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Students seen working virtually
Jaclyn Buelow

Update: STISD will open seats in the 7th and 8th grades for the STISD Virtual Academy for 2021-2022, so the campus will serve grades 6-9 during the initial year. Enrollment is open within the STISD SchoolMint application here.

South Texas Independent School District (STISD) is excited to announce the launch of its seventh campus, a stand-alone virtual school opening in the fall of 2021, following approval from the STISD board of directors during the June 28 board meeting.

Like the six existing STISD schools, South Texas ISD Virtual Academy will serve students from Cameron, Hidalgo and Willacy Counties. It will eventually serve students in grades 6-12; however, it will open in the fall with only grades 6 and 9 and will phase in additional grades as these cohorts progress through the school years and new ones enroll. This will be the district’s first time serving 6th-graders, as historically, the district has served grades 7-12. 

STISD was one of only 50 districts in the state approved for TEA’s Virtual and Hybrid School Accelerator (VHSA) Program earlier this spring, through which STISD would have received customized technical assistance to design, implement, and continuously improve its virtual school model. The legislature ended without passing the bill tied to continued funding for virtual learning in the upcoming school year, whereby ending the program. However, the district remained committed to moving forward with the school and made alternate plans to design and launch a successful program. 

Enrollment for the STISD Virtual Academy will open at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, July 1, through the district’s SchoolMint enrollment system (https://stisd.schoolmint.net/welcome). As is the process for all other campuses, STISD will enroll students on a first-come, first-served basis.

The district’s other six campuses will return to 100 percent in-person learning for the upcoming school year, which will enable students a richer opportunity to experience hands-on learning and the training in different vocational programs for which the district is known. The district continues its planning and preparations for the fall to provide the safest environment for the district community. 

In the initial years, the Virtual Academy will offer students the opportunity to take their core courses and several electives, with the opportunity to participate in Dual Credit courses in the future. Instruction and programs will be designed specifically for a virtual setting, with teachers bringing with them to the school expertise in this area. Teachers will teach from a centralized location, while students will participate in their courses 100 percent virtually from home.

Marco Antonio Lara, Jr., Ed.D., STISD superintendent of schools, expressed the district’s enthusiasm about the initiative and dedication to rolling it out the right way, “We are starting this initiative small and phasing it in to allow for us to deliver the best product we can to our community. Virtual learning is not for all students, and we look forward to getting back to on-campus learning at our other schools this year. However, we know some students thrive through a virtual method of instruction, and we believe it is important to continue to offer this option in future years, but to do so with programs molded specifically for a virtual platform.”  

Learn more about campus

Teacher going over assignment with students
Jaclyn Buelow

South Texas Independent School District (STISD) is excited to announce its acceptance by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) as one of up to 30 school districts in the state to participate in the agency’s first cycle of the High-Impact Tutoring (HIT) Implementation Workshop Series for the 2021-2022 school year.

The HIT Implementation Workshop Series is a training program designed for local education agencies (LEAs) interested in implementing a high-impact tutoring program. According to TEA, with early data indicating that school closures and disruptions in the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 school years are likely to result in unfinished learning for many students statewide, multi-year recovery and acceleration supports have become even more crucial. Many LEAs are considering high-impact tutoring, as there is strong evidence that it is one of the most effective ways to increase learning gains for students.

High-impact tutoring responds to individual needs and complements students’ existing curriculum, leading to substantial learning gains for students by supplementing their classroom experiences. Characteristics of these types of programs include: 

  • Well-trained, consistent tutors who build strong relationships with students
  • High-quality instructional material aligned to standards and core classwork
  • One-to-one or small groups for individualized support
  • Embedded in the school day or immediately before or after to maximize student access
  • Data-driven, utilizing aligned formative assessments, with tutors building sessions around student strengths and needs

TEA structured this month-long, intensive series of eight workshops to provide step-by-step technical assistance on the key decisions LEAs need to make to establish high-impact tutoring programs quickly (e.g., program design, program implementation, and tutor selection). The training, which will be led by an experienced provider specializing in high-impact tutoring, will involve a mixture of synchronous and asynchronous support, alongside networking opportunities with other members of the cohort for learning and sharing of best practices.

Upon receiving notice of acceptance, STISD committed to participating in Cohort 1 of the program, which is scheduled to run June 21-July 16. The STISD Curriculum & Instruction department will participate in the workshop, as the district works with current staff to build upon and improve existing tutoring programs and increase effectiveness to better serve students district wide. 

“We appreciate this opportunity for guidance and ideas for strengthening our tutoring programs for the benefit of our students,” said Nereyda Treviño, chief academic officer at STISD. “As a district, we have made proactive efforts to curb learning loss and to address needs for remediation along the way; however, we look forward to continual improvement in this area to help all students recover and reach the highest level of academic success possible.”

Teachers work on curriculum writing
Jaclyn Buelow

Using a wide variety of strategies and techniques, STISD educators together dive into the curriculum process, creating content that is both creative and impactful for student learning.
 

Learn more in video feature below. 

 

 

  • InsideSTISD
Board recognizes students eligible to receive IB diploma
Jaclyn Buelow

Students were recognized by the STISD Board of Directors and administrators at a pinning ceremony for their hard work and perseverance. 

World Scholars is an International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme campus, with over 50 courses to choose from. Students are not only eligible to graduate with an international diploma, but also eligible for free college/university credit opportunities + an associates degree

  • InsideSTISD
  • World Scholars
Cafeteria staff seen assisting with curbside delivery
Jaclyn Buelow

South Texas Independent School District (STISD) will continue serving free breakfast and lunch meals curbside to all STISD students and children 18 years old and younger from our local communities throughout the month of June.

Both meals will be served together via grab-and-go meal pick-up Monday through Thursday from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at four different STISD campus pick-up locations. The Thursday pick-up will include meals for both Thursday and Friday.

These meals will be provided at no cost to the family, and children do not have to be enrolled within STISD to receive meals.

Curbside meal distribution locations through June 30 include:

  • Edinburg: Gateway to the World Library parking lot- located between South Texas ISD Preparatory Academy and South Texas ISD World Scholars (510 S. Sugar Rd., Edinburg)
     
  • Mercedes: South Texas ISD Health Professions (100 Med High Drive, Mercedes) - loop between Health Professions and Science Academy
     
  • Olmito: South Texas ISD Medical Professions (10650 N Expressway 77/83, Olmito) - south side parking lot of the campus, first entrance off of the frontage road
     
  • San Benito: South Texas ISD Rising Scholars Academy (151 S. Helen Moore Rd., San Benito)- Enter the parking lot off of Paso Real, in front of cafeteria, and follow the orange cones leading to the back of the cafeteria to pick-up meals. 

For additional information, contact Oliver Galvan, Child Nutrition Director, at oliver.galvan@stisd.net or 956.514.4236.