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Weslaco ISD parents will soon be able to track their elementary students in real time as they travel to and from campus with the full implementation of the school bus Zonar Z Pass system this school year. 

“It is extremely exciting for us to be able to bring this technology over to Weslaco ISD,” Transportation Manager Hector Gonzalez said. 

During the first week of school, WISD students in pre-K – 5thgrade will be issued ID cards that they will use to scan as they board the bus. The ID card utilizes a radio frequency that will transmit the student’s location every time it is scanned on the bus. Currently, only Transportation personnel and campus administrators can access the database.    

“The system will show the information to the database,” Gonzalez said. “Which student boarded the bus, which student exited the bus and what location.”

WISD is implementing the Z Pass feature to add a measure of security to students riding the bus.

“There is a safety issue on occasions when students get on the wrong bus,” Rafael Reyna, assistant route supervisor said.  “Small children don’t know their physical address.”   

Later this fall, parents will be able to receive notifications through the Zonar Z Pass Bus tracking app.  This app will instantly notify parents through text messages when and where their child got off the bus. 

The Z Pass is available for elementary students but will expanded to include all students who ride the bus to school. The Z Passes do not contain personal student information and will be issued to students free of charge.

Currently, about WISD 3,000 students use the school bus on a daily basis.  

Pictured below, Rafael Reyna demonstrates the Z Pass scanner.

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Student safety and security is at the forefront as Weslaco ISD gears up for the new school year. With classes set to begin August 22, Superintendent Dr. Dino Coronado wants to reassure parents and the community that the district is implementing several initiatives to safeguard students and staff. 

“These safety measures are sometimes looked at as an inconvenience to visitors,” Dr. Coronado said. “We want to be able to make our schools welcoming and still balance proper security measures.”

New Texas Education Agency mandates require that all campus entry doors are monitored. TEA will audit every district to ensure that all exterior doors are locked and maintained. The district will check exterior doors on a daily basis and report to TEA on a weekly basis.  

“What we have to do to increase our security measures is to improve our daily routines, door checks between passing periods, we have to be able to identify potential threats,” Dr. Coronado said. “As a district, we have a huge task of safety and security but this is also a community responsibility to identify those potential threats.”

The district will continue to coordinate and collaborate with the Weslaco Police Department to identify potential threats. Weslaco PD will utilize advanced technology to asses and identify potential threats out in the community and social media and will communicate with the school district.   WISD will also continue the Security Resource Officers (SRO) program first established in 2019 embedding Weslaco police officers at the high schools and middle schools.

The WISD Safety Task Force created this summer has implemented several layers of protection for students and staff.  ID checks, security cameras, sensors and perimeter patrols are all part of the district’s comprehensive security plan. Faculty and staff will also undergo training to help identify students who may be in need of mental health services. Once a student demonstrates “red flag” behaviors, the WISD counseling department will provide the appropriate services.

“We are doing everything that we possibly can and everything that we possibly know how to improve the safety and security of our children and our staff,” Dr. Coronado said. “We want to make sure that when our learning environments are safe we know that learning is better.”

WISD has continuously addressed the safety of students and staff. Perimeter fencing was installed at all schools in 2016 and access control systems were added at all elementary schools in 2019. 

“I think what will be different this year is that we remain vigilant and that we are always looking out for each other,” he said. “We feel confident in what we are doing in all of our schools.” 

Read More about Weslaco ISD implements comprehensive security plan to ensure student safety
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Weslaco ISD is expanding its curriculum to include a Dual Language Academy set to open August 2023. Currently, WISD administration is developing this English/Spanish bilingual magnate school at Rodolfo “Rudy” Silva Elementary set to begin for pre-K 3 and pre-K students at the start of the 2023-24 school year.

“This is huge,” Superintendent Dr. Dino Coronado said.  “What we really want to focus on is true biliteracy, where they can not only speak the language but they can also write the language and read. It’s the total literacy package that we are looking for.”

The Superintendent attributes Weslaco’s proximity to Mexico and the need for global citizens as the driving force behind this initiative.

“This was a collaborative decision between staff and board members,” Coronado said. “The vision of the district is to create productive global citizens who speak multiple languages.”

The Academy will serve students in a staggering enrollment schedule beginning pre-K to follow those students through the 5th grade. 

Longtime bilingual education advocate, Dr. Carolina Lopez was recently appointed as Silva principal, and will head the implementation of the Academy’s first student cohort to begin next school year.  Her goal is to create students who are bilingual, biliterate and bicultural.

“I am going to share a quote, ‘to know another language is to have another perspective,’ she said.  “When a person, as an adult, has the ability to see multiple points of view, that’s where the real learning and growing happens.  Not only will it help children be more marketable, if I’m an employer, I’m going to want someone who is bilingual.”

Currently, Dr. Lopez is developing the curriculum.      

“This is the planning year,” Silva Principal Dr. Lopez said.  “We are building our model.”    

Parents who wish to enroll their pre-K students in the Academy can apply in late Spring of 2023.  

Coronado encourages parents to seriously consider the Dual Language Academy for their children.

“We need to embrace the opportunity, especially here in the Valley where Spanish and English is prevalent,” he said.  “You don’t come to Weslaco ISD for a traditional education because what we want to do is make it non-traditional. We want to make it fun, we want to make it creative.” 

 

Read More about Weslaco ISD set to open Dual Language Academy for 2023-24 school year
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Weslaco ISD teachers will fine tune their classroom strategies to better engage all types of students during the 5thannual Differentiated Instruction Fiesta Conference to be held tomorrow, June 30 from 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. at the Susan M. Peterson Performing Arts Center. 

“We will be teaching the teachers,” Assessment and Accountability Director Elias Treviño said. “Every child has a different learning style and we will provide our teachers with the tools and resources to reach all their students regardless of their needs.” 

Kicking off this ‘Luchando con Cariño For All Learners’ conference is keynote speaker Dr. Amy Mares, a WISD alumni with an extensive background in bilingual education. She will address the general session scheduled for 8:30 a.m. 

Conference participants will also attend breakout sessions like “Debunking Myths of Bilingualism,” “Developing Teamwork in a Child’s Educational Experience,” and “Culturally Responsive Instruction.”  More than 200 WISD educators are expected to attend. 

Read More about Weslaco ISD hosts teacher conference tomorrow
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It is about more than just memorizing lines.  Students in the Weslaco ISD Fine Arts Enrichment Camp are not only preparing for a summer play production, they are getting ready for the film industry.

“Through this enrichment camp, we are extending classroom learning,” WISD Fine Arts Director Christopher Fernandez said. “Our students are receiving real-world applications and cutting-edge techniques of the industry. They will also be preparing headshots and building resumes.  We want them to be career-ready.” 

This camp culminates with a production to premiere Tuesday, June 28 at 6 p.m. at the Susan M. Peterson Performing Arts Center.

Currently, the budding actors are rehearsing for this retelling of the classic, Little Red Riding Hood.  The play will feature a mix of genres including musical theatre, avant-garde, Shakespearean, melodrama, storybook theatre and contemporary hip-hop.

“We want to grow our students through this camp," Fernandez said.

Read More about Weslaco ISD Fine Arts Camp prepares students for Hollywood
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“We are deeply heart-broken.” Weslaco ISD counselors and social workers will pay tribute to the victims of the Uvalde school shooting during a balloon release to be held tomorrow, June 14 at 8 a.m. in front of the WISD Central Administration Office.  White heart-shaped balloons will be released in memory of the children and staff lost. 

“I can’t even begin to imagine what they are going through,” WISD Student Support Services Director Cindy Cid said.  “Their community is our community. We want them to know we are thinking of them and we are here to support them.”

WISD licensed professional counselors are available to offer their services to the Uvalde community.

“Our group is willing to volunteer telehealth or in-person counseling services,” Cid said.

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Our precious cargo is in good hands at Weslaco ISD.  School bus drivers representing the WISD Transportation Department recently competed in the STAPT Chapter Safety Road-eo winning several top awards.  Aaron Solis won first place in the conventional division and Benita Guillean with assistant Yolanda Tello won first place in the special needs division.  

Fidencio Soto won second place in the transit division and Ismael Torres also won second place in the conventional division.  Janie Castillo and assistant Odilia Morales won third place in the special needs division.  

The drivers competed in the Region I, Area 5 contest against La Joya, Sharyland and Mission school districts.  The contest included a closed-course driving test and written test.

“This is a big motivation for the rest of the department,” trainer Rey Sanchez said.  “This is the first year that Weslaco competes.”

The top three winners of each division qualify for the state competition to be held June 10 in Mansfield, Texas.

Read More about Weslaco ISD school bus drivers win safety competition
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No more school supply lists. Weslaco ISD is pleased to announce that school supplies for all students will be provided by the district for the 2022-23 school year.  WISD parents are no longer required to purchase school supplies like crayons, pencils and notebooks for their students. Weslaco ISD will also provide all resources like Kleenex facial tissue paper, Clorox wipes, Ziploc bags and other items.   

“I want our students to be in school and be in class and not worry about having the resources they need to learn,” Superintendent Dr. Dino Coronado said. 

All school supplies will now be provided to students at their campus at the start of the new school year. 

This initiative was started by Dr. Coronado who would like for students and parents to focus on learning and not school supplies.  

Read More about WISD to provide all school supplies for 2022-2023 school year
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Today, the Weslaco ISD family is thinking about our colleagues at Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District and the Uvalde community as they go through a senseless tragedy.

As we approach the final day of school and the beginning of summer school, Weslaco ISD would like to outline the measures we have taken to ensure our campuses are safe.

Weslaco ISD has requested extra patrols from the City of Weslaco Police Department. 

We have also reached out to the Hidalgo County Constable's Office to provide added security to our schools outside of the city limits.

Even before yesterday’s tragedy, Weslaco ISD has been proactive about safety and security. 

All campuses have fencing to help control who comes and goes from the property.

We have made improvements to our security cameras.  We have increased our security personnel, and according to a recent TEA study, WISD has more security guards when compared to other school districts our size. 

Weslaco ISD also has also employed school resource officers from the Weslaco PD to help with security at our campuses.

Also, the Raptor Security System has been installed at all our schools. This system screens visitors at the front office before they enter the building. All elementary schools and soon all secondary schools will have a magnetic locking system that will not allow visitors into the school until they are allowed in by remote access. 

Weslaco ISD remains on high alert and we ask the community to report any suspicious activity.

We understand this is a difficult time for everyone in the education community. In addition, counseling is available to students who need support.

Please know, Weslaco ISD will use all resources available to keep students, staffand visitors safe.

Read More about Weslaco ISD ramps up security
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The Weslaco ISD Board of Trustees approved a $1700 pay increase for teachers for the 2022-23 school year during the May board meeting held recently. This three percent increase boosts the annual salary for starting teachers to $53,500.

“We want to recruit and retain high-quality educators,” Superintendent Dr. Dino Coronado said. “The board is taking steps to ensure our district is competitive.” 

According to a Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) report, WISD teachers are among the highest paid when compared to 12 neighboring school districts like Brownsville, Mission and Mercedes.

Professional and paraprofessional staff will receive a three percent raise from the midpoint of their pay scale as well. The board increased the hourly rate for school bus drivers to $20 an hour and for manual trades to $14 an hour.  Manual trades include bus aides, cafeteria and custodial staff. 

 “Weslaco ISD will continue to provide our students with innovative academic programs and our WISD family with competitive salaries,” Coronado said.   

The WISD board approved the pay increase while maintaining the lowest tax rate in the Hidalgo county.  Currently, WISD families pay $0.9807 per $100 in property valuation. 

Read More about WISD School Board approves pay increase
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The outstanding band, orchestra, jazz and mariachi programs have led to national recognition for Weslaco ISD. For the 5th consecutive year, WISD has been honored with the Best Communities for Music Education designation from The NAMM Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education.

“I’m proud to be a part of a district that values fine arts programs,” Fine Arts Director Christopher Fernandez said.  “The district really works as a team to build a well-rounded student.”

The high school music departments have received numerous awards involving the orchestra, marching bands and mariachi groups.  The district has implemented a music curriculum at the K – 5thgrades and currently offers after-school music clubs. 

“The success of the overall music programs begins at the elementary schools,” Fernandez said.  “Music is imbedded in the daily curriculum and elementary students are given the opportunity to explore music through extra-curricular activities. Weslaco ISD recognizes the achievement and growth of our students and is committed to providing this unique opportunity to all students.”   

  The Best Communities for Music Education designation is awarded to districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to all students. To qualify for the Best Communities designation, WISD answered detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music program and community music-making programs. 

Since the passage of Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in 2015 and a stated emphasis on a well-rounded education, many school districts have re-committed to music and arts education programs. During the pandemic, music and arts programs were a vital component to keeping students engaged in school.  NAMM Foundation research has revealed that these grants are being widely used by school districts to address instructional gaps in access to music and arts education. 

Read More about WISD receives national recognition for music program 5 years in a row
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It was a family reunion of sorts. After a long hiatus, elementary students from across Weslaco ISD gathered at Texas National Bank Field at Bobby Lackey Stadium in the spirit of friendly athletic competition. Representing all ten elementary schools, 4thand 5thgrade students took part in games like the tug-of-war and track and field during the day-long event known as the Little Panther/Wildcat Relays.

“This is an effort to return back to normal,” WISD Athletic Freddy Rodriguez said.  “The coaches reached out and wanted to bring this back.”

Acknowledging Weslaco’s rich athletic tradition, Rodriguez said the Relays help students learn important lessons.

“They are learning how to compete,” he said.  “That they need to put in their best effort. The future looks bright for Weslaco in all areas.”

Listed are students who won the championship title in each event.  From Airport Drive Elementary, in the 4thGrade Boys Division: Benjamin Lyle, Mathew Hernandez, Eliel Sanchez, Kaleb Flores, 1stplace in 4x400 meter relay; Devin Del Rio, Jose Lopez, Primotivo Martinez, Andre Ramirez, Christopher Regino, Mathew Reyna, 1stplace tie in Tug of War.  In the 5th Grade Boys Division: Abel Flores, Dylan Gonzalez, Logan Sanchez, Julian Treviño, 1stplace in 4x100 & 4x400 meter relays. In the 4thGrade Girls Division:  Camila Castro, Jenessa Ibarra, Maiela Martinez, Kassandra Sanchez, Angelina Valencia, 1stplace tie in Tug of War; Karina Torres, Hailey McFadden, Milka Garcia, Yvaine Flores, 1stplace in 4x100 meter relay; Katelyn Ortega, 1stplace in Softball Throw & 1stplace in Long Jump; Milka Garcia, 1stplace in 200 meter run. In the 5th Grade Girls Division: Brook Salinas, Jaiden Musquiz, Angelique Zapata, Carlie Leal, 1stplace in the 4x100 meter relay; Francisca Gomez, Rosa Martinez, Angelique Zapata, Carlie Leal, 1stplace in the 4x400 meter relay; Jaiden Musquiz, 1stplace tie in 200 meter run.  

From A. N. (Tony) Rico Elementary, in the 5thGrade Boys Division: Ethan Vega, 1stplace in 200 meter run; Bryan Gutierrez, 1stplace in 400 meter run; Miguel Rodriguez, 1stplace in Long Jump.  In the 4thGrade Girls Division: Diana Garza, 1stplace in 50 meter dash, Allison Ambriz, 1stplace in 400 meter run. In the 5thGrade Girls Division: Bailey Villarreal, 1stplace in 400 meter run; Gnai Ovalle, 1stplace in Long Jump.

From Cleckler-Heald Elementary, in the 4thGrade Boys Division: Eddie Desiga, 1stplace in Softball Throw; Damian Gonzalez, Angel Zacharis, Moises Valdez, Peter Ortega, Isiah Rodriguez, Eddie Desiga, Hector Perez, 1stplace in Tug of War; Mason Perez, Daniel Lejia, Ricky Luevano, Kaleem Hernandez, 1stplace in 4x100 meter relay. In the 5thGrade Boys Division: Ethan Rodriguez, 1stplace in 100 meter dash; Ivan Alvarez, Jayden Orozco, Luis Murillo, Robert Anzaldua, Juan Guzman, Vincent Guzman, 1stplace in Tug of War; Felix Perez, Joe Alex Meza, Edwardo Sanchez, Noah Zapata, 1stplace in 4x400 meter relay.  In the 4thGrade Girls Division:  Olivia Hoskins, 1stplace in 200 meter run; Ava Peña, Katelyn Quintero, Kayde Garcia, Annel Bautista, Cassandra Medrano, Jaelyn Salinas, Patricia Zamora, 1stplace in Tug of War; Isabelle Garcia, Olivia Hoskins, Alexa Vasquez, Alexiz Perez, 1stplace in 4x100 meter relay; Isabelle Garcia, Alexa Vasquez, Alexiz Perez, Scarlette Perez, 1stplace in 4x400 meter relay.  In the 5thGrade Girls Division: Tori Garcia, 1stplace in Softball Throw; Reagan Haas, 1stplace in 200 meter run; Jaelyn Edwards, Gabby Garcia, Sophia Huaracha, Dakayla Molina, Yarely Castillo, Corina Lamas, 1stplace in Tug of War; Emma Ramirez, Reece Murray, Elizabeth Longoria, Victoria Verdeja, 1stplace in 4x400 meter relay. 

From Dr. R. E. Margo Elementary, in the 4thGrade Boys Division: Aaron Guajardo, 1stplace in 200 meter run; Jermain Rodriguez, 1stplace in Softball Throw; Zaydan Chagoyz, Nathan Coronado, Richard Galvan, Jeremiah Rodriguez, Kristian Zamora, 1stplace in Tug of War; Aaron Guajardo, Fernando Muñoz, Jordan Rangel, Randy Villarreal, 1stplace in 4x100 meter relay.  In the 5th Grade Boys Division, Miguel Reyna, 1stplace in 50 meter dash & 200 meter run; Jayden Garza, 1stplace in 100 meter run. In the 4thGrade Girls Division:  Areli Valle, Julissa Ocana, Cereniti Barber, Arianna Borbon, Meldy Guerrero, 1stplace in Tug of War.

From Justice Raul A. Gonzalez Elementary, in the 4th Grade Boys Division: Damian Rivera, 1st place in 100 meter run; Josias Torres, 1stplace in 200 meter run; Josias Torres, Damian Rivera, Derrick Izaguirre, Mark Guevara, 1stplace in 4x400 meter relay. In the 5thGrade Boys Division: Jordan Martinez, 1stplace in Long Jump.  In the 5thGrade Girls Division, Allyson Martinez, 1stplace in 50 meter dash.  

From Memorial Elementary, in the 4th Grade Boys Division:  Jacob Garza, 1stplace in 100 meter run; Daniel Longoria, 1stplace in Long Jump. In the 5thGrade Boys Division: Sebastian Ortega, 1stplace in 400 meter run; Joaquin Ortegon, 1stplace in Long Jump.  In the 4th Grade Girls Division:  Julianna Garcia, 1st place in 100 meter run; Angelina Palomin, Katy Maldonado, Malerie Gamez, Sofia Ochoa, 1stplace in 4x400 meter relay. In the 5th Grade Girls Division: Lesly Muñoz, 1stplace in 50 meter dash; Lia Romero, 1stplace in 100 meter run; Sophia Martinez, 1stplace tie in 200 meter run; Alaina Sanchez, 1stplace tie 400 meter run; Lia Romero,        

From North Bridge Elementary, in the 4thGrade Boys Division: Angel Mendoza, 1stplace in 50 meter dash; Norberto Paredes, 1stplace in 400 meter run. In the 5thGrade Boys Division: Anthony Guerrero, 1stplace in Softball Throw; Andrew Gonzalez, Romeo Guerrero, Nicholas Cerda, Jeremiah Nuncio, Robert Davalos, 1stplace in Tug of War.  In the 4thGrade Girls Division: Alyson Serna, 1stplace in 400 meter run.  In the 5thGrade Girls Division: Daniela Lira, 1stplace in Softball Throw; Linda Rodriguez, 1stplace in 400 meter run; Rubi Gracia, Gwen Martinez, Brianna Matamoros, Daniela Lira, Denisse Meraz, 1stplace in Tug of War.

From Rodolfo “Rudy” Silva Jr. Elementary, in the 4thGrade Boys Division: Dennsy Villanueva, 1stplace in 50 meter dash and 1stplace in 100 meter run.  In the 5thGrade Girls Division: Ariani Camarillo, 1stplace in 100 meter run. In the 4thGrade Girls Division: Yarelli Camarillo, 1stplace in 100 meter run. 

Read More about Congratulations to all the champions from the Little Panther/Wildcat Relays
Weslaco ISD to offer Full-Day Pre-Kinder 3 Program at all elementary schools

Weslaco ISD is now offering pre-Kinder 3 to ALL students who will turn three years of age on or before September 1st  for the 2022-2023 school year. All families are encouraged to register regardless of income. This program is available for all income earners and is available at all elementary campuses.

Parents may now register for the Full-Day Pre-Kinder 3 Program at www.wisd.us.  

Weslaco ISD is excited to offer a full-day Pre-Kinder 3 program that will build strong foundational skills and opportunities that interest children with fully-certified teachers.  

Classes begin August 22, 2022!  

Read More about Weslaco ISD to offer Full-Day Pre-Kinder 3 Program at all elementary schools
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She is there for her patients every step of the way.  As a physical therapist Victoria Lopez looks forward to helping her patients regain their mobility and live fuller lives. 

“I enjoy having a part in the patient’s recovery,” she said. “One of the most rewarding things is developing a treatment plan that will improve their ability to walk and safely return to the activities they love.” 

Victoria graduated from Weslaco East High School in 2013 ranked 6thin her class.  She was a member of the Wildcat Regiment, Jazz Band and was class chaplain for her senior class.  She was also a member of the National Honor Society, HOSA and the Science NHS.  Victoria says she will never forget her high school years. 

“Summer band camp with the Wildcat Regiment, working towards Division One ratings at Pigskin, performing half-time shows at football games, traveling for State Science Fair and learning alongside my peers are my favorite memories at Weslaco ISD,” she said.

Once she left WEHS, Victoria went on to Baylor University and graduated with a degree in Biology.  She later obtained a Master of Science in Health Science with a concentration in Nutrition from UTRGV in 2018 and went back to Baylor for her Doctorate of Physical Therapy in 2020.

“I’ve always known I wanted to be in the healthcare field,” she said.  “When I had the opportunity to observe physical therapists, I realized that the work they are doing is special.”

While her work is rewarding, it can be difficult. 

“The most challenging part of being a physical therapist is using the physical assessment to determine the patient’s diagnosis,” she said.  “Sometimes, the patient’s presentation is a little more complex which makes arriving to the diagnosis a little more challenging.” 

Victoria credits her high school for helping her prepare for Baylor and her life’s work.

“I believe that taking AP courses in high school greatly prepared me for my college courses. AP Biology with Mr. Cruz allowed me to learn collegiate-level biology topics which helped me with my biology courses as a biology major,” she said.  Victoria also did extremely well in AP Chemistry, AP Physics and AP English. “Mr. and Mrs. Ramos not only prepared me for college English but for my profession as well, where writing evaluations and treatment notes are an essential part of everyday tasks,” she said.

Victoria urges her fellow WISD students to take advantage of the rigorous coursework to be competitive. 

““My education at Weslaco ISD allowed me to enter college with 14 credit hours and graduate a semester early,” she said. “Weslaco ISD adequately prepared me for my future and I have no doubt they can help you achieve your goals too.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help and ask questions.  Use the resources provided to you to learn and study. Work hard towards your goals and make yourself proud.”

Read More about WEHS alumni serves community as physical therapist
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Three Weslaco East High School students were recently named to the District 5A One-Act Play All-Star cast and crew ending the season on a high note. Seniors Juan Arzuaga was named to the All-Star Cast for his role as ‘Marty’ and Francis Izaguirre earned the Honorable Mention distinction for her role, ‘Vera.’ Junior Paulino Buenrostro was also named to the All-Star Tech/Sound crew.

The WEHS cast performed “The Betrothed,” a play by Jerome McDoungh for the 2022 UIL season.  This was Juan’s first play after joining theatre for the first time.

“It was surprising,” Juan said when he made the All-Star Cast.  “It was definitely, terrifying, exciting and stressful but a good experience,” he said. 

The WEHS Betrothed ensemble went up against 5A schools like Edcouch/Elsa, Donna and Brownsville Veterans during the UIL Zone competition advancing to District.  East then faced off against 11 schools at District, including Sharyland Pioneer, PSJA South and South Texas ISD. While the group did not advance, cast members were recognized for their talent, picking up several All-Star awards.    

Betrothed tackles the death of a parent and how a young girl deals with the loss.  Throughout the play, ‘Vera’ begins to hear her mother’s voice and finds comfort.

“I like how complex and intriguing she was,” Francis said describing her role.  “She is actually bringing up her mother.  But it was never her mother.”

Francis received the “Best Performer” award during the Zone competition along with Honorable Mention in District.

“I was pretty proud of what I did accomplish,” she said.

On the technical side of the performance, it was Paulino’s sound effects that garnered him a top award at District. 

“You need to find the music and sounds effects to tell the story better,” he said.  “It can be stressful if you are not prepared, this is live.  Once the tech messes up, it’s pretty obvious.”

Paulino collaborated with the director to help establish the right mood for the scenes.

“I think the music I choose fit really well with the play,” he said.

His sound creations included instrumental music, car sounds, the running of a film reel.

“I was kind of in disbelief,” he said when he won.

WEHS theatre teacher and director Lucia Meints is extremely proud of all her students’ success and she strongly encourages students to try out for theatre.

“We have a very strong program,” she said.

Read More about WEHS students named District All-Stars
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It was a meeting of the minds for Weslaco ISD Superintendent Dr. Dino Coronado who recently visited with several city leaders to reestablish connections with the community and better serve the district.

“We have a working partnership with the city and we share services,” Dr. Coronado said. “The district is the largest employer in the city. It was about getting the district and city reacquainted,” he said. 

The superintendent met with City of Weslaco Mayor David Suarez and Interim City Manager Martin Garza as well as with Weslaco Police Chief Dr. Joel Rivera and the Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Steve Valdez.  

The superintendent and city officials discussed several issues during this ‘meet and greet.’ 

“We talked about the community, Wi-Fi service and drainage issues,” he said.

Dr. Coronado also met with several high school student organizations. 

“I met with our juniors and seniors,” he said.  “I encourage our students to travel and be exposed to outside the RGV.”

In his first few weeks as the district’s leader, Dr. Coronado is busy assessing the district.

“Our strength is at our campuses,” he said.  “We are creating a culture of learning.  I want to promote leadership opportunities for our principals.”  

Superintendent talks to two girls and two boys
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The Weslaco ISD celebrated students whose parents are active military personnel as part of Month of the Military Child with week-long activities throughout the district.  During Military Child Spirit Week, students dressed up as super heroes, wore red, white and blue attire and camouflage. 

 “It’s an opportunity to say ‘thank you’ and ‘we support you,’” Director of Student Support Services Dr. Cindy Cid said.  “Military children face obstacles that other students don’t and recognizing them helps to build a sense of pride with their parents’ service.”

According to Cid, military children have to deal with an absent parent due to deployment and move in and out different schools as because of that deployment.  This constant change impacts the student’s academic progress.  

“We provide transition support to military children such as counseling, college, career, and military readiness services, targeted support to get them caught up academically,” Cid said.  “We also provide Tier 1 or 2 support on social-emotional competencies, especially provision of a sense of belongingness.” 

Currently, there are 121 students with parents in active-duty and reserve service enrolled at WISD.

Read More about Weslaco ISD celebrates Month of the Military Child with Spirit Week
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Members of graduating Class of 2022 have finalized their plans and will announce their college of choice during the inaugural Weslaco ISD College Decision Day celebration beginning tomorrow, Thursday, April 21.  CTE Early College High School seniors will gather at the Susan Peterson Center for Visual and Performing Arts for a special ceremony to officially proclaim their post-graduation plans.  The event begins at 9 – 10:30 a.m.

“We have prepared our students for the day they graduate for 12 years,” WISD Counseling Director Dr. Cynthia Cid said.  “We are so proud of them.  This is the most important step they will take and we are going to celebrate that.”

Weslaco High School College Decision Day is scheduled for Wednesday, April 27 and Weslaco East High School will host its day on Thursday, April 28.

“Our students have already received their college acceptance letters and I believe they should be celebrated like a celebrity or star athlete,” Cid said. “Whether the students attend a community college, a university, a certification program, or the military, College Decision Day shows support for their future.”

Former First Lady Michelle Obama first launched College Signing Day on May 1, 2015 as part of her ‘Reach Higher’ initiative as a day to celebrate students who plan to pursue some form of education and training beyond high school.  

The WISD College Decision Day hopes to inspire students to take the necessary steps to achieve their plans after graduation. The event will be live-streamed through the Weslaco ISD YouTube Channel.

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Among the thousands of college students who made their way to the Valley during Spring Break, two Weslaco graduates stood out.  West Point cadets Emma Arndt and Mario Treviño returned from the state of New York during the break to spent time with family and friends for a few days.

Emma graduated in 2021 Weslaco High School and Mario was part of the 2020 graduating class of Weslaco East High School.    

Looking back on her first semester, Emma clearly remembers basic training as the most challenging aspect of joining the elite military school.

“A couple times we were out there in the field for five days straight with no showering,” Emma said.

First-year students are known are plebes, and all plebes must complete a six-week training exercise that ends with a 12-mile march carrying nearly 45 pounds of gear.

Overall, her experience at West Point has been very positive. 

 “It’s actually better than I thought,” she said.  “I thought I wasn’t going to make friends that easily. I figured out pretty soon that everyone is going through the same thing so it’s was pretty easy to make friends. It’s pretty easy to go through it when you have people by your side.”

Currently, Emma is enrolled in 18 hours of coursework and is now part of the West Point Black Knights Track & Field Team. She trains in the long jump and triple jump.

“It’s different transitioning. I don’t have my old high school coach pushing me as much,” she said. “It’s been a little tough for me but I think next year will be a lot better.” 

As part of her International Affairs major, Emma will take courses in foreign government, sociology and languages during her five-year stint at West Point.

“It’s a great school,” she said. “In the end, I would have gone through something that not everyone can and it’s going to set me up for a lot of opportunities.”

After a four-week military-focused training this summer, Emma will be able to head home in early July for vacation.

For two-year cadet Mario, leaving the Valley for West Point was life-changing. 

“The most difficult and most rewarding aspect was the adapting to being away from home,” he said.  “Just feeling comfortable in an environment, you are not used to it. It’s taken me a year to do that.  You really don’t have people to confide in.  Finding yourself where you are at, I would say was the hardest transition.” 

Like Emma, Mario also has a full schedule, taking 20 hours of coursework this semester while making time for the Black Knights Boxing Team. 

Mario is majoring in Systems Engineering with a course load that includes classes like Engineering Economy, Fundamentals of Design and Management of Engineering.  Like other college students, Emma and Mario also take basics like English, history and philosophy. But unlike typical college students, they have 6 a.m. wake-up call for formation the entire time they are at West Point.  Both are also enrolled in military doctrine classes. 

Mario attributes his success at West Point to his preparation at Weslaco East High School.

“I felt good from everything I had to take,” Mario said.  “From the standpoint of a student, what you get out is what you put in. In high school, I took that very seriously. I had great teachers supporting me, always guiding me.”

Through his participation in AP courses and football, Mario developed a work ethic that has served him well.

“Everything falls into line when you do the right thing,” he said.  “The values that you learn of hard work, they translate regardless to whatever situation you are at.  I feel that I carried that over. It’s worked out great.”  

Once this semester ends, Mario will travel to Argentina to take part in a study aboard program at the Colegio Nacional, a military school in Buenos Aires. While this will increase his course load, he is going for the experience.

“I really want to immerse myself in that culture, I can’t forget my Spanish,” he said. 

Mario plans to pursue a Master’s in Business Administration and has considered political office.

“Someday, I would like to try to go for senator or governor,” he said.  

Mario urges his fellow classmates to follow through on their plans. 

“You need to believe in yourself. The world is literally for the taking,” he said.  “I feel that a lot of people I went to high school with, kind of counted themselves out.  You are going to have a lot of people tell you ‘No.’ Do some self-reflecting and dream big. Nothing is stopping you.  We have great teachers here who are willing to help. Once you make a decision to do something, it’s already done.”

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In an effort to bring awareness to autism the Weslaco ISD Special Education Department invites the community to an Autism Acceptance Celebration to be held from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. tomorrow, April 8, at the Roosevelt campus located at 814 E. Plaza.

“We want parents to feel the love,” district school psychologist Abbie Munoz-Rodriguez said. “We are here for them.” 

Autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), affects an individual’ssocial, behavior, and communication skills, in varying degrees. According to the Centers for Disease Control, autism affects an estimated 1 in 44 children in the United States today.

During the curbside celebration, parents will be able to pick up a Little Caesar’s ‘Hot-N-Ready’ pizza along with a goodie bag filled with valuable information and fun activities for the students.

WISD parents who have concerns about autism should contact the Special Ed. Department at (956) 969-6822.

“We test children for autism as early as about three months before their third birthday,” Munoz said. “If identified, they are eligible to receive services from the district.”

Currently, there are about 211 students who are identified with autism in Weslaco ISD. 

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