Mission, Texas Brain

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


McAllen and Mission Receive Funding to Help Boost Economic Development, Develop Water Infrastructure in Valley 

WASHINGTON—The Cities of McAllen and Mission will receive a federal grant of $1,250,000 to develop water infrastructure for border station facilities at the proposed Anzalduas International Crossing, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn announced on Tuesday. The funding, provided through the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA), is expected to generate dozens of jobs in the area and provide a strong boost for local economic growth.

“This funding is good news for the future of economic development in the Valley,” said Cornyn, a member of the Senate Small Business Committee. “The investment will give a boost to the local economy by creating new jobs, and I applaud the local leaders who worked to secure this funding.”

The EDA will invest the grant funding towards the area’s water infrastructure construction, including the proposed border station facility. This project is expected to expand commerce and industry in the lower Rio Grande Valley by adding new jobs and generating private investment. The grant comes through EDA’s Public Works Program.  

The Public Works Program is a program administered by the U.S. Economic Development Administration, a part of the Department of Commerce. The EDA was established to work with states and localities to generate new jobs, retain existing jobs, and stimulate industrial and commercial growth in economically distressed areas and regions of the United States.

Sen. Cornyn is a member of the following key Senate Committees: Armed Services; Judiciary; Budget, Small Business and Entrepreneurship; and Joint Economic. Cornyn was previously Texas Attorney General, Texas Supreme Court Justice and Bexar County District Judge.


Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Deadlines for Mission High School Class of 1987

Hi All!

Some of you may receive this in triplicate - I apologize in
advance :) I am posting here, Classmates, and emailing direct.

Tentative schedule for the 20th Reunion (I freak every time I type
that...) The only thing set in stone so far are the dates - We are
95% certain that this is the way things will run for the weekend.

Friday Night - October 6th
Homecoming Football game and hangin' out afterwards at Pepe's,
Hotties, or SOMEWHERE..... Can't imagine the football tickets will
be more than 10 bucks.... Steve is in charge of this and we will have
more info soon.

Saturday Night - October 7th
7 - 9 PM BBQ at The Zone
9 - ? Fun and games and catching up at The Zone

Will let you know more on cost a little later but we are trying to
work it so things will be 20 bucks per adult (trying to keep kids
free but we need to put the pencil to things) This money will cover
food, sodas, and a VERY small charge for The Zone. This night is
going to be a BLAST!!!

DEADLINES - Just One :)

SEPTEMBER 22nd - Please let me know your plans ASAP if you can - the
earlier the better! I just need to know what you plan on attending
and how many you'll bring.

If anyone has any questions at all, don't hesitate to email or post!


AYP ratings released for Mission CISD

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) has released data that includes preliminary ratings that are part of the federal No Child Left Behind laws. According to the TEA’s preliminary data, most Mission CISD (Consolidated Independent School District) campuses met Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) guidelines. Final ratings will not be released by the TEA until December.

The AYP ratings, as they are commonly referred to, are similar to the state’s accountability system in many respects. However, the AYP rating system requires that levels of performance be met by more sub-groups of students than the state system. This can actually result in schools and districts performing well in the state accountability system, but still receiving a status of "Missed AYP" in a particular area, whether it is in the area of performance or participation.

According to the preliminary AYP results, all but two Mission CISD campuses met AYP in all areas. Mission Junior High School missed AYP for Reading performance. K. White Junior High School missed AYP for Math performance. As a district, Mission CISD missed AYP in Reading performance.

"In each case it looks like it was just a small percentage of students in a subgroup that we need to address," said Oscar Rodriguez, superintendent. "The rules used in determining the AYP status are very complex and in some cases unclear. Consequently, we are studying the data provided by the state very carefully. Based upon what we know so far, we plan to file an appeal."

Districts have until September 20 to file an appeal of the preliminary AYP status with the TEA.

"Overall, our schools and students continue to make gains in all their academics," Rodriguez said. "We just need to tweak a few things. I commend the hard work going on by our students and staff. I am convinced that with everyone working together, we will continue the positive momentum that is building in our schools."

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

MCISD General Assembly

Hi folks,

Just an FYI.  The district will be holding its general in-service this Thursday morning beginning at 8:30a.m. at the Mission High School Neuhaus Gym.  During the first part of the program we will be honoring our teachers of the year, honoring our exemplary and recognized campuses and honoring our 8 campuses that qualified for the Governor’s Educator Excellence Award.  You are more than welcome to join the 1400 or so staff members that will be present. 

Craig Verley

Director of Public Relations and Marketing

Mission CISD

1201 Bryce Drive

Mission, TX 78572




Wednesday, August 09, 2006

First day of school brings a change for Mission CISD elementary students

In a break from tradition, the first day of school for Mission CISD (Consolidated Independent School District) elementary students will be a regular/full-day of school. The first day of school for Mission CISD students will be Monday, August 21. For many years, the first day for district elementary students was a half-day, with junior high and high school students, attending a full-day.
“We are looking at every aspect of our operations to make sure we are maximizing classroom instructional time,” explained Oscar Rodriguez, superintendent. “This year, we have moved elementary registration activities to dates before the first day of school to allow teachers to get into their instructional routine quicker.” Rodriguez added that since the district is changing a long standing tradition, there will likely be some confusion this first year. “Everything we have sent out regarding registration and the first day of school has included the change in schedule, but there are always some who just miss the message or will forget and fall back on the old practice.”
District officials say they will address any problem areas that crop up this year as plans are made for the beginning of the 07-08 school year.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

$57 bond issue program passes important hurdle

The projects involved in Mission CISD’s (Consolidated Independent School District) $57 million bond issue program jumped a major hurdle today. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) has notified the district that its application for Instructional Facilities Allotment (IFA) assistance will be funded. Through this program, the state helps school districts with lower property valuations pay for construction of instructional facilities.
“We had early indications that we would be funded,” explained Oscar Rodriguez, Jr., superintendent. “However, until you get the official notification, you just never know. Consequently, we proceeded with our plans with some caution. Now we can move forward with selling our bonds and construction planning.”
Rodriguez also indicated the formal approval from TEA was needed in order to make final adjustments to the district budget and proposed tax rate for the coming school year.
Under the state IFA program, the state will pay 77% of the $57 million with Mission CISD taxpayers responsible for the other 23%. District taxpayers overwhelmingly approved the bond issue and increases in property taxes this past May.
Mission CISD plans to increase property taxes two cents this coming year, two more cents the second year and then possibly three cents the year after that for a potential total tax increase over three years of seven cents. District officials are hoping all seven cents won’t be required.
District officials say they plan to sell the bonds later this month and actually receive the money from the sale in September. The funds will then be invested until needed to pay for the upcoming construction projects. Interest earned from the bond money will allow Mission CISD to address additional facility needs in addition to what was a part of the official bond proposal.
The bond program approved by voters included: construction of a new elementary school; construction of a new middle school; construction of a performing arts facility for each of the district’s two high schools; renovations/additions to Mission High School, Cantu Elementary, Leal Elementary, Mims Elementary, O’Grady Elementary; and air conditioning system renovations for Waitz Elementary and K. White Jr. High.
Architects/engineers have already been selected for the projects. The district is now in the process of finalizing contracts with those firms so that project designing can begin as soon as possible.

Mission CISD campus ratings show improvement

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) has released its ratings for schools and school districts under the state accountability system. According to the TEA, Mission CISD (Consolidated Independent School District) has two campuses that have earned the highest rating of “exemplary” for the first time under the current accountability system. Seven campuses have earned a rating of “recognized” with nine earning an “academically acceptable” rating.
Mission CISD Superintendent Oscar Rodriguez, Jr. said he was very pleased with the progress being made. “The TEA continues to raise the bar in many areas, including TAKS passing rates,” Rodriguez said. “So for us to have campuses now earning an exemplary rating is quite an accomplishment. We are prepared to continue improvements throughout the district to make sure we build on the momentum being created.”
The campuses earning an “exemplary” rating are Cavazos Elementary and Mims Elementary Schools. District officials are hoping to add one more to this list when the TEA makes their final ratings announcement in October. “We think certain aspects of data used for the “recognized” rating given to Midkiff Elementary School need to be addressed by the TEA,” said Rodriguez. “We are preparing an appeal of their rating with the hopes that it will be raised to “exemplary”.”
Not only did ratings improve at Cavazos and Mims Elementary Schools, but so did the rating for Cantu Elementary School which earned a “recognized” rating this year.
Mission CISD campuses earning a “recognized” rating are: Alton Elementary, Bryan Elementary, Cantu Elementary, Leal Elementary, Midkiff Elementary, Salinas Elementary, Waitz Elementary. The campuses earning an “academically acceptable” rating are: Castro Elementary, Marcell Elementary, O’Grady Elementary, Pearson Elementary, Alton Memorial Junior High School, K. White Junior High School, Mission Junior High School, Mission High School, Veterans Memorial High School.
The current state accountability system is based on the TAKS (Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills) and includes the high school completion rate and the 7-8 grade annual dropout rate. For each major area, the state not only looks at figures for the student population as a whole, but also looks at the following sub-groups: Hispanic, African-American, White, Economically Disadvantaged. Test score subjects included in the ratings system are Reading, Writing, Math, Science and Social Studies.
Mission CISD received a rating of “academically acceptable.”
To be considered “exemplary” a district/campus needs: TAKS passing rates of at least 90% in all subjects tested and for the all-student group and subgroups, SDAA (State Developed Alternative Assessment) passing rate of at least 90%, high school completion rate of at least 95%, 7-8 grade dropout rate of 0.2% or better.
To be considered “recognized,” a district/campus needs: TAKS passing rates of at least 70% in all subjects tested and for the all-student group and subgroups, SDAA passing rate of at least 70%, high school completion rate of at least 85%, 7-8 grade dropout rate of 0.7% or better. A district can also meet the criteria for a recognized rating by meeting a level of “required improvement” for the base indicators.
To be considered “acceptable,” a district/campus needs: TAKS passing rates of at least 60% in Reading/English Language Arts, Writing and Social Studies; TAKS passing rates of at least 40% on math; TAKS passing rates of at least 35% on science; SDAA passing rates of at least 50%; high school completion rate of at least 75%; and a 7-8 grade dropout rate of 1% or better. A district can also meet the criteria for an “acceptable” rating by meeting a level of “required improvement” for the base indicators.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Mission CISD earns state's highest fiscal accountability rating

Mission CISD (Consolidated Independent School District) officials have
received preliminary word that the district has qualified to receive a
rating of "Superior Achievement" under Texas' School FIRST financial
accountability rating system. Final ratings will be issued to school
districts in mid-August.

The superior achievement rating is the state's highest, demonstrating
the quality of Mission CISD's financial management and reporting
system. This will be the fourth year in a row the district has
received the highest rating since they were first started.

The School FIRST (Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas) was
developed by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) in response to Senate
Bill 218 of the 77thTexas Legislature in 2001. The primary goal of
Schools FIRST is to achieve quality performance in the management of
school districts' financial resources, a goal made more significant
due to the complexity of accounting associated with Texas' school
finance system.

"We are very pleased with Mission CISD's School FIRST rating," said
Mission CISDSuperintendent Oscar Rodriguez, Jr., "as it shows that our
district is continuing to make the most of our taxpayer dollars. The
superior achievement rating shows that Mission CISD is accountable not
only for student learning, but also for achieving these results using
cost-effective and efficient practices.

The School FIRST accountability rating system assigns one of four
financial accountability ratings to Texas school district, with the
highest being "Superior Achievement," followed by "Above-Standard
Achievement," "Standard Achievement" and "Substandard Achievement."
Districts with serious data quality problems may receive the
additional rating of "Suspended Data Quality."

To arrive at the School FIRST ratings, the TEA looks at 21 different
indicators, including: cost ratios, student to teacher ratios, fund
balance information, operating expenditures, tax collections, and
annual financial reports. The 2006 rating is based upon an analysis of
staff and student data reported for the 2004-2005 school year and the
budgetary and actual financial data for the 2005 fiscal year.

The TEA has proposed additional refinements to the School FIRST
process effecting ratings beginning in 2008. TEA indicates these
adjustments include the addition of several new indicators and
"raising the bar" for several other indicators. As required by the
TEA, district officials will hold a public hearing and make a
financial management report available for parents and taxpayers after
the final ratings notification has been received from TEA officials.