La Joya ISD showcases new campus designations

With nearly 28,000 students enrolled across their 43 different campuses and academies, the La Joya school district ensured their community is aware of the opportunities the district can offer their students at their fourth annual “Why La Joya ISD” expo.

On Saturday, Feb. 9, the district held their annual event that highlights the numerous programs that help their students. The expo had the theme of “Opportunities and Choices” to discuss starting next year, each middle school campus would receive a designation so that all district schools would have an area of focus.

20190209 LaJoyaExpo“Next year all our middle schools will have designations like technology, health science professionals and fine arts,” district spokeswoman Liliana Salgado said. “No other school district in the Valley has a designation of any kind at the middle school level.”

Salgado explained that with the designations, each campus would focus on a different area which also includes leadership skills and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). With the designations, Salgado explained, the district is creating a pathway to a career for students outside of school.

These opportunities from designated schools are among the programs offered for students in the district, which includes stand-alone academies for health science and STEM, a partnership with South Texas College for students to receive an associate’s degree and get a head start in college, and more.

“Parents have choices and can take their kids eanywhere, we want them to see what we have to offer,” Salgado said of the event. “It’s a place for people to shop for their schools.”

District Superintendent Alda T. Benavides defended praised the event and the upcoming middle school designations. She said that with the designations, students will be able to get a head start on their career path.

“It’s important to give [students] an opportunity while they’re in school to find out what they really like instead of waiting until college for that,” Benavides said. “Even if kids end up changing their minds about it, at least they’ll get a good experience out of it and find their niche by the time they’re in college.”

Among the parents at the event was Rosa Garza, who had her three kids with her. Her children range from elementary, middle and high school students in the district and moved to La Joya from the Edinburg school district.

“I prefer the programs here, the kids used to go to Edinburg but it feels like there’s more opportunities for my kids to take advantage of in La Joya,” Garza said. “My kids have different talents and are in different clubs and organizations available in the district that helps them hone in their talents. This event is good because it helps students and parents recognize that.”

Another parent in attendance was Gloria Ochoa, who has four kids in the district. She spoke highly of the district’s dual enrollment program, which her oldest child was taking and her middle child will start taking next year once she attends high school.

“I’ve checked neighboring school district and I think there’s more college opportunities for students here,” Ochoa said. “My kids and their fellow students are getting a jumpstart in life with these programs and will be ahead of most kids once they graduate. As a parent, I want that for my kids.”

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