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Home | Tag Archives: #TeamSISD

Tag Archives: #TeamSISD

Socorro ISD Transportation employees assist to ensure students receive remote learning packets

The SISD Transportation Department has taken a key role to ensure students have the resources they need to be successful in the Remote Learning Academy, which was established during the school closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’ve been delivering 130-150 packages from different campuses,” said transportation coordinator Jacqueline Gutierrez. “Depending on the grade level, they all have different things that pertain to them per their teachers from Pre-K to high school.”

Working day in and day out, the transportation team has been delivering packets with schoolwork to students’ homes while taking precautionary measures to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

As of April 29, SISD transportation employees had delivered more than 5,000 remote learning packets to student homes.

The transportation department has been coordinating with campuses and academic teams to pick up the packages at the schools and then delivering them to SISD students.

The employees have been using social distancing precautions to reduce contact, such as wearing masks and gloves and leaving the packages at the doorstep.

The transportation employees will call the parents to let them know the packages have been delivered.

In addition to delivering remote learning packets, transportation employees have been capitalizing on the closure to ensure all SISD buses are repaired and maintained. The mechanics, and other transportation employees who are crossed trained to do repairs and maintenance, have been busy working on the transportation fleet while also practicing social distancing.

“Right now, we cannot have groups of more than 10 people at a time,” said fleet coordinator Eddie Lizarraga. “We split our mechanics in two shifts working five hours per shift.”

The teams have been divided to work a morning and afternoon shift to ensure minimal contact, as directed by state and health authorities, and to complete the necessary work. Despite the challenges of the times, the transportation employees have kept a positive attitude and have been doing everything possible to help.

“With everything that has been going on, it has really shown everyone’s true colors. Everyone is here as a team to help each other regardless of anything,” Gutierrez said. “We have all been here to help each other, from custodians and transportation to teachers and police services. It’s been great, that is why we’re Team SISD!”

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 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.”

14 Socorro ISD Destination Imagination Teams Headed to State Tournament

Fourteen Destination Imagination teams from the Socorro Independent School District qualified for the Texas Destination Imagination Tournament set for April 7 in Mansfield, Texas.

More than 75 Socorro ISD groups participated in the 2018 SaYes to Creativity (West Texas) Regional Destination Imagination (DI) Tournament last month at Eastlake High School.

SISD had the most groups at the regional competition and the most advancing to state among the participating school districts.

“This has been very rewarding,” said Stephanie Carrasco, coordinator for the district’s Advanced Academics and director of the district’s DI groups. “I was so excited to see the creativity and tenacity of our students as they worked to showcase their hard work for Destination Imagination. I am a product of a version of this kind of competition while I was growing up, so I know the work you have to put in. But getting to see it from a different angle has been great.”

The regional DI competition featured more than 145 teams from about 28 districts from El Paso County. It was one of the biggest number of groups the organization has ever had.

“That is more than 1,000 students,” said Leslie Akins, West Texas Regional Director of Destination Imagination. “It’s awesome to see the teamwork, the amazing parental support and the student’s code of conduct.”

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

Students in DI compete in academic challenges in the fields of technology, science, fine arts, improvisation, engineering and service learning.

Participants solve challenges by generating ideas with team members through research, exploration and presentation of solutions. Students 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.

Mary Joe Chacon, was happy her 8-year-old, Daniela Chacon, was given a chance to be involved. She likes the premise of DI.

“They are using the arts, their creativity, storytelling, problem solving and teamwork,” Chacon said. “It is so exciting. She has really enjoyed it and talks about it all the time.”

Bryson Burnett, a fourth grader at Purple Heart Elementary, and his team finished in first place. It was the first time the 9-year-old had participated in DI.

“I really like the idea of working together, having one goal,” Bryson said. “The best thing, though, is this has been so much fun.”

Americas High School senior Angelina Ramirez and her group, The Screaming Cupcakes, are DI veterans. The 17-year-old loves the bond created by her team while getting their skit “Area 915” together.

“We have become so close because we have spent so much time together,” Ramirez said. “We build each other up and help one another out. We tell silly jokes and laugh a lot, but we learn so much, too. This is out-of-the-box learning at its best.”

To view the SISD Gallery, click here.

Socorro ISD Awarded National Honor for Excellence in Financial Reporting

The Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada has awarded the Socorro Independent School District a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for its 2017 annual financial report.

“It is with great honor and pride that the Socorro Independent School District accepts the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting,” said Tony Reza, chief financial officer. “A lot of work went into receiving this certificate. We are grateful to the GFOA and we will endeavor to continue receiving this prestigious award in the future.”

The certificate of achievement is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting, according to the GFOA. An Award of Financial Reporting Achievement also has been presented to SISD’s Financial Services Department as part of the prestigious recognition.

The award recognizes SISD’s outstanding governance and responsible, transparent financial management.

The district’s comprehensive financial report was judged by a panel of experts using high standards to determine if the district clearly communicates its financial standings with a “spirit of full disclosure.”

SISD’s comprehensive report reinforces its commitment to ensuring accountability for all in every aspect of operation, including financial reporting. It ensures open and transparent communication and efficient and effective budget management to serve the needs of students, families, and community members.

“We hope that SISD’s example will encourage other government officials in their efforts to achieve and maintain an appropriate standard of excellence in financial reporting,” said Michele Mark Levine, Technical Services Center director for GFOA, in a letter to SISD.

The GFOA established the award program to encourage state and local governments to report financial statements beyond the requirements of generally accepted accounting principles and to prepare comprehensive annual financial reports.

Socorro ISD Holds ‘Stand and Deliver’ Walk; 3k Staffers Visit 10k Homes

Some 3,000 Socorro Independent School District teachers, administrators and staff spent the morning visiting 10,000 student homes within the district’s borders in the first-ever Stand and Deliver Walk on held on Saturday, March 3.

The Stand and Deliver event allowed Team SISD teachers to personally visit parents to talk with them about the opportunities the district offers to ensure students are ready for success in college, careers and life.

“Today is the day that we let our entire SISD community know that we stand united in our efforts to support all of our 46,000-plus students in our district,” said SISD Superintendent Dr. José Espinoza as he kicked-off the walk event.

“We are about to embark on an unprecedented event — something that NO school district has ever attempted in the region, state or, I believe, even in the nation! We reaffirm our unrelenting commitment to educate and treat all of our students as if they are our own children!”

Via a news release, SISD officials said, “The event captures the spirit of legendary Los Angeles educator Jaime Escalante’s commitment to provide all students a high-quality, rigorous education no matter their socioeconomic status or ethnicity…Team SISD is committed to the same ideology and follows Escalante’s footsteps by having the ganas or desire to do more for students, demonstrating high expectations of all students, and putting effective systems in place to help students succeed.”

As SISD staff walked the neighborhoods, they talked one-on-one with parents and grandparents across the school district. They explained the innovative programs provided in the district and highlighted the benefits for students who start and remain in SISD schools until they graduate.

“I had a wonderful experience,” said Sarah Carrasco, an English language teacher at Socorro Middle School. “One mom in particular kept raving about the district. She was so grateful for what the district has done for her son, who is in special education. I am so glad I did this. This experience just reinforced what I feel about this district. I love working here. I have been here for 13 years and I know this is the right place. This is the right district.”

The team members returned from their walks talking about the great experiences and conversations they had with Team SISD.

“One parent we talked to has an 11-month-old. He is excited for his baby to come and see us,” said Melissa Arellano, art teacher at Col. John O. Ensor Middle School. “When we spoke to that gentleman, he was so nice and so excited about his own baby coming to us. That was great to see and great to hear. I am so proud of the wonderful things SISD offers.”

Prior to walking in the neighborhoods, the teachers and staff met at each high school in the area and at Sanchez Middle School in the Socorro area, where they started with a rally and heard inspiring words from Dr. Espinoza.

To view a photo gallery, thanks to Socorro ISD, click here.

Eight Socorro ISD Music Students Among Texas’ Best

Eight Socorro Independent School District fine arts students were named All-State musicians, and will represent their school and district on February 17 at the 2018 Texas Music Educators Association convention in San Antonio.

“Socorro ISD is proud of these students, their directors, and their campus administration,” said Ronald Pingor, assistant director of fine arts. “The countless hours of practice, musical study, and perseverance demonstrated by these young musicians speaks well of themselves and their families.”

SISD’s All-State musicians are: Victoria Torres (piccolo), Skylar Gallegos (bassoon) and Nicolas Hernandez (vocals) from Americas High School; Matthew Palacios (Eb clarinet), Julian Saucedo (tenor sax) and Guillermo Lopez (bass guitar) from Montwood High School; Robert Harris (oboe), from El Dorado High School; and Juan Lara (baritone saxophone) from Pebble Hills High School.

Many of the eight SISD students have been selected as All-state musicians before, including Montwood’s Lopez, who has earned the distinction all four years of high school. For some of the students, such as Lara, a freshman at Pebble Hills, attending the TMEA conference is a first.

“I’m excited to have the opportunity to play with top musicians across the state who are as passionate about music as I am,” Lara said. “My directors tell me that this is a really big accomplishment and that I will understand what they mean when I get there. As of now, I don’t feel nervous because I am prepared. I have been practicing as much as I can.”

SISD instructors said their musicians will do well at the concert and praise their students for their strong work ethic, passion and commitment.

“Nicolas is a phenomenal musician and one of Texas’ best,” said Janet McFarling, choir instructor at Americas High School. “He is constantly singing and always striving to be better. He is one of the hardest working choir members I have.”

The All-State musicians will have the opportunity to rehearse with nationally recognized conductors for three days, and perform for the numerous convention participants Feb. 17 at the TMEA concert.

All-State is the highest honor a Texas music student can receive, according to the TMEA website.

More than 1,700 students are selected through a process that begins with some 64,000 Texas students striving to perform in one of 15 ensembles including band, orchestra, choir and jazz.

Socorro ISD Hosts Military Appreciation Event for Students, Families

Socorro Independent School District hosted a Military Appreciation Day at the District Service Center this fall for Team SISD’s military families.

The event is part of the district’s commitment to ensuring every student succeeds, which includes the more than 3,100 military-dependent students.

“We wanted to make sure we engage with the families,” said Dr. Carmen Olivas Graham, SISD’s director of administrative services. “In the past, we have done other type of events but they were geared specifically for adults. What we heard from the military families is they want events where they can bring their children. They want opportunities to come together to these events as a family.”

Many military families don’t have relatives in the area. They only have other military families to form relationships with, Olivas Graham said.

“They wanted opportunities to come together and meet each other,” she said. “We want to provide these kinds of activities for our military families.”

At the military appreciation event, students and parents had the opportunity to connect with deployed family members online. They also participated in a pumpkin decorating contest, numerous children’s games, an art contest where children had to share what it meant to be a military child in El Paso, and information sessions that showcased numerous programs available to military families.

The most endearing endeavour was the Build-a-Bear room where military families created care packages for deployed loved ones. The toy manufacturer provided more than 80 bears for the care packages. The district included numerous snacks and products that could be added to the package. Each family also made special cards for their loved ones.

“It’s been wonderful to see the children creating these special packages for their moms and dads,” said Ann Darnell, an SISD grant writer, who was in charge of the deployment care packages. “It’s so tough on the family, but making these boxes have brought a lot of smiles.”

Sh’con Jefcoat and her son, Elijah Adams, enjoyed the half-day event. This is the family’s first deployment. But it hasn’t been as difficult as Jefcoat imagined.

“We have been treated really good,” Jefcoat said. “The district has helped with a lot of stuff. They are so supportive and really understanding about everything. This event is a good example. It’s so great for those who don’t know what to do or where to go. I have picked up so much information just being here. It’s great just to know there are people here to help.”

To view more photos of the event, click here.

Socorro ISD Recognized For Effective Budget Management, Transparency

Socorro ISD received a perfect score in the Texas Education Agency’s School Financial Integrity Rating System, which ensures Texas public schools are held accountable for the quality of their financial management practices.

“Our A-Superior rating is testament to SISD’s commitment to accountability for all,” said Tony Reza, the district’s chief financial officer. “We want to ensure that Team SISD stakeholders know we are fiscally responsible and accountable for the public funds that are entrusted to us.”

Socorro ISD was the only district in the region to receive the perfect A-Superior rating.

The rating of 100 points was based on data collected during the 2015-2016 fiscal year. The district earned the most possible points in all indicators and letter grades. SISD has earned a superior rating for seven consecutive years.

In addition, the district once again earned the 2017 TASBO Award of Merit for Purchasing and Operations recertification with recognized status. The award honors school districts that are committed to following professional standards in the acquisition of goods and services.

“We will continue to work to sustain this high level of fiscal achievement while providing endless opportunities for the students of Socorro ISD,” Reza said.

Financial reports are available to the public via the SISD website,, under District Accountability.

The district will be recognized at the annual TASBO conference February 27 in Fort Worth.

Story in Many Pics: Montwood Edges Pebble Hills 49-46

The second oldest high school in the Socorro Independent School District took on the newest, and it was a battle to remember.

The upstart Pebble Hills Spartans had a target painted on their inter-district rival Montwood Rams Friday night, but the blue and green-clad Rams would have nothing of it, besting the Spartans 49-46 at the SAC.

Our very own Andres Acosta was there and we bring you his view of the game in this ‘Story in Many Pics.’

Community invited to Socorro ISD Farmers and Artisan Market November 5th

The Socorro Independent School District invites students, parents and the El Paso community to its Farmers and Artisan Market on November 5 at the SAC.

The event is part of the Healthier Team SISD commitment to promote health and wellness among students and the community.

The free event will include products from local merchants and artisans, food and live music. Children’s entertainment, student art work, organic produce, jewelry and beauty products also will be available.

A free beginner’s yoga class will take place from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. and a Stop Hunger Walk from 10-11 a.m. Fitness participants must wear tennis shoes and bring their own yoga mat. Walkers can register individually, or as a team, online.

Live music will available from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Vendors interested in participating should submit an online application. Applicants must have the proper licensing permits from the City of El Paso. To apply, visit the district’s marketing website.

The SISD Farmers and Artisan Market takes place once a month on Sundays. For more information, contact SISD marketing and sales coordinator Erika Lucero by email at

PepsiCo Foundation Awards Grant to Socorro ISD VASSP Program

The Socorro Independent School District was awarded a $5,000 grant from the PepsiCo Foundation to assist its Volunteer After School Sports Program at Capt. Walter E. Clarke Middle School.

As SISD students played a VASSP soccer game on the field at Clarke Middle School, PepsiCo representatives and State Rep. Mary Gonzalez presented a check to Dr. Carmen Olivas-Graham, a director in SISD administrative services, who represented Team SISD.

“This donation recognizes all of the efforts that parents and other volunteers have made to support their little ones,” Graham said.

VASSP is an intramural sports and community outreach program designed to provide after-school physical activity for students, provide volunteer parental involvement, and help students attain more interest in their school grades.

The program, which is open to all male and female students in pre-k through sixth grade, offers soccer in the fall and track and field in the spring.

“This is a blessing for these kids,” said Ronald Promesse, VASSP coordinator. “This is going to help a lot. From a safety perspective, it will help purchase small generators to light the fields. We will be able to buy soccer shoes and socks for those kids who can’t afford it. We also are going to purchase soccer nets and balls.”

Team SISD currently has more than 1,500 students and 300-plus parent volunteers in the VASSP program, Promesse said. In addition, parents have put in about 18,000 volunteer hours in the program.

Almost all elementary, PK-8 and middle schools in the district have VASSP teams.

Parents, who loyally show up to every practice and game, love the way the program helps their children stay active and learn about teamwork.

They also like that every child gets a chance to play, no matter their athletic ability.

“It’s very important that a child gets the chance to join a team and play a sport they enjoy,” said Jessica Serrata, whose son Joshua, 7, is on the Loma Verde Elementary soccer team. “It makes it even more fun when they get to play with their classmates. My son has been so excited since joining. This is such a worthwhile program.”

To view SISD’s gallery, click here.

Socorro ISD’s 2017 Walk for Success Brings Back 33 Students

Socorro Independent School District’s Walk for Success campaign continues to show positive results in recovering students who have left school and helping them get back on track to graduate.

The 2017 campaign outreach, which has been ongoing since school began and included the district-wide walk in September, proved effective bringing 33 students back this year to re-enroll in school to give them the opportunity to graduate with a diploma or earn a GED. Two students have already graduated.

“It’s exciting to see the benefits of our Walk for Success efforts,” said Superintendent Dr. José Espinoza. “Knowing our students are coming back to school and taking advantage of the endless opportunities in Team SISD makes us extremely happy. We want nothing but the very best for our students, they all deserve a bright future!”

Walk for Success is an annual district-wide campaign where administrators, principals, assistant principals, counselors, and staff take a pro-active approach and walk district neighborhoods to connect with students who have not returned to school. Team SISD members then provide students, their parents or legal guardians information on how to re-enroll at school and share educational options that support the students educational career goals.

Carlos Hernandez, a graduate from Montwood High School, is a product of the 2017 Walk for Success. Hernandez earned his high school diploma by the end of the first nine weeks of the current school year, an accomplishment he said makes him feel proud.

“I’m happy to have graduated because it will open doors for me in the future and there’s going to be a lot more opportunities for me now that I have a diploma,” he said.

Hernandez is making plans to pursue a post-secondary education in audio and music production at The University of Texas at El Paso.  His parents, Carlos and Alma Hernandez, said Walk for Success made this possible.

“It’s good that people from the schools visit student’s homes to try and motivate them to go back,” his father Carlos Hernandez said. “It was very important for my son to graduate from high school for both me and my wife. We’re glad that he did.”

Like Hernandez, 34 other students have graduated and 179 have re-enrolled in school since the inception of Walk for Success in 2013.

“The data is significant and shows the district is on the right track,” said Cory Craft, SISD academics and compliance officer. “This year we only had to reach out to 80 students compared to the 300 we searched for the first year.”

Team SISD counselors and teachers work closely with students to help them stay in school or find alternative means of completing their education.

Marvin Hickman, head counselor at Eastlake High School, takes pride in serving as a guidance counselor for his students. Hickman said Walk for Success is helping students have a better future.

“Sometimes students don’t recognize the importance of an education, but it is our job as counselors to make them understand,” Hickman said. “It’s important that we continue to check in with the students, find out how they are doing and show them what resources are available. We don’t want them to get frustrated and leave school again.”

Socorro ISD Helps High School Seniors to Register to Vote

Team SISD high schools recently conducted voter registration drives to allow students who are already 18 or who turn that age by election day on Nov. 7 to register to vote.

Many senior students registered and were excited about having a chance to vote in this election.

“I want to have a voice in what happens,” said Melanie Mendoza, a senior at Socorro High School. “I am going to research everything and see which way I vote.”

Socorro High had a registration drive and conducted an assembly so students could learn about the reasons for registering and voting. Teaching students about their civic duty helps create a well-rounded individual and it is part of being stakeholders in their community, said Socorro High School Principal Josh Tovar.

“There is a buzz in the hallways about the upcoming election and voting,” Tovar said. “It’s great. We are preparing students not only to earn their diplomas but also to become involved in the democratic process. Today, we are giving them a little foundation on becoming voters in their community”

Bulldog senior, Lesly Solis, 18, decided to register after listening to the presentation. She hopes her vote counts and wants to see changes that would benefit herself and all her family.

“This whole registering and voting thing makes you feel ‘adultish,’” Solis said. “I am glad I did it. I have a say about what is going on in my world.”

At El Dorado High School, El Paso County Election officials had a voter registration drive inside the school library.

Evelyn Garcia, a co-chair of the student voter initiative for El Paso County, said she was happy SISD was asking seniors to register. Getting students to register is a county-wide effort.

“We want students to know that civic engagement is important,” Garcia said. “It impacts everything from education to health care. That’s why it is so encouraging to see the district making it easier for seniors who qualify to register to vote.”

October 10 is the last day to register to vote for this upcoming election.

Socorro ISD Superintendent wins 2017 Best in Education Award

Socorro Independent School District Superintendent of Schools Dr. José Espinoza has been named the winner of the national 2017 Escalante-Gradillas Prize for Best in Education.

The award is named after the late Jaime Escalante, legendary Garfield High School calculus teacher profiled in the 1988 film “Stand and Deliver,” and the outstanding principal, Henry Gradillas, who championed his vision.

This prestigious national award carries with it a $10,000 individual award as well as $10,000 awarded to the winner’s district. Dr. Espinoza plans to donate his $10,000 to students in the district in the form of college scholarships.

“I am humbled and extremely honored to win the Escalante-Gradillas Best in Education award,” Dr. Espinoza said. “I have repeatedly emphasized that it takes a team to educate a child. By the same token, it takes a team to earn a national education award. Thus, I share this award with our outstanding teachers, administrators, support staff, parents, Board of Trustees, and entire community who go above and beyond every day to ensure the success of our students. Achieving success as a team is what we do best in Socorro ISD!”

Dr. Espinoza was selected from a large pool of elite leaders across the nation who have done more with less, overcome obstacles, boosted achievement levels, and raised the standard of excellence for their schools and districts.

Noted by, “as the 2017 winner of the Escalante-Gradillas Prize for Best in Education, Espinoza models for El Paso’s children, who live in the shadow of the Mexican border, a stellar commitment to academic excellence and achievement. His successes in the field of education would make not only his parents, but also Jaime Escalante and Henry Gradillas proud.”

Dr. Espinoza models a “100%…No Excuses” vision of excellence and high expectation of educating and treating all students as if they are our own children. He inspires all SISD stakeholders by sharing his personal experience as a minority, low-income student, which led him to advocate passionately with high expectations for all students including children vulnerable to failure due to poor home environments.

Dr. Espinoza’s desire, ganas, to ensure every student succeeds is evident by the ambitious initiatives he has launched since his arrival in SISD including Operation College Bound. Under Dr. Espinoza’s leadership, SISD has opened three early college high schools in a period of a few years whereas the district only had Mission Early College HS founded in 2006.

Understanding firsthand the struggles of high college tuition, Dr. Espinoza wants SISD students to graduate with not only their high school diploma but also an Associate’s Degree.

He also founded the WIN Academy to provide students struggling in a traditional education setting with more learning time, resources, and support. Dr. Espinoza’s passion to put systems in place that level the playing field for underprivileged children mirrors the uncompromising educational standards of Jaime Escalante and Henry Gradillas.

Dr. Espinoza has an exceptional record of leading students to new heights of scholastic achievement during his 21 years in the field of education as a teacher, counselor, assistant principal, principal, school improvement officer, and now national award-winning superintendent.

Just like Escalante and Gradillas, Dr. Espinoza “Stands and Delivers” for the students and community that he proudly serves.

A special presentation with representatives to award Dr. Espinoza with his prize will be scheduled at a later date in SISD.

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