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LJISD Middle School Highlights


Posted Date: 09/21/2020

LJISD Middle School Highlights

 

As the school year begins, we want to thank you for the opportunity to provide your child with the best education possible. Our eight middle schools are ready to motivate and educate your child so his/her potential is maximized in the 2020-2021 school year. We have many innovative initiatives occurring at our schools that will help prepare your child for the future.

DESIGNATIONS:

Our goal is for all students to graduate from high school ready for college, careers, military and life, fully prepared to pursue the future they desire.  To fully prepare our students to meet the high expectations they will encounter in the real world of college and careers, our eight middle schools began a transformation with each now offering a designation that offers opportunities in Leadership, Fine Arts, Technology, STEM, Health Science, and Biliteracy / Bicultural Programs.

Leadership - La Joya ISD offers an instructional setting that allows students the opportunity to develop and practice quality leadership skills and a solution-centered approach to problems.  Designated Leadership Middle Schools include Lorenzo de Zavala Middle School, Ann W. Richards Middle School and Cesar E. Chavez Middle School.

Fine Arts - La Joya ISD offers an instructional setting for students who want to immerse themselves in fine arts based curriculum. La Joya ISD offers a targeted fine arts curriculum beginning at the elementary level continuing to middle school and high school.  The designated Fine Arts Middle School is Cesar E. Chavez Middle School.

Technology- La Joya ISD focuses on innovative ways to integrate technology into everyday lesson delivery to keep our digital native students engaged and to empower every student to gain the knowledge needed to be productive contributors and leaders in society.  The designated Technology Middle School is Juan De Dios Salinas Middle School.  

STEM- La Joya ISD inspires the next generation of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math leaders by developing a passion at a young age and maintaining interest throughout the secondary education years.  The designated STEM Middle Schools include Dr. Javier Saenz Middle School and Irene M. Garcia Middle School.

Health Science- La Joya ISD offers the first of its kind curriculum designated to prepare middle school students who wish to pursue healthcare-related careers upon graduation.  The designated middle school is Memorial Middle School.

Biliteracy / Bicultural  -  La Joya ISD is expanding opportunities for bilingual students to continue to advance their literacy skills and promote their biculturalism through Dual Language Enrichment Programs. The designated middle schools are Domingo Trevino Middle School and Memorial Middle School.

We offer parents the opportunity to enroll in a middle school that will put your child in the path for his/her future career with our open enrollment policy. Our school district has invested in the curriculum, staff development and all the resources students need to ensure his/her success in their designation of choice. 

Accountability- La Joya ISD continues fulfilling its Vision Statement of Educational Excellence: The Right of Every Student, as it has had each of its eight middle schools consistently meet the state standard under the Texas Education Agency. In addition, virtually all of the middle school campuses have earned distinctions based on their respective comparison groups and some have scored at the highest levels in each of the following: ELA/Reading, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, Comparative Academic Growth, Postsecondary Readiness, and Comparative Closing the Gaps. In addition, the majority of our middle schools have received either an A or B rating from the Texas Education Agency. 

HIGHLY QUALIFIED AND TRAINED TEACHERS AND STAFF: 

Our middle school teachers and staff have received extensive training to ensure they are well prepared to meet the needs of your child. Whether he/she needs additional support in reading and math or participates in our advanced courses, rest assured that your child’s teacher has been trained on how to scaffold and make instruction rigorous. Additionally, our staff has received training on safety measures to ensure your child will have a safe feeling while at school. We are committed to learning the best practices and participating in ongoing staff development so our instruction and guidelines always match the best research based recommendations. 

Technology

Teachers have received extensive training on technology integration including Google classroom, Apps such as SeeSaw, PearDeck, and Flipgrid and how to use technology to differentiate instruction for students of all levels. Our school district offered 352 training sessions in 5 months to teachers in the content areas, technology integration, differentiation of instruction, and college readiness. 

Curriculum-Differentiation

Our staff development for teachers is year-round and designed so that teachers receive extensive training on the things that make the greatest educational impact on our students. They receive training on how to differentiate instruction for struggling readers, rigorous instruction for students in advanced courses, integrating the college and career readiness standards, how to implement a rigorous curriculum with project-based learning instruction among many other topics.  Our teachers participate in professional learning communities within their campus and across the school district, always sharing best practices and methods to improve your child’s learning. 

Our curriculum and course offerings are tailored to your child’s level. A Pre-Ap curriculum offers additional enrichment opportunities, cross curricular assignments focusing on project based learning, and high levels of collaboration and teamwork. Our curriculum for our regular instruction uses the best research based practices to target listening, speaking, reading, and writing as well as creativity and group collaboration. Our elective course for struggling readers and mathematicians offers scaffolded support in a small group setting. Teachers receive extensive training to make sure your child achieves his/her highest potential and receives the best possible support needed. 

Student Safety

Our teachers and staff have participated in a range of staff development from active shooter, anti-bullying training, “stop the bleed” certification, Epi-Pen use. They were trained on basic first aid skills and how to support students during an emergency situation. Our district has put in place safety guidelines and systems to ensure your child’s safety such as the installation of state of the art radio communications systems for our police department/first responders in our area. 

A police officer and a security guard maintain the security of the school grounds while your child attends school.  We practice the “All Hazards Emergency Operations Plan” with students and staff so that your child knows what to do in case of an active shooter or fire on campus. Our commitment to you is to provide an environment where your child feels safe and protected while in our middle schools.

 

RIGOROUS CURRICULUM & DIFFERENTIATED INSTRUCTIONAL FOR ALL STUDENTS 

 As a parent, you can expect your child to speak of highly engaging activities that challenge their thinking and creativity, new fun and rigorous course offerings for the campus designation(s), academic opportunities to earn high school credit while in middle school, and extensive extra-curricular activities that build character and leadership skills.

All eight middle schools have received the prestigious SACS accreditation award.

This prestigious accreditation focuses on schools to serve as the premier model for shaping and ensuring the quality of higher education throughout the world.The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges is the regional body for the accreditation of degree-granting higher education institutions in the Southern states. To gain or maintain accreditation with the Commission on Colleges, an institution must comply with the standards contained in the Principles of Accreditation: Foundations for Quality Enhancementand with the policies and procedures of the Commission on Colleges. Under these requirements, LJISD middle schools applied and were awarded with SACS accreditation.

Texas Prefreshman Engineering Program is a 9 week summer program for students who qualify beginning in 6th grade.  TexPREP provides students the opportunity to develop a passion for engineering and a stronger foundation in science and mathematics by exposing them to current research and student lab facilities, preparing them through interactions with faculty and college students, and inspiring them with hands-on activities in a university environment.  Students are bussed to take classes at the University of Texas - Rio Grande Valley.

LJISD participates in UTRGV Railway Summer camps every year. The largest STEM camps are held at UTRGV and hosted by the UTCRS, along with its consortium institutions, Texas A&M University and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln since the summer of 2014. One of the main objectives of the camps is to enhance student education and training through engagement in a variety of center activities including STEM summer camps, research experiences for students and teachers, engineering workshops.  Creating pathways for students and to pursue their master’s and doctoral studies in the areas of transportation engineering and railway safety is one of the most important center missions of these camps.

All LJISD middle schools participate and compete in the Texas Science & Engineering Fair every year hosted by Texas A&M.  The Texas Science & Engineering Fair plays an important role in the lives and future careers of many students as they learn the critical thinking skills that are necessary to thrive in any field. The science fair is more than creating a science project; it is a complete educational process through which students learn:

●     To follow directions and complete the scientific process

●     To gain knowledge outside a classroom setting

●     To work with mentors and peers

●     To hone their presentation skills

●     About competing honestly and fairly

LJISD middle schools continue to have students participate, compete, and place in the Texas Science & Engineering Fair.

HS CREDIT & COLLEGE READINESS OPPORTUNITIES: 

At our middle school campuses, your child will be held to high academic standards with instruction focused on higher-order skills that your child will need to think critically, solve real-world problems, and be successful in today's technological world.  Additionally, a  middle school students’ experience offers courses that develop your child into a well-rounded individual who is skilled, capable, and knowledgeable in other areas than academics. 

All middle school campuses offer advanced math classes to students who qualify beginning in 6th grade, which prepares our students to take Algebra One in 8th grade and leaving middle school with high school credit. 

In addition to algebra one, all of our middle school students have the opportunity to take several different high school credit courses beginning in 7th grade.  High school credit courses that students can enroll in include Spanish I, Spanish II, Touch Data Systems, Principles of Information Technology, Business Information Management, Project Lead the Way, Team Sports, and Dance Technique. 

Our middle school students can begin high school with as many as 6 high school credits.  Furthermore, the Texas Success Initiative (TSI) readiness standards are embedded in the English and Math curriculum in order to prepare our 8th-grade students to take and successfully pass their TSI exam in 8th grade.  Thus, students are able to take advantage of the partnership between La Joya ISD and South Texas College (STC). Once students are TSI complete, they can begin taking two STC classes beginning the spring semester of their 9th-grade year. Many students go on to graduate high school and earn an associate’s degree by taking dual enrollment classes simultaneously. Through our partnership with STC, all college courses, textbooks, and admissions fees are completely free to all students in La Joya ISD.  This can help our families save thousands of dollars that they would otherwise have to pay to take these college classes.  Our middle school teachers are well versed in these opportunities and work diligently to ensure that students are ready to take and pass their TSI exam in 8th grade. 

COMMUNITY EVENTS/SUPPORT:

Our middle schools provide rich opportunities for our community to engage in fun learning activities such as our Tertulia Reading events in which students participate in reading activities and get free books. NASA night provides hands-on science based enrichment activities and experiments to encourage students to learn more about the work and careers in the field of science. Our schools offer events such as GT night, College Bound-Incoming 6th graders night, and student transition visits to highlight the talents of our students and welcome them to our middle schools. As partners in your child’s education, we provide a back to school bash in which supplies are distributed. We begin our school year with Meet the Teacher Night so our teachers and students can forge a positive relationship at the onset of the school year. 

Campuses offer multiple opportunities to showcase your child’s talent. Campus based events bring us together and get us motivated to continue supporting you in your child’s educational journey.

 

ELECTIVE COURSE OFFERINGS:

Our elective course offerings and after school programs will ensure your child is a person who is not only academically ready but also proficient in sports, music, dance, acting, Spanish, and building relationships with others. Our elective courses and campus designations will prepare your child to have a broad educational background as we nurture them in becoming strong community members, future leaders, and career-oriented individuals. We offer electives such as: Touch Data Systems, Principles of Information Technology, Business Information Management, Theatre Arts, Choir, PE, Athletics, Team Sports, Band, Orchestra/Mariachi, Dance, Investigating Careers, Project Lead the Way, and Spanish, to help shape their future.  

La Joya ISD also provides unique opportunities in elective course offerings based on middle school campus designations. For instance, our Biliterate and Bicultural schools offer Language and Cultures classes while our STEM schools and Model Technology campus offer Technology Applications classes.  

CAMPUS ORGANIZATIONS AND EXTRA-CURRICULAR OPPORTUNITIES: 

At our middle school campuses, your child will experience excellent academic opportunities through campus organizations and extracurricular opportunities.  These organizations and extracurricular opportunities will help your child succeed beyond the classroom and into today’s world. The following organizations and opportunities are available as follows:

Alliance for a Healthier Generation -   Every child deserves a healthy future. 

For more than a decade, Healthier Generation has worked with schools, youth-serving organizations, businesses, and communities to empower kids to develop lifelong healthy habits by ensuring the environments that surround them provide and promote good health. 

Athletic Program/after school programs - The UIL athletic program is based on the premise that athletes are students first and that athletic participation is a privilege rather than a right. Students learn teamwork and group responsibility. They also learn to deal with success and to overcome adversity. Research shows those who participate in extra-curricular activities tend to make better grades and have fewer discipline problems than those who do not participate.

Jr National Honor Society - The National Junior Honor Society (NJHS) elevates a school’s commitment to the values of scholarship, service, leadership, character, and citizenship. These five pillars have been associated with membership in the organization since its inception in 1929.  The five pillars include: Scholarship, Service, Leadership, Character, and Citizenship.

Duke University - The Duke University Talent Identification Program (Duke TIP) is a nonprofit organization that has served over three million academically talented students in grades 4–12 since it was founded in 1980. Collaborating with educators and parents, TIP helps gifted students assess the extent of their academic abilities with above-grade-level testing, recognizes them for their achievements, and provides them with a variety of enrichment benefits as well as accelerated face-to-face and online educational programs. In addition, TIP is constantly conducting research into the educational, emotional, and social factors impacting the lives of gifted children, and then sharing this research and related advice with our program staff, educators, parents, and the greater gifted community. 

ACE after school program - The Texas Afterschool Centers on Education (ACE) program is one of the largest statewide afterschool programs in the country, serving over 180,000 students at nearly 1,000 sites. The ACE program is administered by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and is funded through the 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative of the U.S. Department of Education. The overall goal of the ACE program is to have all students graduate from high school prepared for college and the workforce. To achieve this goal, ACE’s objectives are to improve academic performance, attendance, behavior, promotion rates, and graduation rates.

Student Council - A student council is a group of student leaders who work with an adult advisor to collaborate with others to impact their school community, which impacts their city or town, which impacts our state, which impacts our country, which changes the world.Through projects and activities, student councils work to: 

●      PROMOTE CITIZENSHIP

  • PROMOTE SCHOLARSHIP
  • PROMOTE LEADERSHIP
  • PROMOTE HUMAN RELATIONS

●      PROMOTE CULTURAL VALUES

Student Council is a group of elected and volunteer students working together with an adult advisor within the framework of a constitution or bylaws to provide a means for student expression and assistance in school affairs and activities, give opportunities for student experience in leadership and encourage student / faculty / community relations.

UIL - The UIL exists to provide educational extracurricular academic, athletic, and music contests. The initials UIL have come to represent quality educational competition administered by school people on an equitable basis.  Participation teaches that it is a privilege and an honor to represent one's school. Students learn to win and to lose; to take as well as to give. Self-motivation and intellectual curiosity are essential to the best academic participants. Physical training and good health habits are essential to the best athletes.

Clubs - In addition to the main extra curricular activities, each campus has established clubs to foster the individual passion of students.  Book clubswelcome all students to take part in book studies.  Students compete in the district and regional Battle of the Books.  Technology clubsbring students together to create short films, trailers, coding, and 3D printing activities.  LJISD students compete and represent our district well at the district and state level. Fellow Christian Athletesis a sports ministry that encourages students to grow stronger in their personal and spiritual lives.  Several other clubs are ready to welcome your child and make them a part of their team. 

 

SAFE CAMPUSES: 

At La Joya ISD, your child’s safety is our number one priority. We have procedures in place to ensure that your child has a safe learning environment. From positive interventions for behavior, an anti-bullying program, and a strong police force that works diligently to ensure your child is safe and protected at all times, LJISD’s safety protocols are top-notch.

La Joya ISD offers its own Police Department to protect the safety and welfare of all students, district personnel, and the district’s property at all of the district’s facilities and properties within carefully prescribed policy, ethical, statutory, and constitutional restrictions. Each middle school campus is assigned a La Joya ISD Police Officer and a La Joya ISD Security Officer to ensure the safety and security of all of our students and staff members. 

La Joya ISD has implemented the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support (PBIS)  program to enhance the school climate and school safety as well as improve the conditions for learning to promote the well-being of all students in each middle school.

La Joya ISD has invested in the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program. It is a comprehensive approach that includes individual, classroom, campus, and community modules.  The program is focused on long-term change that creates a safe and positive school environment. The program’s goals are to reduce and prevent bullying problems among school children to improve peer relations at school. La Joya ISD is committed to the safety and wellbeing of all of our students. The Olweus Bullying Prevention Program has been key in raising awareness within our district. 

 

At La Joya ISD, we look forward to serving your child. We are ready to give him/her the best education possible. We will continue to work collaboratively with you as partners in your child’s education. Together or apart, we will shine bright!