to register. Parents were excited to have their children start their education in a new school. Carrasco will open its doors on July 30, the first day of the 2018-2019 school year.

“There was no question where my son was going to go to school,” said Jose Sifuentes, as he registered his four-year-old son, Romeo. “SISD is the best in the city. They are great at educating students. That is what I wanted for him.”

Those kind of words are what make Carrasco principal Jesse Sepulveda excited about the upcoming school year. His pre-k registration went smoothly and he is looking forward to showing students and their parents the state-of-the-art school with a capacity for 800 students.

“We have met some amazing parents,” Sepulveda said. “Everyone has said they are looking forward to the first day of school.”

Three-year-old Elizabeth Leon knows her colors, can count past 20 and has been read to since before she was born. In late July, she will be starting pre-k classes at Carrasco. Patricia Leon, her mother, is a big SISD proponent.

“I want the best for her that is why I am here,” said Patricia Leon. “It’s so wonderful that she will get to go to a new school. The principal and his staff has been so helpful. They have helped us at every step. She’s already very bright, but I know my daughter will be prepared for college.”

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

  • O’Shea Keleher will serve pre-k students from O’Shea Keleher, Bill Sybert, Jane A. Hambric, Benito Martinez, Helen Ball and Elfida P. Chavez.
  • Myrtle Cooper will serve pre-k students from Myrtle Cooper, John Drugan, Vista del Sol, Sierra Vista and Loma Verde.
  • Horizon Heights will serve pre-k students from Horizon Heights and Dr. Sue Shook.
  • Mission Ridge will serve pre-k students from Mission Ridge and Desert Wind.
  • Hurshel Antwine will serve pre-k students from Hurshel Antwine, Paso del Norte and Sgt. Roberto Ituarte.
  • Chester E. Jordan will serve pre-k students from Chester E. Jordan, and James P. Butler.
  • 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.

If parents need more information regarding registration or other questions about Team SISD’s Pre-K, they may contact their neighborhood elementary campus.

The registration day was held on April 7.

Socorro ISD Rolls Out Summer Camps for Area Kids

Once again, the campuses of Socorro ISD will be providing multiple summer camps for students throughout the Borderland.

Monday evening, SISD officials released a partial list of the upcoming camps their schools will be holding starting in June.  District officials add that the list is not yet complete, as other campuses are still in the process of setting up the various camps.

SISD Police Services “Super School” summer camp

Students ages 5-11 are invited to the SISD Police Services Super School summer program June 4-15. The camps will be offered at Bill Sybert School, Campestre, Benito Martinez, Hueco, Chester E. Jordan and Mission Ridge elementary schools.

Students will engage in fun activities and learn various safety tips. For more information, call SISD Police Services at 937-4357.
Super Camp Flyer

Eastlake High School Soccer Camp

Eastlake High School will have a soccer camp from 9 to 11:30 a.m. June 4-7. The camp cost is $40 per participant if registered by May 31. The late registration fee is $60.  The camp will help young boys enhance their soccer skills. The training sessions will target all individual basic skills and tactics involved in the sport such as passing, shooting, dribbling, ball control and juggling.

To participate, a parent release form must be signed. For more information, contact Coach Widner at 915-204-8032 or by email at  Eastlake Soccer Camp

Montwood High School Cheer Camp

Montwood High School will have a cheer camp from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 9-10. The camp is for children between the ages of 5-15, and other cheer teams are welcome to attend. Participants will learn stunts, chants, dance routines and jumps. The camp cost is $30 per participant.  The fee includes a T-shirt and a participation medal.

Registration and payment is due by May 25, at Montwood High School, 12000 Montwood Dr. (79936). Applications can be picked up from the following locations:  Montwood High School cheer website and at Bill Sybert School, William D. Slider and Montwood middle schools, Elfida Chavez, Benito Martinez and O’Shea elementary schools.

Walk-ins are welcome and discounts are available for teams of eight or more. For questions or price details contact Coach Torres by phone at 915-256-2787 or by email at or Coach Player at 915-309-5554 or
Montwood High School Cheer Camp

Socorro High School Basketball Camp

Socorro High School will have a basketball camp from 5 to 7 p.m. June 12-14 in the main gym. The camp is for boys and girls in grades 3-8. The cost is $25 per player; it includes a free T-shirt for each participant. Daily activities include: individual and team drills, offense and defense fundamentals, passing, dribbling, rebounding, shooting, and competitive play.

There will be awards and a pizza party on the last day of the camp.

For more information, call Tim McNally at 915-726-2901, Robert Facio at 915-422-4206 or Alfredo Gonzalez at 915-328-4699.
Bulldog Basketball Camp

Montwood High School Flag and Dance Camp

The Montwood High School Sapphires will have a flag and dance camp June 25-28. The camp will be from 8 a.m. to noon for boys and girls ages 5-16. The four-day camp fee is $40 or $10 per day.

Early registration starts May 22 and includes a free T-shirt. On-site registration will be June 25, an additional $10 fee for a T-shirt is optional. Participants should dress comfortably; jeans will not be allowed. For more information, email Coach Leslie Lopez, at or Jacob Medina at
Sapphires Flag and Dance Camp

STEP 728
RHINOS 2018-2019 728
Bordertown Undergroun Show 728