Harlingen CISD kicked off Texas Public Schools Week in the cafeteria at Rodriguez Elementary on February 28.
“Why do we celebrate this week? Well, just like every other big celebration, we need to celebrate all the great work that happens in Texas public school,” Superintendent Dr. Alicia Noyola said. “Public schools are free for every student. They are schools where we accept every single student that comes into our school district because we want to be committed to providing the very best education for all our students. Every student, no matter what their family background, whatever their needs may be, has a chance to develop new knowledge and skills that will prepare them for success, not just here, but for college and beyond.”
Rodriguez Elementary Principal Adriana Arellano began by welcoming the audience to the live and virtual event.
“This year’s theme is a Universe of Possibilities, and also a celebration of the hard work and dedication of educators across Texas, especially here in Harlingen CISD,” Arellano said. “HCISD has always been an innovative district dedicated to creating new learning opportunities for our students. At Rodriguez Elementary STEM Academy, we are committed to doing the same.”
Rodriguez Elementary fifth grade teacher and STEM innovator, Dulce Castano-Garcia spoke about the campus experience as the campus has transformed into a STEM academy.
“When we began our STEM journey, we were challenged to shift our mindsets, our planning, and our teaching,” Castano-Garcia said. “In doing so, we have been able to instill in our students that there is value in the process, not just the product. STEM education has enhanced our teaching and provided opportunities for our students to chase and be committed to solving problems. Together we have changed and grown into true engineers.”
Fifth-grader Jett Martinez shared his STEM education experience.
“I am happy to say that STEM has changed the way I look at learning,” Martinez said. “It has opened a new way of thinking and has created many possibilities for a student like me. Space travel is the way of the future, so our group worked on a brochure enticing people to travel and inhabit Mars. Our research helped us to create a colorful pamphlet that lets us show how we as a human race can live and thrive on the red planet.”
Fifth-grader Madelyn Alvarado shared more about the STEM projects.
“Our project challenged us to think about ideas that are out of this world,” Alvarado said. “The focus on STEM at such a young age sparks a new interest. It allows young girls like me to develop skills like collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking.”
Board President Gerry Fleuriet shared her love for public schools with the students, staff, and parents in the audience.
“I love Texas Public Schools Week because it gives us such a great opportunity to honor our students, teachers, and staff, not just at Rodriguez but throughout the state,” Fleuriet said. “We are so blessed and so proud to live in a town, and a state, and a country which individually and together invests in public schools. Not all countries are like this, students, and so it really does take all of us working together to provide the kind of quality education that you have here at Rodriguez, and that we have all throughout Harlingen school district.”
Dr. Noyola concluded the event with some motivating words.
“You know once a person receives an education, no one can ever take that away from them,” Dr. Noyola said. “All schools across this district are designed to provide our students a universe of possibilities and those possibilities are coming to life every single day.”
After the event, Rodriguez Elementary students had an opportunity to showcase their STEM projects.