September 30, 2013

Topping the Charts

Brownsville ISD high school choir students once again established supremacy at the Region 28 Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA) District Auditions with 76 students qualifying to advance in competition. Hundreds of mid and lower Rio Grande Valley choir students competed on Saturday, September 28 at Rivera High School. Rivera High School topped the Brownsville list with 21 students earning high marks followed closely by Veterans Memorial with 20 students and Hanna with 17. Pace had 8 students who advanced and Porter had 5. Pace’s Yarlett Navarro earned Soprano I. Congratulations to these students and their directors on a successful debut.

BISD Welcomes the State Commissioner of Education

The Texas Commissioner of Education, Michael L. Williams, will visit Brownsville ISD on Thursday, October 3 as part of his “Texas Tour” of public schools. His visit will be led by District 2 State Board of Education member and Brownsville resident Ruben Cortez, Jr. Commissioner Williams and Cortez, accompanied by Superintendent Dr. Carl A. Montoya, will visit Yturria Elementary School at 9:15 am where Williams will address the BISD elementary principals. A little after 10 am, Williams and his entourage will visit Veterans Memorial High School to look at career and technology education programs. The Commissioner will visit schools in four Rio Grande Valley districts on Thursday.

BISD Board Meets Monthly

At the meeting held on September 17, 2013, BISD Board Trustees approved changing Policy BE (Local) to hold only one regular Board Meeting per month rather than two. Beginning on Tuesday, October 1, 2013, the BISD Board will hold regular meetings on the first Tuesday of the month at 5:30 pm in the Administration Building Boardroom located at 1900 Price Road. Agendas are posted in the lobby and outside display case of the Administration Building at least 72 hours before regular meetings. Meeting agendas are provided for visitors at the entrance of the Boardroom. Special meetings are called as needed and agendas are posted at least 72 hours in advance. Emergency meetings require a two-hour notice. All meetings are open to the public, except when the Board adjourns for closed meetings to discuss personnel matters, litigation, and property acquisition.

September 25, 2013

Hanna Choir to Perform for TMEA Statewide Conference

The Hanna Varsity Men’s Choir has been invited to perform for the 2014 Texas Music Educators Association Convention (TMEA) in San Antonio, Texas this coming February. The Hanna Men’s Choir is honored to be the first high school choir from Brownsville ISD as well as the first Men’s Choir from South Texas to perform for this esteemed group of professional musicians and educators. The Varsity Men’s Choir was the only high school men's choir selected to perform at this year’s convention from over 120 recordings submitted. The performance is scheduled for Thursday, February 13 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas. The Hanna High School Varsity Men’s Choir will sing a half-hour concert at the convention. The performance will feature two songs specifically written for the occasion by Dr. Z. Randall Stroope (Oklahoma State University) and Dr. Thomas Juneau (St. Joseph University, Philadelphia, PA). Both selections are being dedicated to the choir and written specifically for their TMEA performance. Dr. Stroope is one of the most critically acclaimed choral composers and Dr. Juneau is a native Texan whose choral works have brought wide acclaim throughout the country. Read more.

Mireles Honored as a Hero for Children

The State Board of Education (SBOE) recognized 17 Texans, including BISD’s own Eloisa Mireles, for collectively providing more than 100 years of volunteer service to Texas public schools at the SBOE meeting held on Friday, September 20 in Austin. View the entire new release.

Flu Prevention

Flu season is already here and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommend 3 actions to fight it. BISD employees are also eligible for free flu shots. View the 2013-2014 BISD employee flu shot schedule and the CDC recommendations in English and Spanish.

September 18, 2013

State First Place for Ballroom Dancers

BISD secondary ballroom dancers earned first place at the Texarama State Team Match held in Galveston on Friday, September 13. A total of 110 BISD dancers faced heavy competition from Fred Astaire Dance Studios from Clear Lake, Katy, Lake Houston, Cypress, Champions, Ft. Worth, Sugarland, River Oaks, and The Woodlands. The judges and audience were taken by the talent and enthusiasm of BISD’s talented ballroom dancers who continue to earn statewide recognition on the dance floor. Congratulations to our students and their supportive and dedicated teachers and parents.

BISD Employee Online

A new feature, Employee Online, has been added to the district’s homepage under “Employment.” BISD employees can now view their own payroll and benefits information with just a few clicks. In order to set up an Employee Online account, BISD users will need their employee ID number as the user ID and Social Security Number without hyphens as the password for the first time. Once this information is entered, the system will prompt employees to change their passwords. Once the password is set, employees should record it somewhere safe because the password cannot be retrieved. If you need help logging in, call the Business Software Help Desk at 698-1254. View the guidelines and link to the new BISD Employee Online System.

Walk Rescheduled

Due to possible inclement weather, the 5th BISD Walk for the Future scheduled for Saturday, September 14th has been rescheduled to Saturday, September 21st.

2013-2014 BISD Calendar Amended

At the Board Meeting held on September 3, BISD trustees approval amending the 2013-2014 instructional calendar to include a Memorial Day Holiday on May 26, 2014. As a result, the last day of school for students was adjusted to June 5, 2014 and the teacher preparation day was moved to June 6, 2014. The high school graduation schedule was also changed. View the amended calendar.

Public Meeting on Budget and Tax Rate

Brownsville ISD will hold a public meeting on Tuesday, September 10 at 5:30 pm in the Administration Building Board Room to discuss the school district’s budget which will determine the tax rate that will be adopted. Public participation in the discussion is invited. View more information.

September 3, 2013

BISD Continues Provision 2 Free Meals

Students of the Brownsville Independent School District will continue to receive a free breakfast and lunch under the Special Assistance Provision 2 program during the 2013–2014 School Year. Additional meals and a la carte menu items will also be available at a nominal price. The Food & Nutrition Service Department encourages students to take advantage of the free meals and low-cost, nutritious a la carte items. The FNS Department is fully committed to implementing the USDA’s School Meals Initiative and complying with the USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans through a variety of meal planning approaches. The menus are planned to include a variety of well-balanced foods and are designed to increase the consumption of grains, fruits, and vegetables, as well as other food sources rich in essential vitamins and minerals. The FNS Department shall continue to build upon the standard of quality that the community has come to expect and ensure that the Dietary Guidelines are met. Menus will be available to students at the cafeterias. Parents may contact the FNS Department regarding any concerns or questions on the program at 956-548-8450 or on the web at

The White House Comes to Brownsville

The White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics (WHIEEH) and the Brownsville Independent School District (ISD) will hold a Roundtable on Hispanic Educational Achievement with Brownsville ISD Superintendent of Schools Dr. Carl Montoya, WHIEEH Executive Director Alejandra Ceja, and other key leaders at 12:30-1:30 pm, Wednesday, September 4th, at Daniel Breeden Elementary School in Brownsville, Texas. This event is part of the WHIEEH 2013 Back-to-school Texas Tour. The tour is making nine stops throughout South and West Texas to engage community leaders in discussions about education and Hispanics. With over 54 million people, Hispanics are the largest minority group in the nation, and one of the youngest populations. It is clear that America's economic success is inextricably linked with the success of the Hispanic community. We must expand opportunities and improve outcomes for Hispanic students to meet President Obama's education goals - to have the best-educated, most competitive workforce in the world. At the roundtable, you will hear about the President’s education agenda – particularly in Hispanic educational achievement, and also be asked to share your insights about successful efforts in your community and issues of concern to inform education policy-making in Washington. View the media release.

Reporting Allegations of Bullying

Brownsville ISD prohibits bullying on school property, at school-sponsored or school-related activities, or in any vehicle operated by the district. Bullying may be verbal or written expression or expression through electronic means, or physical conduct. Bullying is not tolerated by the district and any student or parent of a student who believes that the student or another student has experienced bullying or that a student has engaged in bullying is encouraged to immediately report the incident. Retaliation against anyone involved in the complaint process is a violation of district policy and is prohibited. Students or parents may report an alleged incident of bullying, orally or in writing, to a teacher, counselor, principal or other district employee. Students or parents may contact the district to obtain an incident report form that may be used to submit the complaint. Please note that after submission of the complaint to the district employee, the district may assign the complaint to a campus administrator to follow up on the submitted complaint and any other important matters pertaining to the complaint. We encourage you to communicate with your designated campus administrator during this time. More information about the district’s bullying policy can be found at of the campus administration office.

State Award for BISD Volunteer

Eloisa Mireles, a parent volunteer at Burns Elementary and Vela Middle School, has been selected for recognition as a Hero for Children by the State Board of Education (SBOE). Ms. Mireles, who has volunteered in BISD for over 20 years, is one of 15 volunteers who will be honored at the SBOE meeting on Friday, September 20 in Austin, Texas. She will receive a certificate and resolution. Mireles began volunteering while her children attended school and continued after they left. She has served on numerous district and campus committees, assisted as an office receptionist, prepared materials for teachers, recruited new families/volunteers, and performed many other duties that benefit students. Her contagious enthusiasm, responsible attitude, friendly demeanor, and professional manner have made Eloisa Mireles a role model for all volunteers. Congratulations to her and our many other BISD parents who generously donate their time each year.

BISD Open for Labor Day

All BISD campuses and offices will be OPEN on Monday, September 2, Labor Day.

Making History

The South Texas Cubs, composed of several BISD elementary students, diligently worked their way through a series of tournaments to compete at the Pony South Zone World Series in Schertz, Texas on July 24-27. The Cubs won first place and finished with a 32-0 winning record in the Shetland (Tball) Division making Brownsville history by earning two titles. Congratulations to these fine young athletes.

Incentive Pay for Classified Personnel with Degrees

On June 18, the Brownsville ISD Board of Trustees approved an incentive of $200.00 for classified employees who have an Associate’s Degree and $250.00 for classified employees with a Bachelor’s Degree. The incentives will be paid in two increments, December and May. Eligible classified employees may apply for the incentive pay by submitting a completed Salary Credit Enrollment form with an official transcript including degree notation to the Human Resources Department by Monday, September 30 at 5 pm. The Salary Credit Enrollment forms may be picked up in the Human Resources Department.

Brownsville Baseball News

The Brownsville All-Star Team, composed of several BISD students , is competing at the Pony League World Series in Washington, Pennsylvania.

3 Top State Awards for 21st CCLC

Brownsville ISD’s 21st Century Community Learning Center Program (21st CCLC) was awarded 3 of 5 of the most prestigious awards in the State of Texas at the 3rd Annual Afterschool Centers on Education (ACE) Awards Ceremony held in Austin on August 8, 2013. First and foremost, the program was selected by the Texas Education Agency to receive the 2013 PRIME Award which recognizes the top ACE school districts in the state for their efforts to align their strategies and activities with the Texas ACE PRIME Blueprint. Additionally, the district’s 21st CCLC Program, Cycle 7, received the state’s 2013 Most Innovative Family Engagement Activity Award for the Boys’ and Girls’ Leadership Symposium which were held in Brownsville in Spring 2013. Lastly, Dr. Sylvia P. Atkinson, the Assistant Superintendent for Support Services who oversees this program, received 2013 recognition as the Top Administrator in Texas for her support and leadership of the district’s 21st CCLC Program, Cycle 6. Over the past 5 years, BISD has received almost $20 million in 21st CCLC grants to create and expand out-of-school-time programs. The 21st CCLC program serves approximately 4,437 BISD students at 37 campuses.

11 Schools Earn State’s Highest Honors

A total of 11 BISD campuses that recently achieved the Met Standard rating in the new state accountability system also earned a triple distinction designation in 3 potential areas: top 25 percent student progress, academic achievement in reading/english language arts, and academic achievement in mathematics. Only 759 schools out of 3,600 across Texas that Met Standard earned this designation. The BISD schools are: Brownsville Early College High School Resaca Elementary School Faulk Middle School Sharp Elementary School Stillman Middle School Victoria Heights Elementary School Ortiz Middle School Vermillion Elementary School Paredes Elementary School Yturria Elementary School Pullam Elementary School BISD’s number of triple designation campuses places it at the top of the Rio Grande Valley. Brownsville ranks higher than several large Texas school districts including Alief (9), Corpus Christi (5), El Paso (8), Fort Worth (7), Northside (10), San Antonio (8), and Ysleta (10). Brownsville tied with Austin ISD at 11 campuses. Congratulations to the students, parents and employees at these 11 schools.