UCISD gives second chance to alternative school program

Melissa Federspill

Staff Writer

Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District’s Crossroads Academy is set to host its inaugural students in the upcoming 2019-2020 school year.

The campus will be housed in the Benson Educational Complex and is designed to help at-risk and non-traditional students achieve a high school education.

The campus will be under the leadership of Hector Lopez.

Prior to obtaining this role, Lopez served as principal of Batesville school from 2016-2019 and has been a teacher for 13 years. HE spent one year as a bilingual-migrant specialist.

He earned a master’s degree from Dominican University and a doctoral degree from the University of Texas at San Antonio. He was a high school graduate of Uvalde’s Excel Academy.

In a recent interview, Lopez and UCISD superintendent Hal Harrell discussed the design of the new campus and the goal for the community.

This design is similar to the district’s shuttered Excel Academy, Harrell said. Excel Academy closed in 2014 during then-superintendent Jeanette Ball’s tenure.

“As superintendent, I feel that the Excel Academy filled a very unique niche in our school district, and helped many students become very successful,” said Harrell. “Mr. Lopez is one such example.”

Lopez said Crossroads Academy will offer a flexible schedule, catering to students who have personal circumstances that require a non-traditional route to education attainment.

“Students will be able to work at their own pace so that obtaining an education does not become an interference,” said Lopez.

“Consider a 16-year-old student whose father or mother recently passed and is required to get a full-time job to survive,” said Harrell. “That is the kind of student this campus can help.”

Lopez also said that the students will encounter a personalized curriculum meant to open pathways to educational and professional success.

The personalized curriculum will include an application and interview process, where students will be evaluated for their needs.

The campus will begin taking applications this month.

Hal Harrell
Hector Lopez

The school is expected to employ one administrator, one counselor, five classroom teachers, one instructional paraprofessional, and one administrative assistant.

“We expect to form a team that consists of individuals who look forward to their roles in support of the whole student, including their social-emotional well being, learning goals, citizenship and future professional preparedness,” said Lopez.

Eligible students include those over the age of 16 who have obtained some high school credits but are either at risk of dropping out or are unenrolled in classes.

The student-teacher ratio will be low, with small group classes. Lopez said the campus will hold more than 100 students, but they aim not to go beyond 125.

“We are excited at the opportunity to support our students and our community and look forward to communicating many markers of our progress and excellence as we begin this educational endeavor,” said Lopez.

For more information, contact UCISD central office, at 830-278-6655.

(The story does not continue beyond this line.)


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