December 2022 BoardBits

Decorative image: BoardBits cover

This e-newsletter highlights important news from the Dec. 6 regular board meeting (rescheduled from Nov. 22) and Dec. 13 special called board meeting of the STISD Board of Directors.


 

Happy Holidays from STISD!

Happy Holidays from STISD! We wish all of our students, parents/guardians, faculty/staff, and others within the district community a joyous and safe holiday season.

The holiday break for STISD is Dec. 21- Jan. 6. Classes resume Jan. 10.

 

STISD receives and declares results of the Nov. 8, 2022 Election

During the Dec. 6 board meeting, the STISD Board of Directors received and declared the canvassed results from Hidalgo County for the Nov. 8 General Election. As included within the Election Returns and Canvass provided by the county, there were 119 whole precincts with 25 ballot styles counted. Out of a total of 221,027 registered voters, 77,925 ballots were cast, for a total voter turnout of 35.26%.

Click here to see the canvassed election results in the Board Elections 2022 section of the district website 


 

STISD board members take Oath of Office

Hidalgo County Judge swearing in Hidalgo County board members

Hidalgo County Judge Richard F. Cortez administers Oath of Office to board members from Hidalgo County. From left to right: Judge Richard F. Cortez and STISD board members Margarita Garcia, Jaime Solis, Yolanda Kamel, Javier Farias, and Norberto "Beto" Salinas.

Cameron County Judge swearing in Cameron County board members

Cameron County Judge Eddie Treviño, Jr., administers Oath of Office to board members from Cameron County. From left to right: Judge Eddie Treviño, Jr., and STISD board members Dr. Rick Villarreal, Eduardo Roberto Rodriguez, and David Briones.

Willacy County Judge swearing in Willacy County board member

Willacy County Judge Aurelio "Keter" Guerra administers Oath of Office to board member from Willacy County. From left to right: Judge Aurelio "Keter" Guerra and STISD board member Abiel J. Cantú.

New Hidalgo County board member taking oath of office

Hidalgo County 370th District Court Judge, Noe Gonzalez, administers Oath of Office to new board member from Hidalgo County. From left to right: Judge Noe Gonzalez and STISD board member Rodolfo "Rudy" Ramirez.


 

Board elects new officers

The Board held its biennial election of officers during the Dec. 6 board meeting. The following board members were elected to their respective positions until the next board reorganization to be held in 2024.

Board president Henry LeVrier after being elected to position

Board President - Henry LeVrier

Board vice president Sylvia Sanchez Garza after being elected to position

Board Vice-President - Dr. Sylvia Sánchez Garza

Board secretary Israel Quintanilla after being elected to position

Board Secretary - Israel Quintanilla


 

STISD extends a 'thank you' to former board members

Thank you to our former board members (pictured below) for their dedication and service to STISD.

Board President Henry LeVrier, Superintendent Dr. Tony Lara present token of appreciation to former board member Dr. Fleming

Board President Henry LeVrier and Superintendent Dr. Tony Lara present token of appreciation to former board member Dr. Richard Fleming.

Dr. Richard Fleming, Mission
10 years of service: 2012-2022
Member of Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment Committee

Dr. Martin Castillo, Edinburg
4 years of service: 2018-2022
Member of Finance & Operations Committee

Irma Perez-Treviño, Harlingen
22 years of service: 2000-2022
Member of Policy, Planning, Projects & Partnerships Committee

Board member Dr. Martin Castillo

 Dr. Martin Castillo

Board member Irma Perez Trevino smiling‚Äč

Irma Perez-Treviño


 

STISD welcomes newly-elected and appointed board members

STISD Board Member David Briones

David Briones
La Feria
Elected -
Cameron County Pct. 4
Term Began: Nov. 2022
Term Ends: Nov. 2024

Rudy Ramirez Photo for Website

Rodolfo "Rudy" Ramirez
Edinburg
Elected –
Hidalgo County Pct. 4
Term Began: Nov. 2022
Term Ends: Nov. 2026

STISD Board Member Beto Salinas

Norberto "Beto" Salinas
Mission
At-large (appointed)
Hidalgo County
Term Began: Nov. 2022
Term Ends: Nov. 2026


 

Congratulations, re-appointed and re-elected STISD Board Members

Cameron County Elections - Unopposed

The following Board members were unopposed and elected to the South Texas ISD Board of Directors from Cameron County.

Board Member Robert Lerma

Robert J. Lerma
Brownsville
Cameron County Commissioner's Precinct 1
Term Began: Nov. 2022
Term Ends: Nov. 2026
 

Board member Larry Cantu

Eduardo L. "Larry" Cantu
Los Fresnos
Cameron County Commissioner's Precinct 3
Term Began: Nov. 2022
Term Ends: Nov. 2026

STISD Board Member David Briones

David Briones
La Feria
Cameron County Commissioner's Precinct 4
Remainder of the unexpired term through 2024
Term Began: Nov. 2022
Term Ends: Nov. 2024

Cameron County Appointments

Board Member Eduardo Roberto Rodriguez

Eduardo Roberto Rodriguez
Brownsville
At-large (appointed)
Cameron County
Term Began: Nov. 2022
Term Ends: Nov. 2026

Board Member Dr. Rick Villarreal

Dr. Rick Villarreal
Brownsville
At-large (appointed)
Cameron County
Term Began: Nov. 2022
Term Ends: Nov. 2026

Willacy County Election - Unopposed

The following Board members were unopposed and elected to the South Texas ISD Board of Directors from Willacy County.

Board member Abiel J. Cantu

Abiel J. Cantú
Raymondville
Willacy County Commissioner's Precinct 1
Term Began: Nov. 2022
Term Ends: Nov. 2026

Board Member Douglas Buchanan

Douglas Earl Buchanan
Raymondville
Willacy County Commissioner's Precinct 4
Term Began: Nov. 2022
Term Expires: Nov. 2026


 

Hidalgo County Elections and Appointments (Returning board members)

Board member Javier Farias smiling

Javier Farias
McAllen
At-large (appointed)
Hidalgo County
Term Began: Nov. 2022
Term Ends: Nov. 2026

Board Member Margarita Garcia

Margarita Garcia
San Juan 
Elected –
Hidalgo County Pct. 2
Term Began: Nov. 2022
Term Ends: Nov. 2026

Board member Yolanda Kamel smiling

Yolanda Kamel
McAllen
At-large (appointed)
Hidalgo County
Term Began: Nov. 2022
Term Ends: Nov. 2026

Board Member Jaime Solis

Jaime Solis
Edinburg
At-large (appointed)
Hidalgo County
Term Began: Nov. 2022
Term Ends: Nov. 2026


 

District recognizes students for excellence in academic, athletic, and/or extracurricular endeavors

During the Dec. 6 board meeting, the administration and Board recognized and congratulated individual students and teams from throughout the district for excellence in academic, athletic, and/or extracurricular endeavors.

Health Professions Chess Team

Health Professions Chess Team

Above: The Health Professions chess team placed in the top 3 in all 6 tournaments they have competed in so far, including taking 1st place in one. The students have also won numerous individual awards. We wish them the best at the Regional, State and National Championships in the spring.

Team:
Athulya Anilkumar | Jose Aza: Top 20 - 1 time | Seth Denzer: Top 20 - 1 time | Renata Espinoza | Alejandro Gonzalez-Hinojosa | Maria Gonzalez-Huesca | Jonathan Huang: Top 10 - 2 times | Emanuel Martinez Hernandez | Marcelo Mendoza: Top 5 - 1 time | Scarlett Munoz | Ruben Reza: Top 20 - 1 time | Sergio Rodriguez | Aaron Rostro: Top 5 - 1 time | Gabriel Alexander Ryan | Damian Silva | Ashlee Vu

Standout Performers:
Ava Anderson: Top 20 - 3 times | Angelica Ramirez: Top 10(1 time)/Top 20(2 times) | Nathan Rostro: Top 5 - 3 times | Kelvin Belmonte:Top 10(4 times)/Top 20(2 times) | Joseph Redondo: Top 5(3 times)/Top 10(2 times)

Coaches: Diego Leal, James Pemberton and Michelle Rutiaga

 

Medical Professions students win national recognition

Medical Professions students who earned College Board national recognition

Above: The recognized students were awarded prestigious national recognition through the College Board’s National Recognition Program for their outstanding performance on the 2021-2022 PSAT/NMSQT Exam. These recognitions include the National Hispanic Recognition Award and the National Rural and Small-Town Award.

Received both recognitions - The National Hispanic Recognition Award + The National Rural and Small Town Award:
Alejandra Rivera (12th) | Carmen Herrera (12th) | Daniel Medina (12th) | Edgar Lopez (11th) | Jaime Gonzalez (12th) |

Received the National Hispanic Recognition Award (NHRA):
Alexis Aguilar (12th) | Alma Cantu (11th) | Cameron Diaz (11th) | Ilianna Baez (12th) | Jazmin Munoz (12th) | Kevin Salazar (12th) | Megan Pedroza (11th) | Myles Carter (12th) | Shane Ibarra (12th)
 
Received the National Rural and Small Town Award: Juliana Ladilad (12th)

 

Science Academy students participate in Congressional App Challenge

Science Academy Congressional App Challenge participants

Above: Science Academy Computer Science students were recently recognized for having the 2nd highest participation in the Congressional App Challenge in the entire country. Congressional App Challenge Program Director, Joseph Alessi, traveled from Washington D.C. to visit with these students and hear all about their app creations. The Congressional App Challenge’s mission is to inspire, include, and innovate efforts around STEM, coding, and computer science.

Challenge participants include: Edgar Elizondo, Greta Keller, Gabriella Madrigal, Amita Massey, Maria Mendoza Uribe, Katana Mireles, Isabella Molina, Aidan Morales, Shem Rogers, Julio Sanchez, Alankrita Sharda, Alexander Urbina-Vazquez, Hudson O'Donnell, Erick M Altamirano, Elijah Auldridge, Kye Bryan, Dienda Osric, Rhianna Garcia, Jacob Garza, Saanvi Gottimukkala, Rafael Ledesma, Dominic Loja, Victor Onkka, Peter Salazar, Ebony Solis, Hiram Tovar, Gilberto Vasquez-Ochoa, Santiago Berrocol, Adrian Boyer-Paulet, Brandyn Bratley, Hugo Brown, Aditya Dantu, Jia Escalona, Luis Gomez, Christian Gonzalez, William Gonzalez, Nolan Gors, Caroline Herrera, Evie Martinez, Alejandro Mego, Sophia Mileres, Maria Ramirez, Jacob Valdez, Erika Elizondo, Matthew Bunton

Faculty members include: Sylvia Odoms and Fernando Grimaldo

 


 

Cross Country State Competitors recognized for placing among the top runners in the state

The following students and teams competed at the Texas Charter School Academic and Athletic League (TCSAAL) State Cross Country Meet held on October 29th in Webberville, TX, and placed among the top in the state.

RSA Female Cross Country State Competitor with coaches

Above: Katalina Prukop, Rising Scholars Academy cross country state competitor, who placed in the top 20 at state

PA Girls and Boys Cross Country State Competitors

Above: The Preparatory Academy girls cross country team earned third place at state. Team members include: Annie Almaguer (placed 8th individually), Amelia Humphreys (placed 9th individually), Belicia Hernandez, Belen Berrocal, and Isabella Pagan. Coaches: Alex Comple and Sonia Brown

The Preparatory Academy boys cross country team earned third place at state. Team members include: Sebastian Carbajal, Emilio Montelongo, Brady Lee, and
Christian Moya. Coaches: Alex Comple and Gerardo Monteagudo

 

 

Health Professions Boys Cross Country competitor

Above: Jason Puckett, Health Professions cross country state competitor, who placed in the top 20 at state


 

Campus Volleyball Teams recognized for season achievements

RSA Girls Middle School Volleyball Regional Champions

Above: The Rising Scholars Academy girls volleyball team was named this year's Girls Middle School Volleyball Regional Champions. The team includes: Laisha Badiola, Julieta Garcia, Jillian Haraway, Ariana Sastre, Ariani Gutierrez, Isabella Zuniga, Surie Hernandez, and Perla Baez-Caballero.

Assistant Coach: Cynthia Wilson | Head Coach: Isabella Hernandez

Health Professions Boys Volleyball team that competed at state

Above: The Health Professions Boys Volleyball team competed at the TSCAAL Regional Tournament on Nov. 5 and finished Regional Champions. The Mustangs volleyball team beat Uplift Infinity, making them Area Champions and advancing them to the state championship game. The boys finished their season 2nd in state and with four All-State team athletes as well.

The team includes: Alejandro Gonzalez-Hinojosa, Benjamin Morocho – All State Team, Christian Carrera – All State Team, Daniel McLean, Diego Villarreal, Gerardo Alaniz - All State Team, Jaden Meza-Garcia, Johan Garcia, Leo Sibi – All State Team, Marck Gonzalez, Matthew Vela, Michael Garcia, Nathan Rostro, Simon Paulo Lucag, Dionysus Kaufman, and Rigoberto Cantú Cepeda

Coaches – Lois Bauer and Ramiro Castillo

 

Science Academy Girls Volleyball team

Above: The Science Academy Girls Volleyball team completed a successful season, winning the Regional Semi-Final and advancing to the Regional Championship.

The team includes: Viviana Palacios, Daniella Cedillo, Ava Cedillo, Sarah Espinosa, Mayra Navarro, Sofia Perkins, Erica Elizondo, Marina Gonzalez, Alexa Tlalolini, Alyah Rand, Gabby De La Garza, Madelyn Volpe, Mikayla Kester, Rylei Ripley, and Lerida Stivalet | Managers: Mackenzie Kester, Sabrina Calderon, and Miriam Martinez

Coaches: Alyssa Perez, Gerardo Cavazos
 


 

STISD Board accepts $8 million donation from MacKenzie Scott

Superintendent Dr. Tony Lara announces to staff $8 million donation from MacKenzie Scott

Superintendent Dr. Tony Lara visits campuses on Nov. 18 to announce to faculty/staff the news of the $8 million donation.

The week before Thanksgiving, STISD received a generous unsolicited gift of $8 million from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott, the largest donation in district history. The board approved the donation during the Dec. 6 meeting.

With a focus on identifying organizations with strong leadership teams and results, Scott's team has assisted her with her mission of sharing her wealth. Scott announced on her Medium that, with the help of her team, she had given $1,990,800,000 to 343 organizations over the last seven months.

The funds provided are not tied to any specific purpose, but may be used in the way the district sees fit. STISD has begun preliminary discussions into how the donation can best complement what the district is already doing to serve the RGV community and align with district goals.

Click here to read full story


 

Board approves 2023-2024 School Year Calendar + adjustment to calendar for 2022-2023

2023-2024 School Year

The STISD Board of Directors approved the academic calendar for the 2023-2024 School Year on Dec. 6.

STISD 2023-2024 School Year Calendar - Board approved

2022-2023 School Year (amended)

The STISD Board of Directors approved an amended calendar for the 2022-2023 School Year on Dec. 6. The amended calendar includes Friday, April 7, as a district holiday, and Friday, May 26, as a district professional development day.

STISD 2022-2023 School Year Calendar - Board approved with amendment

 

Report on Honors, Advanced Placement Program, Dual Enrollment 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. 6 board meeting.

Click here to access the 2022-2023 Report on Honors, Advanced Placement Program, Dual Enrollment and IB Enrollment on the district website


 

Board Receives Audit Report for Fiscal Year Ended Aug. 31, 2022

Luis C. Orozco, certified public accountant, presented the STISD Annual Financial Report for the year ended Aug. 31, 2022, to the STISD Board of Directors during the Dec. 13 board meeting held at STISD's Biblioteca Las Americas 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 2022, STISD received an "unmodified opinion," and there were no findings for the 2021-2022 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.


 

Public Hearing on 2020-2021 Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas (FIRST) Report

STISD receives 15th “Superior” rating under school finance accountability system

Marla R. Knaub, Assistant Superintendent for Finance & Operations at STISD, walked the STISD Board of Directors through the results of the Annual Financial Accountability Management Report during a public hearing held at the Dec. 6 board meeting. 

Based upon data from the 2020-21 fiscal year, STISD received its 15th “Superior” rating, the state’s highest, under the School Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas (FIRST) system, Texas’ school finance accountability rating system.

School FIRST was developed for Texas school districts by the Texas Education Agency in response to Senate Bill 875 of the 76th Texas Legislature in 1999.  Its primary goal is to achieve quality performance in the management of school district’s financial resources, a goal made more significant due to the complexity of accounting associated with the Texas school finance system. Over the years changes have been made to the specific indicators taken into account in the scoring, as well as the quantity of them analyzed. In 2020, the system is currently at 20 indicators. The indicators have changed from previous years, however, and the rating system is different as well.

“We are excited for having earned another ‘Superior Achievement’ rating for the work of our Business Office. For the 15th year in a row the district has demonstrated a high standard in fiscal responsibility. What I know is that this achievement does not happen by accident and it takes a coordinated effort on everyone’s part to earn this,” says Superintendent of Schools Marco Antonio Lara, Jr., Ed.D.


 

Recognition of retirees who have dedicated 25 years or more to STISD

During the Dec. 6 board meeting, the STISD Board of Directors and administration recognized retirees from the first half of the 2022-2023 school year who have dedicated 25 years or more to the district.

  • Guadalupe Vacio, Preparatory Academy Classroom Aide - 32 years with STISD
  • Jose Javier Jimenez, Rising Scholars Academy Technology Support Specialist - 28 years with STISD

Thank you for your many years of dedicated service to STISD. We appreciate you, and we wish you the best in this next chapter of your life.


 

Board approves remaining campus course offerings for 2023-2024

The STISD Board of Directors approved the remaining proposed course offerings for the 2023-2024 School Year for STISD World Scholars and STISD Virtual Academy during the Dec. 6 board meeting.

Prior to the board meeting, the course offerings were reviewed and recommended by both the campus and district site-based councils. The course offerings, which make up the backbone of STISD curricular offerings, provide the student, parent, teachers, and administrators with clear curriculum expectations that are specific for each campus theme.

Considering many students are advancing in their high school coursework beginning in middle school, STISD removed the grade levels on the high school course sequences a couple of years ago.

The campus course sequences for 2023-2024 for all campuses will be posted on the district website.


 

Other Board Actions

  • The Board approved updates to district policy BBB(LOCAL) Board Members Elections.
  • The Board reviewed and re-adopted its Board of Trustees' Code of Ethics to include new board members.
  • The Board approved a request for a new professional position for the 2022-2023 School Year - the College Career and Military Readiness Specialist.
  • Superintendent Dr. Tony Lara discussed with the board the need to secure a firm for the 2023-2028 Strategic Design planning. The district will bring to the board in January several firms for the board to review.
  • The Board approved the appointment of members to the Safe and Supportive School Program Team for the 2022-2023 school year.

 

November Student in Frame: Preparatory Academy's Cole Hansen

STISD Student in Frame Cole Hansen
STISD Student in Frame Cole Hansen

 

Tell your friends + family: new enrollment date - Jan. 14, 2023

Enrollment for 2023-2024 for STISD begins at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 14

 

Photo Galleries: Superintendent's Cup Basketball Tournament + Health Professions Boys Volleyball State Sendoff


 

Inside STISD Video Highlights

RSA teachers begin National Board Certification process

Introduction to Special Programs at STISD


 

STISD Alumni Spotlights

Dr. Rey Rodriguez, Health Professions Class of 2003

Marco Villanueva, Science Academy Class of 2010


 

Mental Health Matters: Creating a self-care plan for young people in secondary schools and college

Creating a self-care plan cover