July 13, 2011

BISD Cafeterias Are Tops

The BISD Food & Nutrition Services Department is a source of pride for the district. During the 2010-2011 school year, BISD cafeterias earned top marks. Officials report that all 58 district cafeterias passed not one, but two health inspections as mandated by the federal government. When possible, the Brownsville Health Department performed a third inspection to ensure all food safety and sanitation standards were in compliance. A total of 154 school cafeteria health inspections resulted in scores of 96 and above. In fact, 150 of these inspections scored at 100%. School cafeterias nationwide are held to a more rigorous standard since food is prepared and served to young people. Parents can be assured that their children are eating safe, carefully prepared food in BISD school cafeterias. Inspections scores are listed on the Food & Nutrition Services website for the public to view.

Changes to Administrative Team

Dr. Carl A. Montoya has announced a few additional changes to his top administrative team. Effective immediately, Mary Jo Monfils, Area Assistant Superintendent for the Lopez and Porter cluster schools, will assume duties as the Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction.

Berta Peña who currently holds the curriculum position has been named the Assistant Superintendent for Administration. In this position, Peña will oversee the Pace and Porter cluster schools, the Brownsville Early College High School, and the Brownsville Learning Academy. She will also provide leadership to the area assistant superintendents.

Jay Harris will supervise the Veterans Memorial cluster and the Lopez cluster. Dr. Rita Hernandez will supervise the Hanna and Rivera clusters and the Brownsville Academic Center.

“It is important to get our top administrative team in place as soon as possible to face the challenges of a leaner budget and the changes in standardized testing,” said Dr. Montoya. “These leaders are seasoned professionals who will continue to guide our district to proven student academic success. I thank them for their willingness to assume these duties.”

Postsecondary Partnership Grant Award

For the past seven months, BISD officials have been involved with several other community stakeholders in intense planning and partnership building. As a result, the United Way of Southern Cameron County has been awarded a $1,299,909 grant to guide the Brownsville postsecondary partnership in a three-year demonstration funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The Partners for Postsecondary Success Initiative is part of the Gates Foundation’s postsecondary strategy to double the number of young adults (aged 16-26) who earn a postsecondary credential with labor market value by 2025. Click here to read the entire media release.


Beginning in Spring 2012, the new State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) will replace the TAKS as mandated by the legislature. STAAR is a more rigorous assessment program that will provide the foundation for a new Texas accountability system. The STAAR program in grades 3-8 will assess the same subjects and grades as TAKS. At high school, grade specific assessments will be replaced with 12 end-of-course (EOC) assessments in Algebra I, geometry, Algebra II, biology, chemistry, physics, English I, English II, English III, world geography, world history and U.S. history.

3 Days to Rescind Early Notification

The Early Notification of Resignation/Retirement deadline was Monday, July 11, 2011. Employees have 3 days (July 12, 13, and 14) to rescind their resignation/retirement if they wish to do so. Written notification to rescind a resignation/retirement must be submitted to the Interim Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources at 1900 E. Price Road, Suite 302.

Take a Virtual Tour

Brownsville ISD has several major construction projects underway this summer. One is the new Performing Arts Instructional Facility being built by the resaca in front of Hanna High School. Click here to take a 360 panoramic virtual tour of this new facility.

July 5, 2011

Interim Leader for Cummings

Dr. Carl A. Montoya, BISD Interim Superintendent, has appointed Dr. Edward Ude as the Interim Principal for Cummings Middle School.

Dr. Ude is currently serving as the BISD Attendance Supervisor, a position he has held since 2008. He has a total of 14 years of educational experience having held positions in 3 other Texas districts, Kingsville, Corpus Christi and Mathis. From 2000-2002, Ude served as principal of McCraw Junior High School in Mathis ISD. Prior to Brownsville, Ude was the principal of the Wynn Seale Academy of Fine Arts Middle School in Corpus Christi from 2002-2005.

Dr. Ude has a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. Cummings is in the Pace cluster supervised by Jay Harris.

"Dr. Ude has an extensive background in education and a wealth of experience. I know that he will make an excellent leader for the Cummings campus," said Dr. Montoya. "I am pleased to welcome him to our outstanding team of principals."

Preparing for Arlene

BISD officials are closely monitoring all information regarding Tropical Storm Arlene. The district is in contact with all appropriate local and state agencies. BISD campuses and facilities are preparing for the possibility of heavy rainfall in the next few days. The district has a protocol that is followed in the event of severe weather. Any updates regarding district weather procedures will be posted on the BISD homepage.

Holiday Reminder

Monday, July 4 is a holiday on the BISD 2011-2012 Calendar. Work hours for the week of July 5-July 8, Tuesday-Friday, will be from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm. Thereafter, work hours will continue through July 29, 2011, Monday – Thursday, from 7:30 am – 6:00 pm (30 minute lunch) and closed on Fridays.

Lopez Partners with Park

The Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park received a grant to support the launch of Student Rangers, its new innovative project that trains high school students to be National Park Rangers. Lopez High School is a partner in this grant. View the media release to learn more.

Operation Lone Star at Manzano

Manzano Middle School will host Operation Lone Star 2011 on Monday, July 25-Thursday, July 28 from 8 am-4 pm and Friday, July 29 from 8 am-2 pm. Free medical services will be provided. View the announcement in English and Spanish.

Bright Spot for Morningside

Morningside Elementary has become one of the first 12 schools in the nation recognized as a “Bright Spot School” by the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. Supported by dozens of funders nationwide, the Campaign is a ten-year effort to increase the number of low-income children reading on grade level by the end of third grade. The Bright Spot Schools were identified in a recent announcement by Ralph Smith, Executive Vice President of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, who is spearheading the campaign. Morningside Elementary shares the honor with two other Texas schools, Loma Park in San Antonio and H.S. Thompson in Dallas. Click here to view the media release.

Early Notification of Resignation Plan Extended

At the regular meeting held on Tuesday, June 21, 2011, the BISD Board of Trustees voted to extend the Early Notification Plan and reopen the time frame available for employee requests from June 22, 2011 to July 11, 2011 for certified, classified, and special assignment personnel. Click here to view a letter from Dr. Carl A. Montoya in English and Spanish.