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Home | Tag Archives: yisd (page 2)

Tag Archives: yisd

YISD’s De La Torre testifies in Austin on need for increased school funding

Ysleta ISD Superintendent of Schools Dr. Xavier De La Torre, in his role as chair-elect of the Texas Urban Council of Superintendents (TUC), testified before a state education committee in Austin to share the importance and benefit of increasing state funding toward the areas of early childhood education and English language learners.

Dr. De La Torre’s testimony addressed the Commission’s recommendations and possible financial impact in a general sense, as they have not been specifically incorporated into any filed bills.

However, the recommendations most likely to have an impact at Ysleta ISD are those regarding increased state funding for dual language programs, at-risk students, third-grade reading performance, and full-day pre-K programs.

Dr. De La Torre testified about the need to direct more resources to early education, as well as students with challenging economic circumstances at home who need to learn English to the level needed for rigorous academic instruction and achievement.

District officials shared that “Ysleta ISD has focused existing resources into these areas and seen overwhelmingly positive academic results, particularly among its English learners, who are outperforming their peers in the region and state on annual STAAR tests and End Of Course exams. This demonstrates the merits of the School Finance Commission’s recommendations if the Legislature opts to increase overall school funding.”

The Commission’s recommendations also call for increasing the per-student “basic allotment” and eliminating certain other categories of funding.

While the financial impact for Ysleta ISD ultimately depends on the basic allotment amount adopted by the Legislature, the Commission’s intent to increase funding in the target areas is very positive for Ysleta ISD and other TUC districts.

The TUC represents the nine largest urban school districts in Texas, which collectively educate 20% of all students in Texas who are economically disadvantaged or English Learners.

Dr. De La Torre was invited to the February 12th session to present comments to the House Public Education Committee of the Texas Legislature regarding recent recommendations by the School Finance Commission, a group tasked with analyzing education funding in Texas.

In December, the Commission approved dozens of recommendations that include increasing school funding by more than $1 billion to help improve student performance and the way the state distributes school funding, among others.

Bel Air High Senior Honored with YISD President’s Award for January

The Ysleta ISD Board of Trustees honored Bel Air High School senior Leonard Biagas with the January President’s Award.

Leonard is a self-proclaimed “life enthusiast” who keeps everyone on campus smiling on a daily basis.

Recently, however, he proved himself to be more of a “miracle worker” when he successfully managed to unite the Bel Air Highlanders with one of their staunchest rivals: the Eastwood High School Troopers.

Leonard, who is part of the EMT program in Bel Air’s Health Professions Magnet, took it upon himself to plan a community service project to benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association, which funds research and supports those with neuromuscular diseases.

To help with this project, he recruited an unlikely ally: Eastwood High School. Together, students and staff from both schools collected nearly $1,000 for MDA during one the season’s most anticipated football games: Bel Air vs. Eastwood, or the famous “Battle of the Helmet.”

Among the donors were firefighters from area stations, who not only attended the Battle of the Helmet, but intensified the competition with a friendly game of tug-of-war during halftime!

Leonard’s commitment to service touches every aspect of his life. He is an athletic trainer, the Class of 2019 secretary, Student Council president, serves on the Superintendent’s Student Advisory Committee, and volunteers at Del Sol and University Medical Center hospitals.

YISD Officials add, “He is the epitome of maturity and leadership. His service project this fall not only benefited those affected by neuromuscular diseases, but brought together two rival schools on their most competitive night for a very worthy cause…He is a wonderful example of the Service Excellence we encourage and highlight at The District.”

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.

Supper Meal Program Comes to Bel Air, Del Valle Middle Schools

The Ysleta Independent School District (YISD) will introduce its “supper program” for the first time at Bel Air and Del Valle middle schools beginning January 28, primarily to provide free and nutritious meals to students who remain on campus for extracurricular activities after classes have been dismissed.

The program, which is funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Child and Adult Care Food Program, is already in effect at six high schools, Eastwood Middle School, and the Young Women’s Leadership Academy.

It provides supper meals on school days – generally at about 4 p.m. – that are free of charge to children 18 years and younger, and available for purchase by adults.

Given the large numbers of older students who stay on campus after school for sports, theater, band, or other clubs, the supper program gives students access to a nutritional meal in the cafeteria before rehearsal or practice.

Beginning Monday, January 28, the supper program will be offered at the following 10 schools:

Bel Air High School
Del Valle High School
Hanks High School
Parkland High School
Riverside High School
Ysleta High School
Bel Air Middle School
Del Valle Middle School
Eastwood Middle School
Young Women’s Leadership Academy

Officials say this program is part of YISD’s overall efforts to “increase student access to healthy meals, which includes free breakfast for all students at every YISD campus throughout the year.”

The supper program was first piloted two years ago at Ysleta High School, and expanded to include four schools in September 2017, and eight schools in September 2018.

YISD Announces Prioritization for Furloughed Federal Employees to Serve as Substitute Teachers

In an effort to provide assistance to federal workers who are impacted by the government shutdown, Ysleta ISD officials announced that they will prioritize applications for currently furloughed workers to serve as substitute teachers.

“These furloughed workers, some of whom are parents in our district, deserve to have an opportunity to provide for their families during the government shutdown,” said Superintendent Xavier De La Torre. “Our students will benefit from their professionalism, experience, and dedication to our country by having them serve as substitute teachers while negotiations between the President and Congressional leaders continue.”

In an , the Ysleta Independent School District has

Affected federal employees must complete and submit an online employment application at Candidates must meet the following criteria to serve as substitute teachers:

  • A minimum of 60 credit hours from an accredited college and/or university;
  • Command of the English language;
  • Ability to instruct students and manage their behavior;
  • Strong organizational, communication and interpersonal skills.

Employment with the Ysleta Independent School District is contingent on passing a criminal background check and availability to work as stated in their contract with their current employer.

If selected as a substitute teacher, furloughed workers will be given priority for placement at the schools on an as-needed basis. Substitute teachers earn $85 per day if they have 60 college credit hours, and $100 per day if they possess a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree.

For more information, contact the Ysleta Independent School District Human Resource Department at 915-434-0407.

Students, Parents Enjoy Night of ‘Dancing with Ramona’

Recently Ramona Elementary School’s Physical Education Department presented the 11th Annual ‘Dancing with Ramona.’  Students competed during their P.E. classes and within their respective grade level.

Music included several dance genres including country line dancing, hip-hop, Christmas line dancing, country two-step, cumbias, and salsa.

The community event served as a fundraiser to support all students by providing equipment and materials needed for gymnastics, wrestling, and other school sports programs.

Parents also enjoyed watching their child dance with their partner and treat them with courtesy and respect.

In addition, the event served to unite the families and get them involved in their child’s education by promoting quality time with their child.

The event was judged by their Partners in Education, El Paso Community College and Wells Fargo Bank.

Video+Story: Del Valle High Wins $10k in Powerade Contest

Thanks to a trio of Conquistadores, Del Valle High School’s athletics programs are among several schools nationwide to be awarded cash by sportsdrink brand Powerade.

Del Valle High School digital media students created the award-winning video for the “Power Your School” contest sponsored by Powerade.

Ranked #16 in the nationwide contest, the Del Valle athletic program will now receive $10,000.

According to YISD officials, Powerade launched the contest last summer to help student athletes by awarding a total of $1 million to high school athletic programs across the country.

The “Power Your School” video essay detailed their schools’ needs. Contest entries were judged on school need, creativity, and quality of submission.

The video was produced by Del Valle students Eileen Matamoros, Roberto Adame, and Jose Villalobos. Their video was the only winner in Ysleta ISD.

After the win was announced, the students thanked Coach Armendariz, Coach Marrufo, Coach Perales, and Coach Sanchez for their support in completing the project.

UTEP’s Bus Tour of YISD Provides Valuable Insights

The University of Texas at El Paso’s Clifton Tanabe, Ph.D., dean of the College of Education, came to UTEP in July 2018 with a mission to enhance the impact of the college and its graduates among the regional school districts and the surrounding community. He took a big step in that effort just last month.

Tanabe and a cohort of 20 college staff and faculty members toured six Ysleta Independent School District (YISD) campuses to observe, listen and learn more about the district, its employees, and the students they serve. Tanabe said it is important for area educators to work together because of the “closed loop” where the University teaches 80 percent of the region’s students, including the majority of the region’s teachers who prepare future UTEP students.

His objective is to start conversations among elementary, secondary and higher education peers that could lead to a greater understanding of the region’s needs, which will lead to directed research, better teacher preparation and superior education outcomes throughout the borderland and beyond.

“We need to experience what happens in the schools and we need to recognize it in our work,” Tanabe said the next day. “We want to understand the real issues they face so we can work with our PreK-12 partners to find real solutions. We want to find the collaborative sweet spot where the districts and college can work together in ways that benefit both as well as the community.”

Tanabe called the bus tour a great first step. He said the discussions with district personnel at the schools, their central offices and aboard the district’s yellow school buses “frank and illuminating.” The topics included curriculum, student learning environments and human resources.

He wants to absorb the general and unique issues each faces and then, with the help of his district colleagues, tailor courses and research to answer those needs and enrich the college’s teacher preparation program. He plans to schedule similar tours with some of the region’s other school districts during the spring 2019 semester.

Tanabe said he would meet with the UTEP tour participants the week of Dec. 10, 2018, to discuss their observations and ideas they might want to integrate into their curriculum. He mentioned being impressed with YISD’s sophisticated use of data to create individual student learning programs. He wants to investigate how to incorporate that concept into today’s teacher preparation curriculum.

The college leader said he plans to invite some YISD administrators to UTEP in February 2019 to talk about possible research partnerships.

These types of collaborations are critical, said Abigail Tarango, YISD director of special projects and strategic initiatives. She said that it is vital for institutions of higher education, especially those that prepare future educators and administrators, to understand the issues that PreK-12 teachers and administrators face every day.

“When research and practice truly influence policy, we all succeed,” Tarango said.

Back to School

The UTEP educators split into two teams for the tours. Tanabe’s group visited Ramona Elementary School, Bel Air High School and the Young Women’s Leadership Academy (YWLA). The other UTEP team stopped at Ysleta Elementary School, Ysleta High School and the Eastwood Knolls International School. Members of both teams said they witnessed students involved in a lot of project-based/group-based work that was hands-on and outcome-focused.

YWLA Principal Malinda Villalobos, who earned her M.Ed. in educational administration from UTEP in the late 1990s, was excited about the potential partnerships between her district and her alma mater. She said such collaborations would bridge and align the needs of school districts with the college.

Villalobos welcomed the University contingent to her Lower Valley school and invited the educators into the school’s library for a brief PowerPoint presentation about the campus, which is part of a public-private national network of all-girl college preparatory schools. The curriculum’s focus is science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics, along with leadership and wellness skills. It opened in 2016 and currently enrolls 390 girls from around the county in grades 6 to 9. The school eventually will go up to the 12th grade. After the presentation, she led them on visits to a sixth-grade math class and a seventh-grade language arts class.

“I think this (bus tour) was ingenious,” Villalobos said. “We work in each other’s back yards. Both sides need to tap into each other’s needs.”

Touching Base

Beverly Argus-Calvo, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Educational Psychology and Special Services, said she participated in the tour to get a broader view of what happens on a district campus. She was especially interested in what the schools expected from their new teachers.

Argus-Calvo, who also is the college’s associate dean of graduate studies, said she was encouraged by the excitement of the teachers and the level of collaboration they demonstrated. She said it was important that today’s students who want to be teachers understand the levels of teamwork involved as professionals.

“(Collaboration) is what we do as teachers,” said UTEP alumna Victoria Chavez, who earned her bachelor’s degree in 2017 in interdisciplinary studies with a concentration in mathematics grades 4-8. She teaches 6th grade pre-advanced placement math at YWLA.

Chavez, who greeted one of her former professors with a big hug, said her 18 months as a teacher has given her a few ideas of how UTEP could enhance its teacher preparation programs in the areas of lesson plans, communication with parents of students, and a focus on teamwork. She hoped to share that message with her classroom guests.

Tanabe said he welcomed that feedback, adding that another goal of the tour was to visit UTEP graduates who serve as campus administrators, teachers, counselors and diagnosticians. He mentioned that he met Miner alumni from the 1970s through the 2010s.

“They are part of our extended family and we wanted to touch base with them,” he said.

Author: Daniel Perez – UTEP Communications

Kappa Alpha Psi Donates $2500 to YISD’s Plato Academy

Earlier this month, members of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity visited Plato Academy to award a $2,500 donation to support the educational needs at the campus.

“We sincerely thank Kappa Alpha Psi for their generous donation. The funds will be utilized to purchase basic school supplies for the students including pens, pencils, and notebook paper.” said Michael Martinez, principal at Plato Academy.

“As of today, Plato Academy has 21 students complete the requirements for graduation since the beginning of the school year.”

The Southwestern Province of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity made the donation possible with funds collected at their annual leadership conference. The conference focuses on training and continuing education for campus life and beyond.

The organization is comprised of undergraduates and alumni from Mississippi, Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and New Mexico.

Plato Academy provides educational opportunities for students who have dropped out of traditional high schools, as well as those who are working to gain credits lost and gives them the chance to earn a high school diploma through a self-paced educational setting.

Riverside Senior Honored With YISD President’s Award

The Ysleta ISD Board of Trustees honored Riverside High School senior Mariana Ramirez with the November President’s Award.

Mariana has demonstrated great leadership and service among her peers and the El Paso community. YISD officials add, “Mariana is the type of student who puts her values into practice for the betterment of others.”

As a JROTC cadet, Mariana has earned more than 300 community service hours by volunteering for charitable organizations that include the Ronald McDonald House; United Blood Services; and the Armed Forces YMCA.

In October, however, Mariana took it upon herself to organize the first-ever Community Breast Cancer Awareness Walk at Shawver Park, which successfully drew about 100 participants to support the fighters, admire the survivors, honor the taken, and encourage survivors to never give up hope.

Aside from her outstanding community service, Mariana has been a stellar JROTC cadet and student; She is not only Ysleta ISD’s highest-ranking JROTC Senior Cadet, but she is ranked in the top 10% of her graduating class, and she routinely offers to tutor students who are struggling academically.

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.

East Point Elementary School Counselors Honored at State Conference

Two East Point Elementary School counselors were recognized with a 2018 Lone Star State School Counselor Association Silver Award at the organization’s annual conference in Frisco, Texas.

Counselors Adriana Arenas and Maria McNulty received the notification in early October and will embark on the next level, the LSSSCA Gold Award.

In 2016, The Lone Star State School Counselor Association (LSSSCA) developed a progressive awards system that includes three levels: Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards.

Each level is met with increased levels of rigor designed to elevate school counselor programs to national recognition through The American School Counselor Association (ASCA) Recognized ASCA Model Program (RAMP) awards.

Schools receiving the LSSSCA Bronze, Silver or Gold award demonstrated outstanding comprehensive counseling programs that were data-driven, focused on goal completion and aligned to the ASCA National Model.

The LSSSCA Award System evaluates school counseling programs in 12 areas.  Each application packet was judged according to a rubric that is aligned to the national RAMP award.

According to their website, the LSSSCA mission is “to empower school counselors with the knowledge and skills in order to promote professionalism and ethical practices by providing leadership, advocacy, and professional development.”

Story in Many Pics: Hanks Downs Ysleta 44-20

The Hanks Knights traveled south to take on the Ysleta Indians at Hutchins Stadium Friday night.

Our very own Steven Cottingham was there and we bring you his view of the Knight’s 44-20 win over the Indians in this ‘Story in Many Pics.’

Ysleta ISD Awards Parkland’s Deion Hankins President’s Award

The Ysleta ISD Board of Trustees honored Parkland High School running back and senior Deion Hankins with the October President’s Award.

Deion has not only proven himself as a dynamic athlete on the football field, but a true leader among his peers on campus.

In September, he broke a 14-year city record to become El Paso’s All-Time leading rusher.  With a few games still left in the season, Deion has racked up 6,125 career rushing yards, making him one of only 104 players in Texas state history to go over the 6,000 mark.

His career stats at Parkland High School are just as impressive, with 64 rushing touchdowns, and 563 yards receiving with 4 receiving touchdowns.

But Deion’s outstanding athleticism is just one part of what makes him a standout student.

On campus, he is known for being a humble, kind, and unselfish teammate and student. He has far exceeded the minimum number of 80 community service hours needed to graduate, mostly by volunteering at McCombs Baptist Church.

Photo courtesy YISD

Every summer, he helps run the church’s Vacation Bible School, and works with children on Wednesday nights.

He continues his ministry on campus with peers through two extracurricular clubs – the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Youth For Christ – and at speaking events throughout the city.

Aside from all of this, Deion is also at the top of his academic game. He is currently ranked in the top 10 of his class while taking both Advanced Placement and dual-credit classes.

YISD officials add, “All told, Deion is a wonderful example of the hard work, dedication, and service excellence that we value at The District, and we are extremely proud to call him one of our own.”

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.

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.

Story in Many Pics: Ysleta Blasts Past Bel Air 57-27

The Ysleta Indians headed north Friday night, landing in Big Red country to take on the Bel Air Highlanders.

The undefeated Indians played with determination, bolstered by an undefeated record, and while the Highlanders put up a good fight, the Tribe was too much, downing them 57-27.

Our very own Steven Cottingham was there and brings you his view of the battle in this “Story in Many Pics.”

After Making Finals in Midland, Bel Air’s ‘Big Red Pride Band’ Sets Sights on Cali

Last weekend, the Bel Air band traveled to Midland, Texas to compete at the Bands of America West Texas regional championships.

The competition was a two-part contest with a preliminary round featuring 20 bands. The top 10 bands then advanced to the finals round.

The Big Red Pride Band distinguished itself by advancing to the finals round, and ended up placing 9th overall. What made the band’s accomplishment so great was the fact that they did this without performing their entire show, fielding only about three-quarters of their production ” Pillars of Life.”

Band director Manny Talamantes explained that he wanted the band to compete even at this early date in order to receive feedback from the judges to help improve the band’s overall performance.

The Highlanders performed first in the preliminary round, scoring a 64.1 for their early-morning performance. In the finals round they made an impressive improvement and posted a 67.45 score, which was the largest score bump at the contest.

Bel Air was the only band from El Paso competing in this particular contest. The band will travel one more time  to compete in the Bands of America Super Regional in Southern California on November 3.

Directors for the band include Manny Talamantes, Benjamin Perez, Luis Ibarra, Derek Andrade, and Melina Banuelos. Drum majors for the Highlander band include Belanna Castillo, Angel Ramos, and Jacob Leos.


Author – Lorraine Kubala

For all things band and musical, visit Lorraine’s Facebook page: Musical Notes – The Blog

Soccer/Volleyball 728
shark 728×90
Bordertown Undergroun Show 728
STEP 728
Utep Football Generic 728
Amy’s Ambassadorship