School district personnel must work together as a team to make sure that every child has a chance to become everything they can become with our encouragement and support.

This is the message from Dr. Rene Gutierrez, ECISD superintendent of schools, who addressed teachers and staff at the district’s annual General Assembly last week.

“Last year, we focused on going from ‘good to great’ by working harder, by working together, by moving in the same direction to help our students achieve academic success,” Gutierrez said during his speech. “Because of your tireless efforts, your dedication and professionalism, our students are excelling in the classroom as scholars, on the field as athletes, on the stage as actors, and in the music studio as musicians and artists.”

At ECISD “The legacy of excellence continues,” Gutierrez said, emphasizing the theme for the 2010-2011 school year. He emphasized ‘academic excellence’ as ECISD’s No. 1 priority when he was selected as Superintendent of Schools in July of 2009. Gutierrez touted the results of the District’s 2010 State Accountability Ratings by the Texas Education Agency.

Over the course of one year, the district has been designated “Academically Acceptable” following the release of the preliminary ratings. Eighteen campuses at ECISD were designated as “Exemplary.” and 17 designated as “Recognized” by TEA. The district had no schools rated below Exemplary or Recognized.

TEA has also notified the district that Edinburg High School, Johnny G. Economedes High School, and Harwell Middle School successfully met Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) and are no longer identified as “needing improvement.”

Edinburg High School, Edinburg North High School, and Johnny G. Economedes High School were also named among the “Best of the Best” high schools in the nation, according to Newsweek magazine, Gutierrez mentioned in his speech.

EHS ranked 1074, JEHS ranked 1109, and ENHS ranked 1160, putting the three high schools in the top six percent of the nation’s 27,000 public high schools.

Edinburg CISD is also the only school district in the Valley, in Region One and the state that has three schools recognized by the College Board, Gutierrez said.

EHS and ENHS are College Board Inspiration Award Winners. JEHS has been recognized as a College Board 2010 Inspiration Award Honorable Mention School.

“Each new school year gives us the opportunity to advance and make good on our mission to prepare every student for higher learning and success in the 21st Century,” Gutierrez said. “We have seen momentum in our walk forward and have gained strength as we work together with optimism and determination to reach, teach, and inspire each student to excellence.”

Successes by the district that Gutierrez highlighted in his speech include the opening of the Vision Academy that enabled 71 high school seniors to return to school, complete their credits, and graduate with a high school diploma.

Edinburg CISD elementary and secondary campuses have also been designated “Gold Performance Acknowledgement Schools” by TEA.

Elementary schools: Austin, Canterbury, Cavazos, De la Vina, Escandon, Freddy Gonzalez, Guerra, Eisenhower, Jefferson, Lincoln, Trevino, Magee, Cano-Gonzalez, Avila, and Truman Elementary Schools were designated Title I Part A Distinguished Performance Schools by the Division of the No Child Left Behind Program Coordination at the Texas Education Agency.

ECISD also opens three new elementary schools, which are completely finished and staffed for the 2010-2011 school year. Alfonso R. Ramirez Elementary, Dr. Kay Teer Crawford Elementary, and R.C. “Fito” Flores /Mark A. Zapata Elementary welcomed students on the first day of school, Monday Aug. 23.

The 2008 bond is also funding the construction of Macaria Gorena Elementary, Elias Longoria, Sr. Middle School, and renovations for Harwell Middle School, which should be ready by the fall of 2011. Harwell will undergo renovations to convert it into Robert R. Vela High School, the district’s fourth high school.

“By working together as a team, the sky is the limit on what we can accomplish professionally and academically for the children of Edinburg CISD. So as you return to work and as you see your students walk into your class, ask yourselves how will you be the difference for those students,” he said.