Harlandale Insider Week of March 4

Harlandale ISD celebrates Texas Public Schools Week

Harlandale ISD celebrated Texas Public Schools Week with a special breakfast, school bus tour and open houses this week.

Originally established in 1950 by the Masonic Lodges of Texas, the weeklong celebration displays the many educational opportunities available to more than 4 million students attending public schools in Texas.

Harlandale ISD kicked off the celebration with a delicious breakfast provided by the Child Nutrition Department at STEM Early College High School and a school bus tour on March 5.

As part of the bus tour, community members visited the new Carroll Bell and Vestal Elementary Schools, Terrell Wells MS, Leal MS, Harlandale HS and McCollum HS. The visitors got a first-hand look at all the wonderful programs and organizations available at the schools.

Harlandale ISD Superintendent Rey Madrigal thanked all the attendees for touring the district and for their support in public education.

“Thank you for joining us today. The future looks bright in our school district, and we believe that our best days are ahead of us,” Madrigal said.

The celebration continued with Open House events at every campus. Community members and parents enjoyed visiting all the schools, where they had the opportunity to see what the students are working on and learn about the different classes, extracurricular activities and clubs offered at every school level.

Harlandale ISD hosts seventh annual What’s Next? Symposium

Harlandale ISD hosts seventh annual What’s Next? Symposium

The Harlandale ISD Special Education Department welcomed families, students, administrators, staff and community members to its annual What’s Next? Symposium held at the Centro Fitness Ballroom on March 1.

The free event presented more than 55 services and resources available in the community for families and individuals with disabilities. Some of the participating organizations included Alamo Area Council of Governments (AACOG), Texas Workforce Solutions-Vocational Rehabilitation Services (TWS-VRS), Kinetic Kids, Mission Road Development Center, Special Olympics and Jamie’s Ranch.

Harlandale ISD Transition Facilitator Gerald Gawlik, one of the event’s organizers, shared why it is important to host the event every year.

“Parents are able stroll through the symposium and speak to agencies and services that are available for their child with special needs. They make face-to-face connections with particular vendors ranging from pre to post-secondary services to recreational organizations,” Gawlik said.

This year, the symposium added four breakout sessions and a Kinetic Kids Basketball Skills event. Students also had the opportunity to ride the adaptive bikes available in the district.

“The breakout sessions were phenomenal, which included the Believe It Foundation, Kinetic Kids Getting Active presentation, behavior basics for parents and caregivers, and working while on Social Security disability,” Gawlik added.

The Kinetic Kids Basketball Skills event allowed students to experience six different aspects of the game while working at their own level to their maximum extent possible. Partners in P.E. assisted and mentored the athletes at their skill level while having fun.

In addition to the sessions and basketball skills event, the symposium also focused on promoting literacy.

“We were able to promote reading among our special needs students by giving every life skills student a sight word book, and Kindle Fires were given to 20 lucky students whose names were drawn at the symposium,” Gawlik said.

The Special Education Department also partnered up with BibioTech to assist the lucky winners with installing applications on their newly won Kindle Fires, which will allow them to access hundreds of e-books and magazines that they can enjoy all year long.

Overall, the event was another big success. Parents and children had a great time participating in all the activities and games.

Two Harlandale ISD students honored in TX Cavaliers art contest

Two Harlandale ISD students honored in TX Cavaliers art contest

Two students from the Harlandale ISD were honored as finalists in the 2019 Texas Cavaliers River Parade Art Contest during a press conference held at the Southwest School of Art on March 6.

With only 11 art pieces selected out of more than 2,000 entries, it was an outstanding achievement for Genesis Verdines, a fifth-grader at Columbia Heights Elementary representing City Council District 5, and Isabella Martinez, a fourth-grader from Rayburn Elementary representing City Council District 3.

As finalists, both students earned their school’s art program $3,000 and each received a scholarship to attend a weeklong summer art camp at the Southwest School of Art.

In addition, each student’s artwork will be featured in this year’s Texas Cavaliers’ River Parade Program, and they will both compete for the Grand Prize that could earn their school an additional $2,000 for a grand total of $5,000!

King Antonio congratulated the students while their teachers, administrators and parents congratulated them on a job well done.

Schulze Elementary fifth-grader Joanna Betancourt and Columbia Heights Elementary fourth-grader Julie Villarreal were selected as runner-ups and both received a check for $1,000 for their school.

Way to go, art students!

Harlandale ISD VEX robotics teams advance to world championship

Harlandale ISD VEX robotics teams advance to world championship

Two Harlandale ISD VEX robotics teams will compete in the 2019 VEX Robotics World Championship to be held at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, Kentucky in late April.

The teams from STEM Early College High School and Schulze Elementary recently competed in the Southwest VEX Regional Championships and both received awards advancing them to the world competition.

STEM ECHS’s team of four sophomores won the Design Award while Schulze Elementary’s team of two fifth graders won the Robot Skills Award.

At the VEX Robotics World Championship, the students will compete against other teams from around the world to showcase their STEM problem solving abilities, share their enthusiasm and build community.

Both coaches are extremely proud of their students and hope they win big.

“I am extremely proud of these young ladies. This is their second year competing in VEX IQ,” Schulze Elementary Coach Juanita Oropesa said. “I am both amazed and honored to have been their coach. Even though they had a rough start at the regional competition, they never gave up and ultimately placed first in their driving skills.”

STEM ECHS Coach Romeo Valdez is also excited for his students.

“They will continue to work as a team to overcome the problems and see what they have in store for their future,” Valdez said. “They are building a more efficient robot with new electronics. They believe they can do better, so I am proud of them.”

The VEX Robotics Competition, presented by the Robotics Education & Competition Foundation, is the largest and fastest growing robotics program globally with more than 20,000 teams from 50 countries playing in over 1,700 competitions worldwide.

Congratulations and good luck, students!

Families and students enjoy third annual BraveFest

Families and students enjoy third annual BraveFest

Harlandale Middle School hosted its third annual BraveFest on March 1.

Administrators, teachers, families and students enjoyed more than 20 booths of delicious food, learning activities and fun games.

The hamburgers, turkey legs, cotton candy and paleta booths were some of the favorite foods while the face painting and water dunk tank were among the most popular booths.

The event has become a new tradition in the Harlandale community and Principal Ricardo Marroquin hopes it continues to grow in the future.

“This is our third BraveFest and this was the best turnout yet. Every year, we try to go bigger and better and it was fantastic to see all the support we received from the community,” he said. “Our hope for the students and families attending BraveFest is to first, have lots of fun, but also we hope Bravefest helps to strengthen the bond between Harlandale Middle and our surrounding community.”

Vestal Carnival brings Harlandale family together

Vestal Carnival brings Harlandale family together

Mardi Gras came to life at Vestal Elementary for its second annual Vestal Elementary Mardi Gras Carnival on March 1.

Food and game booths filled the parking lot as students, faculty and families enjoyed hamburgers, corn in the cup and other delicious goodies.

“It is great to see the community, students and teachers come together to enjoy an afternoon of fun games,” Vestal Elementary Principal Marianela Gonzalez-Sanchez said. “We want to thank all the parents and teachers that gave donations and volunteered their time to make this event a success. They are truly the best!”

During the event, children had fun playing in the bungee run inflatable, while others participated in the cakewalk, face painting and even horseback riding!

In addition, visitors were able to browse and shop at the creative crafters market. Different vendors displayed their hand-made items such as, jewelry, purses and blankets.

Vestal Elementary hopes to continue this wonderful tradition for the Harlandale community.

Leal MS hosts leadership summit for students

Leal MS hosts leadership summit for students

A total of 55 students at Leal Middle School participated in the school’s first-ever Leal Leadership Summit on March 1.

The sixth, seventh and eighth-graders were nominated by their teachers and administrators to attend the summit. During the event, the students learned about positive leadership qualities and team building skills.

The young leaders brainstormed on different topics such as attendance, academics, community, parent involvement and tardies. They provided possible solutions to improve these things on their campus and submitted their ideas to their principal, Mr. Ricardo Salmon.

Sanders Hand Nonprofit Organization Founder Sebastian Sanders also gave an uplifting speech about setting goals, success, and being leaders in their community.

At the end of the summit, all the participants enjoyed a delicious cake and lemonade.

A special thank you to Teachers Amanda Garcia (7th Grade, Texas History), Christina Campos (8th Grade, College and Career Readiness), Olivia Robinson (7th Grade, ELA) for making this event a great success.

Harlandale Highlights

Harlandale Highlights

Columbia Heights Elementary School students who earned good behavior points during the fourth six weeks were rewarded with a fun Technology Day this week! A big thank you goes out to Marguerite Lowak, Sara Dunn and Amy Montesdeoca from the Harlandale ISD Technology Department for organizing the event!
San Antonio Youth Literacy (SAYL) recognized Adams Elementary Librarian Kristen Guevara and second grade teachers for making the library a wonderful place for Reading Buddies to tutor! The second grade teachers have also been welcoming and supportive of Reading Buddies! SAYL and Adams Elementary look forward to continuing to grow this partnership in years to come!
Frank Tejeda Academy students Jesus Vasquez, Madeline Gonzalez, Jadien Torres and Amanda Lopez recently read to elementary students at Stonewall Flanders, Columbia Heights and Adams Elementary in celebration of Read Across America! Way to go, FTA students!
Schulze Elementary students are participating in the Girls on the Run program again this year! The Girls on the Run program combines physical activities with lessons that empower and encourage girls. The program includes up to 15 girls a season that meets twice a week for 90 minutes. The girls are making new friends and working towards a group goal of completing a 5K at the end of the season. Way to go, Schulze Roadrunners!
Congratulations to the 34 Harlandale ISD parents who graduated in cap and gown from Texas A&M AgriLife Extension’s Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program on March 8! The program taught parents about healthy serving sizes, food labels and food budgets!
Harlandale ISD elementary students recently participated in the fifth annual "Heroes for Health" event! San Antonio Fire, Police, Sheriff Departments and members of our military inspired students to make healthy choices by teaching them fun exercise drills and nutrition tips!
Congratulations to the McCollum High School indoor percussion on recently winning first place at the TECA Competition held at McCollum High School! This is McCollum’s second time bringing home the gold this year! The percussion is under the direction of John Perez, Gilbert Borrego and Celeste Castro. Way to go, Cowboy Band!
Congratulations to the Harlandale High School Color Guard on also winning first place at the competition held at McCollum high school in the Scholastic Open division! This is the third win in a row for the ladies. Way to go, HHS Color Guard!
Local artists and singers visited Schulze Elementary this week to read to students in celebration of Read Across America! Guest readers included Cesar Rios (DJ-CESAR K-OSO), Raulito Navaira, Ceci Zavala, Michael Salgado and members from Groupo Vision!
In honor of Social Workers Week, Adams Elementary surprised its campus Social Worker Jennifer Montes with a special cake in appreciation of her hard work!
Harlandale ISD Mariachi students performed alongside the Victoria ISD Ballet Folklorico at the Capitol on Arts in Education Day on March 7! Way to go, Mariachi students!

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