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New Initiative Reimagines How Schools in El Paso Support the Well-Being of Students To Drive Academic Success

Launched by CREEED and El Paso Community Foundation, 8 schools in El Paso have created design teams to be part of inaugural design cohort

El Paso, Texas – Eight schools in El Paso County are coming together as part of a new initiative to reimagine and transform their local campuses – guided by input from teachers, students, counselors, parents and campus staff – so they can better support the academic, social and emotional well-being of all their students and prepare them to succeed in college and beyond.  The “El Paso School Design Collaborative,” is 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. 

The effort began through community listening sessions that invited parents, former El Paso students, counselors and college advisors, teachers, and principals to share how their schools are preparing students for college and career success as well as their thoughts on the greatest needs that schools should be addressing as they work with students. The listening sessions revealed a need to innovate and think differently about the services and programs that schools offer students, and the role that every adult on a school campus plays in supporting student outcomes. 

“The El Paso Community has been such an inspiring partnership for all of us at Transcend because leaders are deeply invested in listening to young people, caregivers and educators to co-create a vision and path for the future of schools. We deeply believe that this type of collaboration will transcend school design beyond isolated initiatives that only go so far — and instead build school models that create extraordinary outcomes for all students and educators,” said Aylon Samouha, co-CEO of Transcend.

The eight schools part of the School Design Collaborative 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

“Preparing students to succeed both in college and the global workforce, during a time of very rapid change, requires innovation within our schools and a shift in the way we think about the foundational things that position students to succeed once they graduate from high school,” said Nadia Tellez, Choose to Excel Director at CREEED. “We’re excited to support an initial group of eight schools to explore new models of student success that ensure students not only can go on and succeed in college, but that they’re prepared to succeed in our workforce and in their local communities.”

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.

“This kind of collaborative work with students, educators, parents and the broader community is essential to moving the needle forward and adapting as the world and education evolves. Centering student well-being and voice ensures success during K-12 years, post-secondary education and beyond their school years in an ever-changing environment,” says Stephanie Otero, Vice President of Operations at El Paso Community Foundation.

To interview any of the partners involved in the El Paso School Design Collaborative, please contact



CREEED is a not-for-profit organization focused on increasing the number of high-performing seats in El Paso’s public education system. This is accomplished by investing in initiatives that are creating measurable outcomes to close the achievement gap for El Paso students. CREEED supports organizations, initiatives, and policies that prepare students to succeed in college and in our future workforce. CREEED’s efforts are focused on increasing the quality of education that students receive in El Paso. Our efforts fall into three categories: Increasing Student Attainment; Increasing Teacher Talent & Leadership Development; and Increasing Parent and Community Engagement.​ 

About the El Paso Community Foundation (EPCF):

Founded in 1977 as a permanent endowment for El Paso and the surrounding borderland region, the El Paso Community Foundation has given back more than $267 million to a wide variety of organizations and projects in education, health, human services, arts, environment, and animals. The Foundation is more than a grant maker, it acts as a leader and convener to support numerous projects and initiatives across our region. More info available at

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