Beginning September 12, students at four YISD schools will receive fresh fruits and vegetables during the school day on Tuesdays and Thursdays through May 31, 2018.
Participating campuses are Capistrano, Cedar Grove, Constance Hulbert, and North Loop elementary schools.
These campuses were awarded more than $89,000 by the Texas Department of Agriculture to purchase fruits and vegetables for the program.
Officials with the district say the program is an effort to promote healthier eating habits and improve overall student well-being.
The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program is under the umbrella of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It is administered by the Food and Nutrition Service, which provides free fresh fruits and vegetables to students in participating elementary schools.
YISD applied for the program in the spring, and four campuses were selected.
In the span of a day, Ysleta Independent School District (YISD) students and employees raised more than $31,000 to aid flood victims in southeast Texas through its “Jeans for Texans” fundraiser, with the proceeds being donated to the American Red Cross during Wednesday’s regular meeting of the YISD Board of Trustees.
“It has been extremely humbling, gratifying, and heartwarming to see our YISD community come together so quickly to aid in vital recovery efforts for our fellow Texans,” YISD Superintendent Dr. Xavier De La Torre said. “Not only did employees and students help YISD raise a substantial amount of money for the storm victims, but many went a step further and adopted Houston-area schools devastated by the torrential rains.”
“Once again, we are reminded that by working collectively, there is much we can accomplish to help those in need,” De La Torre added.
To participate in “Jeans for Texans,” YISD employees and students were asked to donate $5 per employee or $1 per student to wear jeans to work and school on Thursday, Aug. 31 – only three days after the 2017-18 school year began.
YISD’s jean-day fundraisers are among the most effective methods for raising money districtwide, routinely bringing in donations of more than $20,000. It has been used in the past to support those who have suffered devastating, tragic, or catastrophic losses.
However, the one-day “Jeans for Texans” fundraiser appears to be the most successful to date. Students and employees reached deep into their hearts and pockets to donate a total of $31,244.57 to the American Red Cross El Paso and Southern New Mexico chapter, which is helping provide shelter and supplies to Gulf Coast residents affected by Hurricane Harvey.
The check will be presented to Red Cross representatives at Wednesday’s board meeting, which takes place at 6 p.m. in the Ysleta Room at YISD Central Office, 9600 Sims Drive.
Tutoring, campus clean ups, working with non-profit organizations and other volunteering opportunities have added up to hundreds of thousands of hours donated by the Class of 2018 back to the community.
This year’s senior class is the first cohort required to complete 30 hours of community service per year or 120 hours for their four years of high school. The requirement began in fall 2014.
“EPISD believes that education is more than just about textbooks and laptops,” said Tim Holt, director of Innovation and Pilot programs. “It’s about teaching our students to give back to the community.”
Holt has been working on the community service project since its inception. He encourages students to look to their campuses for opportunities to volunteer and even consider reading or tutoring to students in their feeder pattern.
“Too often people stereotype teenagers as lazy, uncaring, and self centered,” Holt said. “By creating a district wide army of students that volunteer, we hope to break down some of those perceptions. Not only are we building a better citizen, we are creating a more empathetic student, one who will take the idea of giving back into their college years and beyond.”
Students also find the experience rewarding.
“Giving back to the community is very important in the development of a person,” said senior Irvin High School senior Alyssa Lomeli. “We as students, need to humble ourselves in order to help others.”
Lomeli plays an active role on campus, too. She’s StuCo treasurer, Community Service chair and senior class vice president.
“Volunteering teaches you to be compassionate, responsible and develop life skills that seniors will use later on in life,” she said.
EPISD has partnered with the United Way of El Paso to help students find volunteering opportunities, login hours and give campuses a place to list their volunteer needs. Students can set up an account with United Way on its volunteerelpaso.org website, which is also linked from the District’s Community Service page. Both pages are available for students to use to log hours.
“It is important for students to volunteer because it creates a sense of initiative, leadership, and engagement for our community,” said Brandon Guzman, community impact associate with United Way. “Volunteerism is based on the premise that we all have some time and talent to give, and that bringing people together, rather than working in isolation, strengthens and can achieve greater impact.”
More than 250 agencies are accessible through Volunteer El Paso with a wide range of opportunities for community service.
“This service is a free online source for students to create individual profiles and search for volunteer opportunities right here in our community,” said Brandon Guzman, community impact associate at United Way. “This service provides additional support for our students to help meet their volunteer service hours required for graduation, community support, and overall success.”
Opportunities include helping at local food banks, homeless shelters and providing administrative support, marketing and outreach for nonprofit organizations.
“We also have one-time specific events that students can volunteer with such as the McKelligon Canyon Green Up, which helps beautify our parks, and Project Bravo Paint-A-Thon, which helps our seniors and physically disabled by re-painting their homes,” Guzman said.
The service also gives EPISD campuses a place to post their volunteer opportunities on the volunteerelpaso.org website. Campus volunteer (VIPS) chairs can contact Guzman to set up an account to show campus-based volunteering opportunities for students such as mentoring, homework assistance and event help. United Way is working with the VIPS program to ensure volunteers are eligible to participate.
For more information, email Guzman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In a show of support and solidarity with the victims of widespread flooding in the southeast Texas area, the Ysleta Independent School District will hold a district-wide “Jeans for Texans” fundraiser on Thursday, August 31, to help raise funds for those suffering the devastation of Hurricane Harvey.
To participate in “Jeans for Texans,” YISD employees and students were asked to donate $5 per employee or $1 per student – in exchange, they will be allowed to wear jeans to work and school on Thursday.
All proceeds will be donated to the American Red Cross El Paso and Southern New Mexico chapter, which is helping provide shelter and supplies to Gulf Coast residents affected by Hurricane Harvey.
By and large, the YISD “jeans” fundraiser is one of the district’s most successful campaigns to raise money – it routinely brings in donations of more than $20,000 in a matter of days, and has been used in the past to support those who have suffered devastating, tragic, or catastrophic losses.
“YISD employees are second to none when it comes to helping those in need,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Xavier De La Torre. “It gives me great pride to see the kind of care, compassion, and generosity that is consistently demonstrated by our employees, students, and families.
“By working collectively with our stakeholders, as well as relief agencies such as the Red Cross, there is much we can accomplish to help our fellow Texans in need,” De La Torre said.
The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the public’s generosity to help perform its mission to help shelter, feed, and provide emotional support to disaster victims. It also supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood, teaches skills that save lives, provides international humanitarian aid, and supports military members and their families.
The Red Cross has a massive relief response underway in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. Those who would like to help people affected by Hurricane Harvey should visit redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS, or text the word HARVEY to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
High schools in the Ysleta Independent School District earned the most state distinctions among all El Paso school districts in connection with this spring’s testing results, according to figures released by the Texas Education Agency (TEA).
All YISD schools achieved the rating of “Met Standard” in 2017 state test results, along with 7,830 campuses across Texas, TEA officials said.
By earning the “Met Standard” rating, schools were eligible to receive “Distinction Designations” for academic achievement in English/reading, math, science, and/or social studies; or for placing in the top 25% for student progress, closing performance gaps, and postsecondary readiness.
Ysleta High School was one of only two comprehensive high schools in the El Paso region to earn distinction designations in all seven areas.
In addition, three high schools (Bel Air, Del Valle, and Riverside) each earned distinction designations in six areas, while Eastwood and Hanks high schools earned distinctions in five areas.
Overall, YISD high schools earned a combined 42 distinction designations. By comparison, El Paso ISD high schools received 38, and Socorro ISD high schools received 15.
Distinction designations are awarded to campuses based on achievement in performance indicators relative to a group of 40 campuses of similar type, size, and student demographics.
Overall, six YISD campuses won every Distinction Designation available for their school type.
Lancaster, Vista Hills, and Ysleta elementary schools earned the maximum six distinctions for primary grades, while Camino Real Middle School, Eastwood Knolls International School, and Ysleta High School won all seven distinctions available for secondary grades.
TEA officials said only about 400 schools across the state earned all distinction designations available to their school type based on 2017 state test results.
“Amazing work takes place in classrooms across our state every school day, but especially on these campuses where every possible distinction has been earned,” said TEA Commissioner of Education Mike Morath.
At the primary level, five YISD elementary schools earned five of six designations – they are Eastwood Heights, Glen Cove, North Star, Ramona, and Scotsdale. In addition, Eastwood Middle School earned distinctions in six of seven areas.
The Ysleta Independent School District Board of Trustees approved a 1.5-cent tax rate decrease for 2017 during its regular meeting Wednesday night.
The 2017 tax rate decrease of one and a half cents per hundred dollars of valuation, coupled with the additional homestead exemption will result in an average decrease in property taxes of $12 per year.
“This tax rate decrease for our community is another way we are fulfilling our promise to be good stewards of our citizens’ hard earned tax dollars, “ said YISD Superintendent of Schools Dr. Xavier De La Torre. “Every year, we strive to implement cost-effective strategies in our budgeting while still providing our nearly 42,000 students with a quality education.”
The 2017 tax rate of $1.46 per $100 of home valuation is a decrease from the $1.475 tax rate from 2016.
The tax rate reduction is a result of favorable market conditions for the January 2017 bond sale and additional state funding in the form of Existing Debt Allotment and Instructional Facilities Allotment.
YISD continues to be the only local school district that offers its homeowners an additional homestead exemption of 20 percent of total home value.
The Ysleta Independent School District (YISD) announced Monday the recent appointment of two middle school principals.
Alejandro “Alex” Armendariz, current Bel Air Middle School assistant principal, has been named principal of Valley View Middle School.
Armendariz began his professional career in 1999 as a science teacher at Hornedo Middle School, and has since worked as a support teacher and assistant principal.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from UTEP and a master’s degree in educational leadership from Sul Ross State University.
Sarah Venegas, current Title I instructional coordinator at the El Paso Independent School District, has been named principal of Eastwood Middle School.
Venegas began her 17-year career in education as a third-grade teacher at Helen Ball Elementary School.
Since that time, she has also worked as a middle-school English Language Arts and Reading (ELAR) facilitator, instructional coordinator, and assistant principal.
Venegas holds a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies and a master’s degree in educational leadership, both from UTEP.
For the second year in a row, high school football fans at the Ysleta Independent School District will be able to purchase 2017 season tickets that entitle them to reserved VIP seating at five home games, with priority being given to last year’s season ticketholders.
By purchasing season tickets, fans can enjoy watching home games from prime viewing areas not available to other ticketholders, such as the 50-yard line. In addition, season ticketholders sit in individual stadium seats featuring sturdy chair backs, rather than standard
Season tickets are $40 per person and will be sold to the public on a first-come, first-served basis. Due to staffing variations at each high school, ticket sales will begin on different dates at different campuses. The schedule is as follows:
Hanks, Eastwood, Parkland, Riverside, and Ysleta high schools:
2016 season ticketholders may purchase the same seats for 2017 beginning Monday, July 31. Tickets go on sale to the general public Tuesday, Aug. 8.
Bel Air and Del Valle high schools:
2016 season ticketholders may purchase the same seats for 2017 beginning Monday, Aug. 7. Tickets go on sale to the general public Tuesday, Aug. 15.
Tickets can only be purchased with cash through the business clerk at each high school on weekdays from 8 a.m. to noon, or 1 to 4 p.m. Tickets will not be sold Friday, Aug. 4, when YISD campuses are closed.
Season tickets are good only for home football games at the high school where the tickets were purchased.
Beginning Sept. 1, any reserved seats from unsold season tickets will be available for purchase on the Friday of each home game at a cost of $10 apiece.
For more information, call your high school or visit the district’s Athletics Department page.
The Young Women’s Leadership Academy will host a week-long summer camp for more than 300 incoming sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-grade students that’s designed to unite and prepare them for the 2017-18 school year.
The interactive camp includes energetic team-building exercises, introductions to the students’ upcoming academic classes, and group activities such as painting river rocks, creating friendship bracelets, exploring the Google Suite of apps, and conducting a fashion show of “dos and don’ts” for the school uniform.
Students will also be able to bring in school supplies for the year to their classrooms and receive school uniforms.
A Field Day of outdoor activities wraps up the camp on Friday.
What: Young Women’s Leadership Academy (YWLA) summer camp
When: Monday, July 31 through Friday, Aug. 4
Who: YWLA students in grades 6-8, teachers, administrators
Where: YWLA campus, 7615 Yuma Drive
The Ysleta Independent School District (YISD) announced Thursday morning the appointment of two new principals for Eastwood and Parkland high schools, which were approved by the Board of Trustees during its regular meeting Wednesday night.
Penelope Bankston, current principal at Valley View Middle School, has been named the new principal at Parkland High School following a comprehensive selection process that included 15 applicants.
Bankston began her professional career in 1994 as an elementary school bilingual teacher in Alpine, Texas. Since that time, she has served as a middle-school reading teacher, a high-school dyslexia teacher, high-school instructional specialist, a high-school assistant principal and principal of Valley View Middle School.
Bankston has spent the majority of her career – 18 of 23 years – in northeast El Paso. She holds a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies, a master’s degree in reading, and a master’s degree in educational administration, all from Sul Ross State University.
YISD officials say her knowledge of secondary curriculum, as well as her longtime experience working with the Northeast community, will play a pivotal role in leading Parkland High School toward continued academic success.
David Boatright, current principal at Eastwood Middle School, has been named the new principal of Eastwood High School following a thorough, comprehensive nationwide selection process that included 21 applicants.
Boatright began his career in education in 1991 as a physical education teacher at Irvin High School. Over the course of his career – 18 of which were spent in the Eastwood Learning Community – he also served as a world history teacher, world geography teacher, wrestling coach, Eastwood High School assistant principal, and Eastwood Middle School principal. Boatright holds a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology
from UTEP and a master’s degree in educational administration from Sul Ross State University.
The respect and success Boatright has earned in the Eastwood community, along with his awareness of Trooper traditions and knowledge of secondary curriculum, will continue to lead Eastwood High School toward higher levels of success, YISD officials said.
Bankston and Boatright’s new positions both take effect Monday, July 24.
The Ysleta Independent School District (YISD) announced on Monday the recent appointment of David Gonzalez as the principal of Ysleta Middle School, and Naomi Esparza as the new YISD Director of Academics for Middle Schools.
Gonzalez, a graduate of Riverside High School, began his career in education in 2003 as an English teacher at Parkland High School.
He went on to serve as an English teacher and student activities director at Riverside High School before working as an assistant principal in the Clint Independent School District (CISD).
He holds a bachelor’s degree in English and American literature from UTEP, and a master’s degree in education from Sul Ross University.
Gonzalez’s new job duties as Ysleta Middle School principal take effect Monday, July 17.
Esparza is a graduate of Hanks High School and a 26 year veteran in education with 13 years teaching experience and 13 years administrative experience. She began her career as an English teacher in Socorro ISD at Montwood High School then went on to teach English at Americas High School.
She later served as a middle school assistant principal at Col. John O. Ensor Middle School in SISD and as a high school assistant principal at Mountain View High School in Clint ISD. She returned to Col. John O. Ensor Middle School where served as principal. She holds a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree from UTEP.
Esparza’s new job duties as Director of Academics for Middle Schools take effect Monday, July 24.
Ysleta ISD announced Monday that Abigail Tarango, Director of Special Projects & Strategic Initiatives, was awarded a scholarship to attend an international education conference in Brazil.
Via a news release, officials with Ysleta ISD stated, “One of the most critical components in public education today is to increase the number of women in leadership roles. That’s why the Ysleta Independent School District is pleased to announce that Abigail Tarango, Director of Speical Projects & Strategic Initiatives is 1 of only 10 female educators nationwide to receive a scholarship by the School Superintendents Associationto attend the Women Leading Education (WLE) Across Continents International Conference July 22-26, 2017, at Rio de Janeiro State University in Duque de Caxias, Brazil.”
“On behalf of the faculty, staff, and students who make up our community at the Ysleta Independent School District, it will be an honor to take part in this extraordinary, global setting,” said Tarango “To exchange best practices and ideas with my fellow educators from all over the world is a opportunity that I will cherish and make the most of, and share with my colleagues in my home district. I thank AASA and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for making this possible.”
“Abigail Tarango is among the many exceptionally talented women principals, superintendents and other district administrators who are making a positive difference in the lives of our children,” said Daniel A. Domenech, executive director, AASA.
“We are proud of the female educators representing AASA at an event that is certain to generate rich conversations for the benefit of our schools and students. We are grateful to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for supporting this initiative.”
Themed “From Margins to Centers,” women educators from around the world will convene to address issues such as social justice, equity, and advancement in K-12 and higher education.
“Our primary goal is to elevate the status for all women who continue to make strides in educational leadership worldwide,” said Sharon Adams-Taylor, associate executive director, AASA, co-founder of the WLE and the network’s scholarship coordinator.
The Ysleta Independent School District will host three community meetings this coming week to discuss and gain input on important new construction projects as part of the 2015 Bond program.
All meetings are free and open to the public.
For more information, please contact Abigail Tarango, director of special projects and strategic initiatives, at 915-434- 0100.
The three meetings will be:
New Del Valle Middle/Mission Valley Elementary Combination School; 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 30, at the Valley View Middle School gymnasium, located at 8660 North Loop Drive.
New Thomas Manor Elementary School; 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 31, at the Thomas Manor Elementary School cafeteria (located at the former Cadwallader Elementary School) campus at 7988 Alameda Ave.
Eastwood High School; 6 p.m. Thursday, June 1, at the Eastwood High School cafeteria, located at 2430 McRae Blvd.
Pebble Hills Elementary School teacher Heather Holmes and Ysleta High School teacher Allen Haynes were named YISD’s top 2017-18 Elementary and Secondary Teachers of the Year, respectively, at a special gala Friday, May 5, at the Centennial Banquet & Conference Center at Fort Bliss.
In addition, Martin Olivas from YISD’s Service Center was named the 2017-18 Support Employee of the Year.
Holmes, a second-grade teacher at Pebble Hills Elementary School, holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin, a master’s degree from UTEP, and has taught pre-K and elementary school students for six years.
Growing up, Holmes said there were few opportunities and resources available to her, and it motivated her to become an educator.
“I believe every student can be successful in life,” she said. “My mission is to inspire and be a support system to students so they, too, can attend the college of their dreams and achieve their long-term goals.”
Other finalists for Elementary Teacher of the Year were: Karla Bazán (Del Valle ES), Jessica Fette (Cedar Grove ES), Bernadette Rey (Ysleta Pre-K Center), and Nancy Gonzalez-Uribe (Scotsdale ES).
Haynes, who holds a bachelor’s degree from Park University and a master’s degree from Fort Hays State University, says teaching is his passion.
He is the JROTC instructor at Ysleta High School, which he pursued after retiring from active duty in the U.S. Army and volunteering at Parkland HighSchool’s JROTC, with enthusiastic support from his daughter.
“My personal passion starts with teaching. I make it a daily objective to teach at least one thing to someone every day of my life,” Haynes said. “I also value lifelong learning, educational research, and physical fitness.”
Other finalists for Secondary Teacher of the Year were Laura Fabela (Valle Verde Early College HS), Nicholas Flood (Indian Ridge MS), Rebeca Montes (Young Women’s Leadership Academy), and Stephanie Bocanegra Morales (Bel Air HS).
Olivas, who began working 30 years ago at YISD as a custodian, is currently an equipment operator/roofer at the Service Center.
Aside from his job duties, Olivas volunteers every year for the student/parent Thanksgiving Luncheons at YISD campuses, where he helps serve, clean tables, andthrow away trash. He also donates gifts and winter jackets to YISD students in need each Christmas.
Other Support Employee of the Year finalists were: Karla Acosta (representing Bel Air MS); Melissa Pacheco (Young Women’s Leadership Academy); Armando Valdez (Eastwood HS); and Miguel Vasquez (Camino Real MS).
Holmes and Haynes will now go on to compete in the Teacher of the Year competition for Region 19. A list of all 2017-18 YISD campus Teachers of the Year and Support Employees of the Year can be found on the district’s main website.