February 28, 2013

BISD Supports a College - Going Culture

Brownsville ISD high school seniors are applying to colleges in record numbers using the APPLY TEXAS APPLICATION. As of February 27, BISD high schools reported the following number of student applications as reflected in the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board APPLY TEXAS SUITE. Lopez . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 428 students applied – 98% Hanna . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .479 students applied – 72% Pace . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .350 students applied – 95% Porter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 350 students applied – 81% Rivera . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .302 students applied – 67% Veterans . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 278 students applied – 83% Brownsville Early College . . . . . . . . . . . 51 students applied – 86% Brownsville Learning Academy, Lincoln Park and Brownsville Academic Center are included in the counts. Current student enrollment numbers are used in the calculation.

Signing Ceremony Marks Collaboration

On Tuesday, February 26 at 9 AM in the Praxedis Orive, Jr. Technical Training Center at the ITECC Building, 301 Mexico Blvd., Brownsville ISD Superintendent Dr. Carl A. Montoya and Texas Southmost College President Dr. Lily F. Tecero signed an important agreement that will extend the Dual Enrollment partnership between the two educational entities. Texas Southmost College is establishing a Career and Technical Education Academy in Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Technology. In return for providing air conditioning and refrigeration equipment to TSC, Brownsville ISD high school students will be eligible for training and simultaneous college credit, without tuition charge, as part of this new Academy. View the media release.

Rivera Teacher Recognized

Julie Puckett, a Rivera High School teacher, is one of 26 educators selected by Texas A&M University for its 2013 Very Important Counselor (VIC) Program. VIC recognizes the outstanding service and important work of high school counselors, teachers and personnel in guiding students on the path to college. The award carries with it a $1,000 scholarship to be awarded to a Rivera student who is planning to attend Texas A & M University or Texas A & M at Galveston in Fall 2013. Ms. Puckett will also have the opportunity to visit Texas A&M University in College Station on April 15 and 16, all expenses paid, where she will be an honored guest a special VIC recognition dinner.

Nine DI Teams Advance to State

Nine BISD Destination Imagination teams from Garden Park, Keller, Pullam, and Sharp Elementary Schools, Besteiro and Garcia Middle Schools and Veterans Memorial High School (3 teams) will advance to the 2013 Texas Destination Imagination State Tournament to be held in Katy, Texas on April 12-13. Brownsville ISD was represented by 27 teams at the South Texas Border Bridge Destination Imagination Regional Tournament held in Alamo on Saturday, February 16. Awards were made based on high scores as well as anything considered outstanding and/or special. View all BISD DI results.

BISD Artists Earn Gold

BISD high school visual arts students and their teachers participated in the Region One Visual Arts Scholastic Event (VASE) held on Saturday, February 16 at Memorial High School in McAllen. More than a dozen school districts with 1,000 students and artworks participated in this regional competition. BISD was represented by 198 students and 212 entries and earned 201 gold medals and a Superior rating. A total of 19 BISD students and 21 entries qualified to advance to the State VASE competition to be held on April 5 and 6 in Bryan, Texas. Congratulations to all BISD VASE participants. View the results by campus.

February 22, 2013

Public Notice -21st Century Community

The Brownsville independent School District is in the process of applying for the Texas 21st CCLC Program, Cycle 8, Year 1 Grant to continue learning centers several campuses. View the notice.

Educate Texas to support national efforts to scale college- and career-ready model for Texas students including BISD and PSJA

EDINBURG, Texas – Today two school districts in the Rio Grande Valley, Brownsville and Pharr-San Juan-Alamo (PSJA), announced a $5.6 million federal grant to expand the early college high school (ECHS) model in the region as part of the Early College Expansion Partnership. The Partnership includes the two districts as well as Educate Texas, a public-private partnership of Communities Foundation of Texas, and Jobs for the Future (JFF), a national nonprofit based in Boston. The grant, funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Investing in Innovation (i3) Fund, is part of a national $15 million effort to scale the early college model, and the Early College Expansion Partnership was selected as one of 20 national i3 recipients out of a highly competitive pool of more than 700 applicants. The early college model is a bold approach that provides students with the opportunity to earn up to two years of college credit, tuition free, while obtaining their high school diploma. View media release.

Trio Scores Success in Lifting

Three BISD female athletes will represent their schools at the Texas High School Women's Powerlifting Association Region I, Division I Powerlifting Championship on March 2 in Weslaco. Congratulations to Kayla Ortiz from Hanna HS who lifted 685 lbs.; Isabel Alvarez from Pace HS who lifted 780 lbs.; and Monica Gonzalez from Veterans Memorial HS who lifted 705 lbs. Best of luck to these amazing athletes as they advance in competition.

Hanna Student Selected as National Youth Correspondent

Sophomore Eva Garza will represent Hanna as a National Youth Correspondent to the 2013 Washington Journalism and Media Conference at George Mason University. Garza was awarded the opportunity to join a select group of 250 students from across the country to participate in an intensive week long study of journalism and media. Garza was chosen based on academic accomplishments and a demonstrated interest and excellence in journalism and media studies. National Youth Correspondents participate in hands-on experiential learning through decision making simulations that challenge them to solve problems and explore the creative, practical, and ethical tensions inherent in journalism and media. The experiential portion of the program is complemented by speakers who are well known leaders in the media community. Presenters include prominent journalists, CEOs of major media outlets, researchers, and recent graduates successfully entering the field. With distinguished faculty and guest speakers, the Washington Journalism and Media conference offers aspiring journalists an unparalleled experience. This week long program encourages and inspires young leaders from across the country who desire a unique experience focused on successful careers in this dynamic field.

BISD Supports a College - Going Culture

Brownsville ISD high school seniors are applying to colleges in record numbers using the APPLY TEXAS APPLICATION. As of Friday, February 15, BISD high schools reported the following number of student applications as reflected in the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board APPLY TEXAS SUITE. Lopez . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 422 students applied – 96% Hanna . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .472 students applied – 71% Pace . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 333 students applied – 90% Porter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 322 students applied – 75% Rivera . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 274 students applied – 61% Veterans . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 269 students applied – 81% Brownsville Early College . . . . . . . . . . 50 students applied – 85% Brownsville Learning Academy, Lincoln Park and Brownsville Academic Center are included in the counts. Current student enrollment numbers are used in the calculation.

February 14, 2013

Bee Ready: It’s Spelling Time!

Abigail Ytzel Morales, a Perkins Middle School student, captured the championship title at the 2013 BISD Spelling Bee held on Saturday, February 9 at Hudson Elementary School. Soren Bugtong, representing Vela Middle School, was the first runner-up. The top 8 BISD spellers will advance to the Regional Spelling Bee which will be held at South Texas College in Weslaco on Saturday, March 2. The 6 additional spellers who will compete with Abigail and Soren at the regional bee are: Priya Nikita Trakru Kayla Michelle Olvera Omar Nisar Hussain Amanda Leanne Garcia Yasmin Araceli Cadena Ariel Ivan Villanueva Manzano Middle School Brite Elementary School Hudson Elementary School Villa Nueva Elementary School Pullam Elementary School Ortiz Elementary School Special thanks to Marcy Martinez, Anchor/Reporter for KGBT Action 4 News, for serving as the celebrity judge and H-E-B for the generous donation of the Samsung Galaxy Tablets and accessories which were awarded to the top 4 BISD spellers.

ACE Goes Platinum

The BISD Adult Continuing Education (ACE) Program earned Platinum recognition for meeting all performance measures in Adult Education and English Literacy Civics for the 2011-2012 school year. Representatives from Texas LEARNS presented the award at the Texas Association for Literacy and Adult Education (TALAE) Conference held in Austin on February 6. BISD’s ACE program was recognized with other programs from across the state for expending all funds and meeting all targets established by the National Reporting System. Texas LEARNS oversees adult education for the state and is responsible for monitoring progress for the federal government and the Texas Education Agency. Debbie Alford, BISD’s ACE Administrator, was also recognized as a nominee for Administrator of the Year at the conference. Literacy, civics, and GED classes are held at the Adult Continuing Education Department located at 708 Palm Boulevard. Call 548-8175 for more information.

All-Staters Headed to TMEA

BISD’s 28 All-State musicians, the largest delegation from the Rio Grande Valley, are headed to San Antonio on Wednesday, February 13. They will perform in the All-State Band or Choir at the Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA) Conference on Saturday, February 16. Earning chairs in these prestigious ensembles ranks the BISD students in the top 2% of Texas music students. Students chosen for All-State advance through a rigorous process of district, regional and area competition to achieve this remarkable honor. View the list of BISD’s top musicians.

Local Readers Vote on Their Favorites

Three BISD educators and three campuses earned recognition in the 2012 Readers’ Choice Awards sponsored by The Brownsville Herald. Congratulations to Principal Celia De Los Santos, Pullam Elementary; Teacher Sonia Ngo, Pullam Elementary; Coach Johnny Garcia, Pace High School; and Pullam Elementary, Vela Middle School and Hanna High School. The Reader’s Choice winners will be highlighted in the newspaper on Wednesday, February 27 and will receive plaques.

February 7, 2013

Public Notice -21st Century Community

The Brownsville independent School District is in the process of applying for the Texas 21st CCLC Program, Cycle 8, Year 1 Grant to continue learning centers at 17 campuses. View the notice.

State Athletics Success

BISD Special Olympics athletes and coaches representing all high schools and the Triple T program competed in bowling at the State Winter Games held on January 31-February 3 in Austin. BISD athletes also participated in the Opening Ceremonies and Victory Dance. View the results.

Staying Active

In conjunction with this year’s Brownsville Biggest Loser activities, the BISD Wellness Fitness Center will host 30-minute exercise classes on Saturday, February 9 beginning at 8:30 am with Boot Camp by Santa Estrella; Zumba by Santa Estralla and Sherry Burns; and Step Aerobics by Sherry Burns. The event will end with Zumba by Guillermo (Memo) Melendez, a well-known RGV Zumba “Jammer”. Jammers choreograph jam sessions for other Zumba instructors. Don’t miss this high energy and motivational opportunity. Call Anisa Gonzalez at 698-0194 for more information.

Judge Highlights BISD Chess Program in His Ruling

In his landmark school finance decision on Monday, February 4, Judge John Dietz used the history of Brownsville ISD’s chess program as a stirring example of education’s power to unlock student potential. Citing Brownsville’s economic challenges, Judge Dietz explained the origins of the district’s chess program which began in 1989 at Russell Elementary School with Teacher JJ Guajardo. Twenty-four years later, the success of thousands of BISD students has made Brownsville a nationally recognized chess powerhouse and has inspired our hometown university, UT Brownsville, to have one of the top chess teams in the country. Read Judge Dietz’s remarks.

Making History

Hundreds of BISD historians competed at the 2013 BISD History Day event on Saturday, January 12 at Pace High School. This year’s History Day theme is “Turning Points in History.” The Regional History Fair will be held on Saturday, February 16 at UTPA. BISD has 34 junior division (middle school) and 34 senior division (high school) students who are advancing to regional competition. Students who earn a first or second place at regional will advance to the State History Fair to be held at the Bob Bullock Museum in Austin on May 3-4. View the results of BISD’s History Day Competition.

February 4, 2013

21st Annual Principal for a Day

Brownsville ISD will host its popular Principal for a Day (PFAD) activity on Friday, February 15. Each BISD campus has invited a business or community leader to serve as a guest principal for the entire morning. Started in 1992, PFAD has enabled hundreds of local leaders to experience the joys and challenges of school administration. Guest principals will begin the day at their respective schools where they will shadow the campus administrator and participate in a variety of school activities. The day will conclude with a luncheon at the Central Administrative Building (CAB) cafeteria where participants will share stories about the morning they spent in the principal’s office. Over the years, many PFAD guest principals, inspired by their school experiences, have continued their involvement with BISD schools.

BISD Students Offer Tax Prep

Three BISD high schools, Pace, Porter and Lopez, have students in business classes who have been trained to assist the community with tax preparation. The free assistance is available to families and individuals earning $51,000 or less. It is being offered in conjunction with the United Way of Southern Cameron County. View the dates and times that tax preparation services are available.

BISD Named H-E-B Finalist

Brownsville ISD has once again been selected as a finalist for the H-E-B Excellence in Education Early Childhood award. For a second consecutive year, BISD is one of five finalists in this highly competitive program. A panel of judges from H-E-B will visit the district on Tuesday, February 19. The H-E-B Excellence in Education Early Childhood Award is designed to support public or private schools that focus on the care and education of children under the age of five. The purpose of the award is to offer support to help create or enhance Kinder Readiness programs that prepare children to enter Kindergarten socially and academically ready to learn. The 5 regional finalists will each be presented with a check for $5,000 to apply towards the enhancement of existing Kinder Readiness activities or creating new programs for the target population. The overall state winner will be announced and awarded an additional $25,000 grant to apply towards enhancing existing Kinder Readiness programs or creating a new program for the target population.

BISD’s Band Legacy

A history of the award-winning Brownsville ISD high school band program is the subject of an interesting article in the 2012 VanderCook College of Music Annual Report. VanderCook, located in Chicago, Illinois, is a world-renowned institution and has been the training ground for numerous successful BISD band directors and their assistants for over 60 years. BISD’s association with VanderCook got its start with James R. Murphy who became the head band director of Brownsville High School in the 1950’s. The tradition continues to this very day. The district currently has seven VanderCook graduates on staff. Paul Flinchbaugh, Instrumental Music Supervisor; Dennis Ewing, Hanna Band Director; Rolando Zapata, Rivera Band Director; Armando Medrano, Vela Assistant Band Director; Mick Kuntz, Hanna Assistant Band Director; Tiffany Gibson, Rivera Assistant Choir Director; and Dave Gibson, El Jardin Music Teacher. Read the entire story.

Online Access to Grades

Over 10,000 BISD parents have already signed up to use the district’s new online grade service known as Home Access Center or HAC allowing them to stay informed about their child’s academic progress. A simple login gives parents access to grades and assignments for each course their child is enrolled in at school. A user ID and password can be obtained at the campus with proper identification. Parents/guardians must make arrangements with the campus HAC coordinator and sign a user agreement to receive a username and passwork. For more information, contact your child’s school.