Located in El Paso, Texas, the El Paso Independent School District is the largest district in the Texas Education Agency’s Educational Service Center – Region 19. With nearly 60,000 students in 91 campuses, EPISD also is the 12th largest district in Texas and the 61st largest district in the United States. It also is El Paso’s largest employer with 8,000 employees and has an annual operating budget nearly $500 million. Organized in 1883, EPISD is not only a large district, but also one rich in history. In 2008, EPISD celebrated its 125th anniversary. EPISD’s mission is to graduate every student prepared for higher learning and careers to empower them as knowledgeable and engaged citizens, innovators, and drivers of a robust, bicultural economy.
EPISD seeks to provide all young scholars with an academically rigorous, character-based education, focusing on the “whole–child”. This approach seeks to assure EPISD graduates are not only academically prepared, but also well rounded, civic-minded young citizens. To this end in 2014, EPISD instituted a requirement of 15 hours of Community Service per semester for every high school student. Through this and other initiatives, EPISD seeks to assure its students serve their local communities. EPISD is currently expanding dual language programs across all of its elementary schools, 9 middle schools and 3 High Schools. Additionally, EPISD is seeking to strengthen its current magnet programs while simultaneously expanding specialty academies across the city.
EPISD leadership has instituted district wide PSAT and SAT days for all 10th, 11th and 12th grade students, and all 6th-9th graders take introductory SAT and ACT courses. In 2014 EPISD created a district-wide summer school available for all students and also was the first large urban district in America to utilize “teacher–created” digital textbooks for high school core content. In 2015, EPISD introduced “PowerUp EPISD” to transform “teaching and learning” in its classrooms by providing teacher professional development focusing on active–learning and student–centered instruction. Through PowerUp and the introduction of New Tech Network Schools, EPISD will seek to more deeply engage students through inquiry–based learning, project based learning and a deeper focus on collaboration in the classroom. To supplement, “PowerUp”, EPISD will provide all high school students with a laptop computer to be used in school and at home. This program will supplement the pedagogical changes in EPISD’s classrooms and will expose EPISD’s young scholars to a 21st Century education.