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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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!
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 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!