EL PASO, Texas -

The El Paso Independent School District is tracking down some of the students who went missing or were improperly removed from Bowie High School, under the alleged directive of top EPISD administrators in an effort to boost the district's performance levels.

The recovery effort is part of an initiative called "Operation Kids First," led by Mark Mendoza.

According to Mendoza, the "Operation Kids First" team located and made contact with 15 out of 17 missing Bowie high students in a little less than a week and half. Mendez called his team's effort, "outstanding."

"We've contacted 15 out of the 17 students," said Mendoza. "What we've found is that many of the students sought educational opportunities on their own." 

According to Mendoza, of the 15 students recovered:

4 are enrolled in districts outside of EPISD
4 are in Mexico
3 are re-enrolling at EPISD
1 is enrolled at the job corps
1 earned a GED
1 is in the process of earning a GED
1 is on vacation 

"The students were very open to my team once they realized they were there to help them," said Mendoza. "It was a matter of building trust, and making absolutely certain that they knew we were not pushing them away; we were not there for any reason other than to help them."

Mendoza said that they will continue to make contact with the 15 students the team was able to locate, as well as search for the two who are still missing.

If you have information on missing EPISD students, contact the Student Recovery Hotline: 915 351 5210