A student-centered approach to success – Learn about the El Paso School Design Collaborative

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By Nadia Tellez, Choose to Excel Director

If you were to close your eyes and imagine a school where every student has the programs, services, care, and staffing they need to be successful – what would this school look like?

That is a question we posed to parents, teachers, school administrators and former El Paso students as part of community listening sessions to understand how we can best set up students for academic and career success. The answers ranged from a need for more college advising services to having a trusted adult at school that students could go to, and having authentic relationships and feeling safe at school. Beyond these answers, there was a collective belief that there needed to be a new innovative approach to the ways local schools support students – a reimagination of the role adults and schools play in the lives of students.

This is part of the genesis of the El Paso School Design Collaborative, a new initiative launched by CREEED and The El Paso Community Foundation, in partnership with the national education organization Transcend, to build student-centered success models across more campuses in the El Paso region that take into account all the support systems and innovative programs that students need to be successful in their educational journey. 

Eight schools across three school districts in El Paso have committed to be part of the School Design Collaborative by establishing redesign teams comprised of teachers, administrators and school staff (librarians, custodians, etc) who will embark on a 10 month process of gathering data about the needs of their students, exploring solutions to these needs, and implementing programs – and ultimately a model – for how all adults on campus can work together to support students. These schools include:

  • O’Shea Keleher Whole Child Academy, Socorro ISD 
  • Carroll T. Welch Elementary, Clint ISD
  • Vista Del Sol Environmental Science Academy, Socorro ISD
  • Jose H. Damian Elementary, Canutillo ISD
  • Congressman Silvestre and Carolina Reyes Elementary, Canutillo ISD
  • Gonzalo and Sofia Garcia Elementary, Canutillo ISD
  • Jose J. Alderete Middle School, Canutillo ISD
  • Canutillo Middle School STEAM Academy, Canutillo ISD

The schools within the El Paso School Design Collaborative have identified four core values that will guide the development of their student-centered success models, ensuring the models are  grounded in the needs and aspirations of their students and community, including:

  • Nurturing and Empowerment (Crianza y Empoderamiento): We prioritize the social, emotional, and physical development of our young people and the well-being of the adults who support them.
  • Highly Relevant and Personalized Learning (Aprendizaje relevante y personalizado): We create opportunities for students to explore their interests and the world around them as well as make decisions about what they want to learn, where they want to learn, and how they want to learn it—all in pursuit of their ambitions and personal goals.
  • Pride in El Paso (Orgullo en El Paso): We strengthen our young people’s connection to El Paso by celebrating our unique heritages and honor diversity in language, ethnicities, values, and more.
  • Better Together (Más fuertes juntos): We intentionally and frequently create spaces where diverse community members can come together, honoring a multitude of perspectives—those of our young people, families, parents, caregivers, local leaders, and more—to build strong ties and make decisions, all with the aim of improving the lives of our young people and securing a bright future for El Paso.

We are excited to see and support the solutions and models that emerge out of the collaborative, and we invite more schools to join in on this transformational journey. If you’d like to learn about the collaborative, or attend an upcoming session, please email us at info@creeed.org.

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