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November 6, 2017

Volume I, Issue 4

"Never measure the height of a mountain until you have reached the top. Then you will see how low it was.” Dag Hammarskjold

Good afternoon LISD,

The great expectations established in our classrooms are resulting in remarkable achievements by our students. They are learning to succeed by focusing on their goals instead of the obstacles. Laredo ISD’s 135-year legacy of excellence continues in our academic, athletic, and fine arts programs. The amazing efforts and dedication of our students, staff, and parents underscore the steadfast teamwork that has enabled our District to continuously reach new heights. Simply stated, at the forefront of these efforts is the leadership of our teachers and campus administrators who daily dedicate themselves to the success of our students.

We are so proud of Nixon High School’s Alexa Rodriguez and Martin High School’s Samantha Gonzalez who will travel to Round Rock this weekend to compete in the State Cross Country Meet. Alexa won the Gold Medal at the Girls 5A Regional contest becoming the first Lady Mustang to win the individual regional title in cross country. Samantha earned the Silver Medal at the regional contest. These multi-talented young women exemplify a strong sense of commitment and the tenacity to achieve their goals, overcoming any hindrances along the way. Best wishes to these outstanding LISD athletes!

To add to our list of champions, Nixon’s Volleyball Team is on its way to area playoffs tonight in Freer. Nixon won the Bi-District title when they defeated Donna North. Now they have set their sights on Tuloso-Midway, for what promises to be an exciting match. Kudos to the mighty Lady Mustangs and their coaches!

And the honors continue as two Cigarroa High School players were named KGNS-Academy Sports Players of the Week. Danny Diaz and Albert Lucio were lauded by KGNS Sports Anchor Ryan Bailey for their efforts in leading the Toros to a 17-12 victory over Valley View.

Athletics is not the only category in which LISD has recently excelled. I am elated to report that 24 students from Cigarroa Middle School and 13 from Lamar Middle School were named to the All-Region Orchestra. At the high school level, we also have good news. Out of the 13 high schools participating in the competition, Cigarroa High School placed the most students in the TMEA Region XIV All-Region Orchestra with a record number of 29 students. Nixon High School placed four students in the All Region Orchestra. These 33 students will be participating in a clinic and concert this coming week at the UISD SAC.

While the former contest featured solo performances, teamwork certainly made its mark when Martin, Nixon, and Cigarroa High School Marching Bands advanced to area competition in Pharr, Texas. Each of our marching bands performed a unique outstanding show and represented our District admirably. Rising to the top, Nixon’s band earned 10th place out of 25 bands, making them one of the finest bands in our region, and the best band in Laredo ISD.

LISD was pleased to host the Special Student Honor Award ceremony recently at the Ballroom of the Jesus Martinez Performing Arts Complex. LISD and United ISD share this occasion to recognize the accomplishments of our special needs students. Parents and teachers spoke with pride as they introduced the honorees Francisco Garza, Jr., Alex Rodriguez, and Jazmin Herrera of Cigarroa High School, Jose Manuel Salazar, Eduardo Medina, and Kevin Alvarez of Martin High School, Malcolm Brandon Martinez, Ryan Brandon Garcia, and Pedro Lopez of Nixon High School. I thank our Special Education Director Raul Gomez and our special education teachers for organizing such a fine event.

We are also very proud of the students who were named October Youth of the Month by the U.S. Border Patrol during a ceremony recently held at Alexander High School. Maria Rivera of Martin High School, Katherine L. Serna of Nixon High School, Leonardo D. Escamilla-Cavazos of Cigarroa High School, and Gabriela Martinez of Garcia Early College were lauded for their leadership skills, academics, and extracurricular activities. I would like to thank all of the students’ families, their school counselors, campus administrators and sponsors for developing our future leaders and global citizens.

LISD achievement has no boundaries. Several hundred scholastic chess players, enrolled in kinder through 12th grade, participated in two LISD Advanced Academic Program Chess Club chess tournaments recently in the Ballroom at the Martinez Performing Arts Complex. The tournaments included rated division and beginners non-rated division, each with primary, elementary fourth, elementary fifth, middle, and high school sections. Trophies were awarded to the top winners in each division. The ballroom was filled to capacity with the young chess players who were playing smart and improving their critical thinking, focus, and memory. The next Chess Tournament is scheduled for January 13, 2018.

LISD’s instructional practices are getting noticed by school districts all over the state.  We had visitors from La Joya ISD who wanted to learn more about reading and writing practices at Laredo ISD. Eleven principals and several central office staff from La Joya visited Dovalina and Macdonell Elementary Schools to observe teaching strategies in Early Literacy and Head Start classrooms. We also welcomed visitors from Donna ISD. Veterans Middle School staff visited Memorial Middle School to review instructional strategies and to evaluate classroom structure as well as delivery of instruction. Harris County Department of Education ISD sent their top administrators to Laredo to tour Jose A. Valdez High School. HCDE is considering opening a non-traditional school in the Houston area. The visits re-affirm the hard work that we have put into our programs and encourages our teachers to continue all of their efforts.

It is always a pleasure to share the many good things that are taking place at LISD. I was recently given that opportunity when addressing members of the Rotary Club of Laredo and the Kiwanis Club. I was given a red-carpet welcome and shared many of LISD’s initiatives and unlimited student opportunities. Many of the members are products of LISD schools and were especially interested in hearing about our fine arts, dual enrollment, and early college programs.

We have been celebrating the official openings of new facilities throughout the district. Thanks to the vision of our Board of Trustees and the vote of confidence from our taxpayers, we have constructed new Early Childhood Centers at Santo Nino, Kawas, and Sanchez/Ochoa Elementary Schools. Our little ones deserve the very best in early childhood education. Spacious classrooms, cafeterias, and restrooms are perfectly sized for our youngest pupils. The enthusiasm from the staff matched the wonderful entertainment that celebrated the dedications of these facilities. Cigarroa High School’s Mariachi and elementary school choirs added the perfect touch to these events.

Also completed is the new Martin High School Tennis Courts Complex which was named in honor of local tennis enthusiasts, Dr. Alfredo and Tina Trevino. The MHS Championship Court was named for retired tennis coach, Fausto Dovalina, Jr. The tennis facility offers 80,749 sq. ft. for the Tigers Tennis Team. The Martin High School Band and Mariachi added to the festivities, while Board President Hector Garcia greeted those in attendance. Congratulations to the Trevino and Dovalina families for this well-deserved honor!

This week we announced details for the upcoming LISD Citywide Christmas Parade scheduled for Friday, December 1, at 5:30 p.m. Returning as sponsor for the second year in a row is BBVA Compass. BBVA City President Susana Valencia spoke of the special long-time partnership between LISD and BBVA, which is celebrating their 125th anniversary of providing regional support, financial advice, and excellent customer experiences in Laredo. “Our mission is to create opportunities for our communities and children, and give them experiences like the Christmas Parade,” she said. “The memories they capture during this iconic and annual city event are ones that will last a lifetime.”

Evelyn Sames, Chief Operating Officer for Sames Auto Group, will lead the event as Parade Marshal. Sames oversees dealer operations in Laredo, Austin, Bastrop, Corpus and Kingsville. She volunteers numerous hours as a member of the Bethany House Board and organized the annual “Mission: Give Laredo” on behalf of Sames Auto Group. LISD Board President Garcia noted that she provides a brand new car as a perfect attendance incentive for high school students through their “Drives Sames 4 Education” program. Sames said she looks forward to riding down the streets of Laredo as Parade Marshal.

We have exciting days up ahead, and our Thanksgiving Break is not too far away. In the meantime, I ask that you keep focused on our children’s needs. We have accomplished so much together, but we still have many students who need our attention.

Get ready to “fall back” one hour this Sunday as Daylight Saving Time ends. You’ll need to set your clocks back one hour before you go to bed Saturday night. The tradition of “falling back” means you will gain an extra hour of sleep this weekend. However, the time change signals the beginning of dark afternoons. Regardless of the time change, LISD only sees beautiful days ahead for all of our students, staff, and our schools! I truly believe that all of us are ready to work together to achieve the success that all deserve.

Best always,
Dr. Sylvia G. Rios
Laredo ISD Superintendent of Schools

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” – Anne Frank

"Qué maravilloso es que nadie necesita que esperar un solo momento antes de empezar a mejorar el mundo."-Anne Frank



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