April 27, 2012

Pace Student Honored with ExxonMobil Texas Science and Engineering Fair Award

Alberto Garcia, a Pace High School senior, was recognized for his innovation and scientific prowess at the ExxonMobil Texas Science and Engineering Fair, held March 29-April 1 in San Antonio. Albert earned fifth place in senior-division behavioral and social sciences for his project “Fail-You Go to Jail.” View the Media release.

Stell MS to Represent South Texas Region at 7th Annual Texas Quiz Show State Contest

Stell Middle School earned the right to represent the South Texas region by besting other teams in the 2012 Texas Quiz Show regional tournament hosted by the University of Texas at Brownsville. By placing first in their region, the team from Stell Middle School led by their campus coordinator, Martín Leal, will move on to the State Contest to be held at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum’s Texas Spirit Theater on Saturday, May 5, 2012. The Texas Quiz Show is an academic competition about all things Texas intended to provide middle schools with by the Texas Legislature. View the media release.

BISD Dominates 2012 Middle School Region Choir!

Thirteen Rio Grande Valley school districts competed at the Region 28 Middle School Region Choir auditions held on Saturday, April 14 at Garcia Middle School. The Fine Arts Department is pleased to announce that BISD schools took 207 or 70% of the available 297 chairs. The annual Middle School Region Choir Concert will be held on Saturday, April 28 at 5 pm at Donna High School. Congratulations to our middle school students and their directors on this spectacular achievement. View all results.

A Message to Parents

BISD students will be STAAR/TAKS testing on April 23-26. The new STAAR is a timed test. Student attendance on these days is critical. Please stress the importance of rest, proper diet, and a positive attitude so that our children do their very best. It is also important that students arrive to school on time. Please note that no cell phones or electronic devices are allowed on BISD campuses during testing. As per the Texas Education Code, “Any irregularities in test security or confidential integrity may result in the invalidation of student results.” Thank you for your support of our students and school district.

BISD Schools Welcome A&M President

Texas A&M University President R. Bowen Loftin will visit with students at two BISD high schools, Veterans Memorial and Porter, on Monday, April 23. Loftin will emphasize the importance of pursuing a college degree when talking with students. Dr. Loftin was named the 24th president of Texas A&M on February 12, 2010.

Track Athletes Seek Regional Success

A total of 47 BISD high school students have qualified to advance to the Regional Track and Field Meet to be held on April 27-28 at Alamo Stadium in San Antonio. Hanna Boys & Girls: Jonathan Gonzalez, Esteban Ibarra, Jonathan Marks, Ricky Camargo, Jorge Trejo, Juan Cardenas, Esequiel Celleros, Anthony Rodriguez, Jose Herrera, Tony Flores, Saira Gonzalez, Perla Yanez Lopez Boys & Girls: Meme Vera, Edward Naranjo, Beatriz Castillo Pace Boys & Girls: Hiram Morales, Daniel Munoz, Evelyn Rodriguez, Yesenia Ruiz Porter Boys & Girls: Joel Garza, Arturo Medina, Angel Flores, Jose Luis Barcenas, Ernest Atkinson, Mario Villa, Oscar Gonzalez, Ashley Torres, Chrystia Cruz, Genesis Romero, Erin De La Garza, Ashely De Los Santos, Patty Larazolo. Rivera Boys & Girls: Jocquil Evans, Michael Galvan, Christina Rivera, Keila Rodriguez, Monica Salazar, Teira Sellers, April Chapa, Desarey Endsley, Natali Gonzalez, Karla Avila Crystal Perez, Aurelia Garcia, Samantha Diaz, Brandy Endsley. Veterans Memorial Boy and Girl: Pedro Castillas, Michaela Arteaga Best of luck to our BISD athletes!

To Infinity and Beyond

Brownsville ISD proudly announces the implementation of a 2012-2013 Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) Infinity Project Magnet Initiative. The program will begin with 100 eligible sixth grade students from each BISD middle school and will grow one grade level per year for the next 3 years. The STEM Infinity Project reinforces math and science through technical, mechanical, civil, environmental, and biomedical engineering. Students apply concepts through hands-on design projects such as building speakers, robots, rockets, and prosthetic legs. Upon completion of the program, students are well prepared to succeed in STEM coursework. Applications must be submitted to the respective 5th grade counselor at each elementary school by Friday, April 27. For more information about eligibility criteria and requirements, including a student application, download a brochure here.

Garcia Destined for Globals

The Garcia Middle School Destination Imagination (DI) Team, DI Gators, will represent BISD at the DI Global Finals to be held on May 23-26 in Knoxville, Tennessee. Garcia students will join over 125,000 students from across the United States and more than 30 countries at the competition. The DI Gators are advancing after a 4th place win at the "Floating with Creativity" DI State Competition held on April 13-14 in Corpus Christi, Texas. Nine BISD teams competed with over 400 teams from across Texas at the state meet. View the BISD state results.

Attention BISD Employees

Information regarding the BISD Voluntary Transfer of Days is now available. No one expects emergencies but when they come, it is a relief to know that the Voluntary Transfer of Days Program is available to any employee who is not a member of the district's Sick Leave Bank. This program is to be used in the event of catastrophic illnesses or injuries. It is another benefit available to BISD employees. Contact the BISD Employee Benefits Department at 548-8061 for more information. Download the Voluntary Transfer of Days guidelines, application, withdrawal application, and licensed practitioner statement here.

Former BISD Teacher Earns National Accolades

Scott Charlesworth-Seiler, a former BISD teacher who began his career at Martin Elementary in 1982-84, is one of 5 teachers nationally to be inducted this year into the National Teachers Hall of Fame in Emporia, Kansas. He and four other inductees will be honored next month in Washington, D.C. and then again in Emporia. Charlesworth-Seiler, who has fond memories of Martin, will include photos of the Brownsville elementary school in a permanent display at the Hall of Fame. The National Teachers Hall of Fame recognizes and honors exceptional career teachers, encourages excellence in teaching, and preserves the rich heritage of the teaching profession in the United States. Learn more at www.nthf.org.

Top UIL Marks for Middle School Bands

Brownsville ISD had 21 middle school bands participate in the 2012 UIL Middle School Concert and Sight Reading contest held on April 10-12 at Lopez High School. A total of 18 BISD bands earned UIL awards. Ten of the bands were awarded UIL Sweepstakes trophies while 8 improved their ratings from last year. The BISD Fine Arts Department also provided an evaluation performance for 10 middle school bands that were not eligible for UIL competition. This evaluation performance provided students with an opportunity to critically analyze their mastery of the TEKS of the instrumental music curriculum. In total, 31 BISD middle school bands, serving approximately 2,600 students in grades 6-8, were evaluated either internally or through UIL competition. BISD has always had a strong band program and these latest results clearly show the district’s continued commitment to excellence. View all results

High Standards for BISD Dancers

BISD held a Dance Evaluation Contest on Saturday, April 12 at Veterans High School. All 6 district high schools and 5 middle schools participated. The dance groups were evaluated by 3 college dance professors in the areas of lyrical modern, contemporary, ballet, tap, and jazz. BISD has raised its standards so in order to evaluate dance students at the same level as students in band and choir. No other Texas district uses an evaluation system like this for fine arts dance education. This is the 5th year that this evaluation has been conducted and BISD students have shown amazing progress. The rating scale is 1 - Superior, II – Excellent, and III – Good. View this year’s evaluation results. Amazing Manzano

Amazing Manzano Artists

Four Manzano Middle School students placed in the 2012 Texas Junior Duck Stamp Competition. Congratulations to Valeria Ruelas, 2nd Place; and Cesar Davila, Edwardo Martinez, and Marcos Vasquez, Honorable Mention Awards. The Aransas National Wildlife Refuge coordinated the event.

Live Soccer Tournament Action

The Region IV Class 5A Boys and Girls Soccer Tournament being held at the Brownsville Sports Park can be viewed live here today, Friday, April 13, beginning at 12 noon. The Lopez Lobos will play San Antonio Reagan on Friday at 4:30 pm. BISD supports the Lobos! Click here to watch all the soccer action.


Everyone is invited to attend the UIL Region IV Soccer Tournament on Friday, April 13 and Saturday, April 14 at the Brownsville Sports Park. Admission is $7 for adults and $4 for students with a school ID card. See you at the games. View the schedule of matches here.

BISD High School Bands Hit 100%

BISD high school bands made history once again when all six earned sweepstakes trophies at the 2012 UIL High School Band Concert and Sight-Reading Contest held at the UTB/TSC Arts Center recently. BISD’s strong band programs have posted consistent, improved results for 7 consecutive years. This is the first time that all district bands have achieved a 100% success rate. It is well-known that success in instrumental music directly correlates to the development of higher level thinking. Kudos to our BISD band students, parents and directors. View all results.

Employee Health Screenings

Brownsville ISD has almost completed the employee health screenings. Everyone is to be commended for increasing this year’s participation rate to a new high. Kudos to Gallegos Elementary and Brownsville Learning Academy for 100% participation. There will be one final make-up screening at the Central Administrative Building (CAB) on Wednesday, April 11 from 6:30 am - 12 Noon and at Food & Nutrition Services on Thursday, April 12 from 6:30 am - 12:00 Noon for any employee who missed an opportunity at their campus or department. Participation in these final screenings will be logged in at the employee’s work location. Thank you for taking advantage of the district’s health screenings. Wellness is Hot Stuff in BISD!

Porter Students Save Tax Prep Fees

Tax season for the Porter High School Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Club has come to a successful end. A total of 26 student volunteers, certified as Basic Tax Preparers, completed 107 returns saving $10,000 in tax preparations fees for taxpayers whose adjusted gross income was $49,000 or less. Income credits hit $140,833.00 and refund amounts totaled $259,081.00. Porter High School is the only Brownsville school to offer this free financial assistance. Students rigorously trained for 12 consecutive weeks and attended a mandatory 8-hour training conducted by an Internal Revenue Service agent and UTB business and accounting professors. This is VITA’s third year of operation and best year to date. In 2010, the Porter VITA site was audited by the IRS and received excellent marks making it a model program in Texas. The VITA club and site services are sponsored by Alberto Velez, a Porter business teacher.

Veterans Theatre Making History

The Brownsville Veterans Memorial High School One Act Play cast will advance to 32 4A Area Competition on Tuesday, April 10 at Del Mar College in Corpus Christi. Six Veterans cast members received individual awards at the district competition held in Mission on April 3. View the results.

Area Soccer Playoffs

Best wishes to our Boys Soccer Teams from Lopez, Porter and Rivera High Schools as they compete in the 5A Area competition on Thursday, April 5. Brownsville ISD schools have a proud soccer tradition and have earned a distinguished reputation in the state. We are very proud of our soccer athletes. Dr. Carl A. Montoya Superintendent of Schools

Two BISD Schools Advance in OAP

Both Lopez and Porter High Schools will advance to Area One Act Play (OAP) competition to be held on Saturday, April 14 at Veterans Memorial High School in Brownsville. This ranks the Lopez and Porter drama departments among the top in Texas. Juan Balzaldua from Rivera and Isle Zacharias from Lopez won the Best Actor and Best Actress awards out of 70 participants. BISD made history when four high schools, Hanna, Lopez, Porter and Rivera, advanced to the District One Act Play competition on March 31. The four schools performed to packed audiences. View all OAP results.

BISD Administrators Invited to Summit

Two BISD high school principals, Teri Alarcon from Hanna High School and Dawn Hall from Brownsville Early College High School, have received personal invitations to participate in the upcoming VistaSummit: Focus on Education to be held on Tuesday, April 17 at the University of Texas-Pan American in Edinburg. The VistaSummit, the second to be held in the Rio Grande Valley, will bring together a specific group of educational leaders and community partners. The goal of the summit is to develop a regional action plan with fundable projects centered on the region’s greatest asset – its people. Alarcon and Hall were invited to participate in a candid, intimate dialogue with national experts and foundation and philanthropic leaders about the future of education in the Rio Grande Valley. “It is an honor for Brownsville ISD to have two high school principals included in the upcoming VistaSummit. Ms. Alarcon and Ms. Hall are extremely knowledgeable and will have much to contribute to this dialogue about education in our Valley,” said Dr. Carl A. Montoya.

Two BISD Teachers Publish Children’s Book

Two BISD teachers, Jerry Cervantes and John Aguilar, wrote and illustrated a children’s book, “Hilda Bee’s Special Home.” Cervantes is a music teacher at Brite Elementary School and Aguilar teaches visual arts at Garcia Middle School. Their book about acceptance was spotlighted in the Wednesday, March 28 Education Extra in the Brownsville Herald. Click here to read the story.

Employee Health Screenings

Brownsville ISD has almost completed the employee health screenings. Everyone is to be commended for increasing this year’s participation rate to a new high. Kudos to Gallegos Elementary and Brownsville Learning Academy for 100% participation. There will be one final make-up screening at the Central Administrative Building (CAB) on Wednesday, April 11 from 6:30 am – 12 Noon for any employee who missed an opportunity at their campus or department. Participation in this final screening will be logged in at the employee’s work location. Thank you for taking advantage of the district’s health screenings. Wellness is Hot Stuff in BISD!

Attention BISD Employees

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Representative, Yenicia Dominguez, is available to assist you with any group health questions or concerns. She is located in the Employee Benefits Department in the Central Administrative Building (CAB), Suite #103, from 8 am – 5 pm weekdays, or you may contact her at 698-0112.

On-Line Summer School Application Now Open

The 2012 on-line summer school application is now open. The application will be open from 8 am on Tuesday, March 27, 2012, until 5 pm on Tuesday, April 10, 2012. You may apply on-line by going to http://www.bisd.us/employment/Default.asp.

Bus Delays

Please be advised that some buses will be delayed today, Tuesday, March 27. Every effort is being made to minimize the delay. We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience, support and understanding.

Summer School Apps Delayed

The opening of the Summer School Application has been delayed until Tuesday, March 27, 2012. We apologize for the delay. For questions, please contact the Curriculum & Instruction Department at 548-8121.

BISD One Act Play Success

Four high schools, Hanna, Lopez, Porter and Rivera, have made BISD history by qualifying to advance to the District One Act Play Competition next week. A total of eight campuses competed and only these four BISD campuses will advance, ensuring that a BISD school will earn the District Championship title. Congratulations to Juan Bazaldua from Rivera who was named Best Actor and Monica Ramos from Porter who was selected Best Actress out of 54 participants at the 5A Zone A contest. At the 5A B contest, Seth Johnson from Hanna earned Best Actor and Ilse Zacharias from Lopez earned Best Actress out of 73 participants. At the 4A Zone contest, William Abete earned Best Actor and Celia Lozano was named Best Actress. Both students are from Veterans Memorial. Veterans Memorial will also advance to the 4A District Competition. The 5A District competition will begin at 1:15 pm on Saturday, March 31 at the Pace High School Theatre. The 4A District Contest is scheduled for Tuesday, April 3 at 1:30 pm at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium. Everyone is invited to attend both contests. These successes prove that the theatre arts program is alive and well in BISD.

Middle School Choirs Are Tops in Region

BISD middle school choirs dominated the UIL Region 28 Concert & Sight Reading Competition held on March 7-8 in Brownville. A total of 12 BISD choirs earned the top sweepstakes rating making Brownsville ISD number one in the region. Click here to see all results.

Leadership Alliance Project is Accepting Application

Brownsville ISD is pleased to announce the new Leadership Alliance Project which is open to current BISD teacher and administrator applicants with mid-management/principals certificates and 5 years teaching experience for teacher applicants and 3 years administrative experience for administrative applicants. Applicants must submit a completed application by Friday, March 30, 2012 through the Certified Personnel webpage. Prepare yourself for a learning experience that will make you a higher performing BISD instructional leader. Click here to view flowchart or submit an application.

Attention BISD Employees

Summer School 2012 applications will be available online on Monday, March 26 at 8:00 AM and will close on Monday, April 9 at 5:00 PM.

Meeting Cancellation

The March 20, 2012 Regular Meeting of the BISD Board of Trustees has been cancelled due to scheduled holidays. The next Regular Board Meeting will be held on Tuesday, April 3, 2012.

BISD Students Advance to State

Brownsville ISD had a total of 36 middle and high school science and engineering projects that will advance to state competition as a result of the Rio Grande Valley Regional Competition held on Saturday, March 3 at the UTB/TSC campus. BISD students faced tough competition this year from schools as far away as Laredo and Corpus Christi but still managed to have two 2nd Runner-Up winners from Pace and Manzano. The Exxon/Mobil State Science & Engineering Fair wil be held in San Antonio on March 30-April 1. Click to view results.

Two BISD Schools Earn Grants

Two Brownsville ISD high schools, Porter and Rivera, have been preliminarily selected by the Texas Education Agency to receive College and Career Preparation Technical Assistance, Cycle 2 grants for 2012-2014. The grants will provide online college preparation assistance to students, parents and high school counselors. Porter High School has been awarded $150,000 and Rivera High School received $147,840. Both schools will select an approved provider for assistance tools and resources for college and career planning. A total of 32 Texas high schools made the grant list. One other Rio Grande Valley high school from Edcouch-Elsa ISD was also selected.

BISD Spellers Advance

A total of 8 top BISD spelling finalists will compete at the 24th Annual Rio Grande Valley Regional Spelling Bee to be held on Saturday, March 3 at 9 am at Texas State Technical College in Harlingen. The 8 spellers were finalists in the BISD Spelling Bee held on February 12 at Gallegos Elementary School. The winner of the RGV Regional Bee will advance to the Scripps National Spelling Bee to be held in Washington, D.C. on May 27-June1, 2012. Everyone is welcome to attend the Regional Spelling Bee and support our BISD finalists: Omar Hussain Hudson Elementary School (BISD Spelling Bee Champ) Jenna Garcia Manzano Middle School (BISD Spelling Bee Runner-Up) Bianca Lopez Paredes Elementary School Jakob Medina Brite Elementary School Isai Calderon Pena Elementary School Laritzza Hernandez El Jardin Elementary School Abigail Morales Champion Elementary School Ivan Villanueva Ortiz Elementary School

Hanna Educator Named H-E-B Finalist

Graciela Guzman, a Hanna High School English teacher, is one of five Rio Grande Valley teacher finalists in the 2012 H-E-B Excellence in Education Awards. She was surprised in her classroom on Friday, March 2 by H-E-B representatives bearing balloons, flowers, cake, and a check for $1,000. Hanna also received $1,000. As a finalist, Ms. Guzman will represent the border region in the statewide competition for larger cash awards. View the media release.

Regional Fair on Saturday

Brownsville ISD has a total of 147 student projects, 85 from middle school and 62 from high school, advancing to the 52nd RGV Regional Science & Engineering Fair to be held at the UTB/TSC campus on Saturday, March 3. The middle school projects will be located in the ITEC Building and the high school projects will be in the Garza Gym. Judging will be held from 9 am to 1 pm. Public viewing for middle schools is from 2:30-3:30 pm and the high schools public viewing will be held from 3-4 pm. The awards ceremony for both groups will take place in the Jacob Brown Auditorium from 4:15-5:30 pm. Students who earn the top 3 places in each of the 17 categories will advance to the Exxon/Mobil State Science & Engineering Fair in San Antonio on March 30-April 1.

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Celebrate Brownsville Public Schools!

Brownsville ISD invites you to “Imagine, Explore, Discover” our public schools during the district’s celebration of Texas Public Schools Week, March 5-9, 2012. Each day, our students acquire new skills as they imagine, explore and discover new information, engaging their minds and bodies, building their educational foundations and futures. Our students are proud of their work and accomplishments and wish to share their discoveries with the entire Brownsville community. “Public schools in Brownsville and throughout the state of Texas are committed to laying the foundation for a solid education for each of our students,” shared Dr. Carl Montoya, Superintendent. “Join us, as we share our map for a great education. We invite you to attend one or more of our upcoming Open House events.” BISD Open House Schedule, 5:30-7:30 pm: Monday, March 5 Middle Schools Tuesday, March 6 High Schools Thursday, March 8 Elementary Schools

Trio Named Alliance/Merck Scholars

Three 2011 BISD graduates have been selected to receive Alliance/Merck Ciencia Scholarships of up to $42,500 in college and summer research internship support over the next 4 years. This year’s recipients are Peter Guerrero, a graduate of Pace High School, John Martinez, a graduate of Lopez High School, and Daniela Naylor, a graduate of Hanna High School. The awards mark the third round of Alliance/Merck Scholarships for Hispanic students pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers. The scholarships are limited to students in Brownsville, Los Angeles, California and Elizabeth, New Jersey. View the entire media release.