On April 7 and 8, Rodriguez and Travis Elementary principals held staff meetings to reveal that their campuses were designated as the next STEM academies.
Board members, the senior team, and Superintendent Dr. Alicia Noyola were present at these specially called meetings to take part in the celebration.
For the last two years, the Rodriguez and Travis campuses had been integrating a STEM curriculum into the classroom in partnership with Discovery Education.
“I want to thank you for all the work you have put in these last two years,” Dr. Noyola said. Moving forward, these campuses will become the model for every other elementary across our district. When someone wants to see what quality STEM instruction really looks like, they don’t have to go looking anywhere else. I challenge you to keep perfecting your practice, as you help us perfect the practice of every campus across our entire district because opportunities for our kids are going to be endless, especially with this new partner, Space X that has come into our area.”
Board President Eladio Jaimez took a moment to congratulate the staff.
“Each and every one of you plays an important and integral part in the success of this campus with this designation as a STEM school,” Jaimez said. “I saw something a little less than a year ago, as we went into this pandemic. It said that those organizations and institutions that will get past this, are the ones that pivot and adapt the best. I think that is what we do as a school district. Our leadership has been instrumental in us being able to continue on this path no matter what.”
During the celebrations, Board members Dr. Belinda Reininger and Dr. Bobby Muniz addressed the teachers.
Dr. Muniz compared teacher’s knowledge and experience to a corn seed. He shared a story about a farmer who consistently grew award-winning corn. When asked how he always managed to have the best corn, the farmer revealed that his secret was to share his corn seed with everybody.
“What is our corn? Our knowledge, the experience that you all have inside of you that we are sharing with our students,” Dr. Muniz said. “We want the best corn seed. That is why our school board supports you 110 percent. We want that seed to continue to grow. We want to continue to have the best HCISD. We want to continue to be a school of choice.”
Dr. Reininger shared her enthusiasm for this new opportunity.
“I, for one, fully believe in the capacity, the power, the knowledge, and the strength of what we have to offer in the Rio Grande Valley,” Reininger said. “Your work on STEM and your commitment to Discovery Education is building that passion for what is possible in our young people. You’re putting us on the map. You’re charting unknown territories; you are leading the way. I am so excited about these curricula and what you do with it. Thank you to your leaders for building the capacity to do this and thank you to all of you. I can’t wait to see what you do with it.”
Rodriguez Elementary Principal, Adriana Arellano addressed the audience at her staff meeting on April 7.
“I am absolutely so proud,” Arellano said. “I truly want to say thank you to our district leaders because we can’t move forward if they are not creating these opportunities for us, especially for our students. Thank you for trusting me and really thank you because I know and I believe in my staff. They are going to push this school forward and be so successful as they already have. Nothing happens without the brains of the operation, our teachers and staff here.”
Travis Elementary Principal Mindy Sanchez spoke to her staff on April 8.
“I am extremely humbled to work with such a fine group of teachers,” Sanchez said. “In the short time that I have been here, you all have welcomed me wholeheartedly. We have a big job ahead of us, but I know that together we can do this. We talked about integral parts earlier, and I am glad to see my nurse is here, my computer tech is here, my support front liners are here, instructional coach, counselors, teachers, paraprofessionals and that is what it’s going to take folks. All of us together are going to create this culture of STEM. We have already started that, so we have nowhere to go but up, like Space X. I am excited for our kiddos.”
Superintendent Emeritus, Dr. Art Cavazos and Assistant Superintendent for Elementary Education, Lori Romero also spoke at both events. They reflected back on past successes, and congratulated and encouraged the staff at Rodriguez Elementary and Travis Elementary for this STEM designation.
These campuses will become STEM academies beginning Fall 2021.