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PSJA ISD Celebrates National Public Schools Week: Feb. 22-26, 2021

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Dear PSJA ISD Community and Family:  

As a nation and community, we celebrate National Public Schools Week, Feb. 22-26, 2021. On behalf of the Board of Trustees and as your Superintendent, I want to share the great work that our faculty and staff are doing in our schools. Our pride also extends to the contributions made daily by our custodians, security and police, health and nutritional service teams, transportation team, maintenance workers, and central office support.  

The Spirit of PSJA comes to life every day – even during a global pandemic and tough winter – as we carry the torch to impact our vision. We must ensure that every PSJA student is prepared to participate, compete, and excel in a global society to foster multi-generational prosperity. By doing so, we can achieve many goals together.  

During this academic year and in preparation for 2021-2022, you must know why we are proud of our roles and responsibilities as one of the leading public school districts in the region and country. With confidence, more parents and family members share the positive influence in the learning and success of their children and adolescents. The best interests of our students take priority. Across the District: 

  • Students and educators experience in-person and virtual learning options.  

Parents can choose in-person or virtual learning for their children. Students access flexible, personalized learning and enrichment opportunities, while teachers plan and deliver instruction with the benefits of professional development. Overall, we invested $9 million in digital devices for students and teachers, including mobile network access.  

  • Health and safety are above all else to maintain wellness.  

We allocated more safety measures, totaling $1.2 million. In collaboration with our Health, School Support, Operation, Human Resources, Information Technology, and Police departments, we established safety protocols for reducing the spread of COVID-19, including the following: 

  • Design and daily use of the COVID-19 Dashboard on active cases and for awareness and prevention. 
  • Access to RAPID COVID-19 Testing at all school locations for wellness. 
  • Use of contact tracing protocols and data measures with case summaries.
  • Additional 20 sick days for all employees seeking care and recovery time. 
  • Installation of iWave Air Purifiers to reduce a variety of pathogens at all campuses. 
  • Installation of plexiglass and modified water fountains and access to safety shields. 
  • Orders of refrigerator storage units with proper calibration to store vaccines for later usage.  

Recent awards and national honors recognize the growth and success in our school and civic communities.  

Our community of learners continue to thrive in academic and extracurricular programs. Our students, teachers, and staff demonstrate excellence—inside and outside the school classroom. In fact, we continue to earn top ratings at state and national levels. Some examples are noted here: 

  • The National Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Distinguished Schools Program selects two schools per state that demonstrate superior levels among federally funded schools. The two schools chosen are in PSJA ISD:  
  • Cesar Chavez Elementary, a Blue Ribbon School, was named a National ESEA Distinguished School for exhibiting exceptional student performance and academic growth.  
  • Graciela Garcia Elementary, an International Baccalaureate School,  was named National ESEA Distinguished School for closing the achievement gap and increasing academic opportunities for students.   
  • The Texas Education Agency nominated Zeferino Farias Elementary as a National Blue Ribbon School, which is a distinguished honor for exemplary teaching and learning. Six other PSJA Elementary Schools have received this distinction. 
  • An average of 3,500 students enroll in college-level course work each semester in our district. The students earn dual credits while in high school, and a significant number receive both their high school diploma and an Associate Degree from South Texas College upon graduation.  
  • Overall, our students, teachers, and staff earn accolades in academics, athletics, fine arts, and the University Interscholastic League (UIL) activities and contests.  

14 PSJA ISD schools have been named to the 2019-2020 Educational Results Partnership Honor Roll for their high achievement in student success. The program is presented by Educational Results Partnership (ERP), a nonprofit organization that applies data science to help improve student outcomes and career readiness. ERP maintains the nation’s largest database on student achievement and utilizes this data to identify higher-performing schools and districts. The following PSJA ISD schools were named:  

  • Aida C. Escobar Elementary,  
  • Alfred Sorensen Elementary,  
  • Arnoldo Cantu, Sr. Elementary,  
  • Carmen Anaya Elementary,  
  • Cesar Chavez Elementary,  
  • Geraldine Palmer Elementary,  
  • Graciela Garcia Elementary,  
  • Henry Ford Elementary,  
  • John H. McKeever Elementary,  
  • Kelly-Pharr Elementary,  
  • Marcia R. Garza Elementary,  
  • PSJA T. Jefferson T-STEM Early College High School,  
  • Vida N. Clover Elementary 
  • Zeferino Farias Elementary.   

As one of the longest-standing public education institutions in the region with over 100 years of experience educating our youth, we are grateful to the thousands of families that choose PSJA ISD. In this era of choice education, we understand that parents have the option to send their children to any school, and we appreciate you for selecting PSJA ISD for your child’s education. 

As your proud Superintendent, I assure you that our schools prioritize student learning, retention, enrichment, success, and wellness via in-person and virtual learning. In the weeks and months ahead, my hope is that we continue to place our health, safety, and wellness above all else. We will work together to return to in-person learning for all and we will seek your input and feedback during the process.  

I invite you to celebrate the achievements of our students and staff at PSJA ISD during National Public Schools Week and year-round. With PSJA as your school choice, count on our community of excellence with results.  

Warm Regards,  

Dr. Jorge L. Arredondo, Superintendent of Schools 

Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD