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Home | Tag Archives: walk for success

Tag Archives: walk for success

Socorro ISD holds 6th annual ‘Walk for Success’ Weekend

Socorro Independent School District educators walked the district’s neighborhoods to reconnect with students who left school before graduating during the 6th annual Walk for Success event on Saturday, September 14.

“We started our first year with 300 students, this year we’re looking at bringing back about 123, so the number is decreasing … that number continues to go down because of the passion and commitment from our amazing team,” said SISD Superintendent José Espinoza, Ed.D. “With that attitude and mentality that we treat, and we educate those students as if they were our own children, that’s how you can earn an ‘A’, that’s how you become the only district in El Paso, the largest district in the state, to earn a post-secondary readiness distinction.”

The superintendent, board trustees, administrators, counselors, and some librarians, teachers and other staff visited SISD neighborhoods to talk to students and their parents/families, hear their situation case-by-case, and present solutions to their academic barriers.

The day started with all the educators coming together to hear from SISD Superintendent José Espinoza, Ed.D., board trustees Paul Guerra, Eduardo Mena and David Morales, Justice of the Peace Ruben Lujan and El Paso Community College President William Serrata.

Justice of the Peace John Chatman and Justice of the Peace and EPCC board chair Brian Haggerty also attended this year’s Walk for Success.

The more than 300 educators who participated were excited about heading out to the neighborhoods to encourage students to re-enroll in school.

“It was a great event. We made contact with all of our students,” said Derrick Brown, assistant principal at Eastlake High School. “Students and parents were ready to hear the information and one parent almost cried. Our team is getting ready to formulate a plan so we can recover that student and help them graduate.”

The impact that the SISD educators are making on students is significant. Having a principal, counselor, or teacher personally tell the students that they can come back to school and graduate is often the step in the right direction that they need.

A former SISD student Arleen Roa was visited by Americas High School principal Patricia Cuevas and other administrators from the school. Roa had left Americas after a former boyfriend convinced her to drop out and to try the Job Corps. But she said that didn’t work out for her, she fell on hard times without enough shifts at work to make enough money, and no motivation to go back to school.

“Today, Ms. Cuevas came to my house on a Saturday and told me my options. She told me that they were here for me. She and my teachers were always supportive,” Roa said. “They told me they knew I could succeed and that made me feel good. So, I’m going to do it. I’m going to get it done.”

Erica Olivas, coordinator at Pebble Hills High School, visited a student she had helped in the past. Olivas said it’s a good feeling to know the student is aware that the school employees care and they want what is best for him.

“We always kept in contact with him and his mom,” Olivas said. “Reaching out to him today was special. It is us providing extra support and extra reassurance so they know that we want them back and we want them to graduate so they can succeed.”

Students and or their parents received information on how to return to their comprehensive high school, or transfer to Options, the district’s alternative high school, which provides students a flexible schedule in a competency-based learning system. Another option for students is the district’s adult education program, which pairs students with workforce development opportunities and a GED.

If students or families were not reached at the home a door hanger with information was left so they could call the district and or school back. SISD educators also plan follow-up calls and visits to ensure they continue trying to get every student back.

“The student we tried to visit was not there, but we met with her parents and got information that will allow us to follow up,” said Andrew Halatyn, assistant principal at Socorro High School. “Now that we know when she’ll be home, we can meet with her and talk about the options and benefits of being a student at Socorro.”

Since the inception of Walk for Success in 2014, SISD has recovered more than 320 students and helped dozens graduate. The district’s graduation rate has increased to 91.5 percent, the highest in the region and in district history.

“We are the only district that has consistently run this program for six years,” said Cory Craft, SISD’s academic and compliance officer. “Not many people want to give up their time on a Saturday, but we do because we value our students and we see the results.”

To view Walk for Success event photos, click here.

300+ Socorro ISD Staff Team Up for Students in Annual ‘Walk For Success’

Socorro Independent School District’s administrators, counselors, board trustees, staff, and volunteers participated in the district’s annual Walk for Success.

More than 300 Team SISD members went door-to-door in the district’s neighborhoods to personally reach out to students who are not enrolled in school and encourage them to come back so they can graduate.

SISD officials shared that more educators walked in the event than years before.

“This has always been such an important event for Team SISD,” said Superintendent Dr. José Espinoza. “We don’t give up on a child. We don’t leave a child behind. It’s the passion we have as a team. We want our students to come back home.”

The personal visits allowed employees to talk to the students and their parents or family members about the different educational programs offered in the district, and the options available to students to assist them in earning their high school diploma.

“It hurts to lose any of our students,” said Cory Craft, the district’ academic compliance officer and coordinator of Walk for Success. “We see them as if they are our own kids.”

Since the inception of Walk for Success in 2014, more than 40 students have graduated, and more than 200 have re-enrolled in school.

The number of students dropping out has declined as well. In 2014, volunteers went in search of about 300 youngsters who had left the district. This year, Walk for Success volunteers were reaching out to 156 students.

“We are so proactive as a district,” Craft said. “A lot of work goes behind the scenes. Our principals are doing a good job of keeping up with kids who drop out and bringing them back. They call, email, reach out on Facebook and Twitter.”

These efforts have helped boost graduation rates. The district has the highest graduation rate now, 91.3 percent, than it ever has had in its history. The rate is higher than the region and state, too.

“That is a direct result of everything principals and the staff at each high school do daily and Walk for Success,” Craft said.

The Walk for Success on Sept. 8 was one of the most heartening for Team SISD. Educators were excited to help bring students back to their home school. They talked to students, parents, grandparents and other family members.

“It really made me happy,” said Angelica Herrera, SISD’s director of elementary staffing, whose group was able to speak to a mother of a former Montwood High School student. “To see that this parent was so receptive to our group, it really touched me. She was so happy to see the district make such an effort, to show we really care about her daughter. It was an incredible moment.”

For Paula Figueroa, reaching out to children who have left the district is personal. She dropped out from Socorro High School as a senior after difficulty in passing the math part of the TAAS. She went on to get her GED that summer and graduated from college with both a bachelor’s and master’s degree.

“I understand because I have been in their shoes,” said Figueroa, who is a counselor at Lujan-Chavez Elementary. “It was embarrassing at first. I am glad there is a program like this now.”

To view a gallery of the event, 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’s 2nd Annual ‘2015 Walk for Success’ set for Saturday

Team SISD educators have united for the second annual Walk for Success and have been making great progress since August in identifying and reaching out to students who have left the district or have not enrolled in school.

Photo: SISD
Photo: SISD

The efforts are leading up to the Walk for Success event, where the SISD superintendent, principals, counselors and other staff members will come together to walk SISD neighborhoods to personally find and encourage students to return to school.

The Walk for Success will be from 8 a.m. to noon Sept. 19 beginning at the SISD District Service Center, 12440 Rojas Dr.

“We are 100 percent committed to supporting all of our students as if they are very own children,” said SISD Superintendent José Espinoza. “That means finding and talking to all students in our community who deserve a high quality education. We want to talk to them one-on-one, tell them that they are important to us, and that we are willing and able to help them come back to school to earn their high school diploma.”

On Aug. 29, SISD educators conducted a call-out as a precursor to the Walk for Success. Counselors and other school and district staff contacted students who have left SISD schools. As a result of the call-outs, nine students have re-enrolled in SISD schools.

The phone calls also helped in identifying and locating many other students who already have enrolled in schools in the area or out-of-town. More than 500 phone calls were made during the call-out event.

At the Walk for Success on Sept. 19, Team SISD staff will be looking for about 300 students who still have not been reached. The team members will be divided in groups to visit neighborhoods in each high school feeder area in the district.

Photo: SISD
Photo: SISD

Throughout the district’s Walk for Success initiative last year, Team SISD recovered 74 students. Five students who came back through 2014’s Walk for Success graduated last school year. These students will be invited to help with this year’s Walk for Success to connect with other students who may be inspired by their success.

“It’s a great time and we really want to bring our students back to school,” said Corey Craft, SISD School Compliance Officer. “It’s an amazing thing because when we visit students at their home they really feel that we care about them. As opposed to just waiting for them to come to us, we go to them.”

During the Walk for Success, Team SISD members will make every effort to talk to the students themselves or family members who may know where the students are, and explain to the students how to come back to school and the assistance that Team SISD will provide for them.

Author: Socorro ISD

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