January 2023 BoardBits

Decorative image: BoardBits cover

This e-newsletter highlights important news from the Jan. 24 regular board meeting of the STISD Board of Directors.


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

During the Jan. 24 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.

Thirty-four Health Professions BPA students qualify for State Competition

Health Professions BPA students recognized during board meeting

Above: Health Professions Business Professionals of America, or BPA, students competed at the BPA Regional Leadership Conference this month, and 34 students advanced to the BPA state competition. 
Health Professions also has an outgoing Area (Area 2, Region 3) President, Frances Pepito, and an incoming Area President, Alfia Bilal.

BPA Competitors: Tallinn Al-sayyed, Jazmin Alvarado, Alex Arreola, Sophia Avelino, Alfia Bilal, Uzair Bilal, Rigoberto Cantu Cepeda, Mariajose Chavez, Kaila De Dios, Frank Escabarte, Luciana Garcia, Natalie Garza, Diana Garza Gonzalez, Isabella Gonzalez, Marck Gonzalez, Claudia Guajardo, Danna Gutierrez, Jacquelyn Guzman, Maria Hernandez, Mariah Hernandez, Marian Hernandez, Dylan Kim, Luz Lieu, Alinna Loa, Andres Loa, Yesenia Lopez, Mikaela Mainit, Robert Manloo-Sudario, Jaden Meza-Garcia, Cordelia Miranda, Sofia Obregon, Victory Orieukwu, Kisha Patel, Shreya Patel, Aleena Paul, Frances Pepito, Divija Posani, Marco Sanchez, Serena Simon, Sophia Simons, Angelina Trinh, Leah Wyatt, and Tiffany Yong

Sponsors: Janie Sanchez, Nicholas Pell and Arely Gonzalez


Science Academy students recognized for earning welding certification

Science Academy students who were recognized during board meeting

Above: 24 Science Academy students recently received their American Welding Society (AWS) D1.1 certifications.

The students include: Yamen Al-Qudah, Jack Bunker, Fernando Castillo, Aaryan Dolezal, Vidal Garcia, Christopher Gonzalez, Jaymee Gonzalez, Kevin Gonzalez, Leonardo Guajardo Rodriguez, Alejandro Jaramillo, Jason Longoria, Aizza Lopez, Mekai Moore, Gabriel Mora, Moises Nava-Lopez, Juan Ocana, Gerardo Palacios,
Jose Quintana, Angel Rodriguez, Javier Rodriguez, Cleric Ross, Andres Segovia IV, Ryan Stevens, and Hernan Villarreal.

Teachers: Hector Martinez and Gilbert Rodriguez

Rising Scholars students host inaugural 'Sock Hop' to benefit the community

Rising Scholars Student Council members who were recognized at board meeting

RSA Student Council spearheaded the inaugural Christmas “Sock Hop.” The entrance fee was a pack of socks that were donated to Loaves and Fishes in Harlingen. Students showcased the RSA core value of community, as they collected over 1,000 pairs of socks.

Above: Rising Scholars Student Council members Makayla Cervantes, Justin Christopher, Valeria Escobar, Emaan Fatima, Rachel Galvan, Joaquin Gonzalez, Marley Lozoya, Massimiliano Marin-Mera, Andrea Marquez, Mackenzie Martin, Erika Martinez, Ramesses Martinez, Sebastian Martinez, Yileni Mendez, Mia Mendieta, Kate Meyer, Sofia Meyer, Madeline Montalvo, Regina Muniz, Daniella Muoka, Alondra Ocanas, Julissa Ontiveros, Meera Patel, Ruhann Patel, Samuel Reyes, Lillian Roberts, Daniela Rodriguez, Katie Sikes, Natalie Tamayo, Eliava Taw, Elliot Taw, Ethan Taw, and Alek Villegas

Sponsors: Megan Berryman and Corina Zuniga Longoria



Preparatory Academy student a '2022 Angel Ambassador' for toy drive contributions

Preparatory Academy student recognized during board meeting

Above: Preparatory Academy Student Enrique Hernandez being recognized during the board meeting.

Enrique created a Go Fund Me page for the Preparatory Academy Student Council (STUCO) toy drive. He raised enough money through his efforts to buy 77 toys, the most toys ever donated by a student. Isaac’s Angels, the organization Preparatory Academy was working with on this toy drive, named Enrique their 2022 Angel Ambassador. 

Sponsors: Nadia Avalos and Sonia Brown

Science Academy students place in Congressional District in Congressional App Challenge

Science Academy students and sponsor recognized at board meeting

Above: Science Academy students Evie Martinez and Osric Dienda with teacher Sylvia Odoms

Science Academy Computer Science students Osric Dienda and Evie Martinez were named the Congressional App Challenge 1st (Osric) and 3rd (Evie) place winners for the 15th Congressional District of Texas, and were presented with award certificates as well as framed U.S. flags, which had flown over the Texas state capitol building.  The mission of the challenge is to inspire, include, and innovate efforts around STEM, coding, and computer science. 

Teachers: Sylvia Odoms and Fernando Grimaldo

Virtual Academy student recognized for achievements at STISD

Rising Scholars Academy student recognized during board meeting

Above: Milind Patil is a 6th grader at Virtual Academy, who has already found tremendous success in his first semester at STISD. He placed in a couple of Chess tournaments, and in various events in three different UIL Meets, and was selected to compete with the Preparatory Academy tennis team this year. We look forward to seeing his continued success as part of our STISD family.


Campus Basketball Teams recognized for season achievements

Medical Professions Angels Basketball Team and coach recognized during board meeting

Above: The Medical Professions Angels Boys Varsity Basketball Team won the title of 2022-2023 STISD Superintendent's Cup High School Boys Basketball Champion.

The team includes: Anthony Roa, Angeluz Hernandez, Aaron Cruz, Francisco Ruiz, Marco Vazquez, Eduardo Vazquez, Nicholas Lugo, Ethan Jeffries, Ramiro Garcia, Eddie Abundiz, Axel Solano, Aldo Somano, David Aguero, and Levi Ladden

Managers: Jeremiah Papilla and Olga Campos

Coaches: Edward Reza and Isabel Jimenez

World Scholars Lady Lions Basketball Team and coaches recognized during board meeting

Above: The World Scholars Lady Lions Basketball Team is the 2022-2023 STISD Superintendent’s Cup High School Girls Basketball Champion.

The team includes: Penelope Alvarado, Ximena Balli, Hope Casanova, Ayana Davis, Lythia Escamilla, Allyson Gutierrez, Brianna Hernandez, Viena Prinkey-Vizcarra, Paloma Ramirez, Alejandra Rivera, and Carla Tamez

Coaches: Janie Hernandez, Jahaziel Cano, Denise Davila, and Oscar Quintanilla


World Scholars Lions Basketball Team and coach recognized during board meeting

Above: The World Scholars Lions Boys Basketball Team had a successful 2022-2023 season.

The team includes: Charles Brana, Ezequiel Carrillo, Jonathan Gomez, Ryan Meyer, Edgar Moreno, Romario Ramirez, Pedro Pablo Soberon, and Hermez Tejeda

Coaches: Janie Hernandez, Jahaziel Cano, Denise Davila, and Oscar Quintanilla



STISD says 'thank you' to Board of Directors during School Board Recognition Month

Students and administration from across the district came together during the Jan. 24 board meeting to recognize the members of the STISD Board of Directors during School Board Recognition Month. Students thanked the board for their dedication and commitment to serving the STISD community and for the programs and initiatives they have made possible. Representatives also shared with the board a small token of appreciation on behalf of their campus communities.

World Scholars student presents to the board for School Board Recognition Month
Preparatory Academy students who presented to board at board meeting
Virtual Academy student presents to the board for School Board Recognition Month
Health Professions student presents to the board for School Board Recognition Month
Science Academy student presents to the board for School Board Recognition Month
Preparatory Academy students present to the board for School Board Recognition Month


STISD recognizes Douglas Buchanan for years of service as board president

The STISD Board of Directors and administration recognized immediate past president, Doug Buchanan of Raymondville, during the Jan. 24 board meeting and presented him with a glass plaque commemorating his four years of service as board president. Buchanan has served on the STISD board for 22 years to-date, including the last four years in that leadership role.

STISD Board President and Superintendent recognize former board president Doug Buchanan for years of service in that position

From left to right: STISD superintendent Dr. Marco Antonio Lara, Jr.; Doug Buchanan, immediate past board president; and Henry LeVrier, current STISD board president

STISD board members during monthly board meeting

Former STISD board president Doug Buchanan and fellow board members applaud students and staff during recognition portion of Jan. 24 board meeting.


Reports and Action: Construction projects from across the district

The Buildings and Grounds Committee and Assistant Superintendent for Finance & Operations Marla Knaub reported on the following construction projects from across the district:


Board discusses next steps in plan for MacKenzie Scott donation

Dr. Marco Antonio Lara, Jr., superintendent of schools, reported to the Board on the types of discussions that have been held to-date to determine the best use of the unsolicited $8 million donation from MacKenzie Scott, and asked board members for any specific suggestions they have about ways through which the donation can benefit the STISD community. 

The board members mentioned several different ideas as possibilities to be taken back to the campus discussions and brainstorms; however, the board also wanted administration to get more information from students and staff about what they would like to see.

Administration is working to determine how the funds can best be spent for our students and to complement what we are doing as a district. The plan is to use it on something that is lasting, like expanding our Career and Technical Education programs. Administration will continue discussions at the campus level and will bring to the board proposals and a timeline for approval.

To show appreciation, the board members asked to prepare a resolution for all board members to sign at the next board meeting to thank MacKenzie Scott for her generous donation.


Other Board Actions

  • The Board approved the addition of new courses at Health Professions, Medical Professions, World Scholars, Virtual Academy and Science Academy to provide students exposure to much-needed skills in the workforce and to help ensure STISD school programs align and comply with the new approved programs of study as outlined by the TEA.
  • The Board approved extending the contract for legal services with Walsh, Gallegos, Trevino, Russo & Kyle PC (RFQ 19-010) for another year.
  • The STISD Board of Directors conducted the annual evaluation for Marco Antonio Lara, Jr., Ed.D., STISD Superintendent of Schools, during the Jan. 24, 2023 board meeting. The board voted to extend his contract for another year and to provide him with a salary increase in the coming year.
  • The Buildings & Grounds Committee provided a report on the Districtwide Intruder Detection Audit Report Findings.


December 2022 + January 2023 Students in Frame


Inside STISD Video Highlights

STISD 2022: Year in Review

Science Academy Esports Wins State Title, Moves to Next Level


STISD Alumni: Let's Connect! We want to tell your story.

Complete the Alumni Questionnaire

STISD Alumni:

We want to connect with you! 

Please take a couple of minutes to complete the STISD Alumni Questionnaire to share with us your success after STISD. If you’re interested in participating in a district testimonial, let us know through the form, and we’ll reach out.


We look forward to hearing about what you’re doing now!

STISD Alumni Spotlights

Anerey Yerena, World Scholars (Teacher Academy) Class of 2003

Jorge Vidal, World Scholars Class of 2015

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Mental Health Matters: Understanding Feelings- Helpful Resources for Students and Parents

Wellness Check - Click to view resources


STISD campuses will host open house events in February and March 2023.

Reminders: Holidays and District Events

  • February 6-10 is National School Counseling Week. Let your counselors know they are appreciated!
  • There will be no classes on Monday, Feb. 13. That is a Bad Weather Day, a district holiday for students and staff (except for 226 employees).
  • February 18: STISD Superintendent's Cup Soccer Tournament
  • February 24 is a District Professional Development Day. There is no school for students on this day.
  • Open Houses are coming up. Reference the schedule in the newsletter to see when it will be held for your school.