Donna ISD alternative program, principal showcased in national segment


Donna ISD’s Disciplinary Alternative Education Program (DAEP) and its successful initiatives were placed in the national spotlight when its campus leader was featured in a video that has been made accessible to school districts across the country.

DAEP Principal Juan Mendoza was interviewed and videotaped recently by Aric Bostick, a former teacher and coach who is now one of the nation’s leading motivational speakers and school culture experts in the field of education. Bostick has been a keynote speaker for dozens of national and state educational conferences for students and educators as well as a presenter to hundreds of school districts throughout the United States. Bostick’s most popular and effective work is his year-round online inspirational, motivational and educational tools.

“Some of the videos are of me interviewing teachers for a segment we call World’s Greatest Teacher,” Bostick said. “For example, I’ve interviewed Illinois Teacher of the Year Kim Thomas and California Teacher of the Year Alex Kajitani. I’ve also produced videos on modules that teach teachers how they can use their personal story to connect with students in the classroom. Other videos provide strategies on self-care and how teachers can take better care of their bodies, especially because they’re always on the go.

One of Bostick’s latest videos showcases DAEP and the campus’ successful programs. He traveled to Donna recently to videotape the segment and surprise Principal Mendoza’s teachers with the news.

“I came here to talk to Juan and highlight the great work that he and his teachers are doing. I believe that he has created an amazing culture and climate at DAEP. He and his teachers have done some innovative things with their health and wellness program where they’ve implemented a fitness challenge. He has also put a plan in place to honor his teachers and staff as well as his students when they do great things. All these things that he does to make people feel special at his campus creates a culture and climate that they want to be a part of. So, I wanted to share his ideas with the masses so that they’ll go ‘wow, we want to be like Juan Mendoza.’ That’s what it’s about.”

Bostick said teachers need to be reminded about their important role in the classroom. “Teachers participate in professional development two or three times a year and research shows that doesn’t always work. They need consistent, ongoing, relevant professional development. Online videos are the way of

the future.”

Mendoza said he is proud to have been chosen to be part of the national trend. “I’m hoping that through this video Aric prepared about our school, that I’ll be able to communicate with other principals around the country,” Mendoza said. “Hopefully they’ll give me a call and they’ll see what we’re doing and then we can share ideas. That’s the best way of networking and communicating. If I get lucky enough, I’ll get to pick their brains and we can make this campus the best that we can make it.”