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M. Rivas Primary Discovery Academy Named State Finalist for 2024 H-E-B Excellence in Education Award

M. Rivas Primary Discovery Academy officially opened its doors for Donna ISD’s youngest learners in August of 2022. While it has only been in existence for approximately a year and a half, the one-of-a-kind early childhood center is already making a big name for itself.

Campus leaders received word on January 9th that the facility had been named one of five state finalists for the H-E-B Excellence in Education Early Childhood Award. Principal Rosalinda Navarro is ecstatic over the news. She is proud that her school, which offers state-of-the-art, innovative instructional curriculum to PreK 3 through 2nd grade students, is getting the recognition it deserves.

“We are honored and extremely excited about being selected as a finalist for this prestigious H-E-B award,” Navarro said. “Our facility was established with the fundamental belief that every child deserves a head start in their early childhood education. We have a certified teacher and an educational assistant in each classroom. The teachers plan for academic activities based on a thematic curriculum that allows for read alouds in all content areas in both languages, small group instruction, and numeracy development, which incorporates games, partner work, and collaboration. The students also have the opportunity each week to take their learning outdoors to ensure what is taught in the classroom is connected to the real world. Language skills are developed not only in the classroom but also in the music, coding, art, and robotics classes by talking, singing, and playing.”

Every year since 2002, the grocery retail giant announces finalists for the Early Childhood Award and in five other categories including Outstanding School Board, Teacher, Principal, School Counselor, and School District. Winners are rewarded with cash prizes and grants. It’s all part of H-E-B’s Excellence in Education Awards Program that recognizes public school professionals for their dedication and commitment in serving their students and their communities.

Donna ISD Superintendent Dr. Angela Dominguez commended campus leadership and staff for receiving this honor. “M. Rivas is dedicated to cultivating a secure and supportive learning environment for its students using a Dual Language curriculum,” Dr. Dominguez said. “Recognizing the significance of a comprehensive well-rounded educational approach, we also focus on the social emotional, physical, academic and language development of our students. This creates a supportive and engaging learning environment where students develop the knowledge, skills, and abilities that contribute to their overall performance.”

Navarro echoed those sentiments and credits the entire campus community for helping the early childhood center become a successful learning environment.

“We truly believe in the notion that it ‘takes a village,’” Navarro said. “From administrators, to teachers, to support staff, we pride ourselves on building strong relationships with our

students. However, we believe that a crucial part of our village is our students' families. For this reason, we strive to create a community in which we are all stakeholders in our students’ future. To include our families into our school community, we have various opportunities that allow us to collaborate with parents.”

The winners of the excellence in education awards including Early Childhood Award will be announced in the spring during the H-E-B Excellence in Education’s 22nd Annual Awards Ceremony in San Antonio.