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Home | Tag Archives: Ysleta ISD (page 4)

Tag Archives: Ysleta ISD

Ysleta ISD Teacher of the Year among six finalists for Texas Teacher of the Year

Michelle Sandoval, an eighth-grade math teacher at Parkland Middle School in the Ysleta Independent School District (YISD), is among the top six finalists – three for the elementary level and three for the secondary level – for 2019-2020 Texas Teacher of the Year, state officials confirmed Tuesday.

“I feel so humbled and blessed and empowered to represent The District and the entire region because all of the other teachers I’ve met during this process have been amazing,” said Sandoval, adding that she believes transparency is “everything” when it comes to success in the classroom.

“When you are a real human in front of your students, you earn respect,” she said.

Sandoval, who began her 12th year in education when the YISD school year began Monday, won 2019-2020 Secondary Teacher of the Year honors at the campus, district, and regional levels before being named a state finalist Tuesday by the Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA).

“Every day in public schools across Texas, teachers perform miracles as they inspire children for lifelong learning,” said Kevin Brown, executive director of TASA, which has coordinated the Texas Teacher of the Year program since 2011.

“These six finalists are among the best in a profession that is perhaps the most important in our nation, both for individual children and for society,” Brown said. “They are national heroes and deserve this tremendous honor. They have distinguished themselves among thousands of outstanding, dedicated teachers across our state and nation have who have answered the call to serve others.”

Earlier this month, a panel of judges with representatives of Texas teacher associations and last year’s finalists for Texas Teacher of the Year selected this year’s six finalists from among 40 regional winners.

Sandoval is vying for the 2019-2020 Texas Secondary Teacher of the Year award against two others: Kami Dodds of Brady ISD and Jennifer Garner of River Road ISD.

The six finalists will be interviewed in Austin in October before two state-level winners — Elementary Teacher of the Year and Secondary Teacher of the Year — are announced at an October 25 awards ceremony.

At this ceremony, only one winner will be designated to represent Texas in the National Teacher of the Year competition.

Over the years, five Ysleta ISD teachers have gone on to win Texas Teacher of the Year – more than any other district in the state.

The Texas Teacher of the Year program has honored excellence in classroom education since 1969. The program annually recognizes and rewards teachers who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and excellence in teaching.

Ysleta ISD educator wins Region 19 Secondary Teacher of the Year

Michelle Sandoval, an eighth-grade math teacher at Parkland Middle School in the Ysleta Independent School District (YISD), has been named the top Secondary Teacher of the Year in the El Paso region for 2019-2020.

Sandoval will now compete against the best educators in the state for Texas Teacher of the Year honors.

“This has been such a humbling experience, but I am excited and thrilled to represent my city, my campus, and my community,” Sandoval said, adding that she was dazzled by the caliber of her fellow regional Secondary Teacher of the Year competitors.

“Once you hear the stories of all the finalists – why they teach, and why they’re so passionate about what they do – you realize the bar has been set so high,” she said. “So when they called my name as the winner, it was so incredible! It’s a memory I am never going to forget.”

Sandoval, who begins her 12th year in education when YISD classes get under way Aug. 26, says her enthusiasm for education began as a first-grader, when she stepped inside the “energetic and loving” classroom of a teacher whom she still considers the “ultimate example of an educator and true role model.”

“Her impact on my life was grand,” said Sandoval, who holds a bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from UTEP. “I knew I wanted to become a teacher who would touch the lives of so many young minds.”

Sandoval now joins other regional winners from across the state to compete for Texas Teacher of the Year. Six finalists will be named in the coming weeks, and state winners will be announced later this fall.

“We are honored and excited to have Ms. Sandoval represent our district and Region 19 at the Texas Teacher of the Year competition,” said YISD Superintendent of Schools Dr. Xavier De La Torre. “She is an exceptional teacher with a true passion for public education, and we are proud to have her on our championship team at Ysleta ISD.”

Sandoval was among 21 El Paso-area educators who qualified for the 2019-2020 Elementary & Secondary Teacher of the Year competition organized and sponsored by the Education Service Center (ESC)-Region 19 and TFCU.

Winners were announced at a special ceremony Thursday. All regional finalists won Teacher of the Year honors at their respective school districts earlier this spring.

Region 19 encompasses 12 school districts in El Paso and Hudspeth counties, as well as several charter schools.

Ysleta ISD Trustees vote to place $425m bond measure on November ballot

The Ysleta Independent School District Board of Trustees voted Monday night to approve a $425 million bond referendum to be included in the November 2019 election.

The proposed bond projects were recommended by the Facilities Advisory Committee (FAC), a special task force made up of about 80 community members from across all seven YISD Learning Communities.

The FAC included parents, community and business leaders, representatives from civic organizations, and elected officials.

“During a robust and interactive six-week process, the FAC carefully considered numerous projects and the physical condition of YISD schools, also known as the Facility Condition Index (FCI).” YISD officials shared via a news release.

“Overall, campus FCI scores ranged from 10.9 (best) to 69.9 (worst). The average FCI score of schools selected by the FAC for the proposed 2019 bond measure is 54.”

This bond package aims to fund various campus improvement projects, including safety and security enhancements; new school construction; school renovations and modernizations; and other improvements.

As part of the proposed bond, the most significant projects include:

Safety and security enhancements
New Hanks area middle school
New Riverside area elementary school
New Scotsdale Elementary School
Renovation of Dolphin Terrace Elementary School
Modernization of Bel Air High School
Districtwide refrigerated air conversion & life-cycle Improvements

Election Day for El Paso County is Nov. 5, 2019.

YISD wins 13 national awards for outstanding graphics, videos, publications

Ysleta ISD officials announced Monday that the district’s Public Relations Department won 13 national awards from the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA).

With the baker’s dozen of wins – more than any other local district – awards spanned categories from outstanding graphic design, videos, publications, and marketing/recruitment during the 2018-2019 school year, including a distinctive 3D bus wrap that features the district’s talented fine arts students.

Every year, NSPRA hands out various honors as part of its Publications and Digital Media awards program, which highlights outstanding school public relations work performed during the 2018-19 academic year.

The highest is the Award of Excellence, followed by the Award of Merit, and Honorable Mention.

Ysleta ISD won the top award – Award of Excellence – for three entries:

2018 YISD Annual Report
2018 Fine Arts Bus Wrap
YISD Homestead Exemption Informational video, which explains the 20% homestead exemption available only to YISD homeowners in a quick and easy-to-understand way

YISD also earned four Awards of Merit for four entries:

Thomas Manor Elementary School Information Campaign
2018 Nativity Scene Restoration video, where Bel Air and Del Valle high school students repainted and refreshed the Nativity Scene at the downtown Jacinto Plaza for Christmas
Taking a Stand Against the Tornillo Tent City video, which documented an effort by local education leaders to support family unification for immigrant children
2018-19 YISD Elementary Teacher of the Year: Carol Love video

The District also won Honorable Mention awards for six entries:

Class of 2018 Superintendent Commencement Speech
Digital Marketing for the new Thomas Manor Elementary School
“Start … Grow … Succeed … at The District!” Recruitment Campaign
2018 Suicide Prevention Campaign video for the local “915 Cares” coalition
2018 YISD Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon video
Six-Time Texas Girls Wrestling Champions: The Lady Knights video

Award winners will be featured at the 2019 NSPRA National Seminar, which takes place from July 14-17 in Washington D.C.

YISD’s De La Torre begins term as Chair of Texas Urban Council of Superintendents

Dr. Xavier De La Torre, Superintendent of Schools at the Ysleta Independent School District, took on a new statewide leadership role Sunday as the 2019 Chair of the Texas Urban Council (TUC) of Superintendents.

The TUC is a network of the state’s largest urban school districts that advocate for traditional urban public schools.

“I am humbled by the privilege to serve as the 2019 Chair of the Texas Urban Council of Superintendents, and I look forward to leading the discussion on the areas of greatest opportunity and challenge in our school districts,” Dr. De La Torre said.

“At the same time, I look forward to giving El Paso and the Ysleta Independent School District a much-needed voice at both the state and national levels.”

TUC, which was founded nearly 50 years ago, consists of nine member districts: Aldine ISD, Austin ISD, Corpus Christi ISD, Dallas ISD, El Paso ISD, Fort Worth ISD, Houston ISD, San Antonio ISD, and Ysleta ISD.

It represents nearly 800,000 students and 50,000 teachers.

As the districts all serve large urban communities, their schools share similar interests and challenges, such as second-language learning, increasing college access, and school turnaround. They also routinely serve larger percentages of children living in poverty, who are less likely to have parents with high levels of education, and constantly balance various barriers.

For more information about the TUC, click here.

Ysleta ISD names new principals, Central Office directors

In preparation for the upcoming 2019-2020 academic year, the Ysleta Independent School District (YISD) on Thursday announced the appointment of new principals and Central Office directors. All positions become effective July 1.

The new campus principals are as follows:

·    Norma Sierra, current principal at LeBarron Park Elementary School, will fill the vacant principal position at Mesa Vista Elementary School. Sierra, who has spent 29 years at YISD, has worked as teacher, curriculum specialist, curriculum coordinator, assistant principal, and principal. She holds a bachelor’s degree in education and a master’s degree, both from the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP).

·    Maritza Balderrama, current principal at North Star Elementary School, is the new principal at LeBarron Park Elementary School. An educator for 25 years at YISD, Balderrama has served as a teacher, assistant principal, and principal. She holds a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from UTEP and a master’s degree from New Mexico State University.

·    Stephanie Lahrman, current Parkland Elementary School assistant principal, is the new principal at North Star Elementary School. Lahrman began her professional career in 2003, and has served as a teacher’s assistant, teacher, instructional coach and assistant principal. Lahrman holds a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from Charter Oak State College and a master’s degree in educational leadership from Concordia University.

·    Juan Guzman, current principal at Tierra Del Sol Elementary School, will fill the vacant principal position at Scotsdale Elementary School. Guzman, whose career in education spans 19 years at YISD, has also served as an elementary schoolteacher, assistant principal, and principal. He holds a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies and a master’s degree, both from UTEP.

·    Michelle Romero, an elementary school principal at Socorro ISD, has been appointed the new principal at Tierra Del Sol Elementary School. Romero is a 24-year veteran in education and began her career at YISD as a teacher at Loma Terrace Elementary School. Since then, she has served as an instructional coach, assistant principal, and principal. Romero holds a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies and a master’s degree in English, both from UTEP.

·    Irene Youngs, current Lancaster Elementary School assistant principal, has been appointed principal at Pebble Hills Elementary School following the departure of Stacy Vasquez. Youngs, who has worked in education for 26 years, has taught all levels of elementary content – including bilingual education – and served as assistant principal for nine years.  She holds a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies and a master’s degree in educational administration, both from UTEP.

·    Amy Bejarano-Alarcon is the new principal at Del Valle Middle School following the resignation of Ida Perales. An educator for 13 years at YISD, Alarcon began her career as a science teacher at Riverside High School before moving to her current position as assistant principal at Ysleta High School. She holds a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree from UTEP, and a master’s degree in education from Sul Ross State University.

·    Javier Salgado, current principal at Parkland Middle School, is the new principal at Desert View Middle School following the retirement of Mary Ann Olivas. Salgado, a 23-year veteran educator at YISD, previously served as a teaching assistant, teacher, instructional specialist, assistant principal, and principal. He holds a bachelor’s degree, and a master’s degree in history, both from UTEP.

·    Dr. Angela Reyna, current Ysleta Middle School assistant principal, is the new principal of Parkland Middle School. An educator for 16 years at YISD, Dr. Reyna has worked as a teacher, middle-school assistant principal, and high-school assistant principal. She holds a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies, and a master’s degree and doctorate degree in educational administration, all from UTEP.

·    Jacob Valtierra, current Eastwood High School assistant principal, is the new principal at Riverside Middle School following the resignation of Jonathan Valdez. Valtierra, whose career spans 12 years at YISD, previously worked as a teacher, as well as assistant principal at both middle and high schools. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Stanford University and a master’s degree in business administration from UTEP.

In addition, YISD has appointed the following three new directors at Central Office:

·    Sylvia Belmonte, current school nurse at Lancaster Elementary School, is the new Director of Student Health Services following the retirement of Carey Raymond-Holden. Belmonte began her career in 2005 at University Medical Center (formerly Thomason Hospital) before transitioning into school nursing, and has also served as a clinical nursing instructor at UTEP. Belmonte holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing, and a master’s degree in nursing and nursing education, both from UTEP.

·    Dr. Blanca Lopez has been appointed Director of Secondary Personnel after serving in that position on an interim basis in the 2018-19 school year. Dr. Lopez is a 26-year veteran in education, serving throughout El Paso as a teacher, mentor, coordinator, and recruiter. She holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree – both from UTEP – and a doctorate degree in curriculum from New Mexico State University.

·    Shelley Smallwood, current Instructional Technology Initiatives coordinator, has been appointed the new Director of Innovative Learning following the retirement of Micha Villarreal. Smallwood, who began her professional career as a teacher in 1991, has served in a variety of roles at YISD, including instructional technology specialist and Project Get Ahead director. Smallwood holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in curriculum and technology, both from UTEP.

Video+Story: Ysleta ISD approves budget for 2019-2020; Includes employee raises

On Tuesday night, the Ysleta Independent School District (YISD) Board of Trustees has approved a $475.5 million budget for the 2019-2020 school year, which includes employee pay raises ranging from 5% to 6.5%, and a one-time lump-sum payment of $500 per full-time employee.

“On behalf of all employees at the Ysleta Independent School District, I’d like to offer our sincere thanks and appreciation to our dedicated Board of Trustees for providing these generous wage increases,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Xavier De La Torre said.

“We deeply value the passion, loyalty, and commitment of our employees, and we are proud to provide these pay raises as we continue striving toward greater heights of innovation and excellence in our programs and schools.”

The budget was approved Tuesday night at the school board’s regular meeting, and includes a $23.7 million employee compensation plan that calls for the following pay raises from the mid-point:

6.5% for full-time hourly employees (also classified as paraprofessionals or ancillary);
5% for teachers, nurses, and librarians with 0-5 years of service;
5.5% for teachers, nurses, and librarians with 6-18 years of service;
6% for teachers, nurses, and librarians with 19-30 years of service; and
5% for administration.

“Over the past five years, Ysleta ISD has steadfastly secured optimal revenue and delivered a balanced budget, while also providing annual pay raises and sustaining favorable health and welfare benefits,” YISD officials added via a news release.

“This year’s compensation plan is no different. Aside from the pay raises and one-time lump-sum payment, YISD will also contribute an additional $762 per employee to the district health plan. As a result, YISD employees will not see increases next year in their contributions toward their current health plans, officials said.”

In addition, full-time employees who meet certain requirements will receive a $500 one-time lump-sum payment on their last regular paycheck in November 2019.

This is the third year that YISD has offered the lump-sum payment to its employees.

Ysleta ISD announces new full-day Pre-K starting in August

On Tuesday, officials with the Ysleta Independent School District (YISD) announced that the district is now offering a new full-day pre-kindergarten program free of charge at select campuses for qualified El Paso-area families for the 2019-2020 academic year that begins in August.

“Ysleta ISD is now the first among the city’s three largest public school districts to offer the new full-day pre-K program, thanks to the passage of House Bill 3, which was signed into law last week and provides state funding for full-day pre-K programs for families who meet certain criteria,” district officials shared.

Since HB3 was signed into law, YISD officials have worked promptly and diligently to make the full-day program available at select campuses to families this upcoming school year. As a result, registration packets are now available at each participating campus.

Families in El Paso County can qualify for full-day pre-K if their student is four-years-old on or before Sepember 1, and meets one of the following criteria:

  • Unable to speak and comprehend the English language;
  • Educationally disadvantaged, which means a student eligible to participate in the national free or reduced-price lunch program;
  • Is homeless, as defined by 42 United States Code (U.S.C.) Section 1143a, regardless of the residence of the child, of either parent of the child, or of the child’s guardian or other person having lawful control of the child;
  • Is the child of an active duty member of the armed forces of the United States, including the state military forces or a reserve component of the armed forces, who is ordered to active duty by proper authority;
  • Is the child of a member of the armed forces of the United States, including the state military forces or a reserve component of the armed forces, who was injured or killed while serving on active duty;
  • Is in, or have been in, the conservatorship of the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) following an adversary hearing held as provided by Section 262.201, Family Code; or
  • Is the child of a person eligible for the Star of Texas Award as a peace officer, firefighter, or emergency medical first responder.

Due to the limited space, spots in full-day pre-K classes will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Campuses with full-day pre-K classes are as follows: the Parkland and Ysleta Pre-K centers; and Constance Hulbert, East Point, Eastwood Heights, Edgemere, Glen Cove, LeBarron Park, Loma Terrace, Pasodale, Pebble Hills, Scotsdale, Tierra Del Sol, and Vista Hills elementary schools.

For more information regarding Ysleta ISD’s pre-K program and the registration process, visit the website.

13 Ysleta ISD schools named to Texas Honor Roll

Officials with the Ysleta Independent School District announced that 13 of the district’s schools have been named to the 2018-2019 Texas Honor Roll, the most of any school district in the El Paso region.

“We are tremendously proud of our Honor Roll campuses, which continuously demonstrate the kind of innovative instruction and leadership that is needed to ensure student success,” said Ysleta ISD Superintendent Dr. Xavier De La Torre. “This recognition once again proves that our bold, challenging, and ambitious approach to public education is not only yielding high academic achievement, but setting a gold standard for the entire El Paso region.”

The program, presented by Educational Results Partnership (ERP), is part of a national effort to identify higher-performing schools and districts that are improving student outcomes.

The Honor Roll campuses include: Alicia R. Chacon International School, Eastwood Heights Elementary School, Eastwood Knolls International School, Edgemere Elementary School, Glen Cove Elementary School, Mission Valley Elementary School, North Star Elementary School, Ramona Elementary School, REL Washington Elementary School, Scotsdale Elementary School, Valle Verde Early College High School, Vista Hills Elementary School, and Young Women’s Leadership Academy.

ERP, a nonprofit organization that applies data science to help improve student outcomes and career readiness, developed the 2018-2019 Honor Roll, and maintains the nation’s largest database on student achievement and utilizes this data to identify higher-performing schools and districts.

Schools that receive the ERP Honor Roll distinction have demonstrated consistent high levels of student academic achievement, improvement in achievement levels over time, and a reduction in achievement gaps among student populations. For high schools, the ERP Honor Roll recognition also includes measures of college readiness.

In Texas, the ERP Honor Roll program is supported by numerous businesses and organizations, including the Texas Business Leadership Council, American Automobile Association (AAA) Texas, Macy’s, Wells Fargo, Chevron Corporation, and Enterprise Holdings Foundation.

A total of 855 public schools in Texas were recognized.

Rio Bravo Middle student earns invitation to Washington for “doing the write thing”

Ysleta ISD officials announced that Rio Bravo Middle School eighth-grader Hennessy Mendoza has been selected to be one of two ambassadors to represent El Paso at the National Campaign to Stop Violence in June 2019.

Her essay was chosen regionally to win the “Do the Write Thing Challenge,” an educational program that gives middle-school students an opportunity to speak against violence.

The “Do the Write Thing Challenge” Program (DtWT) is an education program designed to give middle school students an opportunity to communicate in classroom discussions in written form, on the topic of bullying or violence and how it impacts their daily lives.

In addition to exposing the causes and impact of bullying and violence, students are asked to identify what they will do to address these problems.

Hennessy was presented with her award by Professor & Director of Mother-Daughter & Son Program at UTEP Dr. Josefina Tinajero; YISD Director of Academics – Middle Schools Naomi Esparza; Rio Bravo MS Principal Dr. Sandra Calzada; and Regional Coordinator of DtWT Maria Silva.

As part of the ceremony, YISD officials added, ” We would also like to also congratulate Hennessy Mendoza’s mother and her teacher Amy Navarette for a job well done.”

YISD announces 2019 summer school food service

The 2019 Summer Food Service Program at the Ysleta Independent School District (YISD) will provide free breakfast and lunch meals to children ages 1-18 from Monday through Thursday during the summer break at select campuses.

Breakfast is typically served from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., and lunch from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.  Most campuses are closed on Fridays; on these days, meals will not be served at those schools.

There are exceptions; please review the list below for program dates, locations, and meal times at participating campuses:

May 28 to June 27
Valle Verde Early College High School (breakfast from 8:15 to 9:15 a.m.; lunch from 12:15 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.)

June 10 to June 27
Eastwood MS, Indian Ridge MS, Parkland MS, Riverside MS, Rio Bravo MS, North Loop ES, Del Valle ES, Desertaire ES, Thomas Manor ES, Ysleta MS, Tierra Del Sol ES, Parkland ES, Ysleta Pre K (lunch from 10:40 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.) , Ysleta ES, East Point ES, Eastwood Heights ES, Riverside HS, Plato, Tejas, Eastwood HS

June 10 to July 11 (closed July 4th)
Parkland HS, Hanks HS, Bel Air HS, Del Valle HS

June 10 to July 18 (closed July 4th)
Ysleta HS

Aug. 5 to Aug. 8
Young Women’s Leadership Academy (breakfast 8:30 to 9:30 a.m.; lunch 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.)

For more information, please contact YISD Child Nutrition Services Verification Clerk Laura Lara at 915-434-0130 or Child Nutrition Services Director Alan R. Crawford at 915-434-0125.

U.S. News & World Report: Valle Verde ECHS top-ranked school in EP

According to a recent report on America’s best high schools, Valle Verde Early College High School is El Paso’s top-ranked high school campus among both public and charter schools, and the Ysleta Independent School District (YISD) has the best-ranked campuses overall when compared to similar districts in the area.

“We have set up a successful blueprint and instructional framework that works, thanks in no small part to the persistence, dedication, and commitment of our teachers within the four corners of the classroom,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Xavier De La Torre.

“Fortune favors the bold – and we consistently strive to provide compelling, bold, and innovative instruction and programs that prepare our students for the global economy that awaits them upon graduation,” Dr. De La Torre added.

Every spring, U.S. News & World Report releases its Best High Schools list, which numerically ranks high schools nationally and within each state based on six areas:

College Readiness
Math & Reading Proficiency
Math & Reading Performance
Underserved Student Performance
College Curriculum Breadth
Graduation Rate

The 2019 rankings show Ysleta ISD far surpasses similar-sized districts locally when it comes to preparing students to demonstrate proficiency in basic skills, as well as readiness for college-level work.

Ranked 55th in Texas and 333rd in the nation, Valle Verde ECHS outscored the Silva Health Magnet, Harmony Science Academy, Davinci School for Science and The Arts, and all other Early College High Schools in the El Paso area.

Among local comprehensive high schools, four YISD campuses ranked in the top 10: Eastwood (#2 in area, #211 in Texas, and #2,469 in the nation); Del Valle (#3, #287, and #3,375); Bel Air (#5, #319, and #3,889); and Hanks (#7, #351, and #4,388).

Rounding out the 20 top-ranked high schools in the El Paso area were Ysleta (#11 in area, #437 in Texas, and #5,459 in the nation); Parkland (#17, #517, and #6,347); and Riverside (#20, #581, and #7,109).

This year’s list ranked 17,425 U.S. high schools, up significantly from 2,700 schools in 2018. The goal is to provide a clear, unbiased picture of how well public schools serve all of their students in preparing them to demonstrate proficiency in basic skills, as well as readiness for college-level work, according to the publication.

By significantly increasing the number of campuses being ranked on the Best High Schools list in 2019, U.S. News & World Report officials said all communities can now see which schools in their area “are successfully serving their students – including historically underserved populations.”

Click here for more information on the rankings.

Ysleta ISD reveals 2019-2020 Support Employee, Teachers of the Year

Ramona Elementary School teacher Fernando Arriaga and Parkland Middle School teacher Michelle Marie Sandoval were named YISD’s top 2019-2020 Elementary and Secondary Teachers of the Year, respectively, at a special event Friday, May 3, at the Centennial Banquet and Conference Center at Fort Bliss.

In addition, Linda Bustillos from South Loop Elementary School was named the 2019-2020 Support Employee of the Year.

Arriaga, a P.E. and health teacher at Ramona Elementary School, has managed to successfully combine his love of martial arts, physical education, and teaching during his 11 years at YISD and 25 years as a martial-arts instructor.

Arriaga credits his success to an inspirational Army veteran named Isaac Perea, who taught him martial arts as a child and young man. “He is an influential man who lives every day as if it’s his last, and I developed a passion for teaching through his influence,” he said.
“I love my job, and I am passionate about my profession,” said Arriaga, who holds a bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology from the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP).

Other finalists for Elementary Teacher of the Year were: Veronica Aguirre (Dolphin Terrace ES), Gaylynn Caraveo (East Point ES), Laura Fonte (Glen Cove ES), and Lisa Martinez-Medina (Pebble Hills ES).

Sandoval, a math teacher at Parkland Middle School, has worked as a teacher for the past 10 years. Her enthusiasm for education has not waned since the day she stepped inside the “energetic and loving” classroom of her first-grade teacher, whom she describes as “ultimate example of an educator and true role model that I still aspire to be.

“Her impact on my life was grand,” said Sandoval, who holds a bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from UTEP. “I knew I wanted to become a teacher who would touch the lives of so many young minds.”

Other finalists for Secondary Teacher of the Year were George Padilla (Bel Air HS), Casey Rangel (J.M. Hanks HS), Jasmine Estrada (Riverside HS), and Jessica Pussman (Desert View MS).

Bustillos, who has worked for the district for six years, is currently a Special Education aide at South Loop Elementary School. She routinely goes above and beyond in her duties at YISD – including creating new learning stations at her campus this year.

Teachers are able to use all four stations (exercise movement, writing, reflection, and cool-down) to enhance student learning.

Other Support Employee of the Year finalists were: Barbara Licon (Cesar Chavez Academy); Lorraine Baeza (J.M. Hanks HS); Bernadette Ross (Parkland ES); and Ida Ruiz (Central Office).

Arriaga and Sandoval will now go on to compete in the Teacher of the Year competition for Region 19.

A list of all 2019-2020 YISD campus Teachers of the Year and Support Employees of the Year can be found on below.

Campus Teacher of the Year Support Employee of the Year                
Bel Air MS David A. Stott Sandra Lechuga
Del Valle MS None Steven A. Soto
Desert View MS Jessica Pussman Rafael Flores
Eastwood MS LuAnn Baker Allen Cesar R. Chacon
Indian Ridge MS Rachael Douglas Norma Garcia
Parkland MS Michelle Marie Sandoval Yvette Ramos
Rio Bravo MS Arlene Lucero Julian A. Covarrubias
Riverside MS Melissa Garcia Juan A. Gamboa
Young Women’s Leadership Michelle Vela Maria Golston
Ysleta MS Karen Nelson Maria Castaneda
Bel Air HS George Padilla David Nieto
Cesar Chavez Academy Felipe Sarabia Barbara Licon
Del Valle HS Marisol Manriquez Rivera Sylvia Muniz
Eastwood HS Ashley Nicole Oropeza Elizabeth Arellano
J. M. Hanks HS Casey A. Rangel Lorraine Baeza
Parkland HS Daniel R. Valdez Naomi Castro
Plato Academy Shirley Anne Talley Norma Flores
Riverside HS Jasmine Estrada Ana M. Holguin
Tejas School of Choice Ida Jean Tovar Natalie N. Morales
Valle Verde ECHS Ruben Amador Veronica Bailon
Ysleta HS Amelia Garcia Maria E. Corona
YCLC NA Ana M. Ortega


Campus                 Teacher of the Year Support Employee of the Year                
Alicia R. Chacon Int’l Evangelina G. Rodriguez Jennifer Guzman
Ascarate ES Cesar Jacquez Leticia Couder
Capistrano ES Cristina Luna Jennifer Marines
Cedar Grove ES Irma Irene Hurtado Jovita Jaquez
Constance Hulbert ES Virginia Beltran-Aldaco Olga Chavez
Del Norte Heights ES Stephanie Beltran Alejandro Garcia
Del Valle ES Rebecca Rivera Estela Valenzuela
Desertaire ES Andrea V. Caraballo Maria E. Barragan
Dolphin Terrace ES Veronica Aguirre Iris Calzadillas
East Point ES Gaylynn Caraveo Joan A. Samaniego
Eastwood Heights ES Liliana V. Gomez Belinda Mojica
Edgemere ES Angelica Ingles-Vasquez Maritza Loya
Eastwood Knolls Int’l Brett Allen Heimer Karen Flores
Glen Cove ES Laura Fonte Ida L. White
Hacienda Heights ES Susana Lara Teresita D. Alvarez
Lancaster ES Rosario G. Diaz Eleonora Arrieta
LeBarron Park ES Lorena Alvarez Badillo Nancy Valenzuela
Loma Terrace ES Carmen Arevalo Reed Luis O. Serna
Marian Manor ES Martha Carrillo Denise Rodriguez
Mesa Vista ES Jacqueline Angerstein Arturo Ceniceros
Mission Valley ES Julio Chaparro Beatriz Marquez
North Loop ES Yvette Gutierrez Juan A. Flores
North Star ES Maria N. Avalos Natalie Delgado
Parkland ES Teresa Rodriguez Bernadette Ross
Parkland Pre-K Cecilia Torres Guadalupe Vega
Pasodale ES Diana Angeles Sandra Johnson
Pebble Hills ES Lisa Martinez-Medina Veronica Pompa
Presa ES Victor Salazar Lorenzo Elias
Ramona ES Fernando Arriaga Diana Rodriguez
REL Washington ES Jenny Marquez Maria Ortega
Sageland ES Araceli Delgado Minerva Wright
Scotsdale ES Debbie Vasquez Eunice Torres
South Loop ES Michel L. Acosta Diaz Linda Bustillos
Thomas Manor ES Aracely Baca Yvonne Loera
Tierra Del Sol ES Candace Lee Gonzalez Enrique Payan
Vista Hills ES Cynthia Frederick Maria D. Estrada
Ysleta ES Diane Emiliano Rosa I. Samaniego
Ysleta Pre-K Norma A. Rios Chante C. Santibanez
Central Office NA Ida Ruiz
Central Services NA Lourdes Villa

YISD honors Kindergartner battling illness, as she continues acts of kindness, community service

Earlier this week, the Ysleta ISD Board of Trustees honored a young student fighting a big battle with the heart of a superhero with the YISD President’s Award: Eastwood Heights Elementary School kindergartner Zoey Spinks.

Despite her tender age, Zoey already has years of experience raising awareness and money to fight cystic fibrosis – a rare, genetic disease that she has been diagnosed with.

While most adults might feel defeated or helpless after receiving this kind of diagnosis, Zoey’s realization of her illness has only inspired her to make the world a better place.

She is an active spokesperson for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation created by her mother to support El Pasoans with the disease.

Locally, Zoey helps promote the nationwide Great Strides Walk, the largest fundraising event for cystic fibrosis. She has recorded public service announcements about her disease and medications, made public presentations, conducted media interviews, and distributed flyers to raise awareness of the Great Strides Walk.

On the day of the event, Zoey not only rolls up her sleeves to help with set-up, but she participates with her team called, “Zipping for Zoey,” which has raised more than $30,000 in the past four years!

In addition, Zoey goes the extra mile to help others in need, she’s gone so far as to try and donate her allowance to a homeless woman she once saw in a wheelchair.

Instead, Zoey and her mom decided to create care packages with toiletries, socks, granola bars, and peanut-butter crackers, which Zoey hands out to the homeless at stoplights.

She also performs community service through her Girl Scout troop; and she recently won the Extraordinary Eagle Award at Eastwood Heights for demonstrating kindness in all she does.

Though she is still very young, Zoey has already proven that she is more than capable of making a profound difference in other people’s lives.

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.

Riverside High earns regional awards in Environmental Engineering, Applied Mathematics

The month of April has been good to Riverside High School, as a team of students and a Ranger program each earned regional awards in the fields of environmental engineering and applied mathematics, one of which resulted in a $3,000 cash prize from the Prudential Foundation.


s a team of students and a Ranger program each earned regional awards in the fields of environmental engineering and applied mathematics

The most recent recognition took place Saturday, April 20, during the City of El Paso Environmental Services Department’s annual Earth Day celebration in downtown El Paso.

During this event, officials hosted the first-ever Environment Excellence Recognition Program (EERP) awards ceremony, a legacy program initiated by state Sen. Jose Rodriguez’s Senate District 29 Environment Advisory Committee.

Among the winners was Riverside High School’s Solar Technology program, which won the EERP award in the category of Education.

“The goal of the EERP is to identify, articulate and strengthen a regional culture of conservation, preservation and best practices for the environment,” said state Sen. Rodríguez. “The program will create an archive of leading projects, practices, and actors in the field, hopefully inspiring us all to do more in our areas of influence.”

The Riverside Solar Technology program, which began in 2017, is the first public high school in the nation to offer the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) associate photovoltaic certification.

With the NABCEP certification, students are able to enter the workforce anywhere in North America in the solar energy industry upon graduating from high school.

Earlier this month, a team of five Riverside High School students won first place at the Prudential Math Challenge, where high-school teams from the regions of Brewster, Culberson, El Paso, Hudspeth, Jeff Davis, and Presidio counties competed to solve a real-world problem using applied mathematics.

The Prudential Math Challenge forms part of the 2019 STEAMx competitions hosted by STTE (Success Through Technology Education) Foundation, Workforce Solutions Borderplex, and The Prudential Foundation.

During the competition, participating teams were sequestered for 12 hours and challenged to research and solve a real-world scenario, then present their findings in a research paper.

In order to win, the Riverside students excelled in two separate 12-hour rounds of competition, then addressed an additional problem with findings and another research paper.

By winning the challenge, the Riverside team comprised of Francisco Ontiveros, Ashley De La Rosa, Raul Ramos, Edna Rodriguez, and Karemy Cruz won a $3,000 prize from the Prudential Foundation.

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