Texas Border Business
PHARR, Texas – The Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD (PSJA ISD) Office of Elementary Curriculum & Instruction, in partnership with the district’s new Sustainability Department hosted its first Social Studies Project-Based Learning event at John McKeever Elementary in Alamo and Allen & William Arnold Elementary in Pharr on Oct. 18 and Oct. 20, 2023.
As part of the district’s mission to continuously integrate the Sustainable Development Goals into its curriculum, students from John Mckeever Elementary and Allen & William Arnold Elementary were challenged with the task of writing letters to public officials on topics pertaining to real-world issues.
During the event, two student representatives from each campus were selected to sit on a panel and read their letters to guest speakers State Representative Sergio Muñoz, Jr., and Hidalgo County Commissioner Eddie Cantu.
Third and 4th-grade students from John Mckeever Elementary wrote to State Representative Munoz regarding Climate Change and the effects it has on the community with suggestions of possible measures that can be implemented to help solve the issue. Representative Muñoz carried on an engaging discussion on the various ways he is helping combat climate change in his district.
“We know that the focus that has been brought forth here at PSJA when it comes to sustainability, we have not seen at any other school district,” said Representative Muñoz. “We know how important the teaching, the instruction, and the impact it is having on our students is. Really, we encourage all our school districts to put the same focus and instruction that PSJA has on sustainability because we can see the difference that it is making.”
Through this initiative, students are learning the importance of environmental stewardship and civic engagement.
Additionally, 2nd and 3rd-grade students from Allen & William Arnold Elementary wrote to Hidalgo County Commissioner Eddie Cantu on how Recycling items can be beneficial to our environment in connection to Sustainable Development Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production. Commissioner Cantu spoke to the students about the numerous ways he is incorporating sustainable development goals into the initiatives in Hidalgo County.
Students from various campuses districtwide also tuned in to the special presentations live from their classrooms, enabling hundreds of students to participate in the discussion remotely.
For 5th-grade student Evelynn Rodriguez, being able to participate as a student panelist and read her letter to State Representative Munoz gave her insight into the many ways she can help make a difference.
“Through sustainability we can make a big difference, like stopping hunger, ending poverty, and helping our citizens,” said Rodriguez. “I was honored to be selected to read my letter to the State Representative. I learned a lot through this experience.
PSJA ISD aims to continue emphasizing sustainability at every level through a systemic approach led by a committee of district leaders from various departments in an effort to equip students with pertinent real-world knowledge and hands-on experiences crucial to help them compete at a global level.