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SISD welcomes students back to school for in-person instruction

 Socorro ISD families and students at first day of school 

Socorro Independent School District teachers and staff eagerly welcomed all students back to its 49 campuses for the first day of school on Aug. 2.

SISD leaders, principals, teachers, and support staff had been preparing for months for the anticipated return to in-person instruction for the 2021-22 school year.

Schools were bustling as students, parents, teachers, and staff arrived on Monday morning and the excitement of the new school year was apparent across the district.

Interim Superintendent Marta Carmona, M. Ed., visited schools, greeting students and families with words of encouragement as they eagerly checked in with teachers and entered their classrooms.

“Looking forward to seeing everyone back in our schools,” Carmona said in a welcome back message on Twitter. “Remember to lead with your heart and safely enjoy being together again. We are in this together, SISD family.”

The SISD Board of Trustees approved a back-to-school plan in June, which was carefully deliberated and shared with parents and community members. The district continues collaborating with the local health authority and following guidance from the Texas Education Agency and local, state, and federal health and government officials to ensure a safe and smooth transition back on campuses.

Administrators and staff were eager to greet students and their families in a happy, early morning reunion on the first day of school.

“The first day of school was fantastic,” said Venessa Betancourt, principal at El Dorado High School. “You could feel the amount of energy on our campus from our students to our teachers and office staff, it really takes an empire to make this day and school year a success.”

Educators were excited to be back, especially to welcome new students and their families into the district.

“We were so happy to see all of our scholars and their families to welcome them into this new school year,” said Monica Hernando, an assistant principal at Cactus Trails Elementary. “It was so good to see their faces and welcome our new Diamondbacks as well.”

Meanwhile, teachers were excited for the opportunity to finally see their students face to face instead of on a screen.

“I’m excited seeing the students all over again and just being able to have kids on campus because it’s a super different dynamic,” said Cynthia Hernandez, an 11th and 12th grade teacher at Montwood High School. “It’s been a year and a half since we last saw them, so we look forward to just being able to spend more time with them, collaborating, and catching them up to get them ready for life after high school.”

Javier Esparza, a graphic design teacher at Socorro High School, enjoyed the positive energy of the day.

“I’m eager to start the new year because after this previous challenging school year we are so excited to have the students back on campus, in-person,” he said. “You can tell they’re excited too, so I can’t wait to get in the classroom and start building those relationships.”

Many parents were enthusiastic and expressed gratitude to educators for their hard work in making the first day back to school fun and safe for their children.

Lily Castaneda, a parent of an Eastlake High School sophomore and a senior, is looking forward to a promising new school year.

“I’m very excited to have my kids back at school,” Castaneda said. “It’s great to have them back, participating in their sports and extracurricular activities, which helps lift their spirits.” 

SISD also welcomed many new families to the district this school year, such as Shoshawnna Downen’s family who just moved back to El Paso. She said it was tough to send her young children, who are growing up and heading to school, but happy that they would be learning and engaging with classmates.

“I’m a little sad, but I’m really excited as well because I know they miss the interaction with other children,” said Downen, the parent of a kindergartener and a first grader at John Drugan School. “They are so excited to make new friends and eager to learn.”

Despite the hardships of the last year students were ready to get back in the classroom and happy to meet face to face.

“It was honestly pretty exciting to come back, especially seeing the new school here,” said Alejandra Medina, a senior at Socorro High School. “It was a very hard year for me personally, but being here, being home again, brings me comfort.”

Students were enthusiastic to be back on campus meeting their teachers, having fun learning, and seeing their friends or making new ones.

“It feels exciting to be back at school because you get to see all your friends after we haven't seen each other in a long time,” said Roslyn Frias, a fifth-grade student at Sgt. Jose F. Carrasco Elementary School.

Purple Heart Elementary School fourth grader Bella Quintero-Suarez was ecstatic to be in school again.

“I’m loving the first day of school,” Quintero-Suarez said. “It’s been a while since I have seen my friends’ faces.”

Published August 3, 2021

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