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Friday , April 27 2018
Home | Tag Archives: yisd

Tag Archives: yisd

Ysleta ISD Honors 700+ Volunteers, Staff at Luncheon

More than 700 school volunteers and staff celebrated their hard work and dedication at YISD’s annual Volunteer Recognition Luncheon.

The annual event honored and recognized volunteers and staff for their generosity and hard work at their individual campuses throughout the year.

More than 4,000 YISD volunteers have logged more than 274,000 volunteer hours so far this school year, resulting in a savings of more than $2 million in labor costs to the district.

The Volunteer Recognition Luncheon was held on April 17.  Awards presented at the luncheon included:

Outstanding Premier Volunteer:

Veronica Gonzales Rios de la Torre, Ramona ES

Outstanding Rookie of the Year:

Claudia Gutierrez, Dolphin Terrace ES

Outstanding Staff Leader of the Year:

Alma Bustamante, Parkland HS

Years of Service Awards:
45 years –

Rebecca Padilla, REL Washington ES

40 years –

Mary McConnell, Eastwood MS

30 years–

Patricia Nevarez, Thomas Manor ES

20 years –

Gaby Ayala, Parkland MS
Cristina Gonzalez, Ysleta Pre K
Diana Patrana, Ysleta ES

Top Achievement Volunteer Hour Awards:

Lorenza Anaya, Hacienda Heights ES
Concepcion Portillo, Pasodale ES
Alma Herrera, Pasodale ES
Sandra Galvan, Hacienda Heights ES
Ricardo Jauregui, Hacienda Heights ES
Margaret Chaffino, Scotsdale ES
Emma Baeza, Eastwood Heights ES

Top Ten School Awards:

Cedar Grove Elementary
Pasodale Elementary
Eastwood Heights Elementary
Dolphin Terrace Elementary
Camino Real Middle
Parkland Middle
Rio Bravo Middle
Del Valle High
Eastwood High
Parkland High

Eastwood Middle’s 7th Grade History Teacher Named Best in Texas

Eastwood Middle School teacher Mireya Perez has been named the 2018 Outstanding Seventh-Grade Texas History Teacher by The Daughters of the Republic of Texas (DRT).

“I am very humbled to receive this recognition,” said Perez, who has taught at Eastwood Middle School for 13 years. “My objective is to change the perception that history is boring through a storytelling approach, and by allowing students to experience engaging and real-life activities.”

DRT officials said Perez was selected as this year’s winner after demonstrating how her instruction has enhanced her seventh-grade students’ interest in the early history of Texas – either by using creative ideas or manipulatives.

As the winner, Perez will receive a $750 award and a special plaque at the 2018 DRT Convention, which takes place May 19 in Dallas. In addition, Eastwood Middle School will receive $1,000 as part of the award.

In her winning application, Perez wrote: “I encourage my students to think like historians. As they uncover the advancements made in the United States, I encourage them to apply (this) to their personal lives by understanding that even through defeat, personal victories can be achieved.

“My calling in education gave me the title of a history teacher,” she wrote. “With that title, it is my responsibility to prepare young boys and girls to become determined, honest, and active participants of the community in which they live, regardless of their future job title.”

To be considered for the award, teachers were asked to submit letters of recommendation; teaching philosophy and instructional method; curriculum vitae/résumé; innovations conceived and executed for seventh-graders; and the response of the students to their local DRT chapter The DRT maintains 106 local chapters, divided in 10 districts.

DRT is the oldest patriotic women’s organization in Texas, and one of the oldest in the nation.

Founded in 1891, the DRT’s mission is to perpetuate the memory and spirit of those who achieved and maintained the independence of Texas; provide educational programs in coordination with school districts and the Texas Education Agency, as well as public programs; encourage research into early Texas records and the publication of these historic records, and preserve historic documents; and secure and memorialize historic sites.

Bel Air Named ‘Vans Custom Culture’ Semi-Finalist; $75k Art Program Prize Up for Grabs

Monday morning it was announced that Bel Air High School is a Vans Custom Culture semi-finalist, along with 50 other schools across the nation.

Now, it’s up to El Pasoans to vote for the Highlander’s Custom Culture design online for the chance to win $75K towards the school’s art program.

The Vans Custom Culture contest was created to support schools across the country experiencing art department budget cuts. Over 2,000 schools submitted customized Vans shoes embodying the Vans “Off the Wall” and “Local Flavor” lifestyle.

Schools also submitted an impact doc explaining how winning this donation would affect their arts programs since they have suffered budget cuts.

After Vans narrowed down submissions to the top 50, it’s up to the public to vote for their favorite pair. The overall winner will receive $75,000 and the four runner-up schools will receive $10,000, all going towards funding their school’s art programs.

Similar to years past, the public vote will help determine the top five finalists who will be in the running for the grand prize of $75,000.

The winner of this year’s competition will receive a visit from Vans for a celebration on their school campus filled with art and music that will be brought to life in partnership with Journeys, Yoobi, Laguna College of Art + Design (LCAD) and Americans for the Arts (AFTA).

Of the contest, Vans officials said, “Custom Culture competition continues to empower high school students and individuals across the country to embrace creativity. With schools already suffering from their art programs being cut, Vans wants to make more of an impact to the community and target the schools who need additional funds the most.”

To vote for the Bel Air Highlander’s design, click here.

Ysleta ISD’s Top 10 Teachers of the Year Announced

The 2018-19 campus Teachers of the Year at the Ysleta Independent School District (YISD) were honored during a reception Thursday evening at Central Office.

At the same ceremony, district officials also announced 10 finalists for the district’s top two teaching awards: the Elementary Teacher of the Year and the Secondary Teacher of the Year.

The top five finalists for the 2018-19 YISD Elementary Teacher of the Year are:

Ascarate Elementary –  Lonny Nava
Glen Cove Elementary –  Roberto Guevara III
Loma Terrace Elementary –  Carol Love
Pasodale Elementary –  Paul Ward
Pebble Hills Elementary –  Kristin Podojil

The top five finalists for the 2018-19 YISD Secondary Teacher of the Year are:

Eastwood High –  Selena Granados
Hanks High –  Michele Garcia
Riverside High –  Stephen Solis
Ysleta High –  Alberto Avalos
Young Women’s Leadership –  Jessica Yildirim

All campus Teachers of the Year, as well as all campus Support Employees of the Year, will be honored at the YISD Teacher and Support Employee of the Year gala that takes place at 6 p.m. May 4 at the Centennial Conference Center & Banquet Hall at Fort Bliss.

Story in Many Pics: Bel Air vs El Paso High – Soccer Playoffs

At Historic R.R. Jones Stadium Thursday Night, the Bel Air Highlanders took on the El Paso High Tigers in high school soccer playoff action.

The home-standing Tigers took the game 2 to 1 over the visiting Highlanders, to punch their ticket to the next round of the playoffs.

Our very own Steven Cottingham was there and brings your his view of the match in this ‘Story in Many Pics.’

 

 

Ysleta ISD’s Valley View Middle Receives $20K Grant for Computer Science Curriculum

Valley View Middle School has been selected to receive a $20,000 grant to implement an innovative computer science curriculum through a partnership between the Verizon Foundation and Project Lead The Way.

According to a news release from YISD, Project Lead the Way is “a nonprofit organization that provides a transformative learning experience for K-12 students and teachers through K-12 pathways in computer science, engineering, and biomedical science.”

The curriculum provides students the opportunity to experience computer science in a relevant and engaging way by empowering them to solve real-world problems using the powerful ideas behind analytical thinking.

In addition, by using a hands-on project-based instructional approach, students will strengthen their critical thinking, collaboration, and communication skills.

The grant will be disbursed over a two-year period, and will also support professional development for teachers and provide schools with equipment including tablets and software.

Valley View Middle School is only one of 72 schools in the country to be chosen for this program.

Ysleta ISD Honors 2018-19 Campus Teachers, Support Employees of Year

On Tuesday, Ysleta ISD announced the 2018-2019 Campus Teachers and Support Employees of the Year.

YISD officials said, “These dedicated teachers and support staff were selected by their campuses to represent the hard work and a determination to help all children succeed…they are honored for outstanding leadership, excellence, and inspiration to students, their colleagues and the community.”

The campus Teachers of the Year will be honored at a reception on March 29 where the top ten teachers will be announced. The finalists will undergo another round of interviews to compete for the top spot as Elementary and Secondary Teacher of the Year.

Ten finalists for Support Employee of the Year finalists will be announced at a later date. Five finalists will be named and the Ysleta ISD Support Employee of the Year will be announced at the gala in May.

All employees will be honored at the 2018-2019 Teacher and Support Employee of the Year Gala on Friday, May 4, 2018 at the Centennial Conference Center and Banquet Hall on Ft. Bliss. The program will begin at 7 pm.

Tickets will go on sale on April 2 for $30 per person. For ticket information, call 434-0690.

The 2018-2019 Teachers and Support Employees of the Year are:

SECONDARY SCHOOLS
Campus Teacher of the Year Support Employee of the Year
Bel Air HS Jennifer Gursky Lore A. Arellano
Cesar Chavez Academy Daniel Figueroa Jr. Jacqueline Cano
Del Valle HS Sherri Bryant Ricardo Lozano
Eastwood HS Selena Granados Alejandro Almeralla
J. M. Hanks HS Michele Garcia Monica Lopez
Parkland HS Marissa Ritch Naomi Castro
Plato Academy Karen McVay Joann R. Leyva
Riverside HS Stephen Solis Maria G. Rodriguez
Tejas School of Choice Jazmin Romero-Carrera Elizabeth Chavez
Valle Verde ECHS Angelica Guzman-Villalobos Maria Pizarro
Ysleta HS Alberto Avalos Rocio G. Vasquez
YCLC NA Aurora Castillo
Bel Air MS Virginia Beaulieu Rebecca I. Torres
Camino Real MS Claudia Prieto Jessie Morales
Desert View MS Melinda Chavez Norma J. Miner
Eastwood MS Marissa Yslas Rita A. Althoff
Indian Ridge MS Melissa Ioan Pedro Duarte
Parkland MS Matthew Olsen Karla V. Acosta
Rio Bravo MS Alondra Ontiveros Sonia Portillo
Riverside MS Rebecca Durate-Bosse Herbert Zeh
Valley View MS Elijah Thompson Teresa Dickerson
Young Women’s Leadership Jessica Yildirim Maria C. Chavez
Ysleta MS Ginna Baray Betty A. Nevarez
ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS
Campus Teacher of the Year Support Employee of the Year
Alicia R. Chacon Int’l Monica Flores Cynthia M Mendoza
Ascarate ES Lonny Nava Edith Serrano
Capistrano ES Jessica J. Ortiz Laura Martinez
Cedar Grove ES Eric Hernandez Guadalupe M. Armendariz
Constance Hulbert ES Brenda Ortega Sonia V. Avila-Sanchez
Del Norte Heights ES Guadalupe Navarrete Miguel Tarango
Del Valle ES Crystal Aguirre-Caballero Maria A. Melano
Desertaire ES Rick Rocha Jose Sanchez
Dolphin Terrace ES Sylvia Carrillo Sundra J. Strickland
East Point ES Gaby Rodarte Trileina M. Rubio
Eastwood Heights ES Vanessa Carlos Cynthia Cardoza
Eastwood Knolls Int’l Ina Pinales Pedro Reyes
Edgemere ES Veronica Andrade Maribeth P. Keller
Glen Cove ES Roberto Guevara III Lisa M. Castañeda
Hacienda Heights Int’l Rossana Garcia Kathleen Gaytan
Lancaster ES Patricia Mendoza Ismael Oaxaca
LeBarron Park ES Ana Ramirez Raul Hernandez
Loma Terrace ES Carol Love Ernestina Santos
Marian Manor ES Danelle White Cecilia Apodaca
Mesa Vista ES Cynthia Tarango Elizabeth Hernandez
Mission Valley ES Veronica Gutierrez Rosella G. Rodarte
North Loop ES Iris Renteria Patricia Armendariz
North Star ES Graciela Garcia Cindy Esparza
Parkland ES Jessica Donacio Anthony E. Rodriguez
Parkland Pre-K Elisa Horiuchi Elva C. Velasco
Pasodale ES Paul Ward Elizabeth M. Quiz
Pebble Hills ES Kristin Podojil Domingo Borrego
Presa ES Wendy Chozet Fatima R. Gaitan De Arellano
Ramona ES Gilda Estrada Sandra Ponce
REL Washington ES Francisco Sierra Belia Benitez
Sageland ES Pamela Licon Minerva Wright
Scotsdale ES Sergio Silva Claudia Enriquez
South Loop ES Brenda Burford David Gonzalez
Thomas Manor ES Marcela Lopez Lili Gonzalez
Tierra Del Sol ES Rosalie Provencio Carmen C. Ovalles
Vista Hills ES Margarita Castillo Ruby Rivera
Ysleta ES Rebecca Frias Samantha J. Bullis-Moya
Ysleta Pre-K Karina Martinez Martha R. Villagrana
CENTRAL SERVICES
Central Office NA Sylvia Castro
Service Center NA Corina C. Casa

Ysleta ISD Appoints Principal for New Del Valle MS

Ysleta Independent School District (YISD) Officials announced Tuesday the appointment of Ida Perales as principal of Del Valle Middle School, which will make up part of a new K-8 combination school that is currently under construction in the Del Valle community.

Perales is the current principal of Camino Real Middle School, a position she has held since July 2016. She began her career in education in 2001 as a biology teacher at Ysleta HS, then worked in the El Paso and Socorro school districts for six years before returning to YISD in 2008 to serve as an instructional specialist and assistant principal.

Perales holds a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree from UTEP.

Construction of YISD’s new $87 million K-8 combination school began last year, thanks to the facilities bond measure approved by voters in November 2015.

Students at the existing Camino Real and Valley View middle schools will be consolidated into the new Del Valle Middle School, which will share the K-8 campus with a new Mission Valley Elementary School.

The new Del Valle Middle School is being built to accommodate up to 1,500 students, who will enjoy modern classrooms, state-of-the-art technology spaces, and new athletics facilities.

Del Valle Middle School will share a kitchen, fine arts facilities, and a gymnasium with Mission Valley Elementary School, but each campus will have separate entrances, classrooms, offices, and cafeterias.

YISD officials add, “By sharing facilities, the 300,000 square-foot combo school will maximize the economies of scale and minimize maintenance and operations costs.”

Op-Ed: Why Public Schools Need Marketing Firms

A few months back on a local blog, the blog author and guests wrote and responded with some indignation about a local school district hiring a “marketing firm.” “Why would a school district need a marketing firm?” they asked with annoyance.

“Surely this money should be spent in the classroom! This is an outrage!” Grumble. Grumble. “Oh, and by the way the superintendent makes too much money and all administrators need to be fired.” Grumble. Grumble.

Being a blog that mostly caters to angry-at-local-politics folks, or people that are just angry in general for having to pay any taxes at all for anything, the echo-chamber cacophony of agreement crescendoed into a roar of annoyance and outrage. Soon, every response was based on agreeing the blog entry itself, with little or no reflection or critical thinking. Anyone trying to counter the argument was immediately branded a suck up, a traitor, or insulted as being “out of touch.”

Rational discourse was not welcome there. No need to respond if you disagreed or had an alternative point of view. The collective minds of the blog mass was already made up. The responses to the blog post went something like this:

“If those schools would just do their jobs, they wouldn’t need a marketing firm!”

“If the schools are losing students, so be it. If they were any good, they
wouldn’t be losing anyone!”

“They didn’t need marketing firms in my day! And look how well I turned
out!”

“Get off my lawn! And fire the superintendent!”

“Yeah, I agree with everything he just said. Ditto!

As EdChoice put it in an article about education marketing: “Shame on schools for trying to get students in their classrooms! Everyone knows those students should just show up, sit down and learn regardless of whether the learning environment is right for them.”

The original kernel of the blog post was actually a good question: “Why would a public school district would want to hire a marketing or “branding” firm?”

Actually, if you dive just a little bit deeper into the topic, “marketing” is not such a bad idea especially in these days of school districts that are under attack from a variety of forces: private schools, home schoolers, angry politicians, but mostly privately owned charter schools. For a public school district to hire a marketing firm to make sense however, you have to think critically about WHY a district would want to market it’s services. It comes down to the reason ANY business or organization would want to market itself: Getting more customers.

In many school districts across the nation, educators are faced with a multitude of forces aligning up in ways that school districts in the past 60 or so post WWII years probably would never have had to think about. Those include:

Loss of students:

In public schools, the students in the seats are the way that the schools make their money. More students mean more money. Less students mean less money.(link)

Think of students like a business thinks of customers. One district in the city has been losing students at the rate of about 1000 per year due to several reasons including major demographic changes in the city. As the oldest school district in the area, the base population is getting older and moving away from the city center towards the outskirts of town where the newer houses, stores, entertainment, and parks are.

Those “outskirts” also are home to other schools districts. Families moving to newer neighborhoods are moving away from the district. Older folks just don’t have babies plain and simple. The post WWII baby boom which fueled the rise of large urban school districts has given way to suburban sprawl and the relocation of younger families to less expensive outlying communities.

Legislative processes fighting against public education:

In the past, there was a strong bipartisan legislative ethic that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, to give it a Star Trek spin. Recently in Texas, along with quite a few mainly Republican, Tea Party controlled states like Kansas and Wisconsin, the legislature has decidedly become anti-public education. The needs of the well heeled few and corporations are becoming more important than the many.

A recent Texas Tribune article sums up the ed funding battle this way:

“The funding challenge facing districts like Kelton, as well as the unique pot of money they are set to lose in three months, stems from decisions by state officials made over a decade ago. In 2006, the Legislature compressed tax rates by a third, after the Texas Supreme Court ordered them to alleviate the high property tax rates in local school districts. They also created a state aid program to make up the extra revenue districts lost by lowering tax rates.”

In their Tea Party fueled fervor, the Texas legislature (along with MANY other GOP controlled state legislatures) has cut funding for students, cut taxes that paid for education, added funding for charter schools, made raising taxes much more difficult than in the past, and generally have decided that public education is not the investment in the future as they once viewed it, although the vast majority of them are products of the exact public school system they say is “broken.”

The idea of the collective good in education has gone on life support and with it, equitable funding. Districts are left with trying to pull funds from an ever increasingly smaller pot. Rich districts in rich suburbs of Houston and Dallas thrive, while those in the Valley, along the Rio Grande and rural areas have to try to succeed using an increasingly smaller pot of funds to draw from.

Charter schools:
Charter schools, no matter what anyone might say otherwise, take funds from public schools by taking students from public schools. (Books have been written about whether charter schools are academically better or not, but in terms of simply sucking money from traditional public school districts, they are poison.) A student that goes to a charter school takes their funding with them.

In El Paso, not only brick and mortar but online charter schools will dig into the “butts-in-seats” funding that is the life blood of public education. The math is simple: If a student is attending an online school, or another school outside your district, you don’t get money for that student.

Charter schools, many backed with not only public funds as well as private funds, can afford to market themselves and have done so aggressively using professional marketing firms, also know as “branding firms.”

How does a school district fight back against demographic changes, a hostile legislature, and a new opponent that does not have to play by the same rules that you have to?

One way would be to just sit back and think that the issue will correct itself over time and go away. This is a poor strategy, much like allowing your opponent to run up the score in the first three quarters thinking you will be able to outscore them in the fourth.

That strategy rarely works. As poor a strategy as it may seem, it is one that many school districts seem to think is viable. Do nothing. Just teach. It will all be fine.

The problem is that while you sit back and do nothing, your competition is advertising about how good they are, with slickly produced ads that beckon parents to give that shiny new charter school a chance.

Consider this ad for Odyssey Charter Schools:

Slick, modern, and tempting. Ads like that are done, for Charter schools, by marketing companies, or branding companies. One should ask, why is it okay for charters, who use public funds, to create marketing, but not for public school districts?

One study in Pennsylvania found that charter schools spend on average, $48 per student per year on advertising.
IDEA Public Charter Schools are in the El Paso area.

They are not shy about advertising:

Planning:
Another way is to create a series of strategic moves that by themselves seem disparate, but when put together make a cohesive plan to bring students back into the district.

The first step is, of course, to have a strong academic program, and to provide services to students that might not be found elsewhere. In El Paso for instance, the EPISD is addressing that issue by bringing in several programs that are unique to the area: International Baccalaureate schools at the middle school level, as well as becoming the largest New Tech High district in the US. The district is also becoming a 1:1 in all secondary campuses, among other things, like having a dual language program at all 54 elementary campuses across the city.

Open Enrollment:
Another step is to allow students from anywhere to come to your district. This is called “open enrollment” and it allows students from anywhere to enroll. Surprisingly enough, in Texas, public schools default to a “closed enrollment” model where students only living in the boundaries of the school district are allowed to attend.

A district has to declare itself “Open Enrollment” to allow other students to attend. Once you have good academic programs in place (that is the most difficult and takes the most time by the way), and you have declared yourself an “open enrollment” district, the students will just start piling into your schools right?

Wrong.

Like any business, you need to advertise. You can have the best product in the world, but if no one knows about it, no one will buy it.

You no doubt have been in a business that has great “word of mouth;” that mystical advertising method where people tell their friends who tell their friends who tell their friends about it. That is a great strategy at first, but after a few months, that business, if it relied solely on people telling their friends how wonderful it is, probably is on financial ropes and is headed for disaster.

They have to advertise some other way, otherwise they will fail. The “build it and they will come” mentality for business and now public schools only works in the movies with ghost baseball players and Kevin Costner.

An article in Forbes Magazine stated exactly why school districts need to market themselves:

“For generations, the thought of a school district hiring outreach help was anathema. Especially during the Baby Boom, educators had one constituency to court: parents. With half the homes in many communities having school age children, the need to fund public schools was obvious. Now, however, it’s not unusual for many districts to have fewer than 30% of households with children in the public schools. Losing their core parental constituency has forced school boards and administrators to embrace social media and move beyond traditional newsletters to explain their value to the broader community.”

That is exactly why school districts need to market themselves. What is the point of creating modern learning spaces, having great academic programs, and not telling your larger community or people looking to move into your area about it?

And telling your community is more than just sending out tweets and posting on Facebook. It is an entire broad based strategy that encompasses every type of media available; something marketing firms do.

The educational landscape has changed. And with it, the need to tell the community about their services has changed as well. School districts can no longer afford to be in a passive role when it comes to marketing their wares.

The idea of marketing education is not a new one. Public universities have been marketing their programs for years and no-one bats an eye.

Here is an example of my local university marketing it’s athletic programs:

 

Even publicly funded community colleges, market themselves because they know that they are in competition with tech and trade schools as well as with universities:

As an article in Public School Review stated last year:

“Ultimately, the trend towards public school marketing signals an important recognition on the part of schools that students and their families have choices, and they are increasingly able to have a say in their own educations. In a prescient 1999 report on privatization in education, the MacKinac Center for Public Policy noted that “in an era of expanded educational freedom, families must now be treated as customers with choices and not as captive audiences.”

Families must be treated as customers with choices and not as captive audiences.

Public schools, if they plan on growing, or even just staying where they are, must advertise and market themselves, like any business. Advertising requires marketing, and good marketing requires hiring people or companies with those exact set of skills. School district are mostly made up of educators, not marketers.

Large scale marketing is a separate set of skills that most educators or school districts, simply do not have.

The irony of all this, especially on the blog that I mentioned earlier, is that those same angry anti-everything commenters will be the first to say something to the effect that “school districts need to be run like businesses.” When a school district does EXACTLY that, the same angry readers get even angrier.

Marketing is no longer a “nice to have.” It is a “need to have” for public school districts. To think otherwise would be a fool’s errand.

***

Author: Tim Holt is an educator and writer, with over 33 years experience in education and opines on education-related topics here and on his own award-winning blog: HoltThink. He values your feedback. Feel free to leave a comment.  Read his previous columns here.

YISD’s Dr. Xavier De La Torre Elected As Chair of Texas Urban Council of Superintendents

Dr. Xavier De La Torre, Superintendent of Schools at the Ysleta Independent School District, was unanimously elected to serve as the 2019 chair of the Texas Urban Council of Superintendents, a network of the state’s largest urban school districts that meets regularly to discuss governance, leadership, management, governmental relations, and other topics relevant to traditional urban public schools.

“It is my honor and a pleasure to provide leadership to the largest school districts in Texas as the 2019 Chair of the Texas Urban Council of Superintendents,” De La Torre said. “In my new role as Chair, I am eager to lead the discussion on the areas of greatest opportunity and challenge in our school districts, and give El Paso and Ysleta ISD a much-needed voice at both the state and national levels.”

The Council, which was founded nearly 50 years ago, consists of nine school districts in Corpus Christi, El Paso, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Austin, and Fort Worth areas that represent nearly 800,000 students and 50,000 teachers.

Because these districts serve large urban communities, their schools share similar interests and challenges, such as second-language learning; increasing college access; and school turnaround.

These urban districts also routinely serve larger percentages of children living in poverty who are less likely to have parents with high levels of education, and are constantly balancing different barriers.

De La Torre, who joined YISD in 2014, has a 30-year history of dedicated service to large, diverse student populations, and a career chronicled by recognized achievements and awards, including an El Pasoan of the Year nomination (2016); two Broad Prize Award finalist nominations (2009, 2010); and the Edgar L. Morphet Award for the nation’s most outstanding dissertation aimed at the educational issues (2005).

During De La Torre’s tenure at YISD, the district’s most vulnerable student groups have seen increased achievement under the state of Texas’ STAAR/EOC accountability system. English Language Learners and Special Education students have routinely outperformed their peers in the region and across the state, while student achievement on the state’s End of Course exams has led the region and the state when considering comparable school districts and demographics.

Coupled with the introduction of El Paso’s first single-gender, college preparatory school for girls; two new Early College High School programs; new STEM programs; and the passage of a $430.5 million facilities bond, De La Torre has emerged as a regional authority in El Paso relative to the American public school system.

“Dr. De La Torre embodies the type of leader we need guiding our school systems,” said Richard Castro, board chairman of the Council on Regional Economic Expansion and Educational Development (CREEED) and CEO of Castro Enterprises. “His desire and willingness to provide creative and innovative education experiences will help push the needle forward for El Paso’s educational attainment.”

Valle Verde ECHS Science Bowl Team Wins, Headed to DC In April

Ysleta ISD’s Valle Verde Early College High School National Science Bowl team will be headed to the national championship once again.

The VVECHS Spartans won the El Paso Regional NSB competition, defeating Northwest ECHS 42-0 in the finals.  This marks the fifth year in a row for the Spartans, as they are now headed to the national competition in Washington D.C. in April.

Coached by James Brown, the team members are Samuel Juardo, Angelica Amaya, Juan Vasquez, Jacob Lane, Daniel Lara, and coordinators Gabriel Mendoza and Jesusita Ibarra.

The National Science Bowl, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, is a national academic competition that tests students’ knowledge in all areas of science and math.

Teams from diverse backgrounds face-off in a fast-paced question and answer format, testing on a range of science disciplines including biology, chemistry, Earth science, physics, energy, and math.

Each year, the National Science Bowl attracts over 17,000 students nationwide, challenging them to expand their knowledge of science and mathematics and their understanding of global energy and environmental challenges.

Eastwood High Senior Awarded YISD’s President’s Award for February

The Ysleta ISD Board of Trustees honored Eastwood High School senior Ryan Solis, who has devoted nearly 500 hours of his free time over the past four years to community and public service, with the February President’s Award.

Aside from participating in more than 20 extracurricular clubs, Ryan is an active part of the Greater El Paso Chamber of Commerce, where he served as an associate director and the youngest member of the Board of Governors for two terms. He is also a district office intern with State Senator Cesar Blanco in the Office of Texas House Minority Whip.

In addition, Ryan co-founded a community project called Safety in Cognizance, which seeks to combat human trafficking on the U.S.-Mexico border by working with international organizations. Through this project, Ryan has given presentations on safety and prevention that have impacted more than 1,200 students.

Ryan’s exceptional work has been honored nationwide with a Disney Dreamer Award – and last week, he accepted a community service award in Washington D.C. from the National Hispanic Heritage Foundation. Ryan’s efforts to improve the lives of all residents in the El Paso region are admirable, and YISD is proud to honor his passion and dedication to public service.

The President’s Award is given by the President of the Board of Trustees to a YISD student who has demonstrated exceptional and/or innovative, out-of-the-ordinary service to others, particularly those within the YISD community. This award will be presented to the selected recipient a maximum of once per month during the regularly scheduled meeting of the YISD Board of Trustees.

Eligible YISD students must be nominated for the award by a school principal, assistant principal, or Trustee; and must be in good academic and disciplinary standing.

Ramona Elementary Students Get Hands-On Experience on Robotic Surgery

Fifth and sixth grade students at Ysleta ISD’s Ramona Elementary School got the unique chance to be part of a surgical team.

Recently, students participated in a medical session on surgical procedures and careers that make up a surgical team. The students learned about techniques such as open surgery, robotic surgery and laparoscopic surgery.

Using hands-on simulator, students had the opportunity to become familiar with some of the tools used, practice with tools.  The students learned the responsibility of each member on a surgical team and the care and dedication that it takes from each of them to function as a team.

Students also discovered what services other members of the surgical team provides a patient whether dealing with a minor situation or a life-saving procedure.

Ramona Elementary School is a Dual Language campus, with kinder through sixth grade students experiencing STEM challenges throughout the year utilizing the engineering design process.

Herald-Post Best of 2017: Year in Pictures

It’s another year in the history books, as 2017 fades and 2018 dawns.

From the streets of downtown, to the football fields of the schools around town, to the houses of worship throughout the Borderland and locations in between, our photographers were busy documenting our story.

Below are the best shots from our team of photographers: Chief Photographer Andres Acosta, Steven Cottingham and Kevin Venegas.

Ysleta ISD Honors Student for Successes in School, Disaster Relief Work

Valle Verde Early College High School junior Paloma Michel was honored by the Ysleta ISD Board of Trustees, as they bestowed the President’s Award during their December board meeting.

Paloma participates in organizations that include the STEM Club, National Honor Society, and the Garden Club, where she works with other students throughout the year to beautify the school’s exterior with sunflowers and other vegetation.

But Paloma’s most significant contribution this year extends far beyond the walls of Valle Verde. When a devastating earthquake hit Mexico in September, Paloma’s heart went out to the victims because she spent much of her childhood in Mexico. When she saw a Facebook post about a love note discovered among the ruins by a firefighter, it became her call to action.

She organized a school drive to collect items for quake survivors, and was able to gather six truckloads of donated items that included personal hygiene products, diapers, first-aid kits, canned goods, and water.

Via a news release, YISD Officials said, “We commend Paloma for her initiative, generosity, and spirit for community service.”

The President’s Award is given by the President of the Board of Trustees to a YISD student who has demonstrated exceptional and/or innovative, out-of-the-ordinary service to others, particularly those within the YISD community. This award will be presented to the selected recipient a maximum of once per month during the regularly scheduled meeting of the YISD Board of Trustees.

Eligible YISD students must be nominated for the award by a school principal, assistant principal, or Trustee; and must be in good academic and disciplinary standing.

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