May 2021- BoardBits

Decorative Image: BoardBits

This e-newsletter highlights important news from the May 25 meeting of the STISD Board of Directors, and other happenings from throughout the district.

Decorative Image: Virtual Recognitions

All four STISD high schools recognized for ranking among the best in the state and nation in the U.S. News & World Report 2021 Best U.S. High Schools

The STISD Board of Directors recognized all four STISD high schools - South Texas ISD Health Professions, South Texas ISD Medical Professions, South Texas ISD Science Academy, and South Texas ISD World Scholars - for again ranking among the best in the state and the nation in the U.S. News & World Report 2021 Best U.S. High Schools.  

In the state rankings, South Texas ISD Health Professions (now Health Professions, and previously South Texas High School for Health Professions, or Med High) in Mercedes ranked 34th, South Texas ISD Science Academy (Science Academy) in Mercedes ranked 45th, South Texas ISD Medical Professions (now Medical Professions, and previously South Texas Academy for Medical Professions, or Medical Academy) in Olmito ranked 79th, and South Texas ISD World Scholars (now World Scholars, and previously South Texas Business, Education & Technology Academy, or BETA) in Edinburg ranked 92nd.  Out of nearly 18,000 public high schools ranked across the nation, Health Professions ranked 205th, Science Academy ranked 257th, Medical Professions ranked 514th, and World Scholars ranked 651st. Read full story here.

All four STISD high schools rank among the best in the state and nation


Board recognizes EIC chairperson for leadership in district council

The STISD Board of Directors and administration recognized Virginia Leonardelli, World Scholars math teacher, for her leadership and participation in the district’s Educational Improvement Council (EIC) during the 2019-2020 & 2020-2021 school years, and for her commitment to the improvement of the district’s planning, operation, supervision, and evaluation of the educational programs.


Board approves pay increase for bus drivers as district seeks to hire additional employees

As is the case locally and nationwide, STISD is experiencing a shortage of bus drivers, a problem compounded by COVID-19 restrictions over the past year, as social distancing guidelines led to decreased seating capacity per bus. STISD is currently seeking to hire bus drivers across the district.

With the board's approval of the pay increase, STISD is now the highest-paying district for bus drivers in the Rio Grande Valley region, with pay starting at $18/hour and increasing to $21.95/hour at the mid-point and $26.77 maximum.

The pay increase took effect immediately following the meeting, and is for all bus drivers currently employed with the district as well as any new hires.

Those interested in applying for bus driver positions may apply here.

STISD is now hiring bus drivers.


Board receives report on acceptance of district into TEA's Virtual and Hybrid School Accelerator Program

The STISD administration provided the board with a report on STISD's recent acceptance as one of only 50 districts within the state into the Texas Education Agency's (TEA) Virtual and Hybrid School Accelerator (VHSA) program.

TEA invited districts to apply for the VHSA earlier this spring. For an opportunity for selection into the program, districts had to submit an application and undergo an interview process. TEA selected districts/consortiums based upon the strength of their applications and interviews, objective measures of need, and evidence of willingness of the districts to implement significant improvements during the school year.

STISD submitted its VHSA application to launch a full-time virtual campus for the 2021-2022 school year – separate and apart from the district’s other six campuses. As a participant, STISD would receive customized technical assistance to design, implement, and continuously improve its virtual school model.
Read more here
Update from after the board meeting: Unfortunately, the bill tied to continued funding for virtual learning in the upcoming school year did not pass in the Legislature; however, the district is still looking at plans to move forward with a virtual academy for the coming year. Additional details are forthcoming.



ESSER survey image

All parents, district employees, students and community members are urged to complete a survey to help the district determine what to prioritize with the potential ESSER funds. Your opinion will help address COVID-19 recovery and the impact for the 2021-2022 school year. 

Click here or the image above to take the survey. 

Thank you for your support.


Enrolled students (up to 21 years of age) in families that temporarily lost access to free or reduced-price school meals for the 2020–2021 school year due to the COVID-19 pandemic may be eligible to receive Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT). P-EBT benefits can be used to buy food from any retailer that accepts the Lone Star Card. The application for P-EBT is now open, and the deadline to apply is Aug. 13, 2021. 

Read more here. For questions, call the Child Nutrition Department at 956.514.4236. 


Congratulations, Class of 2021! - Graduation + Promotions 2021 Highlight Reels

High School Graduation Ceremonies

8th-Grade Promotion Ceremonies


STISD announces new Project Safe Return: Summer Safety 2021 Guidelines

As our region, state and nation continue to move forward with plans to reopen facilities and reestablish a sense of normalcy, we at South Texas ISD are looking forward to resuming full on-campus learning and extracurricular activities this fall.

To help our students make the transition back to campus, our campuses are hosting a variety of on-campus camps throughout the summer months.

View the STISD Project Safe Return Plan within the COVID-19 section of the district website for more information regarding the health and safety guidelines in place for all STISD summer activities.