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Posted May 28, 2015
BISD Creates Alumni Hall of Fame
Beginning this school year, Brownsville ISD is establishing a new tradition of annually honoring district alumni who have distinguished themselves in various areas including academics, the arts, community or public service, their chosen profession, or sports. The 2015 BISD Alumni Hall of Fame inductees will be recognized at a special reception held in their honor on Friday, May 29 at 5 pm at the Holiday Inn. A NASA flight officer, physicians, CEOs, judges, and educators will be among those recognized by the district.

BISD Commencement Season Begins
Wearing traditional caps and gowns, Brownsville ISD graduates from all seven Early College High Schools will attend the 2015 Baccalaureate Ceremonies on Sunday, May 31 in the Rivera ECHS gymnasium. BECHS, Hanna, Porter, and Rivera graduates will attend the 3 pm ceremony and Lopez, Pace and Veterans Memorial graduates will attend the 6 pm ceremony. Dr. Guy Bailey, President of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, will serve as the keynote speaker. Brownsville ISD traditionally holds Baccalaureate ceremonies as a farewell to the graduating class. The district's commencement ceremonies will be held on June 9-14.

State Board Honors Veterans Memorial Brothers
Brothers Juan Daniel and Noe Isai Rangel, students at Veterans Memorial ECHS, were named 2015 Student Heroes by the State Board of Education (SBOE). The announcement was made on Thursday, May 28 by the Texas Education Agency. The brothers saved the life of their friend and classmate when he suffered a medical emergency by quickly transporting him to the school nurse’s station. The students will be recognized by SBOE Representative Ruben Cortez, Jr. at the Veterans Memorial graduation on Wednesday, June 10 at Sams Stadium. View the media release.

9 BISD Students Earn Duke Notice
Congratulations to the 9 BISD seventh grade students who earned State Recognition in the Duke University Talent Identification Program. To qualify as a Duke Scholar, students must score in the 95th percentile or higher on the national norms of a grade level standardized achievement, aptitude or mental ability test. A student qualifying for State Recognition is in the top 25% of the Talent Search Pool. Congratulations to our 9 BISD Duke Scholars. View the list.

Posted May 26, 2015
Rivera Cluster Hosts STEM Exhibition
Elementary schools in the Rivera ECHS Cluster will present a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Exhibition on Saturday, May 30 from 9-11 am in the Brownsville ISD Administration Building parking lot at 1900 Price Road. Students in grades kindergarten through fifth grade will exhibit their work. The Rivera Cluster elementary STEM initiative is designed to align elementary schools to their feeder middle schools that already have a STEM program in place. The Rivera elementary students are implementing their existing science curriculum, but project based learning with a STEM emphasis has been added. Students from the Rivera Cluster secondary schools will be on hand to provide grades 6-12 information on STEM programs and Early College High School. The community is invited to attend. View the media release.

Posted May 20, 2015
Good Luck
Best of luck to BISD’s high school Special Olympic athletes and coaches who will be competing at the State Summer Special Olympics Games in Track and Field in Arlington, Texas this weekend.

Weighing Less and Feeling Better
The BISD Weight Loss Challenge is over and participants lost over 2,700 pounds this school year according to preliminary calculations released by Personalized Prevention, the district’s wellness provider. Congratulations to the employees from the Hanna Cluster and Egly Elementary, Perkins Middle School, and Cummings Middle School for losing the most weight.

Wellness is Hot Stuff!
Employees are welcome at the BISD Wellness Fitness Center during the summer. View the hours of operation and activities.

No Picnic on Friday
Due to inclement weather, the Honors Day Picnic scheduled for Friday, May 22 has been postponed. For questions, call 547-4113.

Jump Cancelled
Due to inclement weather, the 22nd Annual BISD Jump Rope for Heart Scheduled for Friday, May 22 has been cancelled.

Ortiz Earns Silver Award
Ortiz Elementary School won the Silver 2015 National Excellence in Urban Education Award. The announcement was made at the National Center for Urban School Transformation (NCUST) awards ceremony held in Dallas, Texas on Thursday, May 21. Dr. Esperanza Zendejas and Melissa Werbiski, Ortiz's principal, accepted the award which included $2,500. Benavides and Breeden Elementary were named Bronze award recipients and Paredes Elementary was named to the Honor Roll. The BISD schools were among 24 schools selected from across the United States as finalists for these distinguished national awards. The national finalists all serve low-income communities with an array of challenges but still boast achievement results that exceed state averages for all students. Congratulations to the Ortiz, Breeden, Benavides, and Paredes students, parents, and employees for earning these prestigious national honors.

Posted May 20, 2015
BISD Chess Teams Compete Nationally
Several Brownville ISD Teams competed at the K-6 Championship National Chess Tournament held in Nashville, Tennessee on May 7-10. Congratulations to the Hudson Elementary Coyotes K-1 and K-5 teams for placing in the Top 10. View all results.

$63,000 Awarded to 9 BISD Campus Libraries
Nine BISD schools, Cromack, Castañeda, Del Castillo, Hudson, Palm Grove, Skinner and Victoria Heights Elementaries and Lucio and Stell Middle Schools, received grants of $7,000 each from the Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries to add to and update their book and media collections. BISD schools received 9 of the 12 grants awarded within the Rio Grande Valley. Studies have shown that the quality of a school library has a major impact on the test scores and the academic success of children. Mrs. Bush, a former teacher and librarian, has long championed the importance of reading as the foundation of all learning. Congratulations to our Library Media Specialists who prepared the grant applications. Over half of all BISD campuses submitted applications.

2015 BISD Superintendent's Scholarships Announced
Interim Superintendent Dr. Esperanza Zendejas has announced the winners of the 2015 Superintendent’s Scholarships. A total of 88 graduating BISD seniors will each receive $1,000 to attend the college of their choice. The scholarship funds were raised at the 12th Annual Scholarship Golf Tournament hosted by Dr. Zendejas at the Rancho Viejo Resort on Saturday, May 9, 2015. Scholarship recipients were selected by a committee of local community members and district personnel. Over 250 student applications were reviewed. “The support of our sponsors has made this tournament one of the largest in the entire Rio Grande Valley. I sincerely thank the many businesses and organizations that generously donated to this event in order to provide scholarship funds for our 2015 high school graduates. It was a great golf tournament benefiting a worthy cause, our students,” said Zendejas. View the release.

Posted May 18, 2015
Another Great Year for VITA students
A total of 195 students from Hanna, Pace, Lopez, Rivera, Porter, Veterans Memorial, and Los Fresnos High Schools participated in this year’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program sponsored by the United Way of Southern Cameron County. The VITA students spent countless hours preparing and e-filing income tax returns for working families that qualified for the Earned Income Tax Credit. These student volunteers and their sponsors filed 3,810 returns at no cost to the families. The families received $4,636,070.00 in Earned Income and other tax credits. The total refunds received were $7,073,120.00. Every penny went to the families because there were no tax preparation or refund anticipation fees. This is the sixth year that Porter ECHS, under the direction of Albert Velez, has offered free income tax services. Special thanks to BISD’s VITA students for assisting the Brownsville community through this United Way program.

Veterans Student Wins Scholarship to Study in Italy
A team from Veterans Memorial Early College High School competed in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) held on May 10-15 in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. One team member, Aleida Olvera, a Veterans junior, won one of only two scholarships from the Fondazione Bruno Kessler Foundation to study in Trentino, Italy. This scholarship will allow Aleida to participate in a three-week summer research project to learn about and participate in programming a database to receive medical information from patients with wearable sensors. Aleida will be hosted by the University of Trentino. Her parents are Saul and Abigail Olvera.

Rivera Athlete Named Texas Player of the Year
Isidro Martinez, a Rivera ECHS senior, was selected as the Gatorade State Boys Soccer Player of the Year for Texas. His selection is based on his athletic production, impact in the 2014-2015 season, and his demonstrated high academic achievements, and exemplary personal character, including volunteerism, sportsmanship and community leadership. Congratulations to this outstanding Rivera student. View Isidro Martinez’s credentials.

BISD Schools Named to Best List
Three BISD Early College High Schools, BECHS, Veterans Memorial and Hanna, earned medals in the National U.S. News and World Report 2015 Best High Schools ranking. BECHS received a gold medal for its #18 spot on the list of best Texas high schools. Both Veterans Memorial ECHS at #168 and Hanna ECHS at #188 earned silver medals on the Texas list. Schools are differentiated with gold, silver and bronze medals with gold indicating the greatest level of college readiness. A total of 6,517 high schools were awarded medals nationwide. View the individual rankings for BECHS, Veterans Memorial, and Hanna.

Posted May 7, 2015
BISD Makes History
A total of 68 BISD middle and high school students participated in Texas History Day held on May 2 in Austin. Several BISD students were recognized at the state awards ceremony. Monserrat Sandoval-Malherbe from Stillman Middle School placed second in Texas in the Junior Division-Individual Paper. She will represent BISD in the National History Day Competition in College Park, Maryland on June 14-18. Monserrat also received the Hispanic Heritage Award, a medal, $200, and some publications. Her sponsor is Frances Guerrero. View the complete list of BISD students that were recognized at the Texas History Day Awards ceremony.

Posted May 6, 2015
Honoring Our School Nurses
National School Nurse Day is Wednesday, May 6. Brownsville ISD salutes it school nurses on School Nurse Day and every day for all they do to support our students. All BISD campuses have one or more licensed nurses who monitor and care for the health and well-being of district students. View the 2015 Nurse Day proclamation signed by Texas Governor Greg Abbott.

Posted May 4, 2015
Student Summer Activities
The BISD Athletic Department has released the 2015 summer recreation schedule. For more information, call Mark Guess, BISD Athletic Program Administrator, at 548-8261.

5 BISD Students Named Gates Scholars
The Gates Millennium Scholars (GMS) Program has announced the Class of 2015 high school recipients and 5 BISD students are on the list. Congratulations to Kevin Berlanga, Porter ECHS; Keila Garcia and Rebeca Gonzalez Farias, Brownsville ECHS; Tanya Llanas, Pace ECHS; and Karina Mireles, Rivera ECHS. Each of the BISD students will be awarded a scholarship that can be used to pursue a degree in any undergraduate major and selected graduate programs at accredited colleges or universities. Established in 1969, the GMS programs is funded by a $1.6 billion grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. View the media release.

6 Teachers Earn Rotary Endowment
The Brownsville Rotary Club has released the names of 6 BISD teachers who have been selected for the annual Rotary Endowment for Teaching Excellence. Congratulations to Shirley Munoz, Brownsville ECHS; Ronda Lewis, Oliveira MS; Mary E. Ayala, Ortiz ES; Louis Leal, Keller ES; Juanita Casanova, Pullam ES; and Alejandro Rivera, Hudson ES. All 2015 Rotary winners are BISD teachers. For over 20 years, the Brownsville Rotary Club has sponsored a teaching excellence endowment to recognize and reward local teachers. The 2015 BISD endowment recipients will receive recognition and a check at the Rotary luncheon on Wednesday, May 6.

Posted May 1, 2015
9 Named Title I Reward Schools
Nine BISD campuses have been identified by the Texas Education Agency as high-performing and/or high-progress Title I schools for 2014-2015. Congratulations to Benavides, Breeden, Castañeda, Champion, Gonzalez, Ortiz, Peña, and Yturria Elementary Schools for earning both distinctions and Canales Elementary for earning a high-progress distinction. A high-performing reward school is identified as a Title I school with distinctions based on reading and math performance. A high-progress reward school is identified as a Title I school in the top 25% in annual improvement and/or a school in the top 25% of those demonstrating ability to close performance gaps (based on state accountability system safeguards in the 2013-2014 school year). For 2014-2015, TEA has identified a total of 192 Texas campuses as high-performing and 218 Texas campuses as high-progress. View the media release and list of BISD schools.

Helping People Communicate
May is Better Speech and Hearing Month. Brownsville ISD recognizes the hard work and commitment of the Special Services employees who work at the Regional School for the Deaf as well as those who work with students at our campuses. Thank you for your service and dedication.

Oliveira Band Students Receive Special Scholarships!
The Lagunitas Music Foundation has awarded $10,000 in summer music scholarship funds to the Oliveira Middle School Band Program in memory of William Carroll. This scholarship will be used to send Oliveira Dolphin band members to summer music camps at various universities throughout Texas. Three band programs in the United States have been selected for this award. Wheeling High School, Wheeling IL (Brain Logan, Director); St. Charles East High School, St. Charles, IL (Jim Kull, Director); and Oliveira Middle School, Brownsville, TX (Mike Kuntz, Director). These schools were selected because Bill Carroll taught all three of these band directors when they were Bill’s students at Buffalo Grove High School. View William Carroll’s biography.

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