March and April 2021- BoardBits
This e-newsletter highlights important news from the March 30 and April 27 meetings of the STISD Board of Directors.
Board approves 2021-2022 School Year Calendar
The board approved the academic calendar for the 2021-2022 school year during the March 30 board meeting.
See the 2021-2022 School Year Calendar on the district website
Pandemic Staff Retention Incentive Approved
The STISD Board of Directors approved a resolution presented by Marco Antonio Lara, Jr., Ed.D., superintendent of schools, during the April 27 board meeting, authorizing a Pandemic Staff Retention Incentive in the amount of $1,000. This incentive will be paid to all full-time and part-time STISD employees in May 2021. In the face of the pandemic, faculty and staff have gone above and beyond as they encountered unprecedented challenges in providing safe schools for students and staff, and have assumed additional/increased duties beyond the regular job duties throughout the year. The STISD Board of Directors and administration thank all STISD employees for their service and dedication to the STISD community.
2021 Middle School and High School Battle of the Books Teams recognized for representing STISD at Fourth Annual Region One Battle of the Books Competition
The STISD Board of Directors recognized this year's STISD Middle School and High School Battle of the Books teams for representing the district at the Fourth Annual Region One Battle of the Books Competition during the virtual meeting.
Traditionally, teams competed within the district competition by campus, and the top campus-specific team at the middle school level and high school level made up the teams in their respective categories to move on to the next competition. This year, individual students from all six STISD campuses competed virtually on Jan. 27 for a chance to make up one STISD middle school and one STISD high school team.
The middle school team consisted of: Arun Dhevan, 8th-grader at Rising Scholars from Harlingen; Rachel Kwon, 7th-grader at Preparatory Academy from Mission; Isabella Reyna, 8th-grader at Rising Scholars from La Feria; and Maryhan Saleh, 8th-grader at Rising Scholars from Harlingen.
The high school team consisted of: Yamilex Cardiel, senior at Medical Professions from Brownsville; Benjamin Castillo, sophomore at Science Academy from Edinburg; Lizzie Flores, sophomore at Science Academy from Brownsville; and Lillian Lopez, senior at Science Academy from Edinburg.
Congratulations to the middle school team for being named the 2021 Region One Middle School Battle of the Books Champion.
Preparatory Academy recognized for earning national distinction through its redesignation as a School to Watch
The STISD Board of Directors recognized Preparatory Academy for earning national distinction through its third redesignation as a School to Watch by the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform and the Texas Association of Secondary School Principals (TASSP). The campus joins approximately 50 other campuses across Texas with this distinction and honor. State leaders selected Preparatory Academy for its Academic Excellence, Developmental Responsiveness, Social Equity and Organizational Structure and Processes. In addition, Preparatory Academy has strong leadership, teachers who work together to improve curriculum and instruction, and a commitment to assessment and accountability to bring about continuous improvement.
Click to play the video on the right for more information about this achievement.
Board secretary recognized for election to Texas Association of School Boards Board of Directors
STISD board secretary Sylvia Sánchez Garza, Ph.D., was recognized for her recent election to serve in the Region 1 Position B spot on the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) Board of Directors.
Read story from TASB
Region One ESC recognizes STISD for receiving Superior Performance 2020 FIRST Rating
The Region One Education Service Center recently awarded STISD with a plaque to commemorate the district receiving a Superior Performance Rating through the Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas, or FIRST, for 2019-2020. This plaque was presented to Marla Knaub, STISD assistant superintendent for finance and operations, during the April 27 board meeting on behalf of Region One. The district received a perfect score of 100 and a Superior Achievement Rating for the 14th year in a row. The board of directors and administration extended a congratulations to the Business Office and all those at the campuses and departments who work hard every day to keep things running smoothly and operating at the highest level of financial responsibility.
Board accepts donation from the Musk Foundation for Cameron County campuses
The STISD Board of Directors approved a donation of $87,686 from the Musk Foundation to STISD.
Recently, CEO Elon Musk announced that he would be donating $30 million to Cameron County and the city of Brownsville (designating $20 million to go towards schools and $10 million will go towards the revitalization of downtown Brownsville).
The donation came as part of the first round of funding awarded by the Musk Foundation to Cameron County districts on April 16, which amounted to one-quarter of the $20 million grant and was distributed based upon school enrollment.
Marco Antonio Lara, Jr., Ed.D., STISD superintendent of schools, reported to the board that, in line with the expectations of the Musk Foundation, the donated funds will go towards updating of facilities and resources for STEM-related programs within our Cameron County schools. He shared, "We are thankful for this generous donation from the Musk Foundation, and we look forward to using it to expand our programs and update facilities within our Cameron County campuses. STISD is committed to the creation of new and innovative STEM programs, and we plan to invest these funds well to grow in these areas for the benefit of our students today and in the future."
Board hears report on TASA Curriculum Executive Summary Review findings
Brian Ellis, Ph.D., from the Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA), provided a preliminary report on the district's recent curriculum audit during the March 30 board meeting. The audit report is being finalized and will be posted to the district website once available.
Save the Date
This year's graduation ceremonies for the four STISD high schools will be held at Bert Ogden Arena in Edinburg, according to the following schedule:
World Scholars: Wednesday, May 26, 7:00 p.m.
Health Professions: Thursday, May 27, 7:00 p.m.
Science Academy: Friday, May 28, 7:00 p.m.
Medical Professions: Saturday, May 29, 6:00 p.m.
Additional information is coming soon.
Eighth-grade promotion ceremonies for the two STISD middle schools will be held on May 29 at the Bert Ogden Arena in Edinburg, according to the following schedule:
Preparatory Academy: 10:00 a.m.
Rising Scholars Academy: 2:00 p.m.