Dec 2023 BoardBits

Decorative image: E-newsletter cover image

This e-newsletter highlights important news from the Dec. 5 regular meeting of the STISD Board of Directors (rescheduled from November), the Dec. 12 special called board meeting, and other recent and upcoming district and campus happenings.


 

District recognizes middle school athletic teams

During the Dec. 5 board meeting, the administration and Board recognized and congratulated the middle school cross country and volleyball teams who placed at regionals and advanced to the state competitions.

Preparatory Academy

Preparatory Academy student athletes and coaches being recognized at STISD Board Meeting

Congratulations to the following Preparatory Academy teams:

Cross Country - Boys: 2nd in Division | 3rd in State

Cross Country - Girls: 1st in Division | 2nd in State

Volleyball - Girls: Division Champions

Rising Scholars

Rising Scholars Academy student athletes and coaches being recognized at STISD Board Meeting

Congratulations to the following Rising Scholars Academy teams:

Cross Country - Boys: 3rd in Division | 11th in State

Cross Country - Girls: 3rd in Division | 7th in State

Volleyball - Girls: Division Champions | Regional Champions | State Qualifiers | 2nd in State


 

Happy Holidays! STISD students show off the arts at STISD through special performances for the Board

Health Professions theater arts students perform A Charlie Brown Christmas
Health Professions theater arts students perform A Charlie Brown Christmas
Health Professions theater arts students perform A Charlie Brown Christmas
Health Professions theater arts students perform A Charlie Brown Christmas
Board members enjoy student holiday performances
Board member enjoys student holiday performances
Board member enjoys student holiday performances
World Scholars theater arts student performs skit from %22Funny Letters to Santa%22
World Scholars theater arts student performs skit from %22Funny Letters to Santa%22
Board member enjoys student holiday performances
RSA choir students perform holiday song
RSA choir students perform holiday song
RSA choir students perform holiday song
Board member enjoys student holiday performances
RSA choir students perform holiday song
Preparatory Academy and World Scholars band and orchestra perform holiday songs
Preparatory Academy and World Scholars band and orchestra perform holiday songs
Preparatory Academy and World Scholars band and orchestra perform holiday songs
Preparatory Academy and World Scholars band and orchestra perform holiday songs
Preparatory Academy and World Scholars band and orchestra perform holiday songs
Preparatory Academy and World Scholars band and orchestra perform holiday songs

 

STISD Board of Directors + Administration recognize outstanding achievements and personnel

Two STISD high school principals stand with board president and superintendent during recognition at board meeting

Pictured, from left to right: Henry LeVrier, STISD Board President; Eric Gutierrez, STISD Science Academy principal; Dr. Michele Guajardo, Health Professions principal; and Dr. Marco Antonio Lara, Jr., STISD Superintendent of Schools

College Board recently published its 2023 AP® School Honor Roll, and all three STISD high schools offering Advanced Placement (AP) courses made the list, including Health Professions in Mercedes, Medical Professions in Olmito, and Science Academy in Mercedes.

Schools can earn this recognition annually based on criteria that reflect a commitment to increasing college-going culture, providing opportunities for students to earn college credit, and maximizing college readiness.

Click here for additional information on this honor

Medical Professions teacher stands with Special Programs Director, Board President and Superintendent during recognition

Pictured, from left to right: Dr. Brenda De La Garza, STISD Special Programs Director; Elisa Sáenz, STISD Medical Professions Teacher; Dr. Marco Antonio Lara, Jr., STISD Superintendent of Schools; and Henry LeVrier, STISD Board President

The STISD Board of Directors and administration presented a certificate to Elisa Sáenz, Medical Professions Spanish teacher, who recently received a couple of prestigious recognitions from online instructional and language development program Summit K-12. Out of 60,000 educators, Sáenz received third place High School Educator of the Year. She also received the “Connect to Literacy Lifetime Achievement Award,” presented by the organization for the first time ever at this event.

Click here for additional information on this honor


 

STISD Board of Directors + Administration recognize district retirees

STISD recognizes retiring teacher

Pictured, from left to right: Henry LeVrier, STISD Board President; Mardonnia L. Silva, Science Academy Teacher; Dr. Marco Antonio Lara, Jr., STISD Superintendent of Schools

Mardonnia L. Silva | Math Teacher at STISD Science Academy | 25 years with STISD

 

STISD recognizes retiring Finance Director

Pictured, from left to right: Henry LeVrier, STISD Board President; Jaime J. Faz, STISD Finance Director; Marla R. Knaub, Assistant Superintendent for Finance & Operations; and Dr. Marco Antonio Lara, Jr., STISD Superintendent of Schools

Jaime J. Faz | Finance Director | 12 years with STISD


 

Kudos: Both STISD middle schools rank among the best in the state in U.S. News & World Report rankings

Teacher interacts with students in a classroom

U.S. News & World Report recently published its 2024 Best Middle Schools Rankings, which include both STISD middle schools among the top-ranked schools in the state. 

Out of 1,935 middle schools ranked in the state of Texas, Preparatory Academy in Edinburg ranked 70th and Rising Scholars Academy in San Benito ranked 115th.

There is no national ranking, according to U.S. News, but there are distinct middle school rankings calculated at the state and district levels, as well as state rankings specific to charter and magnet schools. Within the Texas Magnet School category, Preparatory Academy ranked 11th and Rising Scholars ranked 15th. 

Click here to read the full story


 

Board receives audit report for fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2023

Luis C. Orozco, certified public accountant, presented the STISD Annual Financial Report for the year ended Aug. 31, 2023, to the STISD Board of Directors during the Dec. 12 special called board meeting held at STISD's Central Office Teaching and Learning Center in Mercedes.

As required by state and federal laws, each fall an independent auditor reviews the district's financial statements from the previous fiscal year. STISD follows through with any audit recommendations made.

According to the report from the fall of 2023, STISD received an "unmodified opinion," and there were no findings for the 2022-2023 school year. STISD has continued to maintain a healthy fund balance and a strong system of internal control. The district has also remained in compliance with all federal and Texas Education Agency (TEA) guidelines.

Auditors present at STISD Board Meeting

Auditors present to the STISD Board of Directors during the Dec. 12 special called board meeting.

STISD Business Office present at audit meeting

Business office personnel follow along with auditor report during the Dec. 12 special called board meeting.


 

Board receives annual report on Honors, Advanced Placement, Dual Credit, and IB enrollment

The STISD Board of Directors received the annual report on Honors, Advanced Placement Program, Dual Enrollment and International Baccalaureate (IB) enrollment during the Dec. 5 board meeting.

Out of the total STISD student enrollment in all courses - 27,114 - 84% of enrollment is in advanced courses, in comparison to 16% in non-advanced coursework. The following is the breakdown of enrollment by type of advanced course:

  • Honors: 15,634
  • Dual: 1,687
  • AP: 4,821
  • IB: 531

Click here to access the 2023-2024 Report on Honors, Advanced Placement Program, Dual Enrollment and IB Enrollment on the district website

Enrollment in Advanced Courses vs. Enrollment in Non-Advanced Courses

Pie chart comparing enrollment in advanced courses to non advanced courses

 

Other Board actions

  • The STISD Board of Directors approved Noble Texas Builders as the contractor for the Health Professions Parking Lot project.
  • The Board approved the Preparatory Academy Pavilion project as substantially complete.
  • Administration's proposal to use $161,476 in additional funds from the MacKenzie Scott donation to purchase equipment for the expansion of CTE Programs at Preparatory Academy and Rising Scholars was approved by the Board.
  • The Board cast its votes for the Cameron County Appraisal District, Hidalgo County Appraisal District, and Willacy County Appraisal District.
  • The Board approved Policy Update 122.
  • The Board approved the request for and announcement of vacancy for two new grant-funded positions for the remainder of the 2023-2024 School Year: Post-Secondary Success Specialist and a Secretary/Receptionist for the Post-Secondary Success Specialist. Information about these positions is available through the Employment page on the district website.

 

STISD Health + Wellness

STISD Social Emotional Learning and Mental Health Resources Newsletters: November 2023

NOVEMBER SEL MH Newsletter

STISD Social Emotional Learning and Mental Health Resources Newsletter: December 2023

STISD SEL Mental Health Resources December 2023

 

Spread the news: Enrollment for 2024-2025 for new-to-district students opens on Saturday, Jan. 13

Enrollment will open for the 2024-2025 School Year online at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 13, 2024, for all 7 STISD campuses.

Please note: STISD will use an updated version of SchoolMint Enroll for 2024-2025 enrollment.

The system is not yet available for prospective families/students to begin creating their profiles for enrollment day. Additional information about the updated process will be posted within the Enroll page soon.

Click here to visit the Enroll page on the STISD district website


 

Share with friends and family: STISD Half-Day Programs for students with special needs

Through the STISD Half-Day Programs, students with special needs can take the majority of their academic classes at their home high schools and take a combination of Career & Technical Education (CTE) and academic courses at STISD for up to 4 credits per year.

The programs aim to teach students in a real work environment so they gain a marketable edge in the workforce. Further, students gain the confidence they need to continue their education after high school. Graduates of the program have solid technical and social skills. 

Click here to learn more about the STISD Half-Day Programs


 

STISD students make history as part of the inaugural NASA HUNCH Preliminary Design Review

On December 7 and 8, RGV students competing in this year’s NASA HUNCH program made history as they participated in the region's inaugural NASA HUNCH Preliminary Design Review event, hosted by STISD. 

High school students from across the Valley, including those from STISD, came together over two days at the district's Central Office Teaching & Learning Center to present their initial concepts for the Design & Prototype Project to a team of NASA engineers, among them NASA HUNCH founder Stacy Hale. Students will now take the feedback received and continue working on their prototypes to prepare for the upcoming Critical Design Review event and the April deadline, in hopes of making it to the Johnson Space Center and contributing ideas towards the next mission.

The HUNCH mission is to empower and inspire students through a Project-Based Learning program, in which high school students learn 21st century skills and have the opportunity to launch their careers through participation in the design and fabrication of real-world valued products for NASA. Teams from all STISD middle and high schools are participating in various NASA HUNCH challenges during the current school year, including Design & Prototype, Video & Media, and Culinary.


 

STISD Students in Frame

November: World Scholars' Mia Nevares

World Scholars' Student in Frame Feature

December: Virtual Academy's Lucia Fuschetto

Virtual Academy's Student in Frame Feature

 

Alumni Spotlight: Ileana Garcia-Spitz | Science Academy Class of 1994

Health Professions teacher addresses her students

After graduating from South Texas ISD Science Academy in 1994, STISD alumna Ileana Garcia-Spitz pursued journalism at the university level.

Situations changed, however, and Garcia-Spitz decided to take a different path into education. In the field of education, she felt like everything she had done in life, including her own educational experiences at the Science Academy, came into place, and she was able to bring all of it into the classroom.

Garcia-Spitz has taught English for 20 years now at STISD Health Professions in Mercedes, located right next door to her former high school. She embraces the opportunity to educate the next generation of STISD students with the "heart and soul" in education. She plans to continue giving back to the STISD community in this way and by helping future teachers become teachers.

Visit our Alumni page to learn about more STISD alumni

Are you an alumnus interested in sharing your story? Connect with us!


 

Inside STISD Video Highlights

Science Academy and World Scholars Introduce Robot Dog to Computer Science Courses

Medical Professions Student Attends Washington Leadership Academy

STISD Leadership Introduces Assistant Principals Academy

2023 Fall Sports Highlight


 

Tell your friends and family: STISD is hiring!

Work with the best school district in the RGV! Positions available across the Valley, including: 

Chief of Security and Police Services | Assistant Principal | Licensed Specialist in School Psychology | Post-Secondary Success Specialist + Secretary/Receptionist (Grant-funded positions) | Bus Drivers/Custodians | Science Teacher | Art Teacher | Math Teacher | English Teacher | Child Nutrition Worker | Plumber | Mechanic and more!

Visit the Employment page to see available vacancies and apply


 

Holidays and Events

STISD is at the South Pole Illuminated Festival

Group photo at South Pole Illuminated Festival

STISD Holiday Break Schedule

Decorative image: STISD Holiday Schedule

 

College, Career, Military Readiness Newsletter: 2023-2024 Volume 2

STISD CCMR Newsletter Volume 2

Welcome to Volume 2 of the STISD College, Career, and Military Readiness (CCMR) Newsletter.

In this quarterly newsletter, students and parents will find important information regarding FAFSA, scholarships, Dual Credit, testing, CTE Programs of Study and mandatory deadlines.

We are excited to share that this newsletter is also now available in various languages through Smore. Once you click into the newsletter, you can select your preferred language through the “Translate” button at the top.

CCMR is an initiative introduced by the state of Texas to ensure students are well-prepared for success after high school. The program emphasizes the development of essential skills and knowledge required for college education, career readiness, and military service. It focuses on providing students with comprehensive guidance, support, and resources to explore a wide range of post-secondary pathways.

Click here to read the most recent CCMR newsletter


 

Upcoming Events

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
Sun, Jun 30
Mon, Jul 1
Offices closed for Summer Break
Central Office and All STISD Campuses
Tue, Jul 2
Offices closed for Summer Break
Central Office and All STISD Campuses
Wed, Jul 3
Offices closed for Summer Break
Central Office and All STISD Campuses
Thu, Jul 4
Offices closed for Summer Break
Central Office and All STISD Campuses
Fri, Jul 5
Offices closed for Summer Break
Central Office and All STISD Campuses
Sat, Jul 6
Sun, Jul 7
Mon, Jul 8
Offices closed for Summer Break
Central Office and All STISD Campuses
Tue, Jul 9
Offices closed for Summer Break
Central Office and All STISD Campuses
Wed, Jul 10
Offices closed for Summer Break
Central Office and All STISD Campuses
Thu, Jul 11
Offices closed for Summer Break
Central Office and All STISD Campuses
Fri, Jul 12
Offices closed for Summer Break
Central Office and All STISD Campuses
Sat, Jul 13
Sun, Jul 14
Mon, Jul 15
Tue, Jul 16
Wed, Jul 17
Thu, Jul 18
Fri, Jul 19
Sat, Jul 20
Sun, Jul 21
Mon, Jul 22
Tue, Jul 23
Wed, Jul 24
Thu, Jul 25
Fri, Jul 26
Sat, Jul 27
Sun, Jul 28
Mon, Jul 29
Tue, Jul 30
Subscribe to Alerts Meeting of the STISD Board of Directors
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Central Office Teaching and Learning Center, 7001 E. Expressway 83, Mercedes
Wed, Jul 31
Thu, Aug 1
Fri, Aug 2
Sat, Aug 3

Calendar & Category Legend:

  • South Texas ISD