October 2020- BoardBits

This e-newsletter highlights recognitions and important news from the Oct. 27 meeting of the STISD Board of Directors.

Decorative Image: Virtual Recognitions
Decorative Image: KVEO %22More than an Athlete%22 Honoree

Claire Reed, Health Professions senior, was recently selected as a KVEO “More than an Athlete honoree” for her ability to juggle her athletic pursuits with her academics. As shared in the KVEO story, throughout her high school career, Claire has competed in soccer, most recently through a club based out of San Antonio that helps get young players seen by college coaches across the country and recruited to the collegiate level. Even with her rigorous coursework at Health Professions, Claire has continued pursuing her love of soccer, and has found a balance between the two. On her path to becoming a dermatologist or a plastic surgeon in the future, Claire will attend The University of Dallas to study pre-med in the fall, as the university competes in the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference and has an 85 percent acceptance rate to medical school.

Decorative image for KRGV Student of the Week

Medical Professions senior Jeremias Nunez was recently recognized as a KRGV Student of the Week. As pointed out in the story, Jeremias is known for his willingness and desire to help those who are stigmatized and who need someone to speak up for them. He credits his mom for teaching him the importance of always serving others no matter what you have. After a school trip several years ago during which he had the opportunity to meet doctors and pharmacists who work with people with HIV, Jeremias decided that in the midst of the HIV Crisis in the RGV, he could certainly make a difference following a similar route. He plans to become a doctor and come back to the RGV to help those in need. The STISD Board of Directors recognized Jeremias for exhibiting compassion and a selfless desire to serve others, now and in his future plans, earning him selection as a “KRGV Student of the Week.”

Decorative image: Student recently earns Science Academy diploma

Recent Science Academy graduate, May Mendez, faced a number of obstacles while attending the Science Academy, but her drive and commitment to completing her high school coursework kept her from giving up. May recently earned her Science Academy diploma, and was recognized by the STISD Board of Directors for this accomplishment. 

Decorative image: 2020 Outstanding Teaching of the Humanities Award Presented to Instructor

The STISD Board of Directors recognized Elizabeth Carr, Medical Professions instructor, for receiving the 2020 Outstanding Teaching of the Humanities Award.

This prestigious award, presented annually by Humanities Texas, recognizes exemplary contributions of humanities teachers in Texas elementary, middle and high schools. Ms. Carr will receive a check from the organization for $5,000 in recognition of her achievements. Medical Professions will also receive $1,000 to purchase humanities instructional materials. 

Senior Program Officer from Humanities Texas, Ms. Sam Moore, joined us via Zoom to say a few words about this achievement. 

Decorative image: Former principal of Health Professions was recognized for years of service

After 25 years with the district, Barbara Heater, Ph.D., retired from South Texas ISD Health Professions. Dr. Heater taught for five years at STISD, served as an assistant principal for five years, and then led Med High as principal for 15 years, touching the lives of thousands of students during her time with the district.

The board recognized Dr. Heater for her years of service to the district and congratulated her on her retirement. During the virtual meeting, she was presented with a certificate and a small token of appreciation put together to commemorate her many devoted years at STISD Health Professions.

Decorative image: Principals Month

In celebration of Principals' Month, during the Oct. 27 board meeting we recognized the six STISD principals for exhibiting resilience and strong campus leadership. The principals are as follows:

  • Health Professions: Marcos Flores
  • Medical Professions: Harry Goette
  • Preparatory Academy: Ana Castro
  • Rising Scholars Academy: Criselda Rodriguez Flores
  • Science Academy: Irma Castillo, Ed.D.
  • World Scholars: San Juanita Ortiz (new principal at World Scholars)*

*Efrain Garza, former World Scholars principal and current STISD Executive Director for Student Support, was recognized during the board meeting for his work as the World Scholars principal, as he was still serving as acting principal at that time.

Decorative Image: Recognition of Human Resources Staff

The STISD board and administration recognized the STISD Human Resources Department - consisting of Lissa Frausto, Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources, and Blanca Anguiano, Secretary for the Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources - for going above and beyond in guiding and supporting STISD employees, especially in the face of uncertainty and ever-changing conditions. 

Decorative Image: STISD High Schools Receive 2020 College Success Awards from Great Schools

Congratulations to all four STISD high schools for receiving the College Success Award from national nonprofit GreatSchools.org. The organization recently announced its third annual College Success Awards, which recognize and celebrate public schools that are doing an outstanding job of preparing graduating seniors for post-secondary success. The award honors schools that excel in ensuring students prepare for college, enroll in college, and succeed once they get there. Our four STISD high schools are among the 2,158 public high schools, or about 21 percent of total eligible schools across 29 states, to win this year's award.


San Juanita Ortiz named World Scholars principal

San Juanita Ortiz, Principal at World Scholars

The STISD Board of Directors hired San Juanita Ortiz as South Texas ISD World Scholars principal during the Oct. 27 board meeting.

As an educator for over 25 years and having spent the last five years as an administrator at STISD Health Professions, she brings with her a wealth of knowledge and experience in education and STISD specifically.

Ortiz has devoted her career to ensuring the best educational opportunities for children, and she looks forward to continuing this at World Scholars. She says of her motivation, “I believe that education is not an option, and I am passionate about ensuring all students receive the best educational opportunities to prepare them for their futures.”

Click here to read her full biography.


Policy + Curriculum Items


Please notice updates made to Attendance Guidelines for Students Participating in On-Campus Instruction: (P. 19 of plan) 

  • Any student who has opted for on-campus instruction as the instructional method for the designated grading period and is absent from school due to COVID-19 symptoms, a positive COVID-19 test result, or close contact with someone test-confirmed with COVID-19, will be counted present, if the student logs on to itsLearning and participates in the virtual coursework for the days absent from on-campus instruction.
  • A student who has opted for on-campus instruction cannot alternate between on-campus instruction and virtual instruction for reasons other than those associated with COVID-19. A student will be assigned back to the virtual instruction method for the grading period, if he or she continually misses classes on campus for reasons other than those associated with COVID-19.

The Flexible Learning Initiative: Roadmap to a safe return is a working document, and we will continue to update it as circumstances, knowledge and guidance change. The most up-to-date version is always posted on the district website here.

(Last updated on Nov. 6, 2020.) 

STISD Phased-In Return to School Plan 
View Phased-in Plan for Return to Schools 


The STISD board approved the district's updated Emergency Operations Plan during the Oct. 27 board meeting. The district continues to update its plans in an effort to strengthen them and provide the safest environment for students and employees.


Support of STISD Employees

The Board has taken action on several items this fall to support employees through the pandemic, including the following two measures:

District Contribution to Employee Health Insurance Increased
The Board approved the district increasing its contribution for health insurance for employees from $464 to $490 per month. This contribution began during the Sept. pay period.

Board Approves Additions to DEC (LOCAL) Policy to Assist District Employees
Additions to the district’s DEC (LOCAL) Policy to assist district employees were approved by the STISD Board of Directors. The revisions include adding to the definition of catastrophic illness or injury and a new bereavement leave. The updated policy is available within the STISD Board Policy Manual by searching for policy code DEC (LOCAL).

Second Semester Enrollment is now open at all six campuses for new students to start with the district in January 2021.