January 31, 2014

Access to Grades Online

Over 10,000 BISD parents have already signed up to use the district’s online grade service known as Home Access Center (HAC) allowing them to stay informed about their child’s academic progress. A user ID and password can be obtained at a BISD campus with the proper identification and a signed user agreement. Parents are encouraged to contact their child’s school to participate.

Breakfast is Served!

Breakfast will be served at all BISD campuses this morning when students arrrive to school at 10 am.

Business as Usual on Wednesday, January 29

Brownsville ISD schools will follow regular dismissal times today. School buses will run their regular routes after school.

UTSA Comes to Hanna

Hanna High School will welcome the University of Texas at San Antonio Mobile Go Center on Thursday, February 6 from 9 am to 3 pm. A brief kick-off ceremony will be held at 9 am in front of Hanna. The visit is to support BISD’s college - going culture by assisting students and parents in completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Research indicates that 90% of students who complete a FAFSA go on to college. UTSA wants all BISD students to be college ready, college connected and college completed! View the announcement.

Delayed Start on Wednesday, January 29

Breakfast will be served at all BISD campuses this morning when students arrrive to school at 10 am. Delayed Start on Wednesday, January 29 Due to inclement weather, Brownsville ISD will have a delayed start on Wednesday, January 29, 2014, at 10:00 am. All employees and students are to report to campuses and offices at 10:00 am. Bus students must report to bus stops at these times. • Middle Schools – 8:30 am • Elementary Schools – 9:00 am • High Schools – 9:30 am Note: Campus staff must report to work at 9 am to assist with the arrival of students. All BISD Transportation Department employees are to report by 7:30 am to the department. We apologize for any inconvenience. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Debido al mal clima, BISD tendra un comienzo retrasado el miercoles 29 de enero. Se les pide a todos los empleados y estudiantes reportarse a las escuelas y oficinas a las 10:00 a.m. mas tarde de lo normal. Los estudiantes que necesitan transportacion deben de reportarse al bus stop en los siguientes horarios: • Secundaria (MS) – 8:30 a.m. • Primaria (Elem.) – 9:00 a.m. • Preparatoria (HS) – 9:30 a.m.

Employee Online is 24/7

The new BISD Employee Online feature on the BISD homepage can now be accessed using devices both inside and outside the district network. Employees can view or print their own payroll and benefit information including check stubs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Follow these simple steps to use Employee Online or call the Business Solution Help Desk at (956) 698-1254 for assistance.

Peru and Brownsville ISD Connect

A group of Peruvian educators from the regions of San Martin, Ucayali and Lima will visit Brownsville ISD on Wednesday, January 29 and Thursday, January 30. They are participating in the 2014 Texas Study Tour sponsored by the U.S. Agency for International Development and Family Health International. Their one week visit to Texas is divided between Austin and Brownsville. In Brownsville, they will meet district leaders and learn about the planning and implementation framework that is effectively supporting many at-risk students. The Peruvian educators will observe classroom instruction in the early grades, and learn about curriculum, instruction and assessment practices that help to close achievement gaps. Read more about their visit.

Soccer Games Changes

Due to the cold weather, BISD high school soccer games scheduled for Friday, January 24 have been postponed until Saturday, January 25. The games and times are posted below: Lopez Vs. Los Fresnos @ Sams Stadium 12:30 (Girls), 2:30 (Boys) Rivera Vs. Pace @ Sams Stadium 4:30 (Girls), 6:30 (Boys) Hanna Vs. Veterans @ Hanna 12:00 (Girls), 2:00 (Boys) Porter Vs. Harlingen South @ Boggus Stadium 2:30 (Girls), 4:30 (Boys) Call the Athletics Department at 548-8261 for more information.

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 on Thursday, February 13 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. 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 Hanna 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 local community is invited to see the Hanna Varsity Men’s Choir perform the TMEA program, “The Enduring Spirit” on Thursday, February 6, 2014 at 7:30 pm in the Robert B. Buchanan Performing Arts Center at Hanna. Gene Holkup is the director, Jesus G. Morales and Selina H. Charles are assistant directors, and Robert G. C is the accompanist.

Tops in Region

Brownsville ISD middle school band students swept the 2014 Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA) Region 28 All-Region Band auditions on Saturday, January 18. The students earned 152 All-Region Band chairs and 10 of the 16 available 1st chair positions. For the fourth consecutive year, all of BISD’s 11 middle school band programs produced students who earned chairs in the All-Region group and over one half of the schools increased their totals from last year. Congratulations to the middle school students, parents and directors. View the results by campus.

Running for Fun

William Dyson, the Marathon Kids National Program Administrator, will visit Ortiz Elementary School on Thursday, January 23 from 12:35-2:45 pm. Dyson will speak to students and run with them as part of the Marathon Kids Program. Yolanda Cortinas, the Ortiz P.E. Department Chair and 2013 Texas CATCH Champion, introduced the Marathon Kids Program to her students almost 4 years ago. The program is designed to get kids, teachers and families moving through the 26.2 challenge, promote positive nutritional habits to fuel minds and bodies, and provide tools and resources to motivate and support families and communities to reach their health goals. Dyson is in the Rio Grande Valley for the Marathon Kids Kickoff, sponsored by H-E-B and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas, which will be held on Saturday, January 25 from 10 am to 12 Noon at Boggus Stadium in Harlingen.

Students Offer Tax Prep

Four BISD high schools, Lopez, Pace, Porter and Rivera, are designated as Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites. Students in the business classes have been specially trained to assist with free tax preparation for families or individuals earning $51,000 or less. View the VITA locations, dates, times and information necessary for tax preparation assistance.

The World of Science

Hundreds of district scientists competed on January 17 and 18 at the 2014 BISD High School Science and Engineering Fair held at Rivera High School. View the student results by category.

W-2 Forms on the Way

All current BISD employees will receive their W-2 forms no later than Thursday, January 23 at their work locations. The W-2 forms for former BISD employees will also be mailed by that date.

January 17, 2014

Pace Hosts Powerlifting Meet

Pace High School Athletics will host the 2nd Annual BISD Powerlifting Meet on Saturday, January 18 from 9 am to 4 pm. A total of 16 schools including Pace, Hanna, Lopez, Veterans, Porter, Rivera, San Benito, Los Fresnos, La Feria, Port Isabel, Rio Hondo, Lyford, Sharyland, Donna, Santa Rosa and Weslaco are expected to participate with over 250 athletes in attendance. Athletes will compete in the squat, bench press, and dead lift. There will be divisions for both boys and girls and medals will be awarded to the top lifters in 11 weight classes in each division and team champions as well as best light weight lifter and heavy weight lifter. This meet is sanctioned in compliance with all THSPA and THSWPA Guidelines. Admission is $2 at the gate and concessions will be provided. Meet directors are Bill Dean, and Patrick Boutwell.

January 15, 2014

Saying Thank You to Our Trustees

Brownsville ISD joins districts across Texas in thanking local school board members for their efforts. January 2014 is School Board Recognition Month and an ideal time to focus on the crucial role that an elected school board plays in our community and schools. Public school board members are those dedicated few who are elected to represent an entire community’s education values. The beauty of public education is that its opportunities are open to everyone, and it’s up to those who lead the schools to ensure that all students are given everything they need to achieve and succeed. Among those leaders, school board members stand out. Putting in long hours and working for no pay, they are dedicated public servants who strive day in and day out to preserve the dream of public education. School Board Recognition Month honors that dedication in Texas. Take a moment to thank a Brownsville ISD school board member for caring about the future of our community’s children.

Making Music

A total of 28 BISD secondary fine arts music students earned chairs in the 2014 All-State Band, Choir, Jazz and Orchestra ensembles. The students were selected based on their performances at the Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA) Area G Auditions held on January 11, 2014. They will perform in the All-State ensembles at the TMEA conference in San Antonio on February 15. This places them in the top 2% of music students in Texas. The students advanced through rigorous district, region and area auditions competing against students from Houston, Corpus Christi, Laredo and the Rio Grande Valley. Congratulations to these outstanding young adult musicians. View the 2014 All-State students by school.

Making History

Several hundred young BISD historians participated in the district’s 19th Annual History Day event held on Saturday, January 11 at Rivera High School. The top two contestants in each category will advance to the regional contest to be held on February 28, 2014 at UT-Pan American. View the BISD History Day Awards Summary.

Get Fit

Wellness is Hot Stuff in BISD, even in cold January. The BISD Wellness Fitness Center, located in the Central Administrative Complex, is open for business. Check out the special hours and activities available for employees, parents and secondary students. For more information, call 698-0194. View the recreational league meeting dates.

Employee W-2 Forms

All current BISD employees will receive their W-2 forms no later than Friday, January 31, 2014. The W-2 forms for former BISD employees will also be mailed by that date.

Attention Employees

On November 5, 2013, the BISD Board of Trustees amended the 2013-2014 School Year Traditional Calendars. Based on the Texas Education Agency ruling for the September 16, Inclement Weather Day, BISD was not granted a waiver; hence, Monday, September 16, 2013, will be an inclement weather day and Saturday, June 7, 2014, will be a make-up day. View memo, traditional calendar, certified calendar, and classified calendar.

Seasonal Flu

It’s flu season and everyone needs to take precautions. Here are some helpful tips from the Centers for Disease Control to avoid getting sick. For more information, call BISD Health Services at 548-8191. View the posters in English/Spanish.

Employee Can Stay Healthy with Free Flu Shots

Free flu shots are still available to BISD employees as per the district’s group health plan. Flu shots are available at CVS, HEB, or Walgreens with a BISD Insurance ID card. If you are visiting your family physician, please specify that you are there for the flu shot, not an office visit, to avoid being charged for an office visit. For more information, call the BISD Employee Benefits/Risk Management Department at 548-8061.

Good News!

The Hospital Corporation of America (HCA), which includes Valley Regional Medical Center and Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) have reached an agreement. Valley Regional will remain in the BCBS network. The agreement provides Texas members with continued access to cost effective quality care through HCS facilities.

Superintendent’s Holiday Message

I want to wish your and your family all the joys of this holiday season. BISD campuses and offices will be closed December 23–January 3. Classes and regular district operations will resume on Monday, January 6, 2014. Thank you and best wishes for a prosperous new year. Dr. Carl. A. Montoya

BISD in Mourning

Brownsville ISD is deeply saddened to learn about the sudden passing of Dr. Enrique Escobedo, Jr. He has been a dynamic and inspired leader on our school board for over 10 years. Most recently, he served as our Board President. We offer our deepest condolences and unwavering support to his family in this difficult time. We will honor Dr. Escobedo’s memory by continuing our commitment to provide academic excellence for our community’s children.

Elementary Teams Compete

The annual BISD UIL Elementary competition was held on Saturday, December 14 at 6 hosting elementary campuses: Division 1-Longoria Elementary Division 2-Pullam Elementary Division 3-Breeden Elementary Division 4-Pena Elementary Division 5-El Jardin Elementary Division 6-Burns Elementary Approximately 1,500 BISD elementary students competed in academic events including Art Contest, Music Memory, Number Sense, Oral Reading, Ready Writing, and Spelling. Congratulations to all participants. View the 1st-3rd Place Division Champions.

Guiding Students

Karina Mendieta, a student teacher at Southmost Elementary School and 2009 Hanna High School graduate, was the focus of a story about careers in bilingual education on the University of Texas at Brownsville Career Center page in the Friday, December 13 issue of the Brownsville Herald. View the page.

A Cummings Tradition

For a 6th great year, Cummings Middle School will sponsor the Red Ant 1 Mile/5K Run on Saturday, January 18, 2014 through Dean Porter Park. For questions, call Coach Mora at 548-8630. View the Red Ant Run Information.

Movie Fun

The 16th Annual Kids at the Movie is scheduled for Tuesday, December 17 at 10 am at the Cinemark Theater located in Sunrise Mall. BISD special needs students will get to watch the movie, “Free Birds,” as part of a community based learning experience that coincides with the holidays. Over 1,000 students are expected to participate.

The Parade is On

Charro Days, Inc. has rescheduled the annual Christmas Parade for Monday, December 16 at 7 pm. Any BISD bands or dance groups that have a conflict are asked to contact the Department of Fine Arts at 982-3730 as soon as possible.

Manzano Students Meet Author

Marisilda Garcia, a noted author, singer, poet, actress, and businesswoman, will visit with students at Manzano Middle School all day on Monday December 16. Garcia, a Brownsville native wrote the book, “Of Liberty, Life and Love.” She has also written many poems and songs in both English and Spanish. She attended Stell Middle School and graduated from Pace High School in 1996. She graduated from the University of Texas in Austin. Garcia resides in Los Angeles where she runs an organization for women in the entertainment industry called CINELadies. She will also visit Pace High School on Tuesday, December 17; Stell Middle School on Wednesday, December 18; and Paredes Elementary on Thursday, December 19 from 9-10:30 am.

BISD Goes Paperless on Check Stubs in January

Beginning on January 6, 2014, Brownsville ISD will no longer issue check stubs to employees in conjunction with direct deposit on payday. All employees will have access to a computer and printer at their campus or department work locations to view or print their own payroll or benefit information including a check stub from the Employee Online feature located on the BISD homepage. Follow these simple steps to obtain a check stub or call the Business Software Help Desk at 698-1254 for assistance logging into Employee Online.

Pace is a Star

Pace High School won the GenTX Star Award for completing the most college applications in the state at ApplyTexas.org. Pace will receive $1,000 in GenTX swag to support events and activities at the school. Congratulations to Pace High School for creating a college and career ready pathway for students.

Parade Cancelled

The Christmas Parade scheduled for today, December 9 has been cancelled due to anticipated inclement weather. There are no plans to reschedule it.