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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.

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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

Read More about Weslaco FFA students compete in plant identification
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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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To say that this individual took initiative and ‘stepped up to the plate’ is an understatement.
Rodolfo “Rudy” Silva, Jr. Elementary assistant principal Liz Treviño is the first recipient of the
WISD A+ Employee of Month for the 2022-23 school year.

With the school year just underway, Treviño has already proved to be a seasoned
administrator.

As a newly selected assistant principal, she took on a leadership role when her principal was
away during a family emergency. She not only helped the new faculty open the campus, she
hired staff and helped the school transition into a new academy.

Her diligence reassured her principal who was able to focus on her family at home and for that she will be forever grateful.

“It’s an honor to have a caliber employee such as her in our district,” Principal Dr. Carolina
Lopez said.

Read More about August Employee of the Month personifies the motto, ‘Those who can, do!'
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a photo of a group of students

In front, from left, Lily Ford, Esmeralda Perez, Kaylee Luna and Eliza Gonzalez.  Back, Matthew Moore, Riley Gonzalez, Raymond Sanchez, George Sander, Diego Agado and Alan Garcia.

 

Weslaco ISD students continue to excel at the national level scoring in the top 10 percent of the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test or PSAT/NMSQT administered last Spring.  Ten Weslaco High School seniors received the College Board’s National Hispanic Recognition Scholar Award for these exceptional scores.

Diego Agado, Lily Ford, Alan Garcia, Eliza Gonzalez, Riley Gonzalez, Kaylee Luna, Matthew Moore, Esmeralda Perez, George Sander and Raymond Sanchez are among the 5,000 highest-scoring students from the 400,000 Hispanics/Latino juniors who took the PSAT/NMSQT exams.

“It gives me great pleasure to see our students achieving greatness at the national level,” WHS Advanced Academic Coordinator Melissa Mora-Rodriguez said.  “I am extremely proud of their hard work, dedication to their academic success, and their determination to excel in the area of post-secondary readiness.”

These students also maintained a 3.5 GPA or higher at the time of the exam. They are also eligible for this recognition if they score a 3 or higher on two or more distinct AP Exams. Seven out of the 10 NHS award recipients are AP Scholars and one was an AP Scholar with Honor.

“Our teachers and staff take great pride in creating a culture and climate of a championship vision, hence our students' excellence is evidence of its efficacy,” Rodriguez said.  “Congratulations to our students, staff, and parents that made this recognition possible.”

The NHRP identifies academically outstanding Hispanic/Latino high school students each year. Although the NHRP does not provide a financial reward, being named is an important academic recognition.  The NHRP shares this information to subscribing colleges and universities interested in communicating with academically exceptional Hispanic/Latino students.

Read More about School Board honors National Hispanic Scholars
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Before the rains came....

The WISD CTE Department took part in Weslaco's Alfresco to promote the wide-variety available for students.  From health science to cyber security and automotive technology, students are able to earn industry-based certifications and college credit before graduation.  CTE instructors were to hand to answer questions and help students enroll in the programs available.  CTE also offers extensive student organizations that allow students to gain marketable skills and valuable career insight. 

Unfortunately the evening was cut short because of rain.  For additional information about CTE, contact 969-6703.

   

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Read More about CTE promotes program at Alfresco
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The school’s dual language redesign was one of the topics discussed during a parent meeting held at Rodolfo “Rudy” Silva, Jr. Elementary School recently.

“It is very important that we have open communication with our parents,” Principal Dr. Carolina Lopez said.  “I really do listen to the parents’ feedback.”

Silva will transition to the district’s only Dual Language Academy for the 2022-23 school year and it is crucial that parents and the community understand how the district will implement this new curriculum, she said.

“We will roll out the dual language academy for pre-K and kinder cohort,” she said. “And depending on your feedback, we may include first grade or even second grade.”

Lopez will continue to host monthly meetings throughout the school year and encourages any parent who is interested in enrolling their child in the Dual Language Academy to attend.

“I understand that parents may have a lot of questions,” she said.  “We are here to help each other.”       

Lopez also reviewed parent expectations, the importance of attendance, and campus security. 

For more information on the next meeting follow Silva Elementary on Facebook.

Read More about Silva parents discuss Dual Language Academy during meeting
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Weslaco ISD administrators made their way to the head of the class to read their favorite book in celebration of National Read-A-Book day held September 6.

WISD Superintendent Dr. Dino Coronado was the mystery guest reader at PFC Mario Ybarra Elementary School where he read “Be Brave Little One,” to second grade students in the library which was broadcast live to all classrooms at Ybarra.  

"It was a pleasure reading to the students at Ybarra Elementary School,” Dr. Coronado said.  “As a district, our goal is to improve reading at all levels and as educators, we must set the example that reading is fun! Through reading, we can learn and we can dream!"

Other administrators also read to students. Assistant Superintendent for Teaching, Learning and Innovation Eliza Gomez and Assessment and Accountability Director Elias Treviño visited with students at Dr. R. E. Margo Elementary for National Read a Book Day.    

“I had so much fun,” Gomez said. “As a former school teacher, I loved being in front of the students again.”

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Read More about District celebrates National Read A Book Day
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“We are here for active lethal threats,” veteran law enforcement officer Jesus Villahermosa told Weslaco ISD employees.  “They are not going away. You are the true first responders.” Villahermosa shared chilling, research-based statistics about school shootings as part of the Crisis Reality Training presentation yesterday at the Susan M. Peterson Performing Arts Center.

Villahermosa has 33 years of experience in law enforcement, including 30 years as a member of the S.W.A.T. team. Crisis Reality Training's mission is to empower individuals with realistic training. 

Superintendent Dr. Dino Coronado said he hopes WISD employees leave the presentation with valuable insight.  

“Never think that it can’t happen,” Dr. Coronado said. “It can happen anywhere at any time. We are being proactive with this training. This training offers the most realistic approach.”

Villahermosa described what makes for a successful lockdown plan in the event of an active shooter and addressed the importance of the school’s public announcement system.  He pointed out that the PA system was not used during the Uvalde shooting. Villahermosa also shared actual news video clips of shootings to help illustrate the typical movements of a shooter. The audience watched how the shooter was able to enter Uvalde’s Robb Elementary school because an exterior door was unlocked.

“You can see him go into the classroom because that door wasn’t closed either,” he explained.  “He didn’t have to kick the door open.”  Robb Elementary never initiated its lockdown procedures during the shooting. 

“It’s better to have a plan and not need one then to need a plan and not have one,” he said.

WISD has now implemented a strict policy to ensure that all exterior doors are locked at all times. 

Overall the presentation was impactful and those attending found the training extremely helpful.

“This was very informative,” WEHS security guard Samuel Fernandez said. “Of all the trainings I’ve been to, this has been the best one.  There was a lot of information. It comes down to how to act, you have to do something.”

Villahermosa also shared tactics to minimize exposure to a lethal threat as part of the training: duck and cover, assess and move; evacuation, hiding, running, crawling, playing dead, the power of the voice or fighting.

“You do what you have to do to survive,” he said.  “You need to stop thinking civilly during an uncivil time.”

Villahermosa also recounted the time when his son’s own high school was the site of a shooting.

“I had just spoken to my son about this,” he told the crowd.  “I told him to run.”

Over 900 secondary faculty and staff members attended this first session. The training will continue for elementary campuses on October 31.

Read More about District brings nationally recognized presenter for Crisis Reality Training
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The Weslaco ISD Student Support Services Department launched National Suicide Awareness and Prevention Month today, Thursday, September 1, with a series of events in an effort to help dispel the stigma surrounding mental health challenges.

 “We want to create awareness,” Student Support Services Department Director Dr. Cindy Cid said.  “We want to fight against suicide and save lives.”

Dr. Cid hopes to make an impact on students and help them understand that they are not alone.

 “We need to change the school culture and remove the stigma from students who are experiencing depression or anxiety,” she said. 

Throughout the month, WISD students will take part in several activities designed to promote self-care. Students will create artwork that best depicts, “What Self-Care Looks Like” during an art contest to be held Sept. 11- 17.  Students will also pledge to “Be the Light” and offer to be better listeners with their classmates. 

The month will culminate with a HeART for Hope Family Event scheduled for Monday, September 26 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the WISD Professional Learning Center.  The art contest winner will be announced at this time.  Several WISD community partners will be available to provide additional information pertaining to mental health services.  

Read More about Weslaco ISD launches National Suicide Awareness and Prevention Month
photo of three students

 

Photo of a group of high students

In front from left, Kaylee Luna, Eliza Gonzalez, Iris Asebedo, Lily Ford and Nataly Lozoya.  Standing, Jose Javier Fuentes,   Adam Lopez, Jorge Benitez, Riley Gonzalez, George Sander, Alan Garcia and Matthew Moore.

photo of three students

From left, Giselle Cerda, Omar Gonzalez and Mia Alcala.

The College Board’s Advanced Placement Program recently recognized several of our high school­­ students for their exceptional achievement on AP exams and were honored during the August School Board Meeting last week.  These students earned college credit after successfully completing these rigorous exams.   

 “We are providing many opportunities for our students to earn college credit,” Weslaco ISD Guidance and Counseling Director Cindy Cid said. “Through our dual enrollment and AP programs students are earning high school and college credit.  They are also getting the experience of college rigor for post-secondary.”  All tests are provided free to WISD students.    

Only a small percentage of the millions of students worldwide who take the AP exams performed at a sufficiently high level to earn an AP Scholar award.

Weslaco High School student Caleb Kingearned the highestAP Scholar with Distinction award.  He had an average score of at least 3.5 on all AP exams taken and scored a 3 or higher on five or more exams.   George Sander from WHS and Alexa Lujan from Weslaco East High School earned the AP Scholar with Honor distinctions. They averaged a score of at least 3.25 on all AP exams taken and scored a 3 or higher on four or more exams.  

AP Scholars completed three or more AP exams with scores of 3 or higher.

As a WHS junior, Matthew Moore took the calculus, English IV and computer science AP exams and credits his teachers for his results.

“I had helpful and supportive teachers,” he said. “Taking the exams is good way to challenge yourself and show colleges that we are committed.”

WEHS senior Omar Gonzalez also thanks his teachers.

“They were very diligent in explaining the material,” he said.  Omar took the Spanish III, English IV literature and U.S. history exams.

Classmates Giselle Cerda and Mia Alcala took the time to prepare for the exams.

“I did a lot of studying prior to the exams,” Giselle said.

“There were practice sessions,” Mia said.  “But I felt nervous taking the exams.”

Mia took the environmental science, European history and English III exams and Giselle took the Spanish IV and English IV exams.    

From WHS, Jose Javier Fuentes encourages students to take these rigorous tests. 

“You need a lot of time management,” he said.  “I had to take multiple tests on the same day, STC finals, STAAR and AP.  There is no downside to taking the AP exams.  You are not deducted if you don’t pass the exam but you will be rewarded.” Jose took the government, English language, calculus, U.S. history and economics AP exams.    

WHS AP Scholars are: Iris Asebedo, Joaquin Barron, Lily Ford, Jose Javier Fuentes, Alan Garcia, Eliza Gonzalez, Riley Gonzalez, Eileen Irisson, Clarissa Jasso, Adam Lopez, Nataly Lozoya, Kaylee Luna, Henry Sander, Jorge Benitez and Matthew Moore.      

WEHS AP Scholars are:Mia J. Alcala, Juan C. Arzuaga, Aaron Balderas, Giselle A. Cerda, Victoria E. Cruz and Omar Gonzalez.

Read More about College Board honors WISD AP Scholars

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