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.