Taking the lead: MCISD looks to the new year

The sleeping giant that is Mission CISD has awoken, according to Superintendent Ricardo Lopez. With the new year rolled in, various projects are in store for the district and Lopez is confident “team Mission” will be at the forefront in all aspects.

They’ll be kicking off 2015 with a new vision statement and collective commitments that the board approved in December, focusing on district-wide success not only at a local level, but state and national as well.

MCISDlogo“It’s a very dynamic statement because we’re committing to a lot of things as a school district, as a team,” Lopez said. “So when you look in there, you’re going to see verbs that sound like dominate…serve…inspire. We’re not asking them to just know; we want them to be at the forefront.”

The superintendent said in the 1990s the Mission school district was a force to be reckoned with, earning accolades at a national level. As time went on, MCISD’s success was not as constant, and he wants to change that.

The newest program to be implemented is Ford Next Generation Learning, which is a partnership with the Ford company and local businesses that exposes students to real-world business experience. This initiative is aligned with Career and Technology Education curriculum.

Several schools in the Valley are participating, including La Joya ISD but Lopez is going to see to it that Mission students take command.

“When we met with Ford NGL a few weeks ago, they were amazed about the commitment from Mission,” he said. “They were blown away about the level of talent we have that is going to execute this and they’re really counting on us to lead the way for the rest of the Valley to follow.”

Some of the other strategies that will continue to pick up speed in the 2015 year include the 1-to-1 initiative and technology implementation, which works to give every student an electronic device. The idea is to provide tablets to every freshman class and teach them the functions for schoolwork. The junior highs are rolling out the 1-to-1 in sixth grade.

The Mission community will also see its first dual enrollment graduates this spring, six of which are from Mission High and six of which are from Veterans High School. Early college is a large focus for the district so students will also see the expansion of the Career Tech Early College program at Mission High to grades nine and 10 next school year.

Three construction projects will be completed, including the canopies at Mission Junior High and Alton Memorial Junior High. Mission Collegiate High will complete its expansion to include grades nine through 12 with the start of the next school year, and 14 new running tracks will be constructed for elementary schools. These asphalt tracks will either be a three-lane 400-meter track or a six-lane 200-meter track.

Although the new administration building is still in the design phases, construction is scheduled to start this year as well as construction for the MHS Phase III project. The board went through a change in architects for Phase III in 2014, causing some delay in addition to a 100-plus day delay with the Mission High Field House. In spite of the hiccups, Lopez said the students and staff came up strong.

In the fall of 2014, at least 10 district entities were state or nationally recognized and Lopez said that people need to be on the lookout for more of the same.

“We’re building momentum and people know it, so that was a huge step forward,” Lopez said. “We’re going to have some pitfalls. It’s just part of any organization, such as what’s happening with the Mission High School field house, but it’s not indicative of who we are.”

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