Banned books in TUSD for Chicanos. (Courtesy of D.A. Morales.)

Every day forms of resistance and the case of the Tucson Unified School District

Teaching and Learning and Caring Blog

EL PASO – Fooling teenagers is a hazardous occupation. They aren’t easy to fool; you have to be way smarter than they are, and they are plenty smart, even if they don’t look like it. The more you try to fool them, the harder it gets. If you try really, really hard, you are likely to get just the opposite of your intended effect. Teens are also highly skilled lie detectors and can sense BS concentrations of less than 5 parts per thousand.

UTEP football team members visit Bobby (center) to give him a signed football while in the hospital. (Courtesy of Bobby Garcia)

A family comes together to battle against leukemia

EL PASO – I will never forget the Thursday morning I heard my weeping mother say the four scariest words I had ever heard, “Your brother has leukemia.”

As those words left her mouth, an indescribably sickening feeling shook my body and a million thoughts rushed through my mind. Thoughts of anger and fear consumed my very being at that moment, but as I looked up at my brother I remember seeing his face. He was unremarkably calm. I expected to see him crying or worried. Those were feelings I know I would be expressing if I had received that terrible diagnosis.

Del Valle Marching Band director, Manuel Gamez has taken the band to the state competition three times – in 2003, 2005, and 2009. (William Blackburn/

High school marching-band students strive and strain to reach the state finals

EL PASO — The Socorro Activities Complex in east El Paso is filled with the blasting excitement of drums, brass and cheers on a warm Saturday afternoon in October as excited spectators root for area high school marching bands competing for a chance to appear at the state level in San Antonio. The Del Valle high school band has been rehearsing for this competition since August, practicing long hours every day, learning their marching steps and the music. It’s fun and it’s challenging. Aaron Gomez a sophomore told Borderzine “I enjoy learning new music and music is my passion and after high school I want to study music and receive a degree from a four-year university.”

Alex Verdugo, a senior leader for the French horn section said, “I motivate students and assist the band directors in what needs to be done.” He became a section leader through a lot of practice and auditioning for the job, he said. Juan Palacios a junior leader for the trumpets section said, “It’s a lot of hard work, but it is worth it in the end.”

Christina Boatman a sophomore told Borderzine she thinks Del Valle is the best band and “…the feeling that you gave it your all on the field is indescribable.”

Cindy Cruz a senior said the band also helps students with academics and she will miss being in the band after she graduates.

El Dorado High School's faculty consider that dual degree classes help raise the academic level of all students because it sets the bar at a highest level. (Nicole Castillo/

High-school students load up on academic work to get college credit

EL PASO – The sound of the alarm going off at 5 a.m. every morning is an all too familiar sound for Bryce Neria and his fellow classmates as they prepare for a 12-hour day of schoolwork. High school students aware of the importance of a college education now have a new opportunity to get a leg up on advanced studies while still in high school. A dual credit program allows current high school students to take advantage of an early college education while in high school. Neria says he doesn’t mind the rigors of the program. “Its absolutely worth it!

Tackling the pounds—Changes in state policy fight student obesity

EL PASO — Not too many years ago, students eagerly awaited the bell that signals lunchtime, anticipating french fries, a can of Pepsi, and a chocolate chip cookie. Now, however, those same students have been challenged to abandon some of the junk foods they crave. In 2007, revisions were made to the Texas Public School Nutrition Policy to create a weapon to battle obesity in children. Texas public high schools have had to start abiding by laws that mandate healthier lunch foods, as well as changing vending machine products on their campuses. “Our snack bars are all run by the district cafeterias and have to abide by the changes in the law,” says Dr. Carla Gonzales, Chapin High School Principal.

Border students practice multimedia in Journalism in July workshop at UTEP

EL PASO, Texas – Journalism in July is a one-week summer workshop that brought high school students and future journalists from El Paso and Ciudad Juarez to the UTEP campus to learn how to be multimedia journalists. The workshop, which began July 9, and ended a week later, is in its eighth year and has evolved from a print media program into a multimedia program. In this transition, it has emulated what has happened in the real world of media where journalists had to develop multimedia skills to keep their work modern and more available to readers. A total of 21 students attended the workshop sponsored by UTEP and the Dow Jones Newspaper Fund. They came from the border region and included two students from Preparatoria El Chamizal in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

Bullying in schools can destroy young lives

EL PASO, Texas — Imagine walking down a hallway by yourself hearing people yelling insults at you and there is no way out except straight through the gauntlet. The words fat, gay, slut and loser are thrown at you, but you cannot get out. Each day brings the same suffering as the same people, with a few others chiming in, target you with the same verbal daggers. This is a reality that almost 30% of high school students in the United States face. Some are physically harmed, some are emotionally abused, and a growing number are bullied by “cyber bullies” through Internet networking sites like Facebook, Myspace and Twitter.