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WIN Academy educators celebrated for hard work, dedication in challenging year

WIN Academy educators at celebration

The Socorro Independent School District celebrated its WIN Academy teachers May 26 with a drive-through parade for their work in the innovative program designed to give students a fast-track, flexible educational setting to ensure they have opportunities and extra resources to achieve academic success.

“Today we are here celebrating the awesome work of our WIN teachers who work so hard,” said Lucia Borrego, SISD Chief Academic Officer. “They work with our most vulnerable populations, and they do a great job of pouring their heart and soul into helping our students be successful.”

Many of the WIN Academy teachers drove up to the event in their vehicles decorated with school colors and were greeted by department leaders and board members.

Each teacher was given a new backpack for the upcoming school year and a box with tasty treats as a thank you for their hard work and dedication over the last year.

“We are here to honor our teachers and principals for the work they’ve done in the WIN Academy. Because of the pandemic we had to get creative to find a way to recognize these individuals for all the hard work they did,” said David Morales, president of the SISD Board of Trustees. “Anything we can do to celebrate the accomplishments of our employees is a great thing.”

Blanca Ureno, a WIN Academy teacher at Escontrias Elementary School, said students come into the program with low self-esteem but once they are part of the program they begin to grow, communicate and gain the confidence to believe in themselves.

“We are so happy that we just got to finish the year off with our kids. We are so proud of them because they never gave up and they put in the work,” Ureno said.

She said she is thankful for the continued support from the district for the WIN Academy.

“We really enjoyed that they gave us this opportunity to come together and celebrate because it's been a rough year,” Ureno said. “We are celebrating that we finished off strong, that we are relentless, and we are resilient.”

Elizabeth Mendoza, a WIN Academy teacher at Lujan-Chavez Elementary School, went into the program to work with the students that need extra instruction and support to succeed. She said WIN Academy teachers need to have heart, patience and be willing to dedicate the time necessary in order to enjoy the experience.

“It takes a lot emotionally, physically and timewise, but those of us that do it, we do because we are passionate about helping our kids,” Mendoza said.

She said being a part of a program that helps struggling students succeed is an achievement in itself but she was honored to be recognized for her hard work and dedication at the event.

“It’s special that they did this for us because it lets us know that we are not forgotten,” Mendoza said. “That the hard work and the changes we had to go through with our kids was all worth it and that’s a nice feeling.”

The WIN Academy is a student-centered program created to help ensure all Team SISD children have the opportunities to succeed. WIN is an acrostic that outlines the keys to winning in life, which are hard work, having an “I can do it attitude,” and never giving up.

In the WIN Academy, students who have not been successful in a “traditional” school setting are able to gain two or more years’ worth of knowledge in a fast track, demanding, flexible education system. The academy serves students in second through ninth grade at 18 select campuses in the district.

Published June 25, 2021

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