April 26, 2011

Opportunity to Change Your Mind

As a courtesy, BISD employees who have been accepted for the Early Notification of Resignation plan will have until Thursday, April 28, 2011 at 5:00 pm to rescind their resignation/retirement letter. For more information, contact Susan Fox, Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources, at sfox@bisd.us or 698-0210.

April 25, 2011

BISD Sponsors Summer Feeding

Summer may mean a vacation from classes for many students but it does not have to mean a vacation from healthy school meals. Brownsville ISD strongly supports initiatives that provide our students with the opportunity to grow and become healthy, well-educated adults. Therefore, as in years past, BISD will sponsor the Summer Food Service Program and provide breakfasts and lunches to students at school sites and other locations around Brownville.

School meals are prepared and served by Food & Nutrition Service (FNS) staff who have undergone extensive training in food safety and sanitation as set forth by the Texas Department of State Health Services, the City of Brownsville Health Department, and the Cameron County Health and Human Services Department.

All menus are planned by registered dietitians and meet strict dietary guidelines for calories, total fat, saturated fat, calcium, iron, and vitamins A and C. Students have an opportunity to choose between a hot or cold breakfast and will also receive a hot lunch daily.

All children, 18 years of age and younger, are eligible and welcome to participate in both the breakfast and lunch programs. Participation is encouraged to ensure students receive the vital nourishment necessary to help them achieve academic excellence and have energy for their daily activities.

Visit the BISD homepage frequently for updated information on Summer Feeding Program locations and meal service schedules as they become available.

April 21, 2011

Energy Savings Pay Off

The BISD Maintenance Department has announced the first 11 winners of the school district’s Energy Smart Contest which includes $17,102.86 in cash awards. In November 2010, BISD campuses began participating in a competition to significantly reduce electricity consumption. Schools were able to compete against themselves by comparing their 2008-2009 benchmark averages to their 2010-2011 figures. The high school, middle school and elementary school with the highest reduction in electricity consumption for a given month will each receive recognition plaques and cash awards in the amount of ½
of their energy savings to be evenly divided into their student and employee motivational accounts. New BISD schools with no energy use history are not eligible to participate. The BISD Energy Smart Contest is part of the district’s overall Energy Management Plan which was approved by the Board of Trustees on January 19, 2010.

BISD Energy Smart Schools

November Awards
Lopez High School - $225.70
Vela Middle School - $1,254.47
Martin Elementary School - $1,979.78

December Awards
High School – No Winner
Stell Middle School - $388.94
Martin Elementary School - $2,122.68

January Awards
Hanna High School - $2,379.91
Cummings Middle School - $2,045.60
Longoria Elementary School - $1,131.01

February Awards
Pace High School - $2,864.21
Stillman Middle School - $1,784.20
Putegnat Elementary School - $926.35

April 20, 2011

Payday on Thursday

BISD monthly employees will be paid on Thursday, April 21, 2011. This was the original payday before revisions were made to the academic calendar which eliminated the Monday, April 25 holiday due to TAKS testing. Administration made the decision to pay employees prior to the Easter break. Have a nice holiday.

MS Choir Shine

Hundreds of Rio Grande Valley students competed for a coveted spot on the prestigious Region 28 Middle School Choir. The competition was held on Saturday, April 16 at the Donna ISD Performing Arts Center. A total of 212 BISD students from all 11 middle schools, 19 more than last year, qualified for the regional choir. Click here to see the individual BISD campus results.

April 15, 2011

Update on Early Notification of Resignation

As of Monday, April 18, a total of 208 BISD employees have submitted applications to participate in the Early Notification of Resignation plan. Trustees approved the resolution at the Board Meeting held on April 5, 2011. Of that total, 137 are teachers, counselors, nurses, librarians, and speech pathologists; 12 are administrators and special assignment employees; and 59 are classified personnel. Interested employees must contact the BISD Human Resources Department and submit all required paperwork no later than Monday, April 25, 2011 at 5:00 PM. Some restrictions do apply.

BISD Bands Excel at Region 28

BISD bands set another all time record at the 2011 Region 28 High School Band UIL Concert and Sight–Reading Contest held on April 12-14 at the UTB Arts Center. Brownsville ISD bands earned more 1st division ratings than ever before. Every BISD high school top band received a UIL sweepstakes trophy and straight 1st division ranking. Of the BISD high school bands that competed, all 12 received UIL awards, 10 earned sweepstakes trophies, and 4 improved their ratings over last year. BISD’s strong band program has raised the bar another notch for future bands. Congratulations to the band students, directors and parents. Click here to see the results.

Comptroller Notifying Texans

The Texas Comptroller is notifying a large number of Texans, including many served by the Texas Teacher Retirement System, that their personal information may have been inadvertently disclosed to the public on an agency computer. A toll free phone number 1-855-474-2065 has been established for individuals to call and see if their personal information was compromised and if they will be receiving a notification letter. Click here to obtain more information.

April 14, 2011

BISD Students Score at VASE

Five BISD high school students won top Gold Seal Awards at the State Visual Arts Scholastic Event (VASE) held on April 8 and 9 in League City, Texas. The number of state qualifiers was cut in half this year, but BISD students still increased their total of Gold Seal Awards from 3 last year to 5 this year, a new BISD and Region One record. Congratulations to Blanca M. Soberanes, Hanna; Rodrigo Hernandez and Victor Torres, Lopez; Alexander Aguilar, Porter; and Eduardo Sanchez, Veterans Memorial. Click here to view the VASE results.

April 11, 2011

Saavedra Tapped for CUBE Committee

A member of the Brownsville ISD Board of Trustees has been elected to a coveted position on a respected national education panel. Dr. Christina L. Saavedra, BISD Board Assistant Secretary, has been made a member of the Steering Committee of the Council of Urban Boards of Education (CUBE). Established in 1967, CUBE is the only national membership organization governed solely by urban school board members dedicated to the needs and interests of urban school boards.

Dr. Saavedra’s election came during the 71st Annual National School Boards Association
Conference held in San Francisco, California on April 9–11, 2011. The entire CUBE
membership voted on her nomination. CUBE is governed by a Steering Committee
composed of 15 urban school board members from across the United States who meet
quarterly. Saavedra was first elected to the BISD Board in 2010.

CUBE represents over 110 urban school districts in 35 states and the Virgin Islands. Member districts educate nearly 8 million students in over 12,000 schools with a collective budget of approximately $99 billion. For more than 40 years, CUBE has been at the forefront of helping urban school districts strive for excellence. CUBE helps urban school leaders find solutions to challenges at the local level and seeks to improve their policy making effectiveness.

In 2008, the BISD Board of Trustees won the prestigious CUBE Annual Award for Urban
School Board Excellence and the district won the Broad Prize for Urban Education. In July
2010, the Texas Education Agency designated Brownsville as a State Recognized School
District for meeting absolute standard criteria. All 52 BISD schools, 100% of all district
campuses, were rated Exemplary or Recognized in the state’s 2010 accountability system.

Porter OAP Off to Regionals

Casts from Porter and Lopez High Schools competed at the Area UIL One Act Play (OAP) Contest held at Veterans Memorial High School in Brownsville on Saturday, April 9, 2011. Porter earned a trip to the UIL Regional OAP Contest scheduled for Thursday, April 14 at Judson High School in Converse, Texas. Lopez was designated as an OAP alternate. Both the Porter and Lopez teams have successfully secured spots in the list of top 28 OAP 5A schools in Texas.

April 8, 2011

Board Budget Meeting on Wednesday

The BISD Board Budget Committee will meet again on Wednesday, April 13, 2011 at 5:30
PM in the Boardroom. The meetings are open to the public. At the Board Meeting held on April 5, 2011, trustees approved a resolution for an Early Notification of Resignation plan that offers a one-time payment to interested BISD employees who meet the criteria and submit all required paperwork by the April 25, 2011 deadline. Trustees also unanimously approved using Budget Proposal #2 with a little over $31 million in reductions as the district’s working document for the 2011-2012 compensation plan and budget, subject to policy modifications, legislative action, and/or legal action. All district budget drafts have been developed using funding reduction estimates compiled by the Texas School Alliance. The BISD Board of Trustees and administration remain firmly committed to retaining all district employees while continuing to offer the same high quality educational programs that the district is known for. The state of Texas is facing its most serious budget challenge in decades. Since spending on public education makes up about 44% of the state budget, much of the responsibility for balancing the budget falls squarely on local school districts. Brownsville ISD will continue to work diligently to identify creative ways to reduce spending and control expenses. All budget progress will be communicated to district stakeholders during this trying and uncertain time.

Board Approves Early Notification of Resignation Plan

At the regularly scheduled meeting held on Tuesday, April 5, 2011, Brownsville ISD Board
Trustees approved a resolution to survey employees to determine who is interested in
participating in an Early Notification of Resignation plan.

BISD, like all Texas districts, is facing a budgetary shortfall with limited funding from
state, federal, and local revenues for the upcoming 2011-2012 school year and beyond.
Approximately 78% of the district’s annual budget is comprised of employee compensation and benefits. This survey is an attempt to obtain an accurate forecast this school year of employees who do not intend to return to employment next year. The survey totals will allow the district to assess its personnel needs and costs for the upcoming 2011-12 school year resulting in significant cost savings.

The district is prepared to offer early notification payments in the amount of:
* $10,000 for Classroom Teachers, Counselors, Nurses, Librarians, and Speech
_Pathologists (Cap of 200);
* $4,500 for Administrators and Special Assignment Personnel
_(Cap of 25), and
* $3,000 for Classified Personnel (Cap of 50).

Interested employees must contact the BISD Human Resources Department and submit all required paperwork beginning April 11 and no later than April 25, 2011 at 5:00 PM. Some restrictions do apply.

“Through a series of meetings, the BISD Board Budget Committee and administration have identified several methods to cut costs and reduce expenses. This early notification plan is one way to close our anticipated financial deficit while still maintaining the academic progress that has become the standard in our district,” said Superintendent Brett Springston.

Click here to download Resolution #018-10-11 and the Resignation of Notification Waiver and Release Agreement. Questions or emails from employees can be directed to Susan Fox, sfox@bisd.us or 698-0210; Maricela Zarate, z@bisd.us, 698-1259; and Judy Cuellar, jcg@bisd.us, 698-1245.

One Act Play Contest This Saturday at Veterans High School

BISD will host the UIL 5A Region IV Area 3 One Act Play Contest this Saturday, April 9 at the Veterans Memorial High School Auditorium located at 4550 U.S. Military Highway 281. The performances are open to the public and will begin at 1:00 pm. Admission is $5.00. Please plan to arrive early. Doors open at 12:30 pm and no one will be admitted once performances have commenced. All plays will run back to back. The theater has audience seating for 525.

Garden Park and Aiken Advance to Global Competition

Teams from Garden Park and Aiken Elementary Schools will represent BISD and the South Border Bridge Region at the Destination Imagination Global Finals to be held on May 25-29 at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, Garden Park placed 2nd and Aiken placed 3rd in the Texas DI State Affiliate Tournament held on March 31-April 2 in Lubbock, Texas. Sharp, Southmost, and Russell Elementary Schools and Garcia and Manzano Middle Schools also competed in Lubbock.

April 6, 2011

Going to Work with Mom and Dad

The Board of Trustees has approved Thursday, May 5, 2011 as the official BISD date for “Take Our Children to Work Day.” Participation is limited to students in grades 5-8. Students are required to write a composition for their language arts class describing their reflections and experiences. Students participating in BISD’s “Take Our Children to Work Day” who meet these guidelines will be counted present for attendance and funding purposes.

April 5, 2011

BISD Visual Arts are Thriving

Congratulations to all BISD students and teachers for their enthusiastic participation in the BISD Middle and High School Art Competition held on March 26 at the Brownsville Museum of Fine Arts. Click here to view this year’s contest results.

Middle School Bands Break Another Record

Brownsville ISD had the largest number of middle school bands to date earn 1st division scores at the 2011 UIL Band Middle School Concert and Sight-Reading Contest held at Lopez High School on March 30 and 31. A total of 22 BISD bands competed and 20 earned UIL awards. A record 11 bands earned UIL Sweepstakes trophies and 10 bands significantly improved their ratings from last year. BISD, known as a band powerhouse, produced top results once again with these middle school band performances. Click here to view the results.

BISD Sweeps District OAP

One Act Play (OAP) teams from Porter and Lopez High Schools qualified to compete at the Area 5A Competition to be held on Saturday, April 9 at Veterans Memorial High School in Brownsville. Both schools advanced after their successful performances at the District 5A OAP Contest held at Pace High School on March 30. The event on April 9 will mark the first time that a BISD school has ever hosted an Area OAP competition.

Three-Year-Old Program Registration

Pre-registration for students who will be entering the BISD three-year-old program in August 2011 will be held in conjunction with the pre-kindergarten registration from 8:30 AM-3:30 PM, April 11-21, 2011, at 10 BISD elementary campuses. The elementary campuses with three-year-old programs are Aiken, Burns, Castaneda, Cromack, El Jardin, Longoria, Morningside, Putegnat, Russell and Villa Nueva. Call Federal Programs at 548-8231 for more information.

BISD Homepage Adds Project Share

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) has announced a new initiative called Project Share that will explore the development and delivery of high quality professional development in an interactive and engaging learning environment. Project Share utilizes a collection of Web 2.0 tools and applications to provide professional development resources for Texas teachers and build professional learning communities where educators can collaborate and participate in online learning communities. BISD now has a Project Share link on the district’s homepage to assist users. To learn more, click here to download a Project Share newsletter with the latest information.