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The Knapp Community Care Foundation recently awarded a $38,477 grant to Weslaco High School as part of a community service project.  The WHS Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) club will utilize this funding to continue with the school’s Adopt-A-Park initiative. For several years, FCCLA students have been active cleaning and enhancing Gibson Park and this grant will now add a music garden to the facilities.

“We want to bring families to the park and this would be a cool tool,” WHS FCCLA sponsor Mary Martin said. “Improving the mental and physical well-being of the community was the objective of grant.”

During COVID, families could no longer gather in public areas and now that the parks are open again, we want families to be able to do an activity together, Martin said.

“We decided on the musical garden to create a space where families can come together through the gift of music and nature,” she said.    

The music garden will stage chimes, hand pipes and xylophones throughout the park for public use.  Through this community service project, FCCLA students hope to improve the quality of life for Weslaco residents.

The musical garden is scheduled for installation in March 2023 in continued partnership with the City of Weslaco Parks and Recreation Department.

Read More about WHS FCCLA student club to enhance city park with grant money
First page of the PDF file: SchoolCounselingWeekFlyer2022-2023

The Weslaco ISD Student Support Services Department will celebrate National School Counseling Week, Feb. 6–10, to bring public attention on the unique contribution of school counselors and how students are different as a result of what counselors do.

Following this year’s theme “School Counselors: Helping Students Dream Big,” WISD will highlight the tremendous impact school counselors can have in helping students achieve school success and plans for a career. 

“This special week honors our school counselors who implement comprehensive school counseling programs,” Student Support Services Director Dr. Cindy Cid said. “They are a vital part of the educational process for all students as they meet the challenges of the 21st century.”

As part of its celebration, WISD will host week-long activities including student and staff dress-up days.  Students will be encouraged to wear pajamas on Mellow Monday to acknowledge how counselors help students manage stress. Tuesday is Twin Day when students dress up like a friend to remind students that counselors are always there. Students and staff will wear a sports jersey on Wednesday to acknowledge that counselors are on the same team. It will be Wacky Hair day on Thursday when students and staff will wear crazy hair styles because counselors help students when they are having a ‘wacky’ day.  WISD counselors constantly marvel at the tremendous success our students achieve every day and on Marvel Friday students can wear Marvel or DC comic shirts.

“Our counselors work with our students every day and provide a variety services,” Dr. Cid said.  “They focus on positive ways to enhance students’ academic, career and social/emotional development and work with teachers and other educators to provide an educational system where students can realize their potential and set healthy, realistic and optimistic aspirations for themselves.”    

All WISD school counselors are certified experienced educators with a master’s degrees in school counseling. The combination of their training and experience makes them an integral part of the total educational program at WISD, Cid said.

Parents or community members with specific questions or concerns about school counseling programs should contact the school counselors at their campus. 

Read More about Weslaco ISD celebrates National School Counseling Week, Feb. 6–10
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Weslaco ISD is hosting the Critical Incident/Active Shooter Response Training for Parents, Thursday, February 2, 8 – 11 a.m. at the Susan M. Peterson Performing Arts Center. The training will be hosted by Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office retired senior deputy Ricardo Garcia.

“In law enforcement, we have spent a lot of time training schools but we have left out the parents and the community,” Garcia said. “We have incidents where parents are breaking down doors and windows to get to their kids.  We have law enforcement officers fighting with parents outside in the parking lot.  We have missed that critical element of training our communities.”

Through this session, parents will review the ‘Run, Hide, Fight’ model that can be used in the event of an active shooter in a mall or movie theater, or any public space. Garcia will also review the district’s standard school response protocol which includes the types of drills schools may activate.  He will discuss the ‘stop the bleed’ kits available at campuses and the reunification procedures after a critical incident.

Garcia said this is an uncomfortable discussion to have with parents.

“You are not helping when you show up to the school,” he said. “I walk them through that choice that they have to make whether they are going to impede us or help us.”

WISD Parent and Family Engagement Coordinator Erica Garcia encourages all WISD parents to attend.

“This is a great opportunity for our parents to open the communication lines with our school administrators. We encourage them to voice their concerns,” she said.  The presentation will be available in Spanish.

WISD educators and staff attended mandatory “Crisis Reality Training-Surviving the Active Lethal Threat” training in September and October.

Read More about Weslaco ISD to host active shooter training for parents
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Short wait times and no appointments are needed at the Weslaco ISD SchoolMed Clinic now open from 7:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. across from Central Office in Portable #15. WISD staff and students can receive medical treatment quickly through a telehealth visit with a licensed Goodside Health provider.

“I liked it because I was attended to as soon as I walked in,” a food services employee said.  “The Medical Assistant helped me with registration and when I met with the Physician Assistant, she was very friendly, very knowledgeable.”

It’s the rapid diagnosis and treatment that is key. “This helps decrease the spread of communicable diseases,” District Head Nurse Susan Coffman said. “The earlier a communicable disease is diagnosed, the least likely it will spread throughout the campuses.”

Through the telehealth visit, the licensed Goodside Health provider can order tests that will be administered by the medical assistant on site.  Results for flu A, flu B, strep and COVID 19 take a few minutes.  The licensed Goodside Health provider will then prescribe medication and contact the patient’s pharmacy to call in any prescriptions that may be ordered. 

Parents can join in remotely to a tele visit for their children without leaving work.  Another adult must transport any student under 16 years of age and younger to the clinic.

Because this is considered an urgent care visit, the co-payment is $45 for Weslaco ISD staff members. For patients without insurance, the Goodside Cares Program is available.  WISD parents and staff can contact (682) 267-1793 to verify their eligibility for the Goodside Cares Program and other insurance.

“Ultimately, we want everyone in our district to come to work or class in good health,” Coffman said.  “The SchoolMed Clinic is available to ensure everyone has access to prompt medical attention when they are feeling sick.”

The SchoolMed Clinic is not for medical emergencies.

Read More about WISD SchoolMed Clinic now open
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The Weslaco Crime Stoppers Inc., Weslaco Independent School District (WISD), and Weslaco Police Department have teamed up to offer students and staff a new and anonymous way to report any wrongdoing or suspicious activities on WISD campuses. The P3 Campus phone application and the hotline 956-968-TIPS (8477) are now available for students and staff to use, 24/7. In collaboration with Weslaco Crime Stoppers and WISD, the tip line aims to provide a safe and secure way for students and staff to report any criminal or suspicious activity on campus. The P3 Campus phone application can be downloaded from the Apple Store or Google Play.

“This is completely anonymous,” said Weslaco Crime Stoppers Board President Ramon Resendez. “The key is prevention; this is another tool for students and staff to have.”

The Weslaco Crime Stoppers Campus P3 program also offers compensation for tips. If a tip leads to an arrest, the tipster can be awarded up to $1,000, depending on the severity of the case being reported.

Once a tip is entered into the Campus P3 system, the Weslaco Crime Stopper Coordinator will assess the report to determine if it will be handled by the police or WISD administration. Any P3 tips pertaining to violations of law and criminal behavior will be sent to Weslaco PD for follow up. Non-law enforcement sensitive information and administrative tips will be forwarded to WISD administrators for their review.

“By providing this resource, steps can be taken to help prevent harm or loss of life,” said Resendez.

The Weslaco Crime Stoppers program began in 1989 to assist the police in the gathering of information to solve crimes that had already occurred. Resendez hopes the district’s program will help prevent crime and encourages students to submit any reports of concern. All tipsters are asked to not submit any of their identifying information.

J.P. Rodriguez, Weslaco Crime Stoppers Board Vice President, emphasized that the P3 app and hotline are completely anonymous and that there is no identifying information available from the hotline. State law prohibits the disclosure of a tipster’s identity.

WISD staff and students are encouraged to download the P3 Campus app and use the hotline 968-TIPS (8477) to report any suspicious or criminal activity on campus.  The app and hotline are not a substitute for emergencies that require calling 911 for immediate attention.

Read More about Crime Stoppers, Weslaco Police Department partner with Weslaco ISD to activate tip line
Weslaco ISD Superintendent resigns, Rivera appointed as Interim

Dr. Dino Coronado has announced his resignation as Superintendent of Schools for the Weslaco Independent School District. An agreement has been reached which allows Dr. Coronado the ability to pursue other interests and permits the Board to pursue hiring another Superintendent. The Board and Dr. Coronado have entered into the agreement believing it is in their respective best interests and in the best interest of the District.
The board appointed Dr. Richard Rivera as Interim Superintendent. Rivera was Superintendent at Weslaco ISD for 14 years. Dr. Rivera first joined WISD in 1967 as a classroom teacher and coach. In 1974, Rivera became Principal at Mary Hoge Junior High School, serving for five years. In 1979, he became principal at Weslaco High School and held that position for 17 years before becoming Superintendent in
1996. Rivera also served on the Weslaco ISD School Board for eight years.

Read More about Weslaco ISD Superintendent resigns, Rivera appointed as Interim
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Beginning January 9, Weslaco ISD students and staff will be able to receive health care services virtually through a partnership with Goodside Health.  This SchoolMed telehealth program will offer quality pediatric care for common conditions like influenza, strep, and COVID-19 as well as cold symptoms, headaches, an upset stomach, cuts and scrapes.

“We are so excited to partner with Goodside Health SchoolMed telehealth program,” WISD Health Services Coordinator Susan Coffman said.  “By bringing these services to our district, our students have convenient access to quality healthcare that will help ensure our students and families are healthy and ready to learn.”

Initially, students will have access to SchoolMed at the Central Administration Building at 319 W4th Street in Weslaco. Program registration is now available for all Weslaco ISD students at https://goodsidehealth.com/weslacoisd/register/.

This collaboration is one way the district is combating absenteeism in the district. 

“Today’s announcement is the culmination of months of great work between our team and the dedicated leaders at Weslaco ISD,” Goodside Health Senior Vice President of Operations Matt Balthazar said. “SchoolMed will help to keep healthy students in class while getting those that need care back to health as quickly as possible.”

SchoolMed empowers school health officials to provide the right care for students, right when they need it. When a school health official identifies the need for additional care, the SchoolMed program provides immediate access to assess, diagnose, and treat a range of conditions through a telehealth visit with a Goodside Health provider.

All students are eligible to register for these services, and Goodside Health providers treat all students regardless of residency or insurance status. WISD families are encouraged to visit goodsidehealth.com/families for more information.

Read More about Weslaco ISD, Goodside Health partner to bring health services students, staff
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Weslaco ISD has secured over $5 million in additional funding to expand and facilitate programs dealing with student well-being, school safety and curriculum.

“These are outside grants that we have received thus far,” Superintendent Dr. Dino Coronado said.  “It’s a credit to a great team because it takes all of them to put this together.”

Numerous departments worked to secure this additional funding. 

The Texas COVID Learning Accelerated Supports or TCLAS grant program awarded the district with $1.2 million and $882,500 to target reading and mathematics.

“Our goal is to improve reading skills across the district,” Assessment and Accountability Director Elias Treviño said. 

The TCLAS funding will be used to equip new principals with the tools to identify areas of improvement in reading with training, coaching and additional resources.

Over $880,000 will be used to address student tutoring in accordance with House Bill 4545.  This after-school tutoring program provides middle school students with additional STAAR test remediation in math.  The grant will fund staff and resources needed to provide ‘high-impact’ tutoring for 6th - 8th grade students across the district. 

The WISD Career and Technical Education Department also received two Jobs & Education for Texans (JET) grants totaling over $1 million for two CTE programs. An Automotive Technology grant award of $481,136 and a Welding grant award of $699,053 will be utilized to purchase equipment that will be used to train and certify students in the respective industries. Automotive Technology students will learn diagnostic and repair skills in the rapidly-growing hybrid electric vehicles automotive industry. In addition, Automotive students will learn to operate the latest industry equipment in order to employ corrective strategies for vehicle repair.   

Using new Virtual Reality Software to supplement and enhance traditional welding training, our Welding students will receive simulated training in order to practice welding techniques that includes learning how to operate a pipe manipulator, a precise and fast plasma cutter, a welding arm and a pipe manipulator saw.  

“We are so excited and thankful for these Texas Workforce Commission JET grants,” CTE Director Sandra Avila said.  “These monies will be used to purchase the latest automotive technology and welding equipment upgrading student training and skills in order to prepare them for their future careers as automotive technicians or welders.”

The district was also awarded $300,296.00 from the U.S. Department of Justice as part of the Community Oriented Policing Services Office (COPS) School Violence Prevention Program (SVPP). The funding is earmarked to improve overall security at schools and on school grounds which includes law enforcement training, technology for expedited local law enforcement notification during an emergency and other measures to provide security improvements.

The district will continue to secure funding from different agencies. 

 “There are additional resources available, this opens the door,” Treviño said.

Other grant monies awarded to WISD for the 2022-23 school year are: Andrew Lloyd Webber Initiative Classroom Resource Grant, $6,160; ARP Homeless II Federal Grant, $221,000; Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) $300,296; Knapp Foundation, $34,000; Nurse’s Grant, $102,700; Raising Blended Learners, $300,000; Strong Foundations Literacy Instructional Framework, $125,000; TEA School Safety Grant, $721,172; and Thespian Relief Grant, 1,000.

Read More about Weslaco ISD secures $5 million in grant monies
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Weslaco ISD is excited to announce it is a finalist in the prestigious Holdsworth Center’s Leadership Collaborative.  Holdsworth is a premier education leadership program and now Weslaco ISD administrators will have the opportunity to hone their leadership skills.    

“School business is like no other business,” Superintendent Dr. Dino Coronado said. “Our principals have a tremendous array of responsibilities from budget, to curriculum and staffing.  This leadership program will provide additional opportunities for our school leaders.”

The Holdsworth Center offers programs in which superintendents, central office administrators, principals, assistant principals, teachers and other campus leaders collaborate with a variety of experts in education, academia, government and business. Holdsworth utilizes leadership curriculum and coaching to assist districts in self-reflection and skill-building that leads to an impact on student achievement.

The specific program benefits of the Leadership Collaborative allow for an 18-month program to help district leaders build skills amongst aspiring principals who can provide leadership as positions become available.

“We are investing in our people,” Coronado said.   “Who better understand the needs of Weslaco ISD than our own.”  

The Center was founded by HEB Chairman Charles Butt in 2017. He named the nonprofit organization for his mother, a former schoolteacher and lifelong advocate for social justice.

Read More about WISD finalist in prestigious leadership program
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photo of a girl

Hard work, and talent paid off for Weslaco High School Dreamette Arianna Sepulveda.  Arianna was invited to participate in the iconic Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade which will be broadcast live on NBC Thursday, November 24. 

Arianna took part in the Showtime International summer camp and based on her performance, she was invited to participate in the parade. This is a unique opportunity for her to perform with some of the nation’s finest dancers from the Spirit of America Dance group. The Spirit of America organization has sent the choreography to the girls and they have been rehearsing on their own. 

Arianna will travel to New York City on November 19 and will have her first full rehearsal of the choreography that night. She will be able to do some sight-seeing while at the Big Apple and visit the Empire State Building, Central Park and Times Square.

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is a New York City tradition that dates back to 1924.

 

Read More about Weslaco High School Dreamette to perform in Thanksgiving Day Parade
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Two Weslaco East High School top student-athletes signed their letters of intent to play for Division I teams outside the Valley. Wildcat softball standout Jaisy Caceres penned her name to join the University of Incarnate Word and baseball star Alex Solis committed to the University of Houston.

Team members, coaches and family members were on hand to celebrate the occasion.

“They are model athletes, scholars and citizens of the WEHS community,” assistant principal Araceli Chavarin told the audience.

Jaisy will suit up as catcher for the Cardinals and Alex will pitch for the Cougars.

Both athletes led their respective teams to multiple district and bi-district titles and earned numerous individual distinctions.

Jaisy was named All-District Offensive Player of the Year in 2021 and All-District MVP in 2022.  She was also named the WEHS Female Athlete of the Year in 2021 and 2022.

Alex was named District 32-5A Pitcher of the Year in 2021 and All-District MVP in 2022.  The Monitor also named Alex as the All-Area Pitcher of the Year.

Jaisy hopes to major in kinesiology and Alex will major in sports science.  

Michael Brown is the WEHS Baseball Head Coach and Vicky Vasquez is the Softball Head Coach.   

Read More about WEHS top athletes sign up for college-level play
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A little kindness goes a long way. That is the message that Weslaco ISD wants to emphasize
during Bullying Prevention and Awareness Week, November 14 – 18.
District student representatives and school officials gathered at city hall as Weslaco Mayor
David Suarez officially read the anti-bullying proclamation.
“The Weslaco City Commission encourages the citizens of Weslaco to observe Bullying
Prevention and Awareness Week with activities and conversations about respectful and
compassionate relationships in your homes, schools and communities,” he stated.
Throughout the week, students across the district will participate in activities to promote this
year’s anti-bullying theme: Reach Out. Students will learn about what constitutes bullying and
cyberbullying through the Ripple Effects curriculum.
“We want to educate our students so that they know what to do when faced with this issue,”
WISD Intervention Specialist Ernesto Alcazar said. “We want all students to do their part to
stop bullying.”
During the proclamation signing event, Project Administrator for the David’s Legacy Foundation
Lou Ann Sarachene spoke to the students about their role in stopping bullying.
“You can be a bystander and do nothing or be upstander and reach out,” she said.

Read More about Weslaco ISD, City kickoff Bullying Prevention and Awareness Week, Nov. 14-18
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Weslaco ISD parents can obtain their high school equivalency diploma (GED) as well as, increase their English-language skills free of charge through a partnership with South Texas College.   Spring semester classes are now available and parents can already sign up at the Community Engagement and Workforce Development Office at 969-6602. 

“We look forward to working with our parents,” Community Engagement and Workforce Development Coordinator Erica Garcia said.  “We are proud to offer these opportunities.  If they succeed, we succeed.”

Classes take place via Zoom and parents are responsible for their own device and WIFI.  GED classes are scheduled for Mondays and Wednesdays and ESL classes take place Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Both courses are led by STC instructors. 

Through the ten-week program GED program, WISD parents are registered as STC students and are able to utilize the college facilities including gym, library and computer lab.

According to Garcia, WISD families have requested these types of programs in the past.

“We encourage our parents to continue their own education,” she said.  “The family home environment improves dramatically when parents are empowered.”

Read More about Free GED, English classes for Weslaco ISD parents underway
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Weslaco ISD will focus on the social-emotional well-being of students and help them stay away from drug use during the National Red Ribbon Week campaign Oct. 24 -28.  The district will also raise awareness regarding the destruction drugs cause. 

“Through social-emotional learning students learn to self-regulate,” Student Support Services Director Cindy Cid said.  “When they can’t self-regulate they tend not to make responsible decisions and turn to drugs.”  

During Red Ribbon Week, WISD students will take part in district-wide activities to promote drug-free lifestyle, following the theme: Celebrate Life: Live Drug Free.  Middle school and high school students will also take part in the curriculum during advisory periods which addresses the consequences of drugs and dangerous trends like vaping.

“Vaping continues to be an issue unfortunately,” Cid said. 

WISD has a comprehensive plan already in place to combat drug use across the district. Random drug testing for athletes, students in extracurricular activities and student drivers are now policy.

A WISD drug awareness and prevention program is available to students and parents.  Drug-use prevention curriculum is presented to high school and middle school and elementary students during class time.  The district also provides training to help faculty and staff identify illegal substances. 

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Read More about Weslaco ISD kicks off National Red Ribbon Campaign, Oct. 24-28
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Beatriz G. Garza and Central middle school students successfully auditioned and earned a chair during the Middle School Region 28 Orchestra Band contest held recently. 

“The students worked really hard,” Orchestra Director Yram Leal said.  “They put in the extra hours practicing. I am very proud of them.”

The 7th and 8th graders competed against schools from Harlingen and San Benito before a panel of three judges.  Each student successfully performed music excerpts and etudes for three rounds of competition. 

“This is a tremendous opportunity for our students to utilize their advanced musical knowledge and apply it towards their upcoming UIL contests and high school music careers,” Leal said.

Our students will perform with the elite Middle School All-Region Orchestra November 5 at 5 p.m. in the Harlingen Performing Arts conservatory. The concert is free of charge.

From Beatriz G. Garza Middle School: in front, standing from left, violas Gwen Fuentes, Adrienna Elizondo, Charlize Garcia, Bella Gonzalez and Rhosela Perez.  Back, violins Seth Mora, Allison Olivares, Chloe Solis and Salomon Guerrero.

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From Central Middle School: sitting from, left, cellos Ernesto Muñoz and Eori De Anda.  Standing, viola Celeste Garza and violins Sorelle Villarreal, Daniel Martinez, Azul Hernandez and Fatima Luna.

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Read More about B. Garza, Central students make All-Region Orchestra
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Weslaco ISD was awarded $300,296.00 from the U.S. Department of Justice as part of the Community Oriented Policing Services Office (COPS) School Violence Prevention Program (SVPP). WISD is among four Valley school districts and 235 communities across the country to share the $72 million federal grant.

“Student safety is top priority in our community and WISD welcomes this federal funding to expand our current school security protocols across our district,” Dr. Dino Coronado said.  “We look forward to working with our local law enforcement to better serve our students and staff.  We appreciate our government representatives for their assistance with this very important issue.”

The funding is earmarked to improve overall security at schools and on school grounds.  Funds will be used for coordination with local law enforcement; training for local law enforcement officers to prevent school violence against others and self; and other deterrent measures; technology for expedited notification of local law enforcement during an emergency; and/or any other measure that may provide a significant improvement in security.

Read More about Weslaco ISD receives federal funding to expand school safety
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graphic with pictures teams

Congratulations to the Weslaco High School Boys and Girls Cross Country teams for successfully competing in the District 32-6A Meet and advancing to regionals.

The WHS boys team came in 2nd place and the girls team finished in 3rd place against schools from Harlingen, Los Fresnos, San Benito, Brownsville Hanna and Brownsville Rivera.

Top finisher from the boys’ team was Joshua Rodriguez who came in at 4th place; and top girl finisher was Kaylee Muñoz in 6th place.

The teams will now travel to Texas A&M in Corpus Christi, October 24 for the Region IV Cross Country Meet.  The top four finishers advance to state.

Read More about Congratulations Panthers!
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graphic with pictures

A round of applause for District Champion freshman Aaron Nava from Weslaco East High School.  Aaron finished in first place at the 32-5A Cross Country meet and advances to regionals. 

The WEHS boys team came in 2nd place and the girls team came in 3rd place. The teams faced off against schools from Donna, Harlingen, Edcouch-Elsa, Brownsville and Mercedes. 

Both teams will now travel to Texas A&M in Corpus Christi, October 25 for the Region 4 Cross Country Meet.  The top four finishers advance to state.

Read More about Congratulations Wildcats!
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photo of 5 girls

While the football teams battle it out on the gridiron, another group of fierce competitors quietly wait on the sidelines. During halftime, all eyes are on them as they take their positions on the field and perform.  The Wildcat Regiment and the Panther Corps are preparing for the Region 28 Marching Contest also known as Pigskin Jubilee. This Saturday, the bands will travel to San Benito, October 15, to showcase what they have been working on all summer and perfecting during the football halftime shows.

Weslaco East High School Head Drum Major Catherine Lopez and Assistant Drum Major Genesis Medrano, as well as Weslaco High Head Drum Major Eliza Gonzalez and Assistants Hailey De La Mora and Lilee Garza have all reluctantly left marching behind to take their spots on the podium to lead the bands.

“I miss being part of the show,” Catherine said.  “This is more stressful.”

“I do miss marching,” Lilee said.  However, Lilee has wanted to be a drum major ever since middle school. “They amazed me, the way they looked,” she said.

“Being a drum major means making sacrifices and putting the band first,” Hailey said. “It’s always worth it in the end.”  Hailey was a member of the color guard.

“What hurts the most though is seeing the guard perform without me. I’m always reminiscing about dancing under the Friday night lights.”

As drum majors, these young ladies are responsible for keeping the bands’ timing, cues and downbeats not to mention, music, visuals and drill team in sync.

“My main job is keeping tempo, watching the drum line so it doesn’t speed up or slow down,” Catherine said.

“Drum majors have to have a really good connection with the drum line,” Eliza said.

Next Saturday, the 140-member Regiment will perform ‘Survivor 3045’ when they face off against Valley 5A schools.  The 260-member Corps is polishing their show, ‘Goddess of the Night’ for the 6A competition. The bands will perform five to seven pieces of music.

Going to State is the ultimate goal for the Wildcat and Panther band leaders.

“I want us to nail the competition and get a Division I rating,” Catherine said.

“I want to push a little more and advance to finals,” Genesis said.

“We have a lot of visuals and our show is challenging,” Lilee said.

“We were close to going to state last year,” Eliza said.  “It takes a lot of work to go to state.”

This year is a State year for Weslaco High and Weslaco East will be able to compete for State next year.

 

Read More about Band leaders aim for state at Pigskin
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Yesterday, October 4, 2022, Weslaco ISD was notified that a threat was made against Weslaco High School.  Following the threat assessment protocols, the school district immediately informed the Weslaco Police Department.

Today, October 5, 2022 an investigation was conducted by the Weslaco Police Department in conjunction with Weslaco ISD and four Weslaco High School students were arrested and charged with making terroristic threats. 

The safety and security of our students and staff is something we take seriously. We urge parents and guardians to talk to their children about the consequences of making threats. We thank you for your continued support regarding our students and staff wellbeing.

Read More about Weslaco PD, WISD investigate terroristic threat at Weslaco High
A photo of a boy and girl with violins
A photo of a boy and girl with violins

The sounds of music will fill the Susan M. Peterson Performing Arts Center October 27 when Weslaco High School students Matteo Houston and Athena Gonzalez audition for the All-State Mariachi. 

As members of the All-Region Mariachi, Matteo and Athena have advanced to All-Area and will record audition materials for All-State.

“I believe they’ll do well,” Mariachi Pantera Director Jose Zamora said.  “They are both very talented individuals.”

During the All-State audition process, all students advancing to All-Area will perform two etudes or pieces of music, as well as, a vocal etude.  These performances will be recorded and submitted to the All-State judges.

“The judges are looking for style, proper technique and musical maturity,” Zamora said.  “They have to sound like a mariachi.”

Matteo earned 6th chair and Athena earned 9th chair in violin in All-Region.  The All-Region Mariachi is made up of Region 28 which includes high schools from Donna to Brownsville.  Matteo and Athena will perform with the All-Region Mariachi in a concert to be held March 4. 

Read More about Weslaco High School students advance to All-State Mariachi competition
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Three Weslaco High School Panther Corps members will be representing WISD at the upcoming Texas Music Educators Association All-Area Jazz Band competition after successfully auditioning for All-Region.

Raymond Sanchez and Anthony Ortiz both earned first chair in tenor saxophone and trumpet respectively.  Isabella Sanchez, who earned fourth chair in trumpet is also advancing to the All-Area competition.

“Just to compete to the All-Area level is tough,” WHS Band Director Rodrigo Leal said.  “The students have been working all summer on the music.  I am extremely proud of them.”

Only the top five students in each section at the regional auditions advance to Area, so this event has a high degree of difficulty.

“The All-State selection process for Jazz band is a lot more difficult than All-State band,” Leal said.

During the All-Region Jazz Band auditions students performed three pieces of music before a panel of five judges.  The students are judged on tone, pitch, musicality and improvisational skills.

The All-Region Jazz Band will perform a concert in February in Harlingen.

photo of three students
Read More about Weslaco High School students advance to All-Area Jazz Band competition
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Can the livestock eat that grass, shrub or a tree?  It was up to our CTE Future Farmers of America students to figure it out during the annual Rio Grande Valley District Plant Identification Contest held at the Livestock Show Grounds in Mercedes last week.  

The Weslaco High FFA and Weslaco East FFA students competed against the Citrus Valley District which included schools from Valley View, PSJA, Mission, La Joya and La Feria for this year’s first competitive event.

“This was a good way for our students to learn about competing in FFA,” WEHS agricultural teacher/FFA sponsor Lynette Suarez said. “The students did really well.”

During the one-minute rounds, students examined the characteristics of native and introduced plants.  Students had to identify plant’s life cycle, growing season, origin and presence of poison. Students were not allowed to handle the plants during the competition and identified 60 samples.

This event helps students develop an interest in the wide-variety of plants that are important habitat components for wild life and domestic livestock.

“This is a career development event,” Suarez said. “In case our students are interested, there are additional courses they can take.”

The WHS FFA chapter Greenhand team placed 3rd and the senior team placed 4th.  The WEHS FFA chapter placed 5th. Juan Cadena is the WHS agriculture teacher/FFA sponsor.

The WHS Greenhand team members are: Chris Ramirez, Camryn Bravo, Madison Bravo and Diego Calderon. Senior team members are: Edson Medina, Cora Ford, Anahi Tostado, Jazmin Garza, Ieesha Gomez and Lily Ford.  WEHS FFA team members are: William Kromer, Julio Salinas, Matthew Martinez, Angela Torres, Jacob Gonzalez, Eileen Martinez, Jesus Soto and Jaelynn Medellin.

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Above:  WHS Greenhand Team. Below: senior FFA Team

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WEHS FFA Team

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How to vote and why you should vote were the topics discussed during the 2022 Voter Registration Drive held at Weslaco High School today.  With national, state and local elections coming up November 8, the drive helps eligible WHS seniors meet the October 11 registration deadline. 

League of Women Voters representative Sofia Kennedy and Precinct One Commissioner David Fuentes shared valuable information with the students. 

“The first-time voter makes the most mistakes,” Kennedy said.  “An ID is required; the laws have changed in Texas.” 

The League offered information on VoteRiders, a national organization that helps eligible voters obtain a state-issued ID card if a driver’s license is not available. VoteRiders offers free transportation and may cover the cost of an ID. 

Fuentes urged students to take part in local elections.

“When you vote and you start engaging in your local government,” he told the seniors.  “That is when you have a say.  If you don’t like what they are doing, vote them out.  That’s the power of who you are as a voter.”

Policy and laws that impact funding for county, city and school district projects are determined by elected officials, Fuentes explained. 

Fuentes also encouraged students to consider running for office.

We need people like you that are educated and have the ability to think and solve problems not just for you or your family but the community. That is the important skill set that I look for when I support a candidate,” he said. “That is something you should consider at one point in your life.”

You get what you vote for, WHS Assistant Principal Melissa Mora-Rodriguez told the students.

“This is a privilege and opportunity not everyone in the world has,” she said.  “See that as an honor to participate in the legislative process to make sure you get what it is that you are voting for.”  

Over 100 seniors attended the Texas voter registration drive.  For more information on VoteRiders visit VoteRiders.com or www.votetexas.gov for election information.

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Sofia Kennedy picks up voter registration applications.

 

Read More about Weslaco High School hosts voter registration drive
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Congratulations to our Weslaco schools for their tremendous success with the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness exams earning the district an overall score of 89 in the STAAR accountability ratings for the 2021-2022 school year. 

“Our Weslaco ISD teachers and staff continually foster resilience and provide supportive learning environments for our students despite all the challenges they face,” Deputy Superintendent Abel Aguilar said. 

Campuses earning A ratings are: South Palm Gardens High School, CTE Early College High School, Justice Raul A. Gonzalez, Memorial, North Bridge, PFC Mario Ybarra, Dr. R. E. Margo and Airport Drive elementary schools. 

These ratings are a reflection of the tremendous performance at the campus level.

“We have more schools that are As than before the pandemic,” Assessment and Accountability Director Elias Treviño said.  

“In addition, South Palm Gardens High School not only earned an A, but is the first school at Weslaco ISD to have earned a perfect score of 100 in the overall rating,” he said.  “ When you consider the uniqueness of a perfect score and take into consideration the makeup of the population this school serves, you understand how great of an accomplishment this is.” 

To receive an A rating, schools must receive a score of 90 percent or higher in the overall rating. Domain I measures academic achievement which is made up of student performance on the exam, whether a student ‘approaches’, ‘meets’ or ‘masters’ the subjects tested. Domain II deals with school progress. This tracks a student’s academic growth and measures whether a student showed growth from one year to the next. 

Domain II also tracks relative performance by comparing our campuses to similar campuses in the state to determine how well our campuses are performing with groups such as the economically disadvantaged.  

Domain III involves closing the gaps. This domain measures the performance of specific groups such as English learners, students served in special education, and even race and ethnicity.

Our campuses were compared to schools across the State in groups of 40 according to size and demographics; and based on these comparisons, they received a Distinction Designation in either Reading/English Language Arts, Math, Science, Comparative Academic Growth, Postsecondary Readiness or Closing the Performance Gaps. In total, our campuses earned 44 Distinction Designations.  

Airport Drive Elementary earned all six of their Distinction Designations. 

“I am excited for our staff,” Airport Drive Principal Ida Cuadra said. “It was challenging to work through the pandemic and learning loss. A lot of our students were personally affected by COVID and our first goal was making our students feel comfortable and safe coming back to the classrooms.”

Cuadra credits her students and staff for the successful adjustment. “Our staff worked hard to engage our students through the many stages of COVID, with Zoom meetings, behind shields and masks and limited face to face instruction,” she said. “And our kids are resilient.”

Airport implemented different assessment and diagnostic tools to target learning loss.  Also, all elementary schools offered intensive tutoring from October through April.

Read More about School Board celebrates campus STAAR distinctions, A ratings

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