SAN ELIZARIO, TX – The San Elizario Independent School Board of Trustees recognized Ann M. Garcia-Enriquez Middle School (GEMS) for being named a School to Watch by the National Forum to Accelerate Middle Grades Reform and the Texas Association of Secondary School Principals (TASSP). A distinction that approximately 60 other campuses in Texas share.
Leticia Menchaca, State Director for Schools to Watch (STW) in Texas and TASSP Associate Executive Director for Middle-Level Services, stated, “We congratulate Principal Richard Salcido and his staff, students, and parents for being a campus that does great things for all their students. This school has demonstrated that a high-performing middle school is a place that focuses on academic growth and achievement. Garcia-Enriquez MS is a place that recognizes the importance of meeting the needs of all students and ensures that every child has access to a challenging, high-quality education.”
GEMS will be officially announced and recognized at the TASSP Making Middle School Matter Symposium on Monday, March 4, 2024, in Austin, TX, and nationally recognized at the STW schools from across the country in Washington, DC, at the National Forum of Schools to Watch Conference on June 20-22, 2024. Of the STW recognition, Salcido states, “This is a campus recognition. I want to thank all students, parents, and teachers. This recognition demonstrates we can compete with anyone.”
Principal Salcido submitted a written application. He was then told that GEMS had met criteria developed by the National Forum to Accelerate Middle Grades Reform, which earned GEMS a state team visit where classroom observations took place and interviews of administrators, teachers, students, and parents. The visit also looked at achievement data, suspension rates, quality of lessons, and student work.
The site team saw numerous examples of the STW criteria, such as the incorporation of Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) using the Fundamental 5 Lesson Framing and the master schedule providing common planning periods by content for Professional Learning Communities (PLC) and targeted tutoring interventions for special needs and Emergent Bilingual students are embedded throughout the day with ‘Strengthening Your Wings Camps.’
The STW Designation is set for three years, and GEMS must show evidence of continuous improvement to be redesignated. GEMS is named after Ann M. Garcia-Enriquez, a former school board trustee, and has approximately 419 students enrolled in grades 7 and 8, with 352 students identified as at risk and 393 economically disadvantaged. Principal Richard Salcido has been the Principal of GEMS since July 2020.
Superintendent Dr. Jeannie Meza-Chavez states, “Principal Salcido uniquely understands middle school, and his leadership has continued to strengthen the work teachers, staff, and all personnel contribute to make GEMS the optimal learning environment for students. We are proud of Mr. Salcido and all GEMS students, teachers, and parents.