January 20, 2012

APQC Education offers valuable services to school districts in South Texas

Houston – The American Productivity and Quality Center, a Houston-based non-profit organization, is pleased to announce the addition of three school districts from South Texas to the APQC Education North Star Community. These three school districts – Harlingen CISD, Brownsville ISD and McAllen ISD – are joining the Community after winning scholarships made possible by a $90,000 grant from the Meadows Foundation and matching grant funds from APQC Education.

“Our district is pleased to partner with the APQC Education North Star Community. Brownsville ISD will benefit from the expertise this organization will provide. Other school districts have seen significant improvement and we look forward to similar results,” said Dr. Carl A. Montoya, Superintendent of Brownsville schools. View media release.

January 16, 2012

Attention 2012-2013 STAMP College Prep Applicants at Veterans Memorial

The January pre-test scores in English and math have been eliminated from the list of STAMP College Preparatory Program pre-requisites. BISD will use your STAAR or EOC scores instead. Remember that you are required to maintain an 80% passing rate in each subject (reading, English, math, and science). All 8th grade algebra I students must maintain a 70% passing rate and 9th grade algebra I students must maintain an 80% passing rate. The end-of-year report cards of all STAMP applicants will be reviewed to ensure that this criteria has been met. For questions, contact Michelle A. Seney at 574-5618 or maseney@bisd.us.

Helping our Kids Shine

Texans benefit every day from the tireless work and countless hours dedicated by a group of more than, 7,300 men and women in communities across the state. These public servants are elected to serve by local constituents and receive no compensation for their efforts. These men and women are the school board members of Texas. January is School Board Recognition Month and Brownsville ISD will take this opportunity to thank our local leaders for devoting time to support public education and serve our local schools. “Even though we are making a special effort in January to show appreciation to our board members, we realize their contributions reflect a year-round commitment,” said Dr. Carl Montoya BISD superintendent. “They selflessly give of themselves to ensure that decisions directly affecting our local schools are made by representatives of this community. In these challenging times, they face difficult choices and shoulder critical responsibilities. Their ultimate goal is always focused on the future success of every student enrolled in the district,” Montoya said. View our trustees, years of service on the board, and occupations.

Ortiz Earns 2012 H-E-B Grant

Ortiz Elementary School is one of 12 statewide recipients of an H-E-B “Healthy Campus” grant which carries an award of $15,000. The three-year grant will be used to enhance existing health and fitness programs at Ortiz or to add new ones. Last school year, Ortiz earned an H-E-B “Fit Campus” award for $10,000 that was used to educate children, parents, and staff about nutrition and fitness. Congratulations to the Ortiz Cougars! View the media release.

All-State Honors for BISD

A total of 29 BISD fine arts music students, the largest number in the region, earned top chairs at the Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA) Area G auditions held on Saturday, January 7. Choir students competed in Rockport-Fulton, Texas and band students competed in Alice, Texas. Students earned chairs in the 2012 All-State Band, Choir, Jazz Ensemble and Orchestra which ranks them in the top 2% of music students in Texas. They will perform at the TMEA Conference in San Antonio on Saturday, February 11. These 29 BISD students advanced through district, region and area auditions competing against students from Houston, Corpus Christi, Laredo and the Rio Grande Valley to earn a place at the state level. Congratulations on a job well done! View the results by high school.

Notice of Public Hearing

Brownsville ISD will hold a public hearing for the 2010-2011 Academic Excellence Indicator System (AEIS) Report during the regular Board Meeting scheduled for January 17, 2012 at 5:30 PM in the Boardroom of the Administration Building located at 1900 Price Road. Texas Education Code, Chapter 39, requires school districts to publish an annual AEIS Report Summary that includes district and campus performance, a report of violence or criminal incidence, and post-secondary performance. The presentation will include an overall district profile, including demographics, performance objectives, and finances. Parents, community members and other interested persons are invited to attend. View the announcment in English and Spanish.

Region One Area HS Completion Rates on the Rise

Across the Region One service area, gains in the percentage of high school graduates has increased while the number of students who have dropped out of high school has steadily declined, according to the 2009-2010 Texas Education Agency AEIS (Academic Excellence Indicator System) Report. Brownsville ISD is one of 37 school districts and 10 charter school systems in a seven county area along the Texas-Mexico border that is served by the Region One Education Services Center. See the entire news release.

Cummings Middle School Update

Regular school operation and classroom instruction has resumed at Cummings Middle School on Friday, January 6. School counselors are available at the campus to offer their services to students and staff. Brownsville ISD will also offer counseling services on Saturday, January 7 from 9 AM–1:00 PM at the Central Administrative Building (CAB) located at 708 Palm Boulevard for students, parents, employees, and community members who wish to talk to a school counselor.

Policy Suspension

The BISD Board of Trustees recently approved a resolution to suspend portions of Policy EIE (Local) for the 2011-2012 school year only. The suspended portions require students in grades 5 and 8 to meet the passing standards of the applicable state-mandated assessment for those grade levels in order to be promoted to the next grade. The policy resolution was necessary since state passing standards for 5th and 8th grade STAAR reading and math tests will not be established for the 2011-2012 school year. View the resolution.

Lopez Recognized for ACT Increase

Lopez High School earned a Texas 2011 College Readiness Award for significantly increasing ACT Composite scores over the past five years, increasing or maintaining participation in the ACT, and improving student college readiness. View the entire list of awardees.

Go Vikings!

As Interim Superintendent of Brownsville public schools, it is my privilege to recognize and congratulate the Pace Vikings varsity football team on their success during the 2011 season. The Vikings, with head coach Rene Medrano, are 9 and 2 this season. It is the school’s first trip to the Area playoff round as a 5A school and comes following a 42-21 win in the Bi-District at PSJA last Friday. The Vikings are preparing for a Division 2 Area playoff game Saturday against Alexander High School of Laredo. I encourage the support of this football team and invite Brownsville fans to fill the stands on Saturday afternoon at 4 pm at Veterans Memorial Stadium in McAllen. See you there and good luck to our Vikings.

Dr. Carl A. Montoya
Interim Superintendent

Payday on Friday

All BISD Monthly Salaried (MS) and Monthly Hourly (MH) personnel will be paid on Friday, November 18, 2011. Bi-Weekly (BW) personnel will be paid on Wednesday, November 23, 2011. Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving holiday.

Dr. Montoya Named Lone Finalist

During the regular Board Meeting held on Tuesday, November 15, 2011, Trustees of the Brownsville Independent School District named Dr. Carl A. Montoya as the sole finalist for the position of Superintendent of Schools. Section 552.126 of the State Government Code requires that the Board of Trustees give public notice of the name or names of finalists being considered at least 21 days prior to a final vote.

Montoya has served as the district’s Interim Superintendent since June 8, 2011. He was appointed to the position after Brett Springston resigned to take the superintendency in Bartlett ISD. Montoya had been serving as the Area Assistant Superintendent for the Rivera cluster schools at the time. View the media release.

Tour the New Hanna Facility

The new Hanna High School Performing Arts Instructional Facility is nearing completion. Click here to take a 360 panoramic virtual tour of the auditorium which is located by the resaca in front of the school. Click here to take a 360 panoramic virtual tour of this new facility.

District’s Fitch Ratings

As part of its continuous surveillance efforts, Fitch Ratings took the following rating action on Brownsville Independent School District. View the public release.

Pace Trumpeter Ranked Top in Texas

Jose Carlos Izquierdo, a Pace High School senior, has been selected as the 2011 State Champion All-State 1st chair Trumpet. Jose competed against 80 of the best high school trumpet players in the state to earn this title. He will perform as the lead trumpeter when the All-State Jazz Band performs at the Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA) convention in San Antonio in February.

3 More BISD Alliance/Merck Scholars Announced

Three new BISD students have joined the ranks of district students benefiting from the Alliance/Merck Ciencia (Science) Hispanic Scholars Program. This brings the total of BISD scholars to four. The Merck Company Foundation provides funding for this program through a $4 million grant to support Hispanic student access to higher education and degrees in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Over a span of five years, 50 promising Hispanic students from Brownsville, Texas; Elizabeth, New Jersey; and Los Angeles California will be awarded $42,500 in college scholarships and internship support to pursue STEM degrees. BISD seniors are urged to apply for these scholarships. Contact your head/senior counselor or Pilar Janis, Higher Education Counselor, at 548-8251. View the Alliance/Merck criteria or the entire list of current Brownsville Alliance/Merck scholars.

Attention BISD Employees

On Monday, November 7, 2011, Brownsville ISD was advised that the Social Security numbers of employees who are enrolled for disability insurance were inadvertently posted by prior department administration in April 2011 on the Employee Benefits/Risk Management (EB/RM) website; a site accessible to the public. Once notified, the information was immediately removed. The information posted contained the employee name, estimated monthly salary, selected disability plan, disability premium, and employee ID number. Although this does not violate HIPPA regulations, the district understands the importance of safeguarding personal information and sincerely apologizes for this oversight. BISD is working closely with its EB/RM staff to ensure that sensitive data is more securely maintained. District employees who are impacted will be contacted individually by the Employee Benefits/Risk Management Department. The district encourages all impacted employees to be proactive by closely monitoring their credit reports. BISD employees may also call (956) 548-8061 for more information. Any additional information and/or updates related to this issue will be posted on the BISD homepage.

Solid Gold Performance

The Texas Education Agency has released the 2011 Gold Performance Acknowledgements (GPA). BISD campuses earned a total of 169 acknowledgments in all. The GPA System acknowledges districts and campuses for high performance on indicators other than those used to determine accountability ratings. These indicators are in statute (Texas Education Code) or are determined by the Commissioner of Education. Congratulations to BISD schools for earning these significant academic indicators. View the campus results.

BISD Choir Students Shine at Region and Pre-Area

Brownsville ISD choir students earned top marks at the Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA) Region and Pre-Area auditions held on November 5. Brownsville students earned 47 of the 80 chairs, including 7 of 8 first chairs. During afternoon auditions, BISD students earned 23 of 40 available slots to advance to the Area Audition, including 6 of the 8 first chairs. The Area Auditions will be held on January 7 in Rockport-Fulton.

Region Choir:
Hanna: 21, 3 first chairs
Lopez: 4
Pace: 1
Porter: 3
Rivera: 12, 3 first chairs
Veterans: 6, 1 first chair

Pre-Area Choir Advancing to Area Auditions
Hanna: 8, 1 first chair
Lopez: 3, 1 first chair
Pace: 1, 1 first chair
Porter: 1
Rivera: 8, 2 first chairs
Veterans: 2, 1 first chair

Hanna Shares Best Practices

The Texas Center for Student Success (TCSS) will visit Hanna High School during the 2011-2012 school year to learn about successful intervention and acceleration best practices. The results will be posted on Project Share as a learning tool for other educators and administrators. Specifically, TCSS will look at Hanna’s distributed leadership, community involvement and instructional strategies used in the ELAR/Social Studies Departments. The TCSS is part of the Institute for Public School Initiatives at the University of Texas at Austin. It is funded by the Texas Education Agency. The TCSS team annually identifies exemplar campuses across Texas and disseminates their intervention and acceleration best practices with other schools and districts along with relevant research and resources.

Lopez Students to Experience College

Six Lopez High School seniors, George A. Garcia, Jose I. Garcia, Armando Garza, Imelda Guerrero, Jose R. Leal, and Melissa Vera, have been selected to participate in a 3-day Celebration of Diversity Weekend at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Lopez students will have the opportunity to spend a day in the life of a Carnegie Mellon student and experience the diverse academic, extracurricular and cultural facets of the campus and Pittsburgh. Lopez students will be matched with current college students who will be their ambassadors throughout the weekend and they will also network with the faculty and staff at a special reception.

Best Wishes to Veterans Memorial Band

On behalf of the BISD Board of Trustees and administration, I wish the Veterans Memorial Charger Band the very best of luck when you take the field at the UIL 4A Competition on Saturday. Your long hours of preparation and practice will be rewarded at the Calallen contest. In a very short time, the Charger Marching Band has established a tradition of excellence. You are already recognized as a musical powerhouse in South Texas. Everyone in our district and community is proud of you and your accomplishments.

Go Chargers!
Dr. Carl A. Montoya
Interim Superintendent of Schools

Band Students Set Another Record

High school band students from BISD earned 23 of the 29 available chairs at the Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA) Region 28 Orchestra audition held at Harlingen High School on October 25. BISD students earned 8 of the 10 first chairs. Fourteen of these students will advance to the TMEA Area audition where they will compete for a chair in the TMEA All-State organizations. These totals are significantly higher than last year and set a new all-time record for our district. The All-Region Orchestra will perform on Saturday, November 12 at the Weslaco Central Middle School Auditorium. View the results by high school.

Your Vote Counts

Morningside, Peña and Ortiz Elementary Schools are competing in the Clorox Company’s “Power A Bright Future” grant program to help fund new or ongoing programs that allow children to play, create and explore. The schools are in separate categories so adults and children 13 and older can visit www.PowerABrightFuture.com to vote once a day for all 3 from October 24-December 9. The programs that receive the most votes will earn awards of $25,000 - $50,000. New this year, voting can be done by text message. Find your school’s keyword in its nomination listing and text that to 44144.

16 Schools Named Higher Performing

Sixteen BISD schools earned spots on the 2011 Higher Performing Schools in Texas list compiled by the National Center for Educational Achievement (NCEA). The list identifies those elementary, middle and high schools in Texas that have consistently outperformed their peers with similar student populations over a three-year period (the 2008-09, 2009-12, and 2010-11 school years). View the entire media release.

Brownsville Early College High School
Hanna High School
Lucio Middle School
Stillman Middle School


2 BISD Seniors Are Commended

Brownsville ISD is pleased to announce that two high school students earned “Commended” status in the 2012 National Merit Scholarship Program. Congratulations to Siena C. McFetridge from Hanna High School and Jose R. Leal from Lopez High School. High school students enter the National Merit Program by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (CPSAT/NMSQT).

Seven Top BISD Students

Seven top BISD high school students earned recognition in the National Hispanic Recognition Program (NHRP). The district’s 2011-2012 recipients are:

Pablo Mayen – Scholar
Danielle Soto – Scholar
Sarah Rios-Honorable Mention

Carlo Alessandro Celballos - Honorable Mention

Cyntyhia Ibarra-Scholar

Armando Garza-Scholar
Jose Leal-Scholar

The National Hispanic Recognition Program identifies nearly 5,000 outstanding Hispanic students each year. The program sends a list of all recognized students to subscribing colleges and universities.

BISD Recognized in International Publication

The spotlight shined on Brownsville ISD in an article in the newsletter of the International Dyslexia Association. View the article.

College Ready, College Connected, College Completed!

Brownville ISD is taking a bold, dynamic step in the creation of the Science, Technology, Architecture and Medical Professions (STAMP) College Preparatory Program scheduled to open in August 2012 at Veterans Memorial High School. Click here to learn more.