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Ysleta ISD resumes classes Monday morning

The Ysleta Independent School District, one of the largest in El Paso County, begins classes Monday morning. YISD will welcome about 42,000 students to its 63 campuses throughout the city’s eastside, northeast and the lower valley. This year, YISD is launching its second and third early college high school campuses. Ysleta and Parkland high schools will be home to the new campuses. Ysleta High School Early College Academy and Parkland Early College High School will each welcome about a hundred students from different areas of the city. YISD is an open enrollment district. Like other early college high school campuses in the city, YISD teamed up with El Paso Community College to help students earn an associate’s degree while attending high school. The first YISD early college high school campus was established in 2007 at El Paso Community College’s Valle Verde campus. YISD officials have said that early college high schools help students’ families save tuition money because there is no cost to them if their child wants to attend. YISD Superintendent Dr. Xavier De La Torre said students have more academic options. “What makes them unique is that students can continue to participate in athletics, visual and performing arts and extracurricular activities,” De La Torre said. ABC-7 talked to De La Torre about what YISD has in store for the new school year. “Academic achievement is up, we’ve outperformed the state in reading and mathematics and have seen improvements in all grade levels,” he said. De La Torre said YISD wants to “keep the momentum going.” Last spring, YISD earned the most state distinctions among all El Paso school districts based on academic performance. According to the Texas Education Agency, six campuses won every distinction available to the school type. YISD high schools earned a combined 42 distinction designations. Ysleta High School was one of only two high schools in the El Paso region to earn every designation available to the school. “The bigger initiative this year has to do with service excellence, and that is re-engaging with our parents and our community,” De La Torre said. The ‘We Deliver Excellence’ initiative was introduced at YISD’s annual convocation that gathered all the district’s employees ahead of the new school year. YISD is working to improve its customer service. “It’s a lost art,” De La Torre said. De La Torre expects employees to exceed expectations when parents visit their child’s campus. “Parents will see a notable difference,” De La Torre said. The district’s goals also include student safety and their well-being. De La Torre said the district wants to combat the epidemic of bullying and rise in teen suicide. “We want to be vigilant and aware of what students are doing, feeling and how they’re treating one another. Whether it’s on campuses, neighborhoods or online,” he said. Another goal for YISD included completing projects that were proposed after voters approved a $430.5 billion bond in 2015. District officials are working to complete some big promises. The bond is funding campus renovations, safety and technology upgrades, new athletics and fine arts facilities. “We’re going to adhere strictly to our promises surrounding the 2015 bond. We’ve got a number of new facilities opening this fall,” De La Torre said. The YISD website provides a web page where community members can stay informed about the progress of the bond projects. Bond project plans include the consolidation of some campuses that are under-utilized because of declining enrollment numbers. De La Torre said YISD will see a slight decline in this year in enrollment that could range from 100 to 200 students. “Financially, we’ve been able to remain not just solvent, but very strong by being thoughtful and deliberate about how we staff our schools,” De La Torre said. Numbers don’t matter, he said, telling ABC-7 that his priority his making sure YISD is the best district.

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