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Local charter school nominated for National Blue Ribbon award

A top recognition has Vista del Futuro Charter School’s students and staff beaming with pride.

The charter school received a Blue Ribbon nomination, the highest honor a school can receive in the United States and the first charter school in El Paso.

“Everyone was cheering, they were crying, it was just an emotional time because we’ve worked so hard,” said principal Yvonne Whitman.

Vista del Futuro is located at 1671 Bob Hope Drive in east El Paso.

Vista del Futuro will find out later this year if it is chosen as a Blue Ribbon school. If so, the school will receive its honor in Washington D.C. from the U.S. Department of Education.

It is the school’s rise to success that garnered attention from the Texas Education Agency.

“Our school, at the beginning, was academically unacceptable. Within a seven-year period we’ve gotten all the way to being nominated as a Blue Ribbon school,” said Whitman.

Whitman said the school allows students to learn at their own pace and level, she believes that has attributed to student success.

“Instruction is the same, but the work that the child is given is at their level.”

The school also focuses on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

Whitman said every single fifth grader passed the math and reading portions of the state-mandated STAAR test.

Vista del Futuro is one of seven schools in Texas and the only one in El Paso chosen to be part of a TEA best practices case study.

The TEA website said it picked schools based on performance: “All have proven successful in classroom efforts on campuses with a high percentage of students from economically disadvantaged families and high mobility rates.”

The case study project will be carried out by TEA representatives and will meet with school administration, teachers and staff.

Whitman said TEA will visit the campus February 23-24.

Representatives will interview, observe and record the staff’s teaching techniques and practices to create a case study with an analysis of the information gathered.

The case studies on all seven schools chosen will be available for all schools in Texas.

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