September 2022- BoardBits

This e-newsletter highlights important news from the September 27 meeting of the STISD Board of Directors, as well as other recent and upcoming district and campus happenings.


Decorative image: BoardBits cover

District recognizes 2023 National Merit Scholarship Program Semifinalists

Officials of the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC®) recently announced the 2023 National Merit Scholarship Program Semifinalists, and four STISD students made the cut.

These four students were recognized by the STISD Board of Directors and administration during the Sept. 27 board meeting. The students include:

  • Daniel Z. Chen of Mission, Science Academy
  • Richard A. Fleming, II, of Mission, Science Academy
  • Nikhil S. Veeramachaneni of Edinburg, Science Academy
  • Jacob C. Mercado of Edinburg, World Scholars

According to NMSC, high school juniors entered the 2023 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2021 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®), which served as an initial screen of program entrants.

The nationwide pool of over 16,000 Semifinalists, representing less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state, with the number of Semifinalists in each state being proportional to the state’s percentage of the national total of graduating seniors.

The Semifinalists have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,250 National Merit Scholarships worth nearly $28 million that will be offered next spring.

Click here to read the full story on the 2023 National Merit Scholarship Program Semifinalists

Four National Merit Scholarship Program Semifinalists pose with their certificates from STISD


South Texas ISD and UTRGV commit to expanding dual enrollment program

Through new partnership with UTRGV, all STISD high schools are now collegiate high schools

South Texas Independent School District (STISD) and The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) recently held an announcement and signing ceremony to commemorate the expansion of their longstanding partnership, which now includes all four of STISD’s high schools as collegiate schools.

Through the signing, STISD and UTRGV committed to further developing and expanding the current dual enrollment opportunities offered to benefit current and future STISD students and families of the Rio Grande Valley. With South Texas ISD Health Professions in Mercedes, South Texas ISD Medical Professions in Olmito, South Texas ISD Science Academy in Mercedes, and South Texas ISD World Scholars in Edinburg now officially collegiate schools, students attending each of these campuses will have the opportunity to earn up to 60 hours of college credit through UTRGV by the time they graduate from high school. With a focus on core completion, the available courses will count towards students’ majors.

All fees related to taking these courses will be covered at no cost to the student or family. As a student of both institutions, participating students will get the best of both worlds, with opportunities to continue participating in courses and extracurricular activities at STISD while also attending courses at UTRGV and experiencing the university setting and collegiate schedule.

The expansion takes effect during the 2022-2023 school year, and students will have access to expanded dual enrollment opportunities by the spring of 2023 while the district continues working with UTRGV to develop plans for the 2023-2024 school year.

Click here to read the full story about the STISD/UTRGV partnership expansion

Dr. Lara, Dr. Bailey and Mr. Buchanan sign agreement expanding collegiate partnership


Report on 2022 College Entrance Scores

Dr. Nereyda Treviño, Chief Academic Officer at STISD, reported to the Board on the College Entrance Test (SAT & ACT) Multiple Year Trend Report during the Sept. 27 meeting. The report shows a comparison to national and state scores, as well as the multiple-year trend for the district and each of the STISD high school campuses spanning the last 10 years.

Dr. Treviño shared that, although there was a dip on the Average SAT Score (Reading and Math combined) around the time of COVID, the district scores on the SAT have not only rebounded, but are higher than they have ever been. With the expansion of the ACT from being taken by a small group of students by choice to all students in 2022 due to changes in the accountability system, there has also been a change in the Average ACT Score (Composite) as well.

According to the report, the District and Campus goal includes having 50% of graduates with an SAT combined reading and mathematics score of 1110 or higher or an ACT composite score of 24 or higher (% above criterion in the report).

Click here to see the full College Entrance Test (SAT & ACT) Multiple Year Trend Report


Report on 2022 Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate Scores

The Board received the annual report on Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) Scores during the Sept. 27 meeting.

Dr. Nereyda Treviño provided a brief overview of the report, which includes an AP Summary Report, AP Equity and Excellence Reports for the district and each of our high school campuses, and an AP District Summary Report on each AP exam, which shows students' performance by score and a comparison with the AP Central exam score distribution. She also shared the IB Scores Summary Report, which shows the continued development of the IB Program and students at our World Scholars campus.

STISD continues to strive for our goal of reaching 100% of our graduates with a qualifying score in at least one subject area AP or IB exam. Unlike schools around the state and nation, we are not screening or using any barriers to AP or IB student participation. We continue to actively recruit, encourage, and support every student to participate in the rigorous coursework and testing, an essential element in our district's continued growth. 

Click here to see the 2022 Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate Scores


Construction Updates

  • New Rising Scholars Academy Campus: Due to price increases in the current market, the architect has concluded that the school as designed with the updated and reduced program cannot be built for the budgeted amount. Several different options on how to proceed were provided to the district.
  • New Health Professions Gymnasium: The architect is working with civil engineer that was selected by the district to locate existing utilities to coordinate with the rest of the design team.

  • New Central Administration & Professional Development Building Renovation Project: Construction continues on the interior and exterior of the building. The monumental sign has been installed and is awaiting electricity.

  • Edinburg Complex Fencing: The vinyl chain linked fence is 100 percent complete, and they are currently working on the installation of the rolling gate.


Other Board Actions

  • The Board approved the appointment of members to the School Health Advisory Council for 2022-2023.
  • The Board approved South Texas ISD's updated Emergency Operations Plan.
  • Administration shared with the Board several different options for the longevity incentive for employees. The Board plans to take action on this incentive at the following meeting, based upon feedback received.
  • The Board approved the revision of district policy DEC (LOCAL) Compensation and Benefits Leaves and Absences: Medical Certification, which now states that an employee shall submit medical certification of the need for leave if the employee is absent more than three consecutive workdays because of personal illness or illness in the immediate family. This was previously set at more than five days.
  • The Board approved the Certification (Election Code 2.052) of Unopposed Candidates for Election to the office of South Texas ISD School Board of Directors and a Resolution declaring each unopposed candidate, as per certification, elected to the office of School Board of Directors, ordering the cancelation of election, and authorizing issuance of election to each candidate (Election Code 2.053):
  1. Robert Julius Lerma - Cameron County Precinct 1
  2. Eduardo L. “Larry” Cantu - Cameron County Precinct 3
  3. David Briones - Cameron County Precinct 4 (remainder of the unexpired term through 2024)
  4. Abiel J. Cantú - Willacy County Precinct 1
  5. Douglas Earl Buchanan - Willacy County Precinct 4


2023 Niche Best Schools Rankings

STISD ranks #1 Best School District in RGV and #2 in Texas, Best Places to Teach and Best Teachers in TX in Niche 2023

Niche recently released its 2023 Best Schools K-12 School & District Rankings, and for the ninth year in a row, STISD and its campuses ranked among the best in the state and nation.

With an A+ overall grade, STISD ranked 2nd in Texas (out of 1,018 school districts ranked) and 38th in the nation (out of 10,751 districts ranked) in the Best School Districts rankings.

For the second year in a row, the district also earned the top spots in the state in the Best Places to Teach  and the Districts with the Best Teachers in Texas. STISD also ranked 6th out of 11,687 districts ranked in the Districts with the Best Teachers in America. 

Click here to read full story


Parents of Bilingual Students: You're invited to Virtual Parent Institutes next week

Superintendent's Cup Photo Galleries: Volleyball + Cross Country Invitational


September Student in Frame: Virtual Academy's Sophia Hinojosa

STISD Student in Frame Sophia Hinojosa
STISD Student in Frame Sophia Hinojosa


Inside STISD Video Highlights

STISD A Ratings Campus Celebrations

Superintendent's Cup Volleyball Tournament Highlight


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